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4:3 Override - Filling the whole screen on standard def channels

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Old 09-30-2006, 09:00 PM   #1  
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Default 4:3 Override - Filling the whole screen on standard def channels

Even though I have seen people in this forum mention the 4:3 override, I'd like to share a little more info on what it is and how to actually access it through our STBs with FiOS.

In the standard def channels on a widescreen TV we get the two vertical black boxes on the sides of our tv (letter box). I did not like this as I was accustomed to the picture filling the screen in streched mode with my previous provider, however the tech had no idea how to fix it. Turns out there is a "secret menu" - when you turn the STB power off (leave the TV power on), and then push MENU... a white screen menu appears. Here you can change the 4:3 mode to STRECH and you will now have the standard def channels filling your whole TV! There are also other cool options to play around with in here like closed captioning.

So that's it for now, hope this helps someone. Now if only PIP mode was availible in my area, grrrrrr.
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:49 PM   #2  
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The Verizon installer must not have left you the Motorola booklet on the HD-DVR, because in it you will find specific instructions for accessing what you refer to as the "secret menu" plus details on each of the settings, cabling options, etc. You really should get a copy of that booklet if you can - mine is 521696-001 rev B, dated 7/05. I did a quick search on the Motorola website and could not find it, but maybe you can contact Verizon and get it from them (that is where I got mine, they left me one Motorola booklet for each STB I have). Or maybe you are better at searching the Motorola site than I am.

For whatever it is worth, I do not like the stretch mode, people just look too wide for me. I have experimented with STRECH in the STB as well as the Zoom and Wide Zoom modes in my TV and I just don't like any of them.

I finally settled on setting the 4:3 override to OFF in the HD-DVR, because that setting eliminates the very long delay I was seeing when I changed from an HD channel to an SD channel, or vice versa (I am using HDMI between the STB and the TV). This way the signal is passed unchanged to my TV as 1080i so channel changes are now pretty much instantaneous, and the TV does the scaling rather than the STB.
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:07 AM   #3  
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I second everything Justin said. Stretched mode makes everyone look like people in those old "fun house" mirrors at amusement parks, distorted and flattened out. TNT HD does it all the time and it is very annoying. I guess if you have plasma and are worried about burn it, you are stuck with it, but otherwise, leaving it at 4:3 produces a much clearer pic.

Last edited by clearday; 10-01-2006 at 08:09 AM..
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:39 AM   #4  
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Yup, both of you are correct. I was annoyed by this at first with my old provider but at that time I didn't know to change the picture mode on my TV to 4:3. So over time i got used to streched, and now even with increased knowledge about the subject I find myself watching them stretched.

At least now I can controll the picture size acurately from my TV's remote (16:9 or 4:3). Before, the 16:9 mode on my TV became 4:3 thru the STB and 4:3 mode on my TV became some weird compressed version of true 4:3 thru the STB. Stretched mode override lets me choose acuratley now.

My neighbor asked me the same question a year ago... he wanted the picture to fill the entire screen. When I recently found out how to do it and told him, he didn't like the STRETCHED result and was used to the black bars. Go figure, lol

Justin, i knew saying "secret menu" may have been over the top, but that's how i felt when i accidently discovered it! haha, but yea... you're right. It's in the instruction book.
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Old 10-03-2006, 01:28 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahujadaddy
Even though I have seen people in this forum mention the 4:3 override, I'd like to share a little more info on what it is and how to actually access it through our STBs with FiOS.

In the standard def channels on a widescreen TV we get the two vertical black boxes on the sides of our tv (letter box). I did not like this as I was accustomed to the picture filling the screen in streched mode with my previous provider, however the tech had no idea how to fix it. Turns out there is a "secret menu" - when you turn the STB power off (leave the TV power on), and then push MENU... a white screen menu appears. Here you can change the 4:3 mode to STRECH and you will now have the standard def channels filling your whole TV! There are also other cool options to play around with in here like closed captioning.

So that's it for now, hope this helps someone. Now if only PIP mode was availible in my area, grrrrrr.
Stretch sucks, you are distorting the image in favor of "filling" your screen. Any of the stretch, zoom, etc. do nothing but distort the image. I guess as long as it fills the screen then who cares about image quality. I don't care if circles are now ovals, I just want it to fill my screen.
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:12 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stchman
Stretch sucks, you are distorting the image in favor of "filling" your screen. Any of the stretch, zoom, etc. do nothing but distort the image. I guess as long as it fills the screen then who cares about image quality. I don't care if circles are now ovals, I just want it to fill my screen.
errr...too each his own, buddy. Just tryin to share some info for any other newbs out there. After all, i think that's one of the main functions of these forums. Sharing knowledge . Perhaps someone with a plasma would like this info. I think we have already established the reasons why I like strech and the reasons not to go for the strech. Now any new or helpfull info, however, would certainly be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:12 AM   #7  
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As you can see by my post number I am not only new to this forum but also to HDTV. My LCD has a panarama setting which streches the edges of the picture so about 80% of the screen is normal and the edges are stretched. That seems to work fine for the SD stations (I also set my4:3 to 480P) without any picture quality loss. I tried the stb stretch in the same option area and it was really bad.
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:31 PM   #8  
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Default Two comments; One question:

Yep, folk these days seem to think that reading the manual, or just thumbing through it or checking the table of contents is for sissies; real men don't read instruction manuals or ask for directions - they ask questions on internet forums and own gps receivers to go out and buy milk.

The Motorola manual (if anyone needs one) can be found on the Verizon FIOS web site. Can't remember exactly how to navigate to it, but start with the help window - it is there.

Now, on this same topic, here is the question that pops into my mind. Whether in the Motorola box, or in the TV, it seems that it would be a very simple DSP process to take a 4:3 picture and rescale it to 16:9 by clipping the top and bottom. Sure, you would lose a bit of the top and bottom of the picture, but it seems to me that the benefit of viewing 16:9 would far outweigh that loss; besides, if you didn't like it, you could still switch back to 4:3. In any event, the "stretch" option seems absolutely absurde to me for reasons that others have already stated quite well. Anyone have any idea at all why this is not done?
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Old 07-21-2007, 12:08 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billinprinceto View Post
... it seems that it would be a very simple DSP process to take a 4:3 picture and rescale it to 16:9 by clipping the top and bottom. Sure, you would lose a bit of the top and bottom of the picture, but it seems to me that the benefit of viewing 16:9 would far outweigh that loss; besides, if you didn't like it, you could still switch back to 4:3. In any event, the "stretch" option seems absolutely absurde to me for reasons that others have already stated quite well. Anyone have any idea at all why this is not done?
It is. Every (HD) box and (widescreen) TV I own has a Zoom mode that does exactly this. It kills your resolution a bit, because you're now displaying only about 360 lines in a 1080 space (sort of defeating the purpose of HD), but it works without distortion.

Last edited by acgold7; 07-21-2007 at 12:10 PM..
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Old 07-21-2007, 07:27 PM   #10  
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One comment - this method won't work with the new IMG s/w. Apparently the new s/w enables you to select some of the output settings from one of the menus. But it's not as complete as that "secret" menu on the old s/w. There's still, apparently, a secret menu with the new s/w, but you don't get to it the same way. I believe you need to actually unplug the unit, replug it back in, and as it's coming back up, you hit one of the buttons on the front (there's information on this on a different fios forum, but I'd have to look it up).

Oh, and one other thing I've discovered. With the old s/w, you won't be able to access that "secret" menu while your DVR is actively recording something.

Last edited by JPL; 07-21-2007 at 07:31 PM..
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Old 07-21-2007, 07:29 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acgold7 View Post
It is. Every (HD) box and (widescreen) TV I own has a Zoom mode that does exactly this. It kills your resolution a bit, because you're now displaying only about 360 lines in a 1080 space (sort of defeating the purpose of HD), but it works without distortion.
It's generally better to have the TV do this zooming for you - the hardware in these motorola boxes aren't the best at it. However, my TV (like many out there) don't allow you to zoom with the HDMI input. I can stretch via the TV... but can't zoom.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:56 AM   #12  
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Well, unfortunately, my Scott 32" does NOT have a zoom capability, only stretch.

If the "secret" menu referred to is the menu accessed by turning the DVR "off" and pressing the MENU key (either on the front of the DVR or from the remote) as discussed on pp 11-16 of the User Guide then the Motorola DVR 6416-2 does not seem to have a zoom feature. If there is another "secret" menu, I would love to hear about it.

I guess next time I am shopping for a LCD I will put "quality" zoom feature at the top of my feature list.
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:19 AM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billinprinceto View Post
Well, unfortunately, my Scott 32" does NOT have a zoom capability, only stretch.

If the "secret" menu referred to is the menu accessed by turning the DVR "off" and pressing the MENU key (either on the front of the DVR or from the remote) as discussed on pp 11-16 of the User Guide then the Motorola DVR 6416-2 does not seem to have a zoom feature. If there is another "secret" menu, I would love to hear about it.

I guess next time I am shopping for a LCD I will put "quality" zoom feature at the top of my feature list.
No, there isn't another secret menu that I know about. You're right, the box doesn't have a zoom function - only stretch. I was simply saying that it's better to have the TV do the stretching than the DVR. The TV does a better job. Unfortunately the zoom doesn't work on my TV through the HDMI input. It would be nice to have for SD shows that are displayed in letterbox format.
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:01 AM   #14  
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Hey guys i have an unrelated question dtv just released a bunch of new hd channels is fios gonna be getting any new hd channels such as cnn,history,science,speed,a&e..........
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:24 AM   #15  
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Hey guys i have an unrelated question dtv just released a bunch of new hd channels is fios gonna be getting any new hd channels such as cnn,history,science,speed,a&e..........
Unfortunately Verizon holds these types of changes close to the vest. I really wish they would give us some sense of what their overall roll-out strategy of new channels will be. I'm not looking for dates and specific channels, but some notion of "we're going to keep up with DirecTV" would be nice.

The short answer is - I have no idea what Verizon's plan are for those channels. That being said, they most definitely have the capacity to carry them, and they've been pretty good at adding channels in the past -- e.g. I signed up in April, and since then they added BBC world and the moved Fox Soccer Channel from the sports pack to the premier package. They also are adding/have added 47 new music channels - MTV Urge channels - and of course they've added 3 HD channels - Food Network, Lifetime Movie Network, and HGTV - and I understand they're going to add a 4th HD channel in coming weeks (which one I have no idea) -- all of this happened in, what, 3 months. Given that track record I have a real hard time believing that there are no plans in the works for adding those channels. They're just not forthcoming with those plans at all.
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