High Def Forum
Thank you for visiting. This is our website archive. Please visit our main website by clicking the logo above.

HDTV; is 4:3 or 16:9 the best at present?

ja2935
07-23-2004, 10:42 AM
I intend to go the HDTV route soon, mainly for watching regular TV with occasional DVDs, but am torn between getting a 4:3 or 16:9 monitor. I see many people watching 4:3 programs stretched to fit the 16:9 and putting up with the distortion (why do they do this?) but appreciate that most programming is still in 4:3.

So what is best? go for 16:9 and a) get the full picture with vertical compression, b) have black bars at the sides, c) crop the top and bottom, or d) some sets have a full screen conversion that just stretches the edges but I have not seen this demonstrated.

Or is it best to go for a 4:3 HDTV as probably the majority of my viewing will be standard definition DirectTV. SONY's new KV-32HS420 looks a good deal as I am limited in monitor width to 38" so my options are most 32" 4:3 sets or a limited number or 34" 16:9, ie Toshiba 34PW85H or the new Philips 34PW9847. Anyone have any strong and constructive views on this

econ
07-23-2004, 01:30 PM
You'd be wasting your money buying a 4:3 tv. Get a widescreen tv and watch non hd programming in the 4:3 mode.

Micmax
07-23-2004, 02:15 PM
It'd be a tragic mistake to get 4:3. You're essentially wasting away the HD experience. HD programs fully utitlize the 16:9 ratio, as well as DVD's. Movies are shot to be seen in 16:9. The eye is more accustomed to seeing a wide shot rather than up/down.

You'll find your happy-medium concerning the 4:3 programs, there's all sorts of stretches to choose from. Its not the finest selling point of the widescreen TV, but as time goes by there will be less and less 4:3 programs.

I refuse to sit here and let you waste away your life with a 4:3 TV.

rbinck
07-23-2004, 02:41 PM
Until you get a HDTV you will not be able to understand why people would watch a horizontally stretched picture. As Micmax said you will gravitate toward a particular stretch over time. My first widescreen TV was not a HDTV and the stretch bothered me a great deal at first. I made some black covers that I could place on the left and the right of the screen so as to eliminate the grey bars that also annoyed me. Like I said it was just a widescreen, not a HDTV. When I would watch movies, I would remove the covers for the widescreen experence.


When I got my first HDTV things changed completely. It was clear that the SD programming was second class and deserved to be distorted as it was distorted looking no matter the mode compared to HDTV. I finally found the black bars on the sides to be ok as I didn't watch that much SD anymore. Voom gives me black bars rather than grey bars and I prefer that.

Now some people will scream that I will be burning in the center of my screen having those black bars. Well, if I had a 4:3 monitor, I'd have those black bars on the top and the bottom, so I said what's the difference? I mainly watch HD material, so the 16:9 is best for me as there are black bars on the screen less that way. If you are planning on watching mostly SD material, maybe 4:3 would be better, but then why HDTV?

We are in a transition period right now, but the future is 16:9. Might as well start getting used to it.

maximus
07-23-2004, 08:11 PM
16x9 HDTVs do 4x3 way better than any 4x3 DTV can do with 16x9!

borromini
07-23-2004, 11:43 PM
Amen! :d

ja2935
07-24-2004, 06:27 AM
Sounds like you are all converts to 16:9 - are there no deffenders of 4:3 HD? Have the manufacturer's got is so wrong? Thanks for your comments, I am leaning toward 16:9. Has anyone got any views on the new Philips 34PW9847? the previous model (34PW85H) had mixed reviews.

maximus
07-24-2004, 05:35 PM
I know some 4x3 HD sets that will do a full 480p letterbox through compression but as far as HD there is no way you will get even close to the resolution even a small 16x9 CRT HD can put out.

ja2935
07-25-2004, 04:57 AM
Putting aside the ratio differences when watching 4:3 programming on a 16:9 screen the other major consideration is how do current HDTVs handle SD 420i signals? ie from a regular NTSC antenna, cable/satallite box or non-progressive DVD. I have read comments that many people are unsatisfied and felt that their old SD looked better; I currently have an SD SONY KV-27FS12 which has a remarkably good picture and a 16:9 squeeze so would be measuring against a farly high standard.

Does anyone know what the output signal configuration choices are (ie 480i/480p/720p/1080i etc) from the DirectTV (Samsung) HD box?

ja2935
07-25-2004, 05:01 AM
Sorry, for 420i read 480i in my previous post.

debennett2
07-26-2004, 09:16 AM
The 4:3 versus 16:9 debate has been going on forever now. I personally think it has to do with your viewing habits more than anything as to which you choose to purchase. I bought a 4:3 set (Sony 36XBR800) since most of the content I will be watching is 4:3 or from an HTPC. Pricewise, the nearly equivalent model in widescreen cost a few hundred dollars more (the 34XBR800), had less 4:3 real estate and hardly anymore size compared to the 36XBR800 is widescreen mode.
If you plan to watch A LOT of widescreen material or don;t mind distorting SD material, go ahead and get a widescreen set...I'm sure you will be happy.
By the time content in mostly 16:9, I will be ready for a new TV anyhow...probably well before.

ja2935
07-26-2004, 01:19 PM
How do you rate the ability of your HDTV to handling SD programming as this could be a big factor in deciding to upgrade? In my experience SONY is probably the best (and according to Consumer Reports).

jwalther
08-14-2004, 04:56 AM
to either a 27" 4:3 or 30" 16:9? I'm looking to buy my first HD, and it will be used primarily for watching DN HD and standard programming (as opposed to DVD movies, games, etc.). I will have a substantially smaller 4:3 picture on the 30" set, than on the 27", right? If 4:3 programming will be 90% plus of the programming I watch, am I not better off with a 27" 4:3?

Help, I can't decide!

Jeff

borromini
08-14-2004, 11:51 PM
Your dilemma is that the 90% SD will decrease dramatically over the next two years as HD becomes more and more popular. If you plan on having this TV handle the majority of your viewing, plan on the future and not the present...therefore you should be getting the 16:9 model. It may be worth waiting a few more months of money saving and get a 34" 16x9 TV. That's the size you really start noticing the beauty of HDTV.

jwalther
08-15-2004, 04:33 AM
After watching the HD source on the 27, I decided it's just too small a picture to really do the HD justice. I would have loved to get a bigger set, buy space limitations dictate otherwise. The 30" really does not fit as it is (according to my wife anyway). I'll have to wait for my home theater tv to die before getting anything bigger. Patience, they say, is a virtue. . .

Jeff

Jay Levy
08-17-2004, 08:13 AM
Sounds like you are all converts to 16:9 - are there no deffenders of 4:3 HD? Have the manufacturer's got is so wrong? Thanks for your comments, I am leaning toward 16:9. Has anyone got any views on the new Philips 34PW9847? the previous model (34PW85H) had mixed reviews.

Ok, I'll play devils advocate ... it totally depends on what your viewing habits are. I have hundreds of full frame DVDs (mainly anime). I do have lots of movies, as well though. So, I went to this site to help me make up my mind:

http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi

Here it is simply, with the sizes you're looking at th 32" widescreen will give you about 5% more viewing area watching 16:9 material as compared to the 34" TV. However, the 34" TV will give you 69% more viewing space for 4:3 material as compared to the 32".

If you get a good set with vertical compression, you really don't lose that much resolution on anamorphic DVDs as people are scaring you about.

My advice, look at what you primarily watch and chose a set based on that.

hdfan
08-27-2004, 07:56 PM
Can someone tell me if the Philips 32PT842H is a 16:9 or 4:3? Is it even widescreen? I saw the specs and it says 16:9, but when I look at the dimension, it's not flat vertically like the 30PW850H.....and the sad thing is, I ordered the 32PT842H from Philips outlet....www.outlet.philips.com and they don't let people cancel order once it's placed.....:(

far
11-01-2004, 12:32 AM
the more hd content your able to watch the more you will love hd screen. if you dont have the content then i would wait.


i am getting used to the stretch modes of sd tv but some channels just look like crap. and u cant be happy looking at crap.

the future is hd but the future hasnt arrived but i am ready

the tech i would make sure i have is a dvr/tivo that is awesome.

gmd
11-08-2004, 12:46 PM
I'm considering getting the Sony 32" 4:3 HDTV set for the same reasons. People didn't seem to understand the original dilemma.

If you have less than 36 inches, you have the choice between
- the 16:9 30 inches KV-30HS420
- the 4:3 32 inches KV-32HS420

Anything bigger is too big. Since both have the same width and the 4:3 redirects all "rays" to get identical resolution as the 30" widescreen when detecting a 16:9 signal, why go for the 16:9?

-gmd

bnewt
11-09-2004, 11:47 AM
I am by no means an expert, but I would think the determing factor would be your source, and are you looking at a direct view or some type of projection. I personally am not satisfied with a picture from cable on a projecton type tv. It just looks blurry, the same thing with any type of stretched mode. Again, my only experience is in different show rooms. I personally am considering the purchase of an ota stb just to see if my analog local channels improve - good riddance to the snowy picture. If the stb enhances my picture, then I too will start looking for a larger tv - but then again the decision between dlp, or lcd, or whatever new technology comes along.

PSzalapski
11-09-2004, 03:42 PM
I'm considering getting the Sony 32" 4:3 HDTV set for the same reasons. People didn't seem to understand the original dilemma.

If you have less than 36 inches, you have the choice between
- the 16:9 30 inches KV-30HS420
- the 4:3 32 inches KV-32HS420

Anything bigger is too big. Since both have the same width and the 4:3 redirects all "rays" to get identical resolution as the 30" widescreen when detecting a 16:9 signal, why go for the 16:9?

-gmd

Price? My guess is that the 4:3 would cost more.

Also, I have to ask a question that makes me rant a bit. Can that TV simply ZOOM IN when you are viewing a HDTV 4:3 image? I hate it when I had a 4:3 TV that would give me black bars at the top and bottom because I am viewing HDTV, and also black bars at the sides because my signal was a 4:3 image over 16:9 HDTV! I really DO NOT want to watch a 26" inch 4:3 image on a 32" 4:3 TV! Grrrr.... Just ZOOM IN and CUT OFF the sides! Is that so difficult? The zoom modes lacked the ability to simply zoom!

gmd
11-10-2004, 09:58 PM
Price? My guess is that the 4:3 would cost more.

Also, I have to ask a question that makes me rant a bit. Can that TV simply ZOOM IN when you are viewing a HDTV 4:3 image? I hate it when I had a 4:3 TV that would give me black bars at the top and bottom because I am viewing HDTV, and also black bars at the sides because my signal was a 4:3 image over 16:9 HDTV! I really DO NOT want to watch a 26" inch 4:3 image on a 32" 4:3 TV! Grrrr.... Just ZOOM IN and CUT OFF the sides! Is that so difficult? The zoom modes lacked the ability to simply zoom!

Price is exactly the same.

I agree about the Zoom thinggy... but which bars are going to disappear first?

-gmd

PSzalapski
11-11-2004, 08:12 AM
Price is exactly the same.

I agree about the Zoom thinggy... but which bars are going to disappear first?

-gmd
A simple zoom should make all the bars disappear--after all, if you watch a 4:3 image on a 4:3 TV, it should be able to go full screen without any letterboxing, regardless of whether it is a 16:9 HD signal or a 4:3 SD signal.

Same price? Then I would get a Samsung or Sanyo rather than the Sony--bigger screen for the same price. I'm sure the Sony's picture is better, but by how much? I was very pleased with the quality when I had my Samsung for a short time. Now I just want a bigger one, not a better picture.

But if the two are the same price and the same width, and it has "vertical scanline compression" (Is that what it is called? I understand the concept but I don't know the term), then I would get the bigger 4:3 TV.

P-Sz

gmd
11-11-2004, 08:51 AM
But if the two are the same price and the same width, and it has "vertical scanline compression" (Is that what it is called? I understand the concept but I don't know the term), then I would get the bigger 4:3 TV.

P-Sz

Different names for the compression:


Vertical Compression - Lets you view a widescreen (16:9) video signal on a television with a standard 4:3 display without distortion. Two modes of compression are available - 1080i shows full resolution and places black bars above and below the image, 810i scans the entire image and displays grey bars above and below the image.



16:9 Enhanced provides enhanced picture resolution for wide-screen sources such as DVD.


I'm just about to get the 32" 4:3.

-gmd

ja2935
11-11-2004, 09:21 AM
I started this thread on the 4:3 versus 16:9 decision. I have now got a 34" 16:9 Toshiba 34HF84 which is just over 34" wide and fits comfortably in my entertainment centre. I have not yet got DirectTV HD, but for viewing DVDs the extra width (and thus height) is really great compared to what the picture size would be on a 32" 4:3 which, with the limited space I have, would have been my other option.

Sam Farris
11-11-2004, 09:38 AM
I equate buying a 4:3 TV/monitor in today’s world to going out and buying a VHS VCR for the reason that you can get the player/recorder along with blank and pre-recorded tape for next to nothing in stores and garage sales. There is a very good reason why the VHS player/recorder and media are so inexpensive; it’s old technology.

I see this topic as being one of black and white, rather than some shades of grey. That may be very narrow-minded of me, but personally, the only reason I would buy a 4:3 TV at this point in time would be put a TV in maybe an exercise room or out in the garage. In my mind, buying a 4:3 TV as my main viewing source, to me, would be flushing money down the toilet.

16:9 aspect ratio is not the future of TV,…it is the present! :D

PSzalapski
11-11-2004, 12:00 PM
I equate buying a 4:3 TV/monitor in today’s world to going out and buying a VHS VCR for the reason that you can get the player/recorder along with blank and pre-recorded tape for next to nothing in stores and garage sales. There is a very good reason why the VHS player/recorder and media are so inexpensive; it’s old technology.

I see this topic as being one of black and white, rather than some shades of grey. That may be very narrow-minded of me, but personally, the only reason I would buy a 4:3 TV at this point in time would be put a TV in maybe an exercise room or out in the garage. In my mind, buying a 4:3 TV as my main viewing source, to me, would be flushing money down the toilet.

16:9 aspect ratio is not the future of TV,…it is the present! :D

Please explain what the advantage is of a 30" 16:9 over the equivalent 32" 4:3. The 16:9 picture is exactly the same size and resolution on both. The 4:3 picture is obviously better on the 4:3 TV. The only advantage I see is the height of the TV is shorter, thus taking up less room.

Ordinarily, I'd agree with you, but not when you directly compare a 32" 4:3 HDTV with vertical compresson, with a 30" 16:9 HDTV. I find it odd, though, that these two are the same price.

wilbilt
11-14-2004, 09:39 AM
Please explain what the advantage is of a 30" 16:9 over the equivalent 32" 4:3. The 16:9 picture is exactly the same size and resolution on both. The 4:3 picture is obviously better on the 4:3 TV. The only advantage I see is the height of the TV is shorter, thus taking up less room.

Ordinarily, I'd agree with you, but not when you directly compare a 32" 4:3 HDTV with vertical compresson, with a 30" 16:9 HDTV. I find it odd, though, that these two are the same price.

You make a good point. Are you sure the 16:9 image is the same size on both? When I was looking at the 30" and 32" Sanyos in the store, it sure looked like the image was wider on the 30". I'm no math genius, so maybe it was an illusion...;)

I almost bought the 32", because I am the only widescreen fan in the house and thought the kids would pitch a fit over the "shorter" 32" screen, but they were out of stock. I bought the 30" and everyone loves it.

Will

PSzalapski
11-15-2004, 08:21 AM
You make a good point. Are you sure the 16:9 image is the same size on both? When I was looking at the 30" and 32" Sanyos in the store, it sure looked like the image was wider on the 30". I'm no math genius, so maybe it was an illusion...;)

I almost bought the 32", because I am the only widescreen fan in the house and thought the kids would pitch a fit over the "shorter" 32" screen, but they were out of stock. I bought the 30" and everyone loves it.

You may be right, I was just going by gmd's word above. The 30" 16:9 may be an inch or so wider than the 32" 4:3.

gmd
11-17-2004, 11:42 AM
You may be right, I was just going by gmd's word above. The 30" 16:9 may be an inch or so wider than the 32" 4:3.

I'm going from Sony's HDTV sets. The cabinet of the 30" 16:9 and the 32" 4:3 have the same width. The viewing area on Sony tubes are 30.5 and 32.5 inches when measured diagonally.

For general measurements, look here:
http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi

-gmd

wilbilt
11-17-2004, 09:34 PM
You may be right, I was just going by gmd's word above. The 30" 16:9 may be an inch or so wider than the 32" 4:3.

Hi, PSz...

For what it's worth, the viewable area of the 30" WalMart Sanyo is approximately 26.5"w x 15"h.

A 16:9 HD broadcast fills it completely, give or take 1/4". Use of the "zoom" feature on 4:3 content will also fill the screen, but can result in clipping the top of the image (usually the tops of heads).

Going to "zoom 2" often results in an obviously distorted image, with people and objects appearing a bit too "wide"...;)

Will
OTA HD 75 miles from the source....and lovin' it!