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DVD-R beginner (me) needs help: aspect ratio
This thread has 5 replies. Displaying all posts.
Post 1 made on Saturday December 29, 2007 at 03:16
Ernie Bornn-Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
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Here's the setup: A DirecTV R15 DVR feeds its 480i (only) signals via plain old yellow, red white audio/video cables to a Sony RDR-GX355. The R15 is set to output to a 4:3 monitor and works perfectly with the TV. The TV is a POS 4:3 model from two years ago, a Sharp 32F543, using the TV's 480i component input. It doesn't do 480p.

The show looks like 16:9 dropped into a 4:3. Whatever it exactly is, there are black bars at the top and the bottom of the image when viewed off the R15. Playing back the first recording, the DVD recorder aspect ratio settings don't work the way I expect them to.

When I set the DVD recorder to output a 4:3 letter box signal, the image jumps back and forth between settings, changing in height. I think it's jumping between 4:3 and letterbox, but I'm not sure.

When I set the DVD recorder to output a 4:3 pan & scan signal, the image jumps back and forth between settings, changing in width. One setting is correct and the other looks like plain old zoom. The R15 and the TV and the DVD Recorder don't do zoom.

When I set the DVD recorder to output a 16:9 signal, my 4:3 TV is very happy. It shows the signal exactly as it first was.

When the picture jumps back and forth, it does not do so always at the same point in the recording, so I guess it's random. It doesn't do it when the DVD recorder is in playback but paused, and it doesn't do it when recording. It only does it when playing back the recorded disc. Which hasn't yet been finalized, in case that matters.

Andybody have some insight as to why this is so? Should I just set the recorder where I get success? Is the recorder faulty or is my thinking about how it should behave faulty? Will this disc play normally on a standard DVD player, as it's supposed to? Will I have to change output aspect ratio on a regular DVD player to get this to work correctly?

Thanks in advance.
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 2 made on Saturday December 29, 2007 at 04:38
Daniel Tonks
Wrangler of Remotes
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First off, what does the composite output of the R15 look like? Is it correct when plugged directly into the TV?

Assuming everything there is fine, then the recorder will be recording it full-frame on the disc. If it's outputting such a recording vertically shrunk, then for some reason the recorder thinks the content on the disc is anamorphic. Black bars on the top and bottom is the correct behavior for an anamorphic disc set to play back on a 4:3 TV.

Technically I don't think there should be any difference between 4:3 letterbox and 4:3 pan & scan modes, since that reflects a DVD feature that was never implemented (the idea being that a pan & scan version of a movie could be automatically created in the player from a single widescreen copy of the film).

So, why does the recorder think it's anamorphic: possibly because the R15 is telling it so. Sony recorders (and other related devices) will recognize several embedded flags in a video signal, telling it that the content is anamorphic widescreen or even non-anamorphic widescreen (so with a Sony DVD plugged into a Sony TV, the TV will automatically know whether to use 4:3, Zoom or Full modes).

What you can do about it: if the R15 is at fault, make sure all of its output settings are correct. If they are, try testing the recorder with some other device that isn't 16x9 aware, such as plain TV output or maybe a VCR's output, to see if those recordings have the same issue. If they do, then the recorder is making all recordings with the anamorphic flag, which is wrong, but you may as well leave it set to 16x9 output to get a "correct" image. This may or may not affect playback on other DVD players depending on whether they do anything with the flags.

If recordings from other sources are fine, and if the DVD-R is designed correctly they should be, then the R15 is at fault and, assuming there's no settings on it that can be changed, then the solution will be the same... leave the recorder in 16x9 mode and complain to DirecTV.
OP | Post 3 made on Sunday December 30, 2007 at 02:02
Ernie Bornn-Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
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On December 29, 2007 at 04:38, Daniel Tonks said...
First off, what does the composite output of the R15 look
like? Is it correct when plugged directly into the TV?

The R15 looks fine when plugged into the yellow-white-red NTSC input of the TV.

The recorder shows the R15 signal when the recorder is not in Play. It always displays correctly.

I checked how the R15 through recorder signal looks; both a 4:3 program and the 16:9 dropped into 4:3 show I was recording look fine going through the recorder, whether the recorder is set to 4:3 letterbox, 4:3 pan & scan, or 16:9. I conclude that those settings of the recorder only have to do with DVD playback.
Assuming everything there is fine, then the recorder will
be recording it full-frame on the disc. If it's outputting
such a recording vertically shrunk, then for some reason
the recorder thinks the content on the disc is anamorphic.
Black bars on the top and bottom is the correct behavior
for an anamorphic disc set to play back on a 4:3 TV.

But the mystery is that the image pops back and forth from one setting to another.
Technically I don't think there should be any difference
between 4:3 letterbox and 4:3 pan & scan modes, since
that reflects a DVD feature that was never implemented
(the idea being that a pan & scan version of a movie could
be automatically created in the player from a single widescreen
copy of the film).

Cool. I didn't know that and always wondered what the difference was.|
So, why does the recorder think it's anamorphic:

But it's not so convinced that it stays one way. It goes back and forth.
possibly
because the R15 is telling it so....

I will
try testing the recorder with...a VCR output,
to see if those recordings have the same issue.

Again, what's strange is that the R15 video, straight into the Line 1 In and out of the component outputs at 480i, displays correctly but the recording does not.

I also checked two commercial disks. A 4:3 disk displayed properly no matter what the setting; a 16:9 disk showed as letterboxed on 4:3 pan & scan and 4:3 letterboxed, but filled the screen with the proper proportions when the recorder was set to 16:9. In that last case, I'm guessing it was the equivalent of a zoom of the other image.
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 4 made on Sunday December 30, 2007 at 03:16
Daniel Tonks
Wrangler of Remotes
Joined:
Posts:
October 1998
28,782
Well, simply passing the image through the recorder it would know to record the anamorphic flag on the disc, but it wouldn't be able to modify the image since it isn't going through the MPEG2 decoder (you're just seeing the raw analog signal). But once it's on disc and playing it back, it sees the flag and the decoder knows exactly how to format the video.

Now as you say it's being erratic and jumping between different modes... this is very odd. Let me know how a VCR behaves. This is either something odd about the R15's output, or something odd about the way the DVDR is recording it (since it doesn't flash back and forth playing back commercial DVDs).
OP | Post 5 made on Wednesday January 2, 2008 at 01:30
Ernie Bornn-Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
Joined:
Posts:
December 2001
30,104
Again, it flashes back and forth between modes when in either 4:3 mode. It still seems weird that the one correct mode for commercial and home recorded discs is 16:9 into my 4:3!

I'll drag out the VCR this week.
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 6 made on Wednesday January 2, 2008 at 10:00
Stealth X
Senior Member
Joined:
Posts:
November 2005
1,177
never had any such problem....

not trying to sound like an ass ernie, but your sony sounds like a real POS from what i've read in your different posts, is it out of the 30day return window?? i got stuck with a POS LG dvd recorder that clunked out on me 45 days after i bought it. my local B&M still allowed me to trade it in for a new one. it then had the exact same problem, again past the 30 day window. but they were good again and this time let me trade it for a Pioneer unit. and i've been very happy with pioneers performance.

sorry for the no help post, man. good luck!


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