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Discussion Starter #1
I recently helped my dad upgrade to an HDTV and connected up his old DVD player (Samsung DVD-V5650) to the new TV with component cables. I switched the DVD player to 16:9 and everything works great with 16:9 DVDs but 4:3 DVDs get stretched. You can use the "EZ View" button on the front panel (not available on the remote) to switch to "Vertical Fit" to get it to display properly (pillar boxed), but it always defaults back to "Normal Wide" which, according to the manual, "Displays the content of the DVD title in 16:9 aspect ratio. The picture will look horizontally stretched." This seems the wrong way to do things. With a 4:3 TV it doesn't stretch the picture to fill the screen by default.

The most annoying part of this is the DVD I was testing with would switch back to "Normal Wide" when you went back to the DVD menu.

I talked to Samsung support and they say there is no way to change the default to "Vertical Fit." They also said this is the behavior for all of their DVD players.

Has anyone found a good solution for this (right now I have him use the remote to change the TV's aspect ratio, but that requires him to know the correct aspect ratio for each DVD he watches).

We could replace his DVD player, but I don't want to do this if the new one behaves the same way.
 

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I have a Samsung BLu-ray player and don't have that issue. It has 2 settings for wide screen TVs. 16:9 Wide stretches 4:3 shows and 16:9 Normal leaves them at 4:3. If you do buy a new player, you might as well go for Blu-ray, as they're quite cheap these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks JamesK. My parents rarely watch (and never rent) DVDs so I am more leaning towards a DVD recorder so he can archive programs off of his PVR. It is understood that they will be down-converted to SD.
 

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I think I have seen this issue before.

Does your TV have a "set by program" mode for the aspect ratio? Also most DVD players have a menu to tell it what kind of TV its connecting to, if its connecting to a 4:3 TV or a 16:9 TV it will output the signal accordingly. on my setup if i set it to 16:9, it will play 4:3 movies in the correct aspect ratio, and will stretch a 16:9 title to fill in the ful screen. Its also possible when your dvd player was manufactured they forgot to test how it handle 4:3 material on a 16:9 display
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does your TV have a "set by program" mode for the aspect ratio?
It will allow him to have different aspect ratios/stretch modes for each input, but the TV would have know idea what type of DVD was in the player as the player always outputs in the same format (either 480i or 480p depending which mode I select).

Also most DVD players have a menu to tell it what kind of TV its connecting to, if its connecting to a 4:3 TV or a 16:9 TV it will output the signal accordingly.
As I said in my original post, the first thing I did was set this to 16:9. Setting it to 4:3 letterbox might work (I could zoom in to remove/reduce the letterboxing) but it would result in a loss of resolution with 16:9 DVDs.

Its also possible when your dvd player was manufactured they forgot to test how it handle 4:3 material on a 16:9 display
I doubt if they forgot about them, but reading the following quote from the Widescreen TV Stretch Modes FAQ 57 provided might explain things:

FAQ - Widescreen TV Stretch Modes. said:
This FAQ was first written when most HDTVs were Plasmas or CRTs, there was mostly 4:3 programming and people were concerned with burn in. Now that many HDTVs don't have burn in issues (LCD, DLP, LCoS) and since there's a lot more HD programming, one doesn't need to stretch 4:3 images which provides for the best picture quality and no distortion. I now recommend watching 4:3 as 4:3 and 16:9 as 16:9
Maybe they are trying to protect the TV from burn in (it is actually uneven screen wear, not burn in) by defaulting to stretch 4:3 images with 16:9 TVs. I hate it when manufacturers try to protect users from themselves without any overrides.
 

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the first thing I did was set this to 16:9. Setting it to 4:3 letterbox might work (I could zoom in to remove/reduce the letterboxing) but it would result in a loss of resolution with 16:9 DVDs.
There are usually two settings - one for the type of TV - you enter 16:9 and one for what you want the player to do with the type of DVD. If you have anamorphic DVDs, those are stretched properly to fill the screen and provide the correct aspect. For non-anamorphic DVDs they are left unstretched - so 4:3 would be left as 4:3 and 16:9 non-anamorphic would be 16:9 letterboxed, however, anamorphic DVDs would be handled properly by the player.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76070 Anamorphic FAQ
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are usually two settings - one for the type of TV - you enter 16:9 and one for what you want the player to do with the type of DVD.
There is a setting for this (they call it EZ View), but as I said, it always defaults to "Normal Wide" for 4:3 aspect ratio discs on 16:9 TVs. I can't find a setting to change this default and Samsung says that it isn't possible. To make matters worse, there is no button on the remote for this (you have to either use the button on the front panel or go through the function menu).

If you are interested, you can check the manual here if you want.
 

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Thanks for the link. Did you try 4:3 Pan/Scan option on page 62 - this may leave 4:3 as 4:3 and make 16:9 16:9? I assume you've tried the other 2 options without appropriate success.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
^^^Thanks for the suggestion. No, I didn't try that mode as this mode will centre cut 16:9 DVD's to 4:3. As the manual says:

4:3 Pan Scan: Select this for conventional size TVs when
you want to see the central portion of the 16:9 screen.
(Extreme left and right side of movie picture will be cut off.)
 

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But, that assumes a 4:3 TV. Give it a try and remember these manuals are never well-written. What typically happens is that a DVD player will look for the anamorphic flag and stretch the image sideways to fill the screen (if you tell it you have a 16:9 TV). If it doesn't see the anamorphic flag, then you need to tell it what to do and I believe this is the option to "leave it alone", rather than stretch non-anamorphic.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
^^^But if I tell it he has a 4:3 TV (which that option does), how will it know he has a 16:9 TV? Component cables don't send information back to the DVD player. Now that I am back in Ottawa, it will be tough to try out until my next visit (he is in BC).
 

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You don't select 4:3 TV, you leave that as 16:9, then the pan/scan feature will work properly for 4:3 DVDs and anamorphic DVDs will also be handled properly. All he needs to do is change the setting on page 62 to pan/scan. Do not change the setting on page 61. Get it?

The only time this doesn't work "properly" is if you have a non-anamorphic 16:9 DVD, which will then be windowboxed. Most 16:9 (and 2.35:1) DVDs are anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen - see the FAQ link earlier)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The options are:
  • 4:3 Letter Box
  • 4:3 Pan Scan
  • 16:9 Wide
On this player you can't select "16:9" and "Pan Scan" separately. "Pan Scan" is bound to 4:3.
 

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My apologies. I thought you could set the TV aspect separately from what the DVD does with various DVDs. That's the way it is with most DVD players. I've done hundreds of optimizations and haven't encountered a limitation like yours unless the player was very old and only used say S-video or composite video...

(I thought the setting at the bottom of page 61 was separate (since it says "wide", not 16:9 wide - I thought this is where you told the player what type of TV you have, but it looks like that just leads you to the options on page 62).

I'm guessing therefore that the player doesn't actually use the anamorphic image, properly, rather it just zooms the image and there would be no difference between doing this "zoom" in the TV or the player. Hard to say without a test pattern. If there is no difference, you could use the first setting, or give that second setting (Pan/Scan) a try just for fun - who knows, it might work and the 16:9 may not be cut off on a 16:9 TV.
 
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