Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

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Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

Folks, I will soon be buying an HDTV. I'm thinking 720 (Panasonic plasma from Costco, on sale), but 1080 is not out of the question.  This is only for two reasons: 1) to mount on the wall, and 2) to have something newer and larger than the 20" CRT we have now (running coax on channel 3).  Since actual HDTV programming is not a factor, I will NOT be paying extra for HDTV channels on U-verse.

 

That said, what "image" can I expect viewing standard definition programs on an HDTV?  Let's assume I hook it up with HDMI cable without tweaking any settings except the U-verse STB output resolution.

 

  1. Will I get a picture within a completely black "frame"?
  2. Will the U-verse box up-sample it to fill the vertical axis (leaving pillarboxes)?
  3. With some programs (like "House" on FOX) will the image be even further up-sampled to fill the HDTV screen (since the SD program is already letterboxed into a widescreen aspect)?
  4. Does it vary by channel and/or program?
  5. And regardless of what the U-verse STB does, do most HDTVs have options to adjust the actual presentation of the picture?
  6. If #4 and #5 are both "YES", will I have to constantly re-adjust things?

Thanks for any information.

 

--BigMal27 in Michigan, U-verse watcher since April 2008.

Message 1 of 10 (3,888 Views)
Expert
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Accepted by topic author BigMal27
‎09-30-2015 1:39 AM

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

1. SD programming is in a 4:3 aspect ratio signal.  In the majority of SD content, the entire 4:3 frame is filled with picture information, but there are now many programs that use a 16:9 widescreen picture inside a 4:3 frame with letterbox bars on the top and bottom.  This is further complicated when you are then trying to show the 4:3 signal on your 16:9 widescreen TV.

 

Since 4:3 and 16:9 are different shapes, one of two things will always have to happen:

 

a. There will be black areas of the picture somewhere to make up for the difference in shape.

b. The picture will be stretched or zoomed to make up for the difference in shape.

 

2. The U-Verse box's default behavior for showing 4:3 frames on a 16:9 TV is to use pillarboxing (black bars on the sides).  This behavior can be changed with the Zoom menu.  The "Stretch" option will stretch the 4:3 picture to 16:9 dimensions, removing the pillarboxing bars, but causing the picture to be displayed with the wrong aspect ratio.

 

3. House and other programs are a 16:9 image inside a 4:3 frame already.  To properly display this style of broadcast, you can use the "Zoom 1", "Zoom 2", or "Zoom 3" option in the U-Verse Zoom menu to make the 16:9 letterboxed SD content approximately fill your 16:9 screen.

 

4. Yes, all programs will have their own variation depending on how they were filmed.  This will even happen with commercials.  For example, if you are viewing House (16:9 content, letterboxed in a 4:3 frame, and zoomed to fill the 16:9 TV), and a commercial comes on, the commercial may be full-screen within the 4:3 frame.  The Zoom setting will result in the top and bottom portions of the commercial's content to be cut off unless you temporarily return the U-Verse Zoom menu to "Normal".

 

5. Yes, but the U-Verse box can take care of virtually all situations, so it's best to leave the TV's aspect ratio settings on "Normal".

 

6. Yes, depending on the SD content style (4:3 full frame, or 16:9 letterboxed inside the 4:3 frame).

 

All of this can be simplified with a subscription to the HD service, where all channels are always 16:9 regardless, and no stretching or boxing is required.

 

Message 2 of 10 (3,867 Views)
Contributor

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

SomeJoe, thank you for your thorough point-by-point response.  I didn't realize the U-verse STB had a "Zoom" menu to handle these situations.

 

(BTW, how do I get to the Zoom menu?)

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ACE - Professor

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

 


BigMal27 wrote:

SomeJoe, thank you for your thorough point-by-point response.  I didn't realize the U-verse STB had a "Zoom" menu to handle these situations.

 

(BTW, how do I get to the Zoom menu?)


Press the # key on your remote (it's the button to the right of the '0' key).

 

-------

Resident Xbox ACE. Ask me almost anything about Xbox on U-Verse.

Xbox Gamertag: americangame
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*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 4 of 10 (3,772 Views)
Expert

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

When the Aspect Ratio of the U-verse box is set to Widescreen standard definition, 720p on high-definition screens or 1081i on high-definition screens, you can access the Zoom menu by pressing the ENTER (ZOOM) button in the lower right hand corner of the remote.  You can then press the right and left arrow keys on the remote to switch between the Favorite channels, Zoom and Audio Language menus.

Message 5 of 10 (3,769 Views)
Professor

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

If the $10 is a major factor, you could call the sales/billing office and sweet-talk them into giving you a good promotion.  More often than not, you can get the HD fee waived for a month or however long.  When the promotion ends, call back up and do it again.

 

If not, they may be able to take something off your "primary package" such as U-100 or U-200.  If they can take $15 off your U-whatever for 6 months, then you can subscribe to the HD package and still come out $5 ahead each month.

 

The difference between HD and SD is like night and day.

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Master

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

 


kryptonite wrote:

If the $10 is a major factor, you could call the sales/billing office and sweet-talk them into giving you a good promotion.  More often than not, you can get the HD fee waived for a month or however long.  When the promotion ends, call back up and do it again.

 

If not, they may be able to take something off your "primary package" such as U-100 or U-200.  If they can take $15 off your U-whatever for 6 months, then you can subscribe to the HD package and still come out $5 ahead each month.

 

The difference between HD and SD is like night and day.


I agree completely this is worth the 10.00 extra.

 

Message 7 of 10 (3,678 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

[ Edited ]

 


oz_1 wrote:

 


kryptonite wrote:

If the $10 is a major factor, you could call the sales/billing office and sweet-talk them into giving you a good promotion.  More often than not, you can get the HD fee waived for a month or however long.  When the promotion ends, call back up and do it again.

 

If not, they may be able to take something off your "primary package" such as U-100 or U-200.  If they can take $15 off your U-whatever for 6 months, then you can subscribe to the HD package and still come out $5 ahead each month.

 

The difference between HD and SD is like night and day.


I agree completely this is worth the 10.00 extra.

 


 

...and I agree with you. 

 

Years ago, when I INSISTED that we needed an HDTV, DH screamed and yelled and kicked and hollered "We DON'T need a new TV.  I don't care nuthin' about HD!"

 

Long story short, we got a good deal (for back then...way cheaper now) and all it took was ONE football game and he was hooked.  Smiley Very Happy

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 8 of 10 (3,669 Views)
Mentor

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

I agree about the 10.00 difference.  If you are going to drop the money on a nice TV, might as well get the HD service.  Also if you are planning on getting anythign bigger than 37", I would highly recommend 1080P TV.  From what I have read anything below a 37 it is hard to notice a difference. 

 

What size were you looking into getting?

Message 9 of 10 (3,577 Views)
Scholar

Re: Viewing Standard Def on an HDTV

 


kryptonite wrote:

If the $10 is a major factor, you could call the sales/billing office and sweet-talk them into giving you a good promotion.  More often than not, you can get the HD fee waived for a month or however long.  When the promotion ends, call back up and do it again.

 

If not, they may be able to take something off your "primary package" such as U-100 or U-200.  If they can take $15 off your U-whatever for 6 months, then you can subscribe to the HD package and still come out $5 ahead each month.

 

The difference between HD and SD is like night and day.


 In Uverse's case it's more like the difference between dusk and dawn. Now if AT&T would give us real HD instead of HD Lite then I would agree with you.

 

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