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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me say that I just went back to Bell, again, after leaving Rogers(bills were getting insanely high). The reason i left Bell before that was because they suckered me out of my unlimited bandwidth plan, and i was just completely sick of their excruciatingly bad customer service... anyway, i'm digressing.

After viewing some television after it was installed, i noticed that the aspect ratio's are all over the place. Coming from Rogers, all their channels were clear and in widescreen, whether it was in HD or not(of course, the HD channels were just a lot clearer). With Bell, it seems the TV is switching from one aspect ratio to the next, even on the HD channels. Some of the HD channels shows are in 4:3, then a commercial will be 6:9, another commercial will be 4:3 again, then the next show will jump back to 6:9 and in HD. It's extremely annoying. Even the SD channels, that are terribly annoying to watch with those black bars, are blurry. Has Bell's quality really gotten that awful? I don't remember ever having such issues with their television service before.

I have done some searching here in the forums, read about 10 other threads relating to one issue or another, but the responses were a little overwhelming in tech. I guess i will try to list some questions i am hoping someone could be kind, and patient enough, to answer for me:

1. Is there a way to set the channels to ALL automatically display in wide screen - despite their OAS's? (i don't want to have to toggle the "*" on every single program - would drive me nuts)

2. What exactly do HDMI cables do, and do i need one? (yes, this is probably a super newbie question, i'm sorry)

3. Are there any other things i can do to improve the quality? I searched through some of the settings, but i couldn't find a whole lot... at least nothing relating to picture quality.

Frustrated user just looking for a little help and direction. Thanks in advance.
 

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1. By pressing the * button on the BTV remote, you can cycle through the various aspect ratios and choose the one you want. If you want to see 4:3 as 4:3 and 16:9 as 16:9, I believe the option is called "normal" or something like that. The STB will remember the stretch modes for all SD and all HD channels separately. I recommend watching 4:3 as 4:3 and 16:9 as 16:9 to eliminate distortion and for the best picture quality.


2. If you're not using HDMI or component video, then you're not seeing HD. Here's the FAQ on Cables & Connections:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76085


3. If you've got an HDTV (something you don't mention), you should go into the STB settings and choose 16:9 and 720P as the output option. This is because BTV send all channels as 720P.


Here's a post useful for those new to the forum - FAQs, Search Tips, Optimization, etc:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=57741

There are links in there to the FAQs on Black Bars and WS stretch modes, which you should probably read too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, 57.

We do have an HDTV and box, and as i said, the HD channels are super clear... the SD ones are very low quality, though(in comparison to Rogers, anyway). I did read those posts, but most of it was over my head... maybe it was just too much information at once, perhaps i will look over it again tomorrow... but it seemed more inclined to tech savvy people who are experienced with this stuff, as you can see, i barely knew what an HDMI cable was for.

I really do hope it remembers the aspect ratio's separately, as i would ideally like to stretch the 4:3 to wide screen(no black bars) and leave the 6:9 HD channels as is. I will test it out tomorrow.

Well, thanks again. I will have a look over those threads again tomorrow as well... see if i can figure any of this out.
 

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i would ideally like to stretch the 4:3 to wide screen(no black bars)
Why!?!

What is wrong with viewing programs in the correct image ratio? Why do you feel it is necessary to make everyone's head look like a curling rock?

 

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Well, i wouldn't just stretch it horizontally. I think the setting for the "*" option is called like 'HD:Half Stretch' or something. Stretches it horizontally and then vertically so the picture is normal - just sorta zoomed.

I am not going to watch 4:3 TV on my HD wide screen television, i shouldn't have to. I realize it will reduce the quality of the picture somewhat on those SD channels, and that kinda sucks, but i just don't understand why these shows aren't in 6:9 aspect ratio when they ALL were when i was on Rogers. Absolutely none of Rogers programming was in 4:3 aspect ratio, even the older shows/movies on any channel were clear and wide screen, so i'm extremely disappointed i'm having to go through all this hassle.
 

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So you want to do this?



Did you notice how much program information and detail you lose??

I recommend that you educate yourself on "original aspect ratio" by going HERE!! There are many fine examples of all of the issues involved.
 

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6:9 aspect ratio
its 16:9, not 6:9 !
Absolutely none of Rogers programming was in 4:3 aspect ratio
That is simply not true. It would appear you had set your Rogers STB to some sort of stretch mode.

Rogers does not mess with the OAR ("Original Aspect Ratio") as a policy.
 

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Absolutely none of Rogers programming was in 4:3 aspect ratio,
As stated above, the STB or your TV was stretching or zooming the Rogers SD programming. SD programming is (almost all) 4:3. Try re-reading the links I provided, since you don't seem to understand stretch modes or black bars. For SD programming, I suggest you tune to a channel like 503 (CP24) and you'll see what the modes do to the picture - distortion and/or loss of information.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76089 Black Bars FAQ

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76074 Stretch FAQ.
 

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The "*" button on your Bell remote has 5 settings:

1) Stretch side to side eliminating the black bars on 4:3 programming.
2) Partial vertical stretch.
3) Full vertical stretch or Zoom.
4) Grey bars on the side.
5) Black bars on the side of 4:3 programming, no stretching at all.

Each press of the "*" takes you to the next setting.

If you want the SD channels to be stretched (to eliminate the black bars on the side), then use the "*" button to set it to #1. Leave it set to #5 for HD channels. The receiver will automatically switch between the two when you change channels.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
its 16:9, not 6:9 !
My apologies. That's what i meant, of course. Pretty touchy here.

That is simply not true. It would appear you had set your Rogers STB to some sort of stretch mode.

Rogers does not mess with the OAR ("Original Aspect Ratio") as a policy.
We did nothing to our Rogers cable settings when it was installed, nothing. All the channels were automatically in wide screen, and not zoomed, or distorted. In fact, the clarity on the non HD channels was amazing, i didn't realize how clear it was until i saw Bell's terribly poor quality SD programming. Is it because Roger's is digital?

I guess Roger's STB automatically put the programs in wide screen for us, and for some reason, in really clear quality - i wish i could get the Bell's STB to do this. :confused:

As stated above, the STB or your TV was stretching or zooming the Rogers SD programming. SD programming is (almost all) 4:3.
Well, that's super... why isn't it doing that with Bell's STB? Can i set it up to do that and hopefully clear up the horrible SD picture quality? Or is that just the way it is now?(the HD quality is fantastic, btw)

Try re-reading the links I provided, since you don't seem to understand stretch modes or black bars. For SD programming, I suggest you tune to a channel like 503 (CP24) and you'll see what the modes do to the picture - distortion and/or loss of information.
I understand how to stretch the picture just fine, i just don't want to have to do it for every single thing i watch... it's irritating. I will be watching one program, and i'll see three different aspect ratios: full wide screen, one with black bars on the side, then another with black bars on the side and the also on the top. It's kinda ridiculous. And as i said, the picture quality on the SD channels is horrid... even without stretching.

I'm sorry, just frustrated and want to get this sorted out.

The "*" button on your Bell remote has 5 settings:

1) Stretch side to side eliminating the black bars on 4:3 programming.
2) Partial vertical stretch.
3) Full vertical stretch or Zoom.
4) Grey bars on the side.
5) Black bars on the side of 4:3 programming, no stretching at all.

Each press of the "*" takes you to the next setting.
I understand all that, Jumpy, and thank you for the informative reply - I just think having to adjust the ratio's for ever single show is ridiculous. I just want all the channels to show in clear wide screen like they were on Rogers, without all this annoying hassle.

If you want the SD channels to be stretched (to eliminate the black bars on the side), then use the "*" button to set it to #1. Leave it set to #5 for HD channels. The receiver will automatically switch between the two when you change channels.
Well, maybe this is what i'm looking for. I read where someone else had mentioned something similar to this... that u can set the stretch on SD channels only... but i tried, and i can only adjust the HD zoom/stretch via "*" and "page up/down", not the SD option(nothing changes when i press 'page down').


I appreciate the responses, i know it must be hard trying to help a non cable-nerd, but i've never had these problems before - not even when i was on Bell a few years ago... and definitely not on Rogers. Still, i do appreciate the help.
 

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I understand how to stretch the picture just fine, i just don't want to have to do it for every single thing i watch... it's irritating. I will be watching one program, and i'll see three different aspect ratios: full wide screen, one with black bars on the side, then another with black bars on the side and the also on the top... what's all that about? It's absolutely ridiculous. And as i said, the picture quality on the SD channels is horrid... even without stretching.
- The programme that fills your screen is either true HD, or a stretched SD programme.
- The programme that has bars on the sides is one that was produced in 4:3 format (as most SD programming is.
- The programme that has bars all around is an SD programme, but produced in a 16:9 format.

This is all covered in the Black Bars FAQ, please read it.

What's the model of the STB you have? Sounds like you have an old 6100 or something and they worked differently than the newer STBs and they may also have poorer PQ.

We did nothing to our Rogers cable settings when it was installed, nothing. All the channels were automatically in wide screen, and not zoomed, or distorted. In fact, the clarity on the non HD channels was amazing, i didn't realize how clear it was until i saw Bell's terribly poor quality SD programming. Is it because Roger's is digital?
If you never saw any bars on Rogers, it's because the STB or TV had zoomed the picture so much that you were missing much of the information since some SD programming/commercials (especially commercials) is shot in 16:9 which would have bars all around if watched unstretched/unzoomed. BTV is also digital.

If you don't want to stretch, then please don't. We've already recommended that you watch your SD channels (or upconverted SD on the HD channels) in 4:3 and your true HD programming in 16:9 for best PQ and no distortion. Any SD upconverts on the HD channels will have bars on the sides - they would have also on Rogers unless you erroneously had been zooming them, in which case you would have missed 1/3 of the programme when there was true HD on (I've visited/optimized a number of clients who didn't realize that they were missing 1/3 of their true HD programming because they zoomed or stretched to get rid of bars on HD channels).

Suggest you get used to the bars for the clearest picture, no distortion and no loss of programming. If you want to stretch, go ahead, but then you'll have poorer PQ, distortion and miss 1/3 of any true HD programming because it'll end up off screen if you stretch HD and neglect to "unstretch" when a true HD programme is on.


As for Bell's poor SD PQ, perhaps you're using a different input/connection on the TV and it's showing the imperfections of the SD programming more. Here's the FAQ on that topic. A proper optimization of the TV may help. The PQ on Bell is not as good as Rogers, but it's not "that bad".

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=18580
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I did catch that part about the upconverted SD on HD channels having the black bars located on the top and sides just after posting my reply(when i went back to read more links). As i said before, i read so many links and tips, the information was a bit overwhelming, especially for a non-techy person who barely understands what all the abbreviations you guys use stand for. Ha.

My Bell STB is recent, i think, the model or series number on it is 9241. The one upstairs for the regular TV is 4100, and for some reason, the regular SD PQ on that are clearer than the SD channels on our HDTV, which look blurry even at OAR.

The PQ on Bell is not as good as Rogers, but it's not "that bad".
Ultimately, i think this is my problem... Bell's just not as clear, and i suppose i have to get used to that - or stick to watching only HD programming.

I will look into the optimization again as well... I still don't know really anything about the whole HDMI cable/set up thing, so i will try to find more information on that as well (i know you posted a link earlier) - if i even need it, i don't know.

Thanks again for the help, i know it's not easy speaking with someone who is not only ignorant, but stubborn. lol
 

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Yep, those cables are the ones that came with the receiver. The picture quality will be the same as an HDMI cable. I had to make some minor adjustments with some channels using the '*' button, but once I had them the way I liked, I didn't have to do anything more. The settings remained. You should only have to do it once.
 

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Okay, thanks for the information, Joe, i guess i won't bother with the HDMI cables then. I think i did sort out the SD/HD ratio individually. I don't mind stretching the SD channels, and i don't know why people say there is a huge quality losee - the SD PQ is already pretty crappy, stretching it slightly doesn't make it any better, but it doesn't really make it noticeably worse, either.

Thanks agian.
 

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If you're noticing that much of a difference, maybe your tv is the problem. Some people often think that just because their tv is "brand new" that they can take it out of the box and everything will look amazing.

1. Go into your tv's settings menu and look at the Sharpness. Can it go higher? Chances are it's low or mid range and that's why your SD feeds look fuzzy. Push your sharpness to high or max to get it to what you want for SD, then switch to a HD feed and see how it looks. Your HD will most likely be too sharp, so what you'll wind up doing is switching back and forth until you get that happy medium.

2. If your color looks off and you don't want to play around too much, just look for settings like Vivid, Cinema, and Standard. Try these and see if that helps.

3. What color temperature are you using? Cool gives a blueish tint (but looks best in my opinion), Warm gives a yelowish tint and Neutral is the middle ground.

4. Does your tv have a noise reduction feature? Try putting that on High and you might see a huge improvement. I transfer HD recordings from my 9242 to a Sony HDD/DVD recorder and with upconverting through a HDMI cable, the DVD's look almost HD quality with Noise Reduction set to high.
 

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If you read through the Optimization link, you will see that, unfortunately, almost everything stated in Princie1's post is incorrect.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76161 Optimization

1. High sharpness levels almost always increase halos and other artifacts making the picture much worse. Test patterns in test DVDs will show you this and knowing what to look for on certain programmes will also.

2. The optimization FAQ has recommendations on picture modes. Simply "trying" them is not really the answer. Understanding what they do and properly optimizing your TV is the answer.

3. The warmest colour temperature is almost always the most accurate, assuming that you've also set your contrast and black levels properly.

4. Sometimes noise reduction can help for poor SD, however, it usually adversely affects better quality images and since most people don't change these settings between different sources/programmes, it's usually best to set these at low, auto, or off.

Here's an FAQ on SD PQ:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=18580
 

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The OP has already stated that he isn't technically inclined, so all I was posting was a reference for I've used to hook up my DVD Recorder to get good PQ without going through all the steps involved to properly Optimize a HDTV like I have for my HDMI HD feed straight from the 9242. Without knowing the OP's exact room setup (distance from tv, room lighting, tv size, etc) it's impossible to give exact advice to fix the PQ, so I just gave another option. Besides, all he has to do is reset the settings if it doesn't work.
 

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In your post you suggested using the cool colour temperature and high sharpness. If the OP is not interested in performing an optimization, it's just as easy to try the correct settings, which would be close to the opposite of your recommendations.
 
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