High Def Forum
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HDTV distortion -- wide butts

DekeMeister
02-17-2009, 07:58 AM
I've been looking at a lot of HDTVs and trying to make a determination on which one to buy. I've gleaned a lot of information and I'm getting there, but one thing I've noticed that is puzzling is the distortion some of these TVs provide where the people look wider than normal. I was in a small restaurant recently that had two HDTVs about 37 inch size. One had a normal looking picture, the other was distorted as if the picture was stretched laterally. I've seen this several times previously and I'm concerned about whether this is a phenomenon related to a particular TV, program, or maybe service provider.
Can anybody tell me what I'm seeing here and how I can ensure I don't buy one that will look like that when it's in my house. If that is something that I have to accept with HDTV, I'll just stay with my old CRT.
Thanks,
Deke

Loves2Watch
02-17-2009, 09:26 AM
You are seeing just what you described, stretch. Either the TV or cable/satellite box was in stretch mode which distorts the picture. Many don't see it or don't care but you have a good eye. Don't let this discourage you as it is not a defect of any equipment but rather an improper setting someone made.

tumbleweed
02-17-2009, 09:32 AM
Some programs are stretched by the program provider as a way of making 4:3 ratio material fit a 16:9 screen, it looks ugly and there is nothing you can do about it except watch channels that don't do that. Some channels will broadcast 4:3 material with black bars on each side and the picture looks normal, this is the way 4:3 material should be presented for 16:9 ratio TV sets.

There is also a format function in the HDTV set and you can select a mode to stretch a 4:3 picture if you want to. I guess there is no accounting for taste. So the ones you saw that were stretched were either stretched channels (the Bio channel and the History channel seem to do that a lot) or the TV set had stretch selected as the viewing format.

When you get your TV make sure the function is in the full mode (it may have a different name depending on the manufacturer) then if you see stretched people you will know it's the channel. True HD material should cause the TV to default to the full mode.

To complicate things a bit more some HD cable boxes and satellite receivers will also allow you to select a stretch mode so you need to make sure they are set to pass on the signal as it is received.

The bottom line is you can set the TV and the satellite receiver not to stretch and they won't. But if the material has already been stretched by some tasteless broadcaster there is nothing you can do to un-stretch it.

ImRizzo
02-17-2009, 09:59 AM
You are seeing just what you described, stretch. Either the TV or cable/satellite box was in stretch mode which distorts the picture. Many don't see it or don't care but you have a good eye. Don't let this discourage you as it is not a defect of any equipment but rather an improper setting someone made.

Unfortunately some retailers have a tendency to show their displays in this mode so buyers don't question the SIDE BARS, and this usually ends up in disappointed buyers,. They should take the time to explain and educate buyers rather than mislead them. Reputable sellers do not subscribe to this practice.