[opendtv] Re: 20041228 Twang's Tuesday Tribune (Mark's Monday Memo)

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV (E-mail)" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 19:16:50 -0500

>     - Consumer surveys - Leading plasma-TV manufacturer
> Panasonic got Penn Schoen & Berland to survey a thousand
> U.S. adults and found "the great majority of consumers
> opted for plasma over LCD television."

This is a little surprising, considering that the shorter
life and burn-in problems with plasma panels don't exist
with LCD TVs. And with rear projection LCDs, even the
size differences between LCD and plasma go away. The
saleskid at Best Buy tried to show me a direct comparison
(he preferred plasma too), but unfortunately there were
no comparable sets side by side.

Here are some reactions from playing with my new 16:9
26" direct view LCD toy.

1. The factory settings were ridiculous. I had a hard
time adjusting it so the dark scenes wouldn't vanish
entirely. Finally, I settled on these settings (just to
show how off the factory settings were):

contrast was 100% and is now 47%
brightness was 75% and is now 85%
color was 50% and is now 21%
sharpness remains at 50%

The hardest part was to get the brightness right so
the dark scenes didn't just completely disappear.
Way excessive contrast settings out of the box
certainly didn't help matters. But the brighness
adjustment just isn't capable of washing out the
scene, as it can on CRTs.

2. NTSC sources are different from what they appear
on a CRT. Fine detail doesn't exist, but they are
viewable close up as opposed to not viewable close up.
And things like print on signs is incredibly clear
and sharp.

3. DVDs, over S-video interface, are really very nice.
Not HD detail, but considerably nicer than NTSC TV.
I've saved the component video inputs for my future

4. I've been having a ball with the aspect ratio choices.
I've pretty much determined that viewing all shows as
if they were letterboxed shows is the best setting, in
most cases. The choices are:

a. 4:3 pillarboxed
b. letterboxed content made to fill the 16:9 display
c. panorama, or stretched 4:3 where the edges are distorted
d. 16:9 source

Watching regular 4:3 TV sources in 4:3 pillarboxed mode
is fine, since there's no distortion, but it's no fun.

Watching in "panorama" is totally unacceptable. The
distortion is just plain dumb, even if it's mostly at
the left and right edges.

Watching a normal 4:3 show in 16:9 mode creates an
even stretch of everything. So overall the distortion
is *less* objectionable than in panorama mode, but
everyone still looks rather short and fat.

Watching normal 4:3 shows in "letterbox" mode essentially
fills up the vertical black pillars with image, and crops
out the top and bottom of the picture. But, just like
John Sprung said, a lot of 4:3 shows seem to have been
shot to make this work quite well. And of course many
of NBC's prime time shows, much of what on PBS, and
also some UPN shows, are letterboxed, so they work out
fine. Oh, and so is BBC News. Cool.

I've watched some DVDs shot at 2:35:1, and they are *much*
easier to accept on the 16:9 set, with just minor
letterboxing. For these, you need to use the 16:9 mode.
Watching these using "letterboxed" fills up the screen,
but everything is distorted to be skinny and tall.

Anyway, a fun new toy.

All OpenDTVers, and families, have a very Happy New Year!

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