Widescreen or 4:3 for gaming?

Discussion in 'General Video Gaming Chat' started by mister_d, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. mister_d

    mister_d
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    I intend to buy a TV primarily for use with consoles (at the moment just a Dreamcast but soon a Gamecube and probably eventually an Xbox) but also for occasionally playing DVDs via my PC's TV-Out. Now clearly for the latter a 16:9 would be greatly preferable, but DVD playback isn't what I'm buying it for, it's merely a 'bonus' that makes it easier to justify spending a few hundred pounds on a TV when I already have a 21" monitor.

    So for consoles, particularly GC and Xbox, are there presently any benefits to having a widescreen TV? Since I don't yet own either I'm not sure whether there's much widescreen support, but I'm assuming that most if not all games run in standard 4:3. However, I intend to hold onto the TV for quite a while, so the long term trend is quite important to me as well.

    Any advice appreciated.
     
  2. gizlaroc

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    I wouldnt dream of buying a 4:3 tv , even for games.

    just use the wide mode on 16:9 TV , it will squash the game down a little, but , it is a game so not as noticeable as real life.
    what i am trying to say is , if you see a person squashed in a film you will know straight away becuse it just doesnt look right and you see people every day, but, if you see a game character squashed a little, who cares, the designer might have made that character like that anyway.

    all viewing experiences are better on a 16:9 display in my opinion, I bought a widescreen tv 7 years ago before there was any widescreen broadcasting and before anamorphic dvd was out, purely to play games on.

    once you've had a widescreen tv for a few days you will wonder why 4:3 were ever invented.
     
  3. mister_d

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    Thanks for the reply, though I should've mentioned in the original post that I really don't like watching out-of-ratio images, and I'd stick to standard 4:3 for any games in that format.

    What I'm really interested in finding out is whether there is any significat movement towards towards 16:9 within the console industry, and also whether many games now support widescreen (or perhaps 14:9 like some Sky Digital channels).
     
  4. NeoBlade

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    Personally I would go for the 16:9 TV set. Why? Because a lot of games will support it in the near future and you said yourself that you would want the TV to last for a while. There are quite a few Xbox games that support the widescreen format, Dead or Alive 3 being the most prominent but more will follow. As for the Gamecube I'm told Extreme G3 has a widescreen option but since I haven't got the game I can't confirm this.

    I know quite a lot of up and coming Gamecube games will support the widescreen format and there are a handful already on the PS2. Basically there isn't a reason now to own a 4:3 set, since you can get a very decent 32" Panasonic widescreen TV for about £800-£900. If you shop around I'm sure you can find others for less.

    You can of course change the aspect ratio to 4:3 for the games, since IMO its better than forcing the image in widescreen. Any sort of distortion will affect gameplay in my books, especially for fighting games.
     
  5. mister_d

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    That's just the kind of reply I was looking for NeoBlade, though it does make my decision more difficult. With your post in mind I think I probably will go for a widescreen and suffer the short-term inconvenience of a smaller picture if consoles are heading towards 16:9, which I suppose is reasonable given the market penetration that widescreen sets have achieved. Unfortunately £800-900 is way out of my price range as I was thinking in terms of a 28" for (preferably substantially) less than £500, but that's a separate issue.

    One last question - is there likely to be any more support for 16:9 modes with import games/consoles?
     
  6. NeoBlade

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    Yeah, I forgot to ask your budget before suggesting any models. From a few reviews this TV comes highly regarded but I'm sure others on the forum will add their opinion too. The Panasonic TX28DK1 isn't a total looker but the image quality is superb.

    Click here to look at the Panasonic

    Features
    Widescreen Quintrix screen, Q-LINK, NICAM stereo, Flexible zoom modes, headphone socket, Fastext, Front mounted AV input, 1.4 w power standby, 2x SCARTs, Front AV connector + rear audio out, 2x 10W RMS, Cabinet stand supplied.

    The cost on hed.co.uk is £429.99 but if you shop around either locally or on the net I'm sure the price will vary.

    Other models worthy of mentioning would be the Philips 28PW6006

    Click here for the Philips

    You can't go far wrong with either of these sets to be honest, although I would personally go for the Panasonic TV. I own a Panasonic 32DT2 and the image quality is stunning for movies and consoles. I know that Panasonic made a 28" version of the DT2 but I think its discontunied now.

    As for increased widescreen support for import games, I haven't seen anything notable to suggest that. Chances are that if the import original has a widescreen option then it will for the european version as well. One thing thats worth looking for if you're a european gamer is the fabled 60Hz option. With this option you can run the games full screen, full speed like it was intended to be.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask since I or someone else will help out. Have fun ^_^
     
  7. Dunedin397

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    I'd definately recommend you move to 16:9 for gaming. I used a 28" 4:3 TV until this time last year when I changed to 16:9.

    Most games look just fine, but there's the odd title that could have done with a 16:9 mode. More games are providing a 16:9 option, making the game look a lot better. Gran Turismo 3 looks great in 16:9 mode.

    However, I find that I can't use the 16:9 options on Electronic Arts games for some reason. On F1 2001 and F1 2002, for example, the cars just look too thin.

    16:9 modes are definately becoming more prevalent and I wouldn't go back to a 4:3 TV for gaming.

    Dunedin397
     
  8. Doubledoom

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    SSX Tricky (Electronic Arts) has anamorphic widescreen.

    Many of the PS2 games have a 16:9 option although i dont know about the other consoles.
     
  9. Guest

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    after a couple of days with a widescreen telly you won't notice the difference and will wonder how you managed with a 4:3 telly for so long. And widescreen 28" start at around £350. I was a little bit "anti-distortion" at first but now I am a total convert.
     
  10. NeoBlade

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    I still wouldn't force a widescreen image for a TV program or a videogame that was designed to run in 4:3, but then I do suppose its up to the person in question. More games will support the widescreen format so its just a matter of waiting.
     
  11. Guest

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    why not?! You should get used to it very quickly. The only problem I had with doing that was that it made Buffy's arse look massive on Sky. I certainly would fork out for a W/S set and then watch 4:3 stuff in 4:3.
     
  12. NeoBlade

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    lol Because even though having to watch Buffy with an enlarged arse (she looks nice anyway) I like to keep things in perspective. Forcing a widescreen image for a critial game like 3D fighters just ruins the timing for many juggles and makes a game look worse. I suppose it also depends on what size screen you've got since I'm currently using 36" and 32" widescreen TVs so using its natrual aspect ratio doesn't bother me. For smaller screens though it could be a problem, but even then I would still run the game in 4:3.

    If you're used to a distorted image then its fair enough... It can run well for games with massive borders like Devil May Cry, Capcom Vs SNK 2 and Final Fantasy X but for everything else, original aspect ratios is the way to go.

    You could of course try out the 14:9 ratio since that will fill up the screen while keeping the right aspect ratio.. The image will be zoomed in a bit but its better than a forced widescreen.
     
  13. Doubledoom

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    Although what you want to do in your own home is fine for you, there are many of us that don't like looking at stretched pictures and don't want the picture cropped.

    I certainly wouldn't want to fork out for a widescreen set and then watch 4:3 stuff multilated.
     
  14. Mr.D

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    Well in my experience gaming doesn't suffer from being stretched incorrectly to 16x9.

    Most of the time the game graphics are far from realistically proportioned: changing the monitor geometry has no effect on the "critical" timing of a game ( you may as well argue that sitting off centre affects timing ).

    Viewing live action is a different kettle of fish but I think applying purist aestheticism to games which are rarely constructed with such critical consideration to proportion that an additional 33% horizontal distortion ruins the experience is a touch "uber" . ( unless you've calibrated the geometry on your TV the deviation away from total correctness might well be even less than 33% ).

    But hey at least there are more games with a 16x9 option : as long as its not just a resquished crop of the 4x3.
     
  15. Guest

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    so doubledoom you're telling me that everytime you load up a game or watch a tv broadcast that's in 4:3 or slightly wider you flick to the 4:3 screen option and give up half your screen just so you can watch the simpsons in the "correct" aspect ratio.

    Mr D is right that is way "uber" dude (i would actually use the word anal):confused:

    The only time I get concerned with getting the right aspect is when watching a film, I couldn't care less if the news is a bit squashed, I would certainly rather that than have tons of my screen un-used.
     
  16. gizlaroc

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    I used to work for a company selling dev kits and when i asked one of the developers why they didnt put a 16:9 option into games more often , he said most of the games are produced at a sort of inbetween ratio.

    meaning that on a 16:9 image would be a little squashed and a 4:3 image would be a little stretched, a good compromise, and he said that the characters on the original designs ( on paper ) usually ended up a completely different proportion in the finished game anyway.
    So it made little diference.

    As far as making a difference to timing i would have to agree , as long as you are not stretching the image in one area more than another it won't efect the game in any way other than asthetically.
     
  17. lechacal

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    I agree with DoubleDoom. Why pay the extra cash for a top tube wth decent geometry just to stretch the picture all out of shape?

    More practically though, I just don't get on with stretching games. Take something like PGR. If you stretch it to 16:9 so it distorts you just keep misjudging all the corners and crashing into walls. Admittedly, it doesn't make much difference to Halo but if you just stretch it horizontally everybody looks about 18 stone and if you stretch in both directions you lose the status displays at the top of the screen.

    It's about time the developers gave us the option a bit more often. With the US Xbox supporting HDTV there's no excuse. Widescreen was better supported on the PS1 than it is on the Xbox.
     
  18. Doubledoom

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    No. Like any decent widescreen television, the tv stays in 4:3 mode unless there is an anamorphic widescreen broadcast/recording (or game) and it will automatically switch to wide mode. No manual intervention is required.

    How on earth is watching a programme or game with bits of the picture stretched and missing better than watching it in the correct aspect ratio and all present?
     
  19. Guest

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    you've paid for all that screen I don't see the point in not using it all. I got used to the stretch distortion quickly and would only flick back to 4:3 if something really bothered me, like Buffy's ass.

    and surely that's only if you leave it on AUTO switching which I don't.

    the thing I couldn't understand with your initial post was the vemon you seemed to direct at the suggestions of 'stretching' a 4:3 as though it was some sort of anti-social behaviour or dangerous substance abuse of some kind. It came across a little over zealous.
     
  20. Doubledoom

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    It does get used, when there is an anamorphic widescreen broadcast, transmission or game.

    No. If the tv has the correct settings it will switch between 4:3 and 16:9 upon detection of the correct scart pin 8 voltages, line 23 WSS or Line 21 WSS. The mode it was in before is irrelevent. Of course not all televisions have the correct set-up or options but give some sort of fudged setting instead. Others may not recognise Line 23 WSS or Line 21 WSS (US version). A while back there was one that didnt recognise scart switching either.


    I respect the right for people to distort their pictures any way they want in their own home. The "stretch and crop" and "correct aspect ratio" camps are fairly divided and i didn't want to force my viewing preference on anyone else. I meant it to be read as an "upto you how you do it but i do it this way" style.

    When you stretch the picture, you also crop the top and bottom as well as reduce the picture picture quality. You actually see less, not more.

    To me that is worse than having a couple of black bars down the side of the picture. If it was a traditional size tv, those black bars would replaced with air, so what's the difference?
     
  21. Guest

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    I wasn't aware that anything was cropped from the image so I see why you prefer watching 4:3 in 4:3. Although I've tried to spot picture cropping in stretched images before and have found it virtually impossible to tell.

    As for the scart switching (your description went a little over my head) I was under the impression that the TV can auto-detect which ratio is being broadcast and switches to that unless you use the manual ratio settings to alter (stretch) it. I don't use this cos terrestrial signals seem to be effected by interference and ad breaks and the ratio keeps switching ratio causing the picture to jump every so often.
     
  22. NeoBlade

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    Everyone has their own tastes in viewing so lets just respect that. Me, DoubleDoom, lechacal, etc like to keep the aspect ratio to view the game or image in its purest form, whether its in 4:3 or 16:9.

    IMO stretching a 4:3 image would result in a lower quality image and would often result in a softer image overall... Not to mention that the colour/brightness/etc settings that one might have set up perfectly would go to pot because of it (when watching a stretched image).

    Yes we have paid good money for these TVs, but how we use them is up to the individual in question. Some people pay £2,000+ on a TV because they want visual quality over anything else. Any sort of distortion would equal in a drop in quality and thus waste the effort and money spent on a 2 grand TV.

    As for the auto switching I keep it on although I do hate the "zoom" feature on some TVs inc. my Panasonic. I've set up the auto to have a preference on 4:3 if the original aspect ratio was so, and auto 16:9.

    Again its up to you how you want to view your images, with TVs that are 32" or larger it doesn't matter if its in 4:3 anyway since its still a decent size.
     
  23. Mr.D

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    Hey hey getting a little heated here.

    James45 whilst I find viewing most game images in 16x9 to be unobjectionable I would be extremely miffed at the prospect of watching live action material in an incorrect format: I extend this to animation.

    And I did say "uber" rather than anal.
     
  24. Doubledoom

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    The cropping is not significant but if you watch something which has graphics near the bottom or top, these can go over the edge of the screen when the stretch and crop mode is used. A while back there was a spate of questions (on newsgroups) why on "Who wants to be a millionaire" do the question options not appear on the screen correctly. This is an example where the cropping was noticeable.

    The TV will not switch to the correct mode by itself. It will switch to the correct mode when it gets told to. This is done by a couple of methods. Line 23WSS (line 21 is USA) is where a signal is sent on that line which the tv can decode and it tells it what mode to go into. Analogue Ch4 use this for their programmes. The other popular method is scart switching. The voltage in pin 8 of the scart is varied and this tells the tv to switch to wide mode when it detects the different voltage.

    Some televisions have an auto-size mode but all this does is look for black bars and try and guess the correct aspect ratio. This mode was popular on early widescreen sets but has become less popular as people got fed up with number of times the tv would zoom in and out. It would also get it wrong quite a lot. Sometimes, particulary during adverts or dark scenes, the picture would be jumping all over the place.
     

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