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Pioneer Recorder incompatible with Sky Widescreen Switching

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by MikeMcr, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. MikeMcr

    MikeMcr
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    Can anyone with a Pioneer 420, 520 or 720 connected to the TV SCART on a Sky or Sky+ digibox confirm if it records the widescreen aspect change signal?

    It is supposed to record the aspect signal onto hard disk and also DVD-R if you don't go above SP mode (the manual says so).

    The problem is it doesn't work with a Sky box! When the recorder is OFF, aspect changes loop through the SCARTS to the TV fine but as soon as the recorder is turned ON, all aspect changes are ignored. They are also not recorded.

    It seems that if you connect a Freeview box it works fine but not Sky. Since Sky only use Pin 8 for widescreen information (not Line 23), I wonder if the recorder is only checking Line 23?

    Pioneer went away to investigate and eventually came back and told me it is supposed to work that way and all aspect information will be lost when connected to a Sky box and the recorder is turned on (or recording).

    I can't believe Pioneer could have made such a huge oversight and not tested with a Sky box? :mad:
     
  2. pinatubo

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  3. MikeMcr

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    I agree, Sky is wrong not to support both methods. However, they have also said they aren't going to change it. Widescreen TVs detect both methods so why can't the recorder?
     
  4. MikeMcr

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    I think the solution to this is a device that auto-inserts the Line 23 aspect identifier into the video signal. I found this:

    http://www.amcro.co.uk/wss208.htm

    Anyone know of alternative devices?
     
  5. peterc

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    a hack to manually switch that line on when needed, perhaps a bridging link from the existing line ont he sky box ot he line the dvd recorder needs...? not nice, but hey..
     
  6. eddyad

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    I've been in extensive PM communication with MikeMCR on this over the last couple of weeks and I'm amazed at both Pioneer and Sky with this outcome.
    I have also been under the impression that the advent of digital TV the concept of using free lines for additional services like teletext and WS switching would become defunct. Then I thought....
    As scart is a European (French) peculiarity then the line 23 encoding could be more universally applicable, as s-video and component don't have contact pins available.
    Any comments on this? What do other makes like Toshiba, Panasonic do?
     
  7. pinatubo

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    NTL STBs allow correct WS recording - one area where NTL outperforms Sky.
    Does WS switching work correctly when using Sky+?
     
  8. MikeMcr

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    No, not unless your devices support Pin 8. I have Sky+ and it only uses Pin 8.
     
  9. peterc

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    is it possibel to hardwire inside the box pin 8 to 23, to in effect have both line doing the switching? or is that line used for something else in this case..?
     
  10. MikeMcr

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    Line 23 aspect information is encoded into an unused area of the video signal; it has nothing to do with pins on a SCART so you cannot connect them together.
     
  11. peterc

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    ah right i get you now thanks, so it would take a firmware mod to make this work, not a hardware hack...
     
  12. MikeMcr

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    Yes, but Pioneer and Sky both refuse to see it as their problem! I read it is technically possible for Sky to enable Line 23 encoding with an over-the-air firmware upgrade because the chips in the box support Line 23. However, Sky have no plans to do that. :(
     
  13. peterc

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    how weird...
     
  14. eddyad

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    It would be interesting to connect my Pioneer 420 to the Sony TV using separate s-video sockets and see if it copes with WS switching.....
    Not right now though :laugh:
     
  15. MikeMcr

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    I'd guess it would probably work if Freeview is your source. Sky+ has an S-Video output but because of the lack of Line 23 encoding it does not carry aspect information. Therefore, you are stuck with the TV-Out SCART if you want aspect information out of a Sky box, which is only Pin 8.
     
  16. Wharfman3

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    I've had my 420 for a week now and was dissappointed to come across this thread yesterday.

    I recorded a few things last night and found that the tv screen does expand to 16:9 initially when you view the programme but doesn't during adverts on Sky ( which are 4:3).
     
  17. MikeMcr

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    I've found it depends in which aspect mode the Sky is outputting when you turn the recorder on. If Sky is already outputting 16:9 material when you turn the recorder on, then when you play it back, it will switch the TV to wide. However, if the aspect ever changes during the recording, it will get ignored.

    This is not the case when a Freeview box is attached; all the aspect changes get recorded and played back. There is also special handling of this situation when you copy to DVD-R to make sure each aspect change is recorded as a separate title.

    This is a problem for me because I use the "Copy to VCR" batch copy feature on Sky+ to record to the Pioneer in one go (via the TV-out SCART though). Since the recording is likely to start with adverts in 4:3 before a 16:9 programme starts, you are stuck with the 4:3 flag throughout the recording.
     
  18. smallblueplanet

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    This is ALL very new to me, so I hope I'm not being too stupid here......
    I've just (ie its not been delivered yet) purchased a pioneer 220 for the main purpose of replacing my very old vhs.
    I've got Sky, and had assumed that it would be relatively simple to record stuff from the Sky box. But you seem to be saying that if I start recording (timed or manual) a program during an advert that is in 4:3 format (I'm not very good at understanding all the different aspect stuff either"!!) it won't switch back to 16:9 when the program itself starts?? Is that correct? (Very worried newbie!)
     
  19. eddyad

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    Just a thought: I know you'd lose RGB, but does the sky box output the line 23 signal through the video out?
     
  20. MikeMcr

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    S-Video out on a Sky+ box does not use Line 23 either. This is a common complaint; if you use S-Video then you don't get ANY aspect switching with Sky! I haven't tried this myself, just what I've read. Perhaps I will test it myself.
     
  21. MikeMcr

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    If the recorder is turned on during the adverts, that is correct, from my experience. :(
     
  22. eddyad

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    It won't switch automatically, but the 16:9 pic will be recorded in its anamorphic format so you'll have to switch the TV manually to see it correctly. Then it will stay in 16:9 and you'll see short fat people during 4:3 adverts. Might improve them :) (the ads - not the people)
     
  23. smallblueplanet

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    Eddyad - thanks for your reply. I'm gonna be stupid again.....whats anamorphic?
    And I'm still unsure exactly what that means.....will the Sky program (ie sport or film or tv show) that I record be recorded in the aspect its meant to be viewed but the tv will have to be switched manually if the recorder started during a 4:3 advert? :confused:

    I have to admit half the time I can't tell what aspect the tv is supposed to be in :confused: so I just put the tv into "auto" aspect (its a panny widescreen) and let it switch about itself!!

    Well, the dvd recorder has just been delivered and I CANNOT believe the size of the handbook - which unfortunately doesn't look very user-friendly either!! :confused:
    Fortunately the speed of delivery of the dvd has caught me by surprise and I haven't yet bought any media :blush: , so I'm gonna ignore it 'til tomorrow.

    However should I send it back and buy a different make?????
     
  24. eddyad

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    Anamorphic is the squashed up way 16:9 pics are transmitted.

    As I understand it, the TV transmission system is restricted to 4:3 pics, so for 16:9 the pic is squashed horizontally down to a 4:3 format. Widescreen TVs expand it to fill the 16:9 frame.

    If you connect a 16:9 source to a 4:3 TV the source (sky or digibox) will have settings so you can watch the 16:9 pic with black bars top and bottom or it will chop off the sides and fill the screen vertically.

    16:9 TVs have various settings to deal with 4:3 formats and if you force a compressed 16:9 pic into 4:3 mode it looks squashed horizontally.
    DVD recorders record the 4:3 version of 16:9 pics.

    The signal to make the TV pic change size is transmitted in an unused line of the TV pic - line 23. Things with scart outputs often convert this to a signal on a spare pin (8) in the scart.

    Unfortunately it is emerging that sky boxes use pin 8 but do not send the line 23 trigger. DVD recorders ignore the pin 8 trigger but do record line 23. So if there is no line 23 - no WS switching. (MikeMcr has reported a gadget that will take a scart signal with pin 8 signals but no line 23, and add the line 23 trigger when necessary).

    ******** If you have the option, I'd swap the 220 for a 420 with a hard disk ASAP. Without HDD you are either going to have to use re-writeable DVDs for recordings you don't want to keep or throw away DVD-Rs.

    And you will still have the tape problem of forgetting what is on which disk when you want to watch something. An 80GB HDD will give you nearly 70 hours or recording in LP mode, easily oustripping VHS standard speed for quality.

    (Some of the above may be technically less than precise, but it's the effect you see)

    If you bought a Toshiba RX32 HDD/DVD you'd get 3 books :D
     
  25. brownrog

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    No, you shouldn't get a different make. But I agree with the previous post that if you can possibly afford a 420 (with hard disk recorder and DVDR) rather than the 220 (DVDR only) then you really should. It makes a HUGE difference. I was going to buy a 220, then found out about the 420, and I'm pleased I did. The 420 is a fine machine. I paid £349.90 for mine and that included some freebie disks and a decent extra SCART cable.

    You may well have the same problems with auto start and aspect switching with other makes (anyone any evidence?). IMO it's more SKY's fault than Pioneer's. Freeview boxes used with the Pioneer recorders handle both points without problems.

    As for the big book, it goes with the territory I'm afraid. The 420's is even bigger than the 220's. But it's not so bad - keep ploughing through and you'll sort it I'm sure! :)
     
  26. smallblueplanet

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    Thanks brownrog, can't really afford a with hdd machine (would have preferred one though) - but you have convinced me to stick with the pioneer. TBH I was wishing I'd just bought a new video recorder!! :laugh:

    Anyway as I posted on another thread, any idea what brand of media Pioneer recommend?

    Am now thinking of emailing Sky and threatening to cancel my subscription - everyone should, especially if it is a "cross-machines" problem.
     
  27. pinatubo

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  28. brownrog

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    No problem - the 220 is a great machine anyway. Once you've "swallowed" the book you'll love it! :)

    TBH most books make a product like this seem more complicated than it is when you come to use it. Funny, I thought they were supposed to make it easier! :confused:

    I don't know what media Pioneer recommend, but I use Verbatim DVD-R (8x) and just the occasional DVD-RW (also Verbatim). I use the ones with printable surfaces although you need a printer that can print on a disk surface (quite a few cheap ones now). NEVER, NEVER stick a label on a DVD!!! :thumbsdow If you do they won't play properly for long, you'll have all sorts of problems. If you can't print the surface, write on them with a proper CD/DVD marker pen (NOT an ordinary felt tip - they damage the disk too).

    If you look on the web you should find the DVD-Rs at just over £50 per 100 (with shipping, say 60p a disk). You can buy cheaper disks but it's definitely not worth it. Verbatim are super-reliable and give excellent cross-player compatibility. I author DVDs professionally and I've learned the hard way. I buy my media from http://www.penridge.com/

    I agree with your last point about Sky. Could this be anything to do with the point that providing the ability to control a hard disk or DVD recorder might harm sales of the Sky+ box, do you think? :rolleyes:

    Roger
     
  29. peterc

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    brownrog, very good point about the sky+ thing, i hadn't thought of that... thanks for the Verbatim info as well, as i'm about to get me a pioneer 420.. thanks again!
     
  30. smallblueplanet

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    Roger
    I've woken up enough to face thinking about dvd recording again!

    Thanks for all the info, I bought 5 dvd-rw's from CdRMedia, and I just got a "taster" of 3 Verbatims, a TDK & a Maxell.....I shall bare in mind your comments re media brand problems!
    Is there a reason to bother buying dvd-R? I mainly intend to record off the telly.

    Back to your comment on tv signals and 16:9 being transmitted as a squashed 4:3 signal (?), would it be just as easy to leave the tv switched to 16:9 and then only ads and old tv shows would be the wrong size? How would this affect films, don't they sometimes have odder aspects!?

    I had considered a Sky+ box, but then realised if I wanted to keep any "recordings" I'd need a dvd-recorder too - but money too tight (well as is the spender!! :laugh: ) - I imagine Sky might be persuaded to send out the line 23 signal, if they thought it would hit them financially if they didn't.
    Perhaps a campaign is needed!!

    I was also wondering about buying a freeview box to have slightly more channels to chose when recording Sky, would this be easy to set-up?

    Oh goodness so many questions - and I've been lurking on the site for ages too!

    Amanda
     

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