Why won't picture fill out whole HDTV?

T

Tiffany99

Guest
#1
We just bought a new Panasonic Viera 55-inch HDTV and after taking it home and plugging it in, it doesn't seem to allow TV shows or movies to fill out the whole screen. There are bars on the sides that are very annoying. We haven't tried a Blu-ray yet but is there a setting or something I can do to make the picture bigger?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
Tiffany,

There should be a button on your remote that will allow you to change sizes or 'perspective'. The button may be marked 'Wide', 'Size', Full' or 'Aspect'. If all else fails, read you owners manual!

Jim
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#3
Hi Tiffany,

TV programming was typically produced in two proportions, called "aspect ratios." This was the ratio of width to height.

Older programming is 4:3 and newer programming is 16:9. The newer format came with HDTV.

The black bars is called "pillar boxing" and is perfectly normal. Watching it this way is how the director intended it. You can stretch it out using the "aspect" button or similar but people's faces will look distorted.

Blu-ray will be widescreen 16:9 since it is a HD format and most blu-ray content is designed for widescreen televisions.

You should also check the source (cable, satellite etc) to make sure that it is outputting widescreen. There should be a button on the front of the cable/sat box called "aspect" or "format." Press it until the picture looks right.
 

Jim5506

DTVUSA Member
#6
The problem sounds like you are watching non-HD programming on an HDTV.

Not all digital broadcasting is HD, many smaller stations do not have the capacity to inject their own HD content into the broadcast stream and are merely passing along the HD material they get from the network during prime time, but the rest of the day you get SD on an HD signal.

Bars along the side indicate the program is probably SD.

Bars along the top indicate you are watching a movie that is in original aspect ratio and is ultra-wide screen (more that 16X9).

Bars all around indicate the program was originally HD but the source you are watching has down rezzed it to SD for some reason.
 
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#7
You can go too far worrying about director's original intent. For example, most directors will want you to watch their movies in a movie theater. You can't duplicate that at home unless you set up a dark room with uncomfortable seats and popcorn with fake butter. But the director has no idea where you will sit in the theater! Is back row center going to give the same viewing experience as front row on the extreme right??

Same as all the commotion about stereo vs. quadraphonic sound, etc. People get all gooey eyed cause "you can hear where the instruments are in the orchestra!" How many composers stipulate in the score: "piccolo must sit here, violins must sit there ..." I made my living in the music business for 30 years -- never saw that once. :becky:

Rick
 
#9
Still, stretch o vision is just weird. I want people to look normal and not overweight.
Well on my TV you can "crop" the picture, so aspect ratio stays the same, but parts are missing on either side. But I don't honestly notice the difference. I think my optic nerve translates the image to correct perspective before it gets to the brain. ;)
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Then you cut people's foreheads off.

What people don't realize is that 16:9 is a compromise.

Cinematic aspect ratios can be as much as 2.35:1. 4:3 TV is 1.33:1.

Since people would still be watching a lot of 4:3 content but would be watching widescreen movies, they made something in between and thus 16:9 was born.

It was intended that widescreen movies would be letterboxed (black bars top/bottom) and standard TV programming would be pillar boxed (black bars left/right). This was a transition step until true 16:9 content was produced.

Of course some people didn't like that some part of their screen was wasted so TV manufacturers put zoom and stretch features.

And that's how we are where we are today.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Notice that no one asked the OP how they were getting their content. I know that Comcast's SD service is very inconsistent in how they broadcast their content. Some channels are squished, and some are stretched, it's just random and stupid.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#13
... What people don't realize is that 16:9 is a compromise.

Cinematic aspect ratios can be as much as 2.35:1. 4:3 TV is 1.33:1.

Since people would still be watching a lot of 4:3 content but would be watching widescreen movies, they made something in between and thus 16:9 was born.

It was intended that widescreen movies would be letterboxed (black bars top/bottom) and standard TV programming would be pillar boxed (black bars left/right). This was a transition step until true 16:9 content was produced.

Of course some people didn't like that some part of their screen was wasted so TV manufacturers put zoom and stretch features.

And that's how we are where we are today.
I must add, those 'standard' film aspect ratios you mentioned developed over years. In the 'Silent Film' days different Countries developed their own systems and as an example, the German Leitz (Leica) system was not compatable in many other Countries around the globe.

The same lack of standard sizes applies to early television, but this is even more complicated because television cameras, their transmitting equipment and the receivers also had no standardized sizes or the ability to work with each other. It was new and not yet an industry.

Below is a remarkable animated image somehow captured from around 1932-1935, originally transmitted via short-wave radio. The lines producing the image are vertical (30 lines). This will never fill a wide-screen tv set! Early TV Recordings: "Betty Bolton"

Jim

 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#15
I know it was confusing for me when I first got my new TV but a few minutes testing different settings and reading the instruction manual did it for me.
 
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