Uneven Letterbox effect when watching DVDs

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by slde, May 26, 2004.

  1. slde

    slde
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    Hi,

    I'd really like some advice as to why when I watch some of my DVDs on my DVD player (connected to a very old square tv) or on my PC DVD as well, the letterbox black bars aren't quite straight. There is a slight 'step' in the edge of each black bar about halfway along the screen. I haven't tried watching them yet on a widescreen tv. It does it on a few of my DVDs, but not all of them.

    I'm confident that someone can give me an answer!

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  2. Del Boy Smiffy

    Del Boy Smiffy
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    I had the same problem ages ago with The Insider, sold it so maybe it was just the film.
     
  3. figrin_dan

    figrin_dan
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    I have the same on my Sony WS with most films with a border (dvd and tv). Some TVs you can rotate the picture
     
  4. cosaw

    cosaw
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    This probably explains it, with older tellys which are less flat the curvature of the screen can lead to any straight edge itself looking curved. This is why it will be more evident on a letterboxed movie as opposed to a movie which fills the screen.

    If it doesn't do it on all your dvd's it's probably to do with the different aspect ratios and it could be dvds with less tall pictures like 2.35:1 look more distorted. I suggest comparing dvds of the same aspect ratio. Similar problems can be still noted on modern sets with bad geometry. As regards the "step" this is something I've seen before and something I would probably atribute to the picture rotation being slightly off but I'm no expert and on most older sets this isn't readily adjustable as far as I know.

    Hope this helps.

    Simon
     
  5. zantarous

    zantarous
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    I have a widescreen set and I have noticed this as well on a very small number of DVD's. I actually thought it was my TV good to hear I am not alone.
     
  6. Garrett

    Garrett
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    I notice the picture rises at the top of the picture and lowers at the bottom on a Sony 4:3 even when watching a transmitted W/S picture and that as a vertically flat screen.
     
  7. slde

    slde
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    cool... at least i'm not the only one who's alone! I have since discovered that its the ones where it does the 'step' in the black bar edges are anamorphic and whats more are usually at ratio 2.35:1.

    There must be a way to sort this out - i find it hard to believe that there ISN'T a way to sort it out given the way we are sold top quality digital equipment and top quality high density DVDs to play on our equipment. It would make absolutely no sense whatsoever if I went out tomorrow and paid £700 for a good widescreen tv and it still had the same effect.

    Any more input?
     
  8. Garrett

    Garrett
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    If you are thinking of not getting a W/S TV I would think again. It is far better to watch you DVD’s on even if they are 2.35:1 with black bars top and bottom, the picture will look far better than the cut 4:3 version and there is so much 16:9 programs and films being transmitted these days.
     
  9. slde

    slde
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    ha ha... don't get me wrong - i def will be buying a widescreen tv! The point is - will my dvd's look like this when im watching it on an expensive widescreen?

    cheers
     
  10. LV426

    LV426
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    Here's my guess:

    1: You mention a "step". This indicates that you aren't talking about poor TV geometry (as others have interpreted).

    2: You mention a 4x3 TV. Can I assume that the TV doesn't have a "16x9" mode and so you have set up your DVD player to output a 4x3 signal?

    If yes, then the "step" is probably an artefact of the DVD player converting a 16x9 recorded signal into 4x3 for your TV.

    Get a 16x9 TV (preferably), or a 4x3 TV with a 16x9 mode, set the DVD player to output 16x9, and I suspect this artefact wll disappear.

    You can try it before you buy a new TV for confirmation.

    Go into the DVD player's setup menu, and set it to TV shape = 16x9 (or whatever terms your DVD manufacturer has chosen to use - maybe "wide" or similar).

    Load up a 2.35:1 film which is <<anamorphic>> or <<enhanced for WS TVs>> (etc). And watch it.

    You should see a vertically-stretched image, but still with (smaller) black bars top and bottom. Look for the step. My guess is, it will be gone.
     
  11. figrin_dan

    figrin_dan
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    I think this is a tv problem, the picture is slightly lower on the left side, causing it to 'drop down a line'
     
  12. LV426

    LV426
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    I beg to differ.

    If the geometry of the TV is at question, then it won't (indeed can't) "drop down a line" as you suggest - the line itself will be slanted. Bad geometry is caused by the scanlines themselves not being where they should be. Slanted scanlines won't give rise to a single visible step in the middle of the picture. Much more likely is that the one scanline that is at the exact top of the visible picture (or the bottom) is black for half(ish) of its length, and illuminated for the rest.
     
  13. slde

    slde
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    Nigel - cheers for the advice, you make total sense mate. Maybe its because you come from Yorkshire (just like me!)...

    You're right, I am using a TV without a 16:9 mode and I can only assume for now that my cheap DVD player is outputing the anamorphic DVD at 4:3 as I havent yet checked the options out on it. I shall try some anamorphic DVD's on my sisters rather nice widescreen TV tomorrow and see how it goes.

    Does the DVD player resize the image by itself by 'knowing' what kind of a display it is connected to? If so is this done via the scart? (i don't have any digital connections!)

    Cheers,

    Dave.
     
  14. Garrett

    Garrett
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    No you have to go into the menu on the DVD and tell it what output you want on it.

    What film/DVD have you been watching?
     
  15. LV426

    LV426
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    Agreed. You always have to tell the DVD player (via menu setups etc) what shape of image you want it to output. So to experiment correctly with your sister's TV, you will have to alter the DVD's setup. TVs have no way to tell a DVD player what shape they are - you have to do it.

    Also bear in mind; not all DVD discs are <enhanced for WS TVs> or <anamorphic> or <16:9> (terms used differ between manufacturers).

    If you set your DVD to output 16:9 (or wide, or whatever they call it) then it will ONLY do so for discs that are <enhanced for WS TVs> or <anamorphic> or <16:9>.

    For discs that aren't any of these things, it will continue to output a 4x3-shaped signal (which, for widescreen movies will contain black padding top and bottom as part of this signal). For such discs, you "zoom" the WS TV. Whereas for 16x9 (etc) discs, you use the TV's "wide" (or whatever it's called) mode.

    As I mentioned before, you CAN send a 16x9 (anamorphic etc) signal into your regular square TV - just as an experiment. Won't do any harm. The picture will be vertically stretched, but you'll be able to see whether or not the step to which you refer is still there or not. My guess is, it won't be.
     
  16. slde

    slde
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    Ok... i've tested all the DVD's out on a decent widescreen tv with the DVD player set to 16:9 and the picture is perfect - no 'steps' or anything.

    cheers!
     
  17. LV426

    LV426
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    Time for slde to get a new, widescreen, TV then?????
     
  18. figrin_dan

    figrin_dan
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    I tried out some tests and here are my results:

    SOME dvds have the steps (top and bottom) whether set to 4:3 or 16:9 (Using PAL 2.35:1 films)
    Digital Ch4 and BBC (STB) both have steps when set to 4:3 letterbox. (Didn't spot any 2.35:1 films so couldn't check 16:9)
    Analog signals (tv, vhs, laserdisc) Never have any steps

    So anything which is anamorphic may cause a step, although some dvds don't.
    So now I'm puzzled, you said it was due to the dvd player, but suggest changing the tv. Presuming it is the dvd player, why only on some films?
     
  19. Erling

    Erling
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    I see the same as you; a step on some DVDs, and I'm using a HTPC with Theatertek as DVD playback software, feeding a CRT projector.
     
  20. LV426

    LV426
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    Now that's both interesting and curious.......

    I have a Pioneer 737, a Sony VW10, a Samsung 22 inch LCD TV (which recently replaced a JVC widescreen CRT item).

    The DVD is connected to the projector by Component (progressive for NTSC, interlaced for PAL). It is connected to the other equipment via SVideo.

    I have about 350 DVD discs, mostly NTSC, about a quarter are PAL. Various screen formats including 4x3, 4x3 with a letterboxed image, 16x9 and 16x9 with a letterboxed image. All possible variants, in fact.

    I do not - on any disc or on any of the three quoted display devices - ever get a step in the top or bottom edge of the displayed image.
     
  21. figrin_dan

    figrin_dan
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    I have a Pioneer 565, a panasonic A310, a nokia mediamaster and a Sony WS 24" tv.

    I tried some more tests: It appears the step stays with the disc, however you set up the dvd player (16:9, ntsc etc). Didn't find any ntsc discs with the step.

    STB at 4:3 letterbox.
    Eastenders (1) had the step top and bottom.
    French open (2) - no step
    Fifth gear (5) - step at bottom only
     
  22. jameslindsey

    jameslindsey
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    The step that you see may be part of the scanline, there may not be a problem here, these steps are visible in all analogue video signals.

    Analogue monitors scan from left to right however the first line starts in the centre and scans to the right, the next starts at the left and goes all the way across to the right, all the way to the last line which starts in the middle and finishes at the right.
    If you view a 4:3 image on a 4:3 television you actually do not see the first few and last few lines (as well as miss a bit left and right) This is because televisions are set to overscan slightly (unlike computer monitors where all the image is viewable called underscanning). It is generally considered less objectionable to miss a tiny amount of image than see black all the way round the outside (whereas you do not weant to miss cells on your spreadsheet). If you view a 16:9 image on a 4:3 television the vertical scan rate changes to compress the image vertically. In doing so you can now see the black bars top and bottom and also all of the scan lines including the half scanlines first and last.

    It is possible that you have not noticed this before, these lines appear on my television in this mode and if I tweak the factory settings to stop it overscanning they are detectable with a normal 4:3 image also.
     

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