#1  
04-02-2011, 01:16 AM
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What's the best picture setting on an HDTV? My HDTV has the settings, Panoramic, Wide, Zoom, Normal. I've tried them all out, and so far I think I like the Panoramic the best, although it does make people look bigger than what they actually are. I don't like the normal because it gives the black bars on each side of the picture.

I've gone back and forth thru all of these different options and I guess I've settleed on Panoramic, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it or not. It seems to be maybe more, movie theatre like? I don't know.

What would you say is the best setting to use?
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  #2  
04-02-2011, 01:26 AM
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The best setting is always the one that respects the aspect ratio of the original source. Yes, the TV may be 16:9, but there's now rule or law that says you have to "fill the screen". Stretching video is silly. Ridiculous, even.

Zoom does as it suggests -- zooms into the image. That's no good. More often than not, you'll get a grainy image, and video cut off on all sides. No point. The only time you should use zoom is to fight off "postage stamping" -- that is a video that has been both pillarboxed AND letterboxed. (In this case, the broadcaster is being sloppy.)

Wide is 16:9, meant for widescreen signals.

Normal is 4:3, meant for non-widescreen signal. It pillarboxes the content, with "black bars" on the sides. This is normal -- this is how it should look.

Panoramic is probably just the name given to your particular brand/model of HDTV. I've seen it named "Best Fit" or "Wide Fit" or any number of things. What this does it crop a little from the top and bottom, and then stretch the outer two-thirds of the picture, leaving the interior unstretched. What happens is anything on the edge of the screen is either lost or distorted. Only the center of the screen remains accurate. The only time I use this feature is when I need to leave the TV on a certain station or video input source (and won't be watching it), but also want to prevent screen burn-in. Not that burn-in is really all that common or possible anymore, but I'd rather be safe about it.

So in review: Match the source.

Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.

I just can't say it enough. Whether it's an issue of PAL/NTSC, wide/full screen encoding or viewing, etc: Match the source.

Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.

Don't screw up the video for some ill-conceived notion that video must conform to your standards. Video was made with a specific size and framerate in mind, and that really needs to be respected.

Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.


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  #3  
04-02-2011, 01:33 AM
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I assume the moral of the story is match the source. haha.

I'm just very unfamiliar with these settings, as this is the first HDTV I've ever had. For some reason, it seems like my standard TV had better picture quality, maybe it's in my mind but that's how it kinda seems to me.

To go with the match the source theme, would suggest using the "Normal" setting for watching regular tv as well as dvd/videos? (even though it has that annoying black bars on each side of the picture, which I hate)

I assume we've eliminated zoom and wide, and you don't seem high on panoramic either (do you watch reg. tv or dvds with that?)

So, I guess normal is all that's left..
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  #4  
04-02-2011, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
For some reason, it seems like my standard TV had better picture quality, maybe it's in my mind but that's how it kinda seems to me.
Welcome to the lie that is HD. That "better" TV shows more detail, and that includes signal noise. Your old non-HDTV hid a lot of noise, because of the standard definition of the picture. This is one reason why it's so important to filter your video when converting or recording, as well as why it's a good idea to buy HDTVs that have filters. Sony HDTVs, for example, tend to have a lot of good NR filters. So do other brands.

Quote:
I assume we've eliminated zoom and wide, and you don't seem high on panoramic either (do you watch reg. tv or dvds with that?)
Wide for wide.
Normal for normal.
Match the source.

Yes, I watch DVDs with "black bars" because I want to see it with proper geometry. Squished video is horrible to view. It's distorted.

I do sometimes watch cartoon DVDs (on repeat) on that "best fit" mode, if I'm tired. If I fall asleep, the screen is filled, and there's little chance for burn-in when I wake up some 4-8 hours later. That's not often, however. I try to turn off TV when I know I'm about to pass out and doze off.

And for good measure, one more time:
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.
Match the source.

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  #5  
04-02-2011, 02:15 AM
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Hmm....your last message made me realize what I think I'm confused about...

What shows or events or whatever are considered "wide"

and what is considered "normal"?

I like the match the source saying, but I think I'll be able to better do that when I understand what the sources are so I can match them properly
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  #6  
04-03-2011, 12:40 AM
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Well, do you know the difference between widescreen and non-widescreen content?
That's really all this is.

Widescreen:
16x9 or 16:9 aspect ratio
modern HD TV signals
many DVD released movies for probably 10 years now
most TV shows, since about 2003
many cartoons, since about 2008

Traditional / Non-widescreen:
4x3 or 4:3 aspect ratio
the screen shape/size of an old pre-HDTV television
many old movies, especially VHS releases
almost all older TV shows, from pre-2000s
most cartoons, even as recent as 2005 broadcasts (TMNT 2003 series, for example, that ended in 2009)


Don't stretch or squish the image. View it at the proper size/shape (geometry).

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