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Old 01-10-2008, 08:19 PM   #1
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Picture On HDTV


Not a home theater construction question but I thought someone might have the answer. I recently got a Sony Bravia 52" HDTV. Today I picked up the hd caable box from my cable company. I hooked it up and the hd channels look great.

My problem is that the non-hd channels show up in a letter box type format. Is that how they are supposed to be? They don't take up the whole screen. Is this standard or is there something I need to tweak?

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Old 01-10-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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Picture On HDTV


You're saying that there are portions of the screen on the left and right that have no picture, right?

That is the way it should be since non-HD channels are in 4:3 aspect ratio instead of 16:9. Your TV probably has a feature that will artificially stretch the picture to fit your screen, but you might notice that the people look fatter and things near the edge of the screen (like news tickers) are cut off.

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Old 01-10-2008, 10:58 PM   #3
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Is the box a Motorola or Scientific Atlantic? To change the 4:3 on the Motorola DCT series or DCH, you Power off, then press Menu and change the setttings there. For the S/A, check with your provider.

Also, with most newer generation HD sets, if you set for 16:9 or Full, you will not notice any more stretching, then going to a movie theater and watching a movie not made for Wide-Screen.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I have the Scientific Atlanta box. I'll have to play around with it this weekend to see if I can change the settings.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:10 AM   #5
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Check over at DSLReoprts.com at your Provider forum, or AVSForum.com. There are instructions on both of those.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:24 AM   #6
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Picture On HDTV


The Scientific Atlanta cable box has the aspect rato button on the remote.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:27 AM   #7
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I finally had some time to go through the t.v. and cable box menus over the weekend. I tried changing some of the settings but I think I'll just go with the letterbox view. It has the better picture quality. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:25 PM   #8
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directv hd. we have 85 hd channels, around 60 viewable(the rest r pay per view), and there are more to come. with satellite u get a digital picture 100% of the time on sd channels. try it out, i think u will be very pleased. i am an installer by the way.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david81 View Post
directv hd. we have 85 hd channels, around 60 viewable(the rest r pay per view), and there are more to come. with satellite u get a digital picture 100% of the time on sd channels. try it out, i think u will be very pleased. i am an installer by the way.
I am very happy with DTV... and will never go back to cable tv!!!
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:56 PM   #10
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as long as the sat is installed properly we get very few unhappy customers, but the people that give us a REALLY bad name are contractors. if the installer comes to your house without tools and ask to use yours, doesnt have a ladder, or doesnt seem like they care about your house, STOP THE JOB! u will be alot happier in the long run if u get a professional, certified installer at your house to do the job right from the start. sorry chris, i got off track, just venting a little continuing frustration over contractor sloppy unsatisfying work.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:42 AM   #11
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Picture On HDTV


What do you do david81? I've got a couple weird DTV install questions but I don't want to clutter this thread, but if you're an installer or something like that, I'll just ask you.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:24 PM   #12
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Narrow screen (4:3) pictures should at least fill the entire height of a wide screen, but some cable boxes might not do this for you automatically.

Some cable boxes have aspect ratio choices, some don't. If yours does, choose what looks best.

I do not stretch 4:3 pictures to fill the sides of a wide screen unless I have lots of guests over and some are seated way off to the side.

Video hints: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm


Last edited by AllanJ; 03-02-2008 at 12:26 PM.
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