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Picture Aspect Switching

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by nheather, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. nheather

    nheather
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    I understand that if I use an RGB to VGA convertor I will lose the automatic picture aspect switching (unless I buy an add-on box).

    What I'm not sure of is what that actually means and therefore, whether it will matter to me.

    Currently I have a Toshiba 32" widescreen CRT and Sky+ is connected using S-Video. I don't believe that S-Video supports aspect switching either.

    The Toshiba screen is set to Auto-Size, and Sky is set to 16:9 so I generally find that all Sky trannsmissions fill the screen. I'm happy with this and very rarely do I have to touch any screen settings.

    Would this be the same experience with a Pany PW7 and the JS RGB>VGA box or are we talking different issues?

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  2. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    Auto aspect ratio switching means that a widescreen TV will automatically change its picture aspect ratio in response to an appropriate signal. Generally the switch is between an anamorphic 16:9 picture and a 4:3 picture. Some sets give you the option of displaying a slightly stretched or cropped or whatever picture instead of the 4:3 picture which gives black bars down the side. The panasonic plasmas can be set to show a 'Just' picture instead of 4:3. The Just setting stretches the edges of the picture to fill the screen.

    Generally aspect ratio signals are carried on one of the pins of a scart socket and that it what TV's and Plasmas respond to. The signal can also be transmitted via line 23 of the picture, but this is not generally supported. My Loewe CRT would change aspect on pictures from my VCR via composite through my amp (therefore no scart) or s-video.

    Connecting to a plasma via vga will not transmit an aspect change. An aspect changer is available and it works by controlling the plasma through its serial port.

    I have used the scart on my PWD6 which changed aspect on my Telewest cable picture via TiVo. I am now using the RGB to VGA converter and I have to change aspect manually via my remote. It can be a bit irritating at times as I can't bear to watch a stretched picture and there are still a lot of 4:3 programmes being broadcast, mixed in with 16:9. Some people are quite happy to watch a stretched picture with fat people, etc, and it doesn't bother them like it does me.

    If your current setup always fills the screen, it could still be auto switching in response to a line 23 signal. I suspect that if it wasn't getting an aspect signal, it would default to the 4:3 aspect which might be showing a wider version of 4:3 to fill the screen, depending on your settings. In this case, anamorphic widescreen programmes should show fat people.

    This is all very difficult to explain and I'm probably not making much sense, but I've spent several years describing aspect ratio switching problems to Telewest. When they first went digital in my area, the aspect ratio signals were all wrong and it took me ages to convince them it wasn't my TV. Eventually they fixed it. Now there's a problem where every now and then the set top box forgets its in widescreen mode and goes into 4:3 mode chopping the sides off the picture and giving black bars down the side. Telewest still don't believe this to be a problem, despite many people, even NTL users, describing the same fault over and over again. They seem to think its due to the feed from Sky. This explanation does not fit in with the symptoms and shows that Telewest do not understand the problem.
     
  3. JetJockey

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    Where does one get this aspect switcher for the RS232 socket, what is it called, and what does it cost?

    Cheers, Gerald. :)
     
  4. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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  5. nheather

    nheather
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    TeresaTT

    Thanks for the complete response. Currently, I think my CRT is just stretching to fill the screen because there is no SCART between Sky and TV and on occasions the picture looks squashed.

    I'm not actually bothered by the squashing and prefer it to black sidebars. If I understand your response correctly, I can acheive the same thing with the Pany panel.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  6. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    You should get exactly the same on the Panasonic. Just set it 16:9 and all pictures will fill the screen sideways. There will still be black bars at the top and bottom on those channels that sometimes broadcast in 14:9 or 16:9 letterbox, but you can use the zoom aspect setting to enlarge the picture.

    Actually, it may be that your TV is set to zoom mode and that is why you see a squashed picture. The squashed picture with thin people is probably a zoomed in anamorphic widescreen one. It is much better to watch this in 16:9 mode as the screen will be filled with a correctly proportioned picture. However, all non widescreen programmes will then have fat people in them. I suppose it's just what you prefer. But a wide stretch only to a programme will give a better quality picture than one that is stretched in both directions for zooming into. That extra bit of quality will make a bigger difference on a plasma.. Have a play with the different settings on your TV and get used to the different effects. BBC1 do some gorgeous 16:9 anamorphic widescreen broadcasts and its a real shame to watch them zoomed into. You'll have lost the top and bottom of the picture, see thin people and have a lower quality.
     
  7. toby_smith

    toby_smith
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    Would a Harmony 655 remote help in this type of situation? I'm thinking that if you always want 4:3 when watching Sky, and 16:9 for DVD, then I think you can program one of these remotes to do a series of "button presses" in a single action, hence not only switching to the appropriate input, but also changing the TV aspect ratio.

    I may be wrong since I've not got one - but had been looking into this for when I've got my kit.
     
  8. nheather

    nheather
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    toby,

    No, the problem is that Sky transmissions are mixed. Much of the stuff I watch (movies etc) is in 16:9, as are many other programs but some are in 4:3.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  9. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    The problem isn't one of always wanting 4:3 for Sky and 16:9 for DVD. Sky, Freeview and cable broadcast a mix of 4:3 and 16:9 material. The majority of channels are still 4:3 only, although some of them do a bit of letterboxed widescreen. Some channels, such as the BBC, show a lot of anamorphic widescreen material. However, they still have 4:3 programmes mixed in. There are even some channels such as ITV that show all adverts in anamorphic widescreen, which means a lot of aspect ratio switching during a 4:3 programme.

    Luckily I have TiVo and a Pronto remote. With TiVo I very rarely watch adverts as virtually all my TV viewing is time shifted and I just fast forward through ads. When I do need to select a different aspect for a programme, I have one button on my Pronto set to change directly to 4:3 and another to change directly to 16:9. I don't have to use one button to toggle through all of the different aspects. This makes aspect changing less of a chore.

    Not all DVDs are anamorphic 16:9, I have one or two that are letterboxed and quite a few older DVDs have extras in 4:3 only.

    Having a programmable remote with macro facilities is almost essential for a home cinema setup. With a single button I can tun on all my devices and with another I can set my plasma input to DVD and amp to DVD source. I have lots of other macros and it makes controlling everything so much easier, especially for my husband and son. When my son wants to play with his XBox, he doesn't have to remeber which input to select on the plasma and that the amp needs to be set to DBS. He just presses one button on the Pronto labeled 'Play XBox'.
     

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