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Freeview aspect problem... 4:3 / 16:9

allazey_uk

Established Member
Hi,

I've just bought a freeview recorder and I'm having a few problems with the TV aspect settings.

I have a old type 4:3 TV. There are two settings on the freeview box.... widescreen 16:9 and normal 4:3.

When I select 4:3 i get black bars top and bottom. And when I select widescreen it stretches out the picuture vertically so everything looks taller.

This is the same no matter which channel I view.

I understand that the black bars will be present on channels that are showing widescreen programmes, but should this be happening for anything I watch???

This didn't happen with the freeview box replaced. When on 4:3 my TV displayed a picture with no black bars.

The freeview recorder I have is a Durabrand DPVR801.
 

Broadz

Distinguished Member
You would only select 16:9 if you had a widescreen TV. 16:9 is a layman's term for anamorphic compression. Your digibox sends out the picture anamorphically compressed (squeezed in at the sides so that everybody appears tall and thin). Your widescreen television then stretches that picture back out to fill the screen, and everybody appears in the correct aspect ratio.

4:3L will put black bars on the top and bottom of a widescreen picture and not send out a compressed picture - so that you will see it in letterbox format.

4:3 (not 4:3L) is also commonly called pan and scan - when showing something that is naturally widescreen, it zooms into the picture, losing the edges but making the square window of picture that it is concentrating on fill the screen. This is far and away the worst way to watch anything originally in widescreen, as you are losing up to a third of the programme/movie that you are trying to watch.

It sounds like your latest Freeview player has abandoned the outdated and archaic 4:3 pan and scan option - and not before time. As more and more widescreen televisions appear, and as less and less 4:3 aspect ratio TV programmes get made, there is really no reason for anybody to put up with pan and scan any longer...
 

allazey_uk

Established Member
Thanks for the quick reply.

I'm still in the dark a little though!

I now understand your descriptions of the various picture settings and how they work (thanks), however I still don't understand why EVERY channel and programme I view has black bars top and bottom when I set my freeview box to 4:3.
Does this mean that EVERY program is being transmitted in widescreen format??
I ask this because I went through all the channels last night and every single one had black bars.

:confused:
 

Broadz

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the quick reply.

I'm still in the dark a little though!

I now understand your descriptions of the various picture settings and how they work (thanks), however I still don't understand why EVERY channel and programme I view has black bars top and bottom when I set my freeview box to 4:3.
Does this mean that EVERY program is being transmitted in widescreen format??
I ask this because I went through all the channels last night and every single one had black bars.

:confused:

There aren't many 4:3 programmes being transmitted on digital TV nowadays. Sky Sports News is, The Simpsons is, some old programmes on BBC and ITV (Blackadder, old Inspector Morse or Poirots, that kind of thing) but no other UK TV programme made this century will still be in 4:3.
 

allazey_uk

Established Member
There aren't many 4:3 programmes being transmitted on digital TV nowadays. Sky Sports News is, The Simpsons is, some old programmes on BBC and ITV (Blackadder, old Inspector Morse or Poirots, that kind of thing) but no other UK TV programme made this century will still be in 4:3.

I'll give Simpsons and Sky Sport News a go and see what happens.

Think I'd prefer losing the edges of the picture (as per pan and scan).... rather than a tiny picture with black bars (4:3L), or elongated people all over my screen (16.9)!!
 

scribbler101

Established Member
AFAIK the standard terms for the two non-distorted ways of showing a 16:9 pic on a 4:3 screeen are "Letterbox" and "Centre cutout". Which have the advantages of being self-explanatory I think?

The numerically minded may like to reduce the 16:9 ratio to 4:2.25 for the letterbox option; leaving 0.75 out of 3 (a quarter) of the height blank. This is usually split top/bottom, but I have seen it all at the bottom.

Or for the centre cutout, 16:9 becomes 5.33:3, leaving 1.33 to get chopped off either side.

I seem to recall that in the old days, some widescreen films shown on TV alternated between presentation according to content.
 

Mooly

Established Member
Just got a Samsung SR270M and am very pleased to find it has 4:3 pan and scan. I use it on an old set.
Also recordings are always done in 16:9 ( when broadcast ) so they always play correctly on the main set up.
 

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