Will a hi def tv work properly with non-hi def service?

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A friend's new hi definition TV, I think he said it's a dlp, has pretty serious distortion. Where the image kind of waves as the picture pans, with most distortion at the edges. He asked the store where he bought it about this and was told that it was because he needs to get hi definition service from his cable or satellite provider; that the distortion comes from the hi def tv compensating for the lack of hi def signal and will not work properly without that.
Any truth to this?
Thanks.
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Not that I've ever heard about. All TV's that are HD capable will also display std def signals without wavy, serious distortion. There are only 2 issues AFAIK, The first is that when people buy an HDTV, they tend to get a much larger screen. The larger the screen, the worse the std def picture will look because of the lack of resolution in the signal source. What looks OK on a 27" TV will look much worse on a 55". The other issue is that HDTV's are 16:9 screen size. When you put a std def source up, you have 2 choices, either black bars on the sides, or to stretch the pic to fit the screen. Stretching leads to people and things looking fat. TV's have various algorithims and choices of how to deal with this, varying from stretching everything equally, to stretching more at the side, less in the middle to try to make it less noticeable. It's possible something of this nature is set wrong on the new TV and you could try looking there. I'd try putting a std def broadcast source up with black bars and see what happens. Also, does the problem exist with both std DVD and broadcast?
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On my HDTV, there are a couple of choices using he remote to stretch a nonHDTV picture to fill the screen. This is done to avoid the black sections on either side of a nonHDTV picture. One choice is "wide". This provides a uniform stretch that makes everybody in the picture look fat. The other choice is "panoramic". this leaves the center of the picture alone but stretches the side to fill the screen. This choice will give you the kind of distortion that it sounds like your friend is getting.
Check the remote for these settings.
Charlie

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wrote:

Absolutely. It depends on the TV's ability to upconvert properly. Some do it well, some don't.
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Thanks for the comments.
It is a large TV, over 50" and the distortion is indeed like stretching the picture on the sides, much like the impression of panoramic video. Don't know whether they've played a DVD yet so I don' know whether the distortions the same.
Anyway, thanks again.
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al wrote:

The ratio of width to height ("aspect ratio") for standard non-HD TV is 4:3. On wide-screen HDTV sets with different aspect ratios, there are two ways of displaying non-HD: one is to stretch the width to fit the screen, which most seem to do by default, the other is to display it properly and have black areas on the sides of the picture, which at least some should be capable of doing.
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Hi def tv requires a hi def box. It's that simple. After that, RTFM!
Steve
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No. Any HDTV that you buy today has a built-in ATSC tuner. You can receive HD over the air with just an antenna and no seperate "box".
But that doesn't have anything to do with the question which is about std def viewed on an HDTV.
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No it does not. My HDTV displays analog TV just fine without any additional stuff.
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If he is using standard cable or satellitte thru rf cable or svideo the picture will not be impressive. Have him use an OTA antenna as most areas have numerous stations in HD. Then you will tell if the tv is the problem or the signal quality is.

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I have cable. HDTV is just fine. I get my ABC affiliate 3 ways: analog 3x4 480lines, digital 3x4 480 lines and Hi Def 16x9 720p Other channels may be 1080i.
Trust me. The HDTV pic is impressive even on my smaller TV.
Charlie
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On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 04:45:13 -0800, al wrote:

My HDTV does something similar when it's set to Panoramic mode. This makes the image stretch on each side but keeps the aspect the same in the middle. I couldn't get use to it.
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al wrote:

It's because it's a widescreen TV, he's using a non-HD signal, and likely the TV is set to stretch the non-widescreen image to fit. The stretch mode is mainly meant for use with DVD players which can be set to a widescreen mode so that the image will actually look correct, though lots of people end up using for normal non-HDTV and end up with a picture that looks like crap..
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Cycle through the available format options on the HD TV. There should be an option for 4:3 ratio which would eliminate the TV's attempt to make an HD picture out of a SD signal.

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Is not buying an HDTV and then using it on any old (analog?) TV signal rather like buying a sporty car and then wondering why it doesn't handle very well when driven on country lanes with a bale of straw in the trunk and a crate of chickens in the passernger seat? i.e. It doesn't work very well! More technically; Hi Def is not as 'Backward compatible' as when colour TV programming first came out and the colour TV signals were 'Required' (By the FCC and other regulatory agencies) to be compatible with the existing Black and White TV sets. Unfortunately it looks like Hi Def is going to force a lot of people to buy new (more expensive) digital TVs. Just wait until John Q Public realises that; we might have another revolution? Since most of the programing is cr*p think we will just not bother. After all our 10+ year old used TV bought some six years or more ago for $25 and fixed for less than $4 has been working fine. Don't feel like shelling out hundreds of dollars! Ah well! Maybe used Hi Def ones will be on the market eventually. Possibly pick up one at a flea market or yard sale! Oh. Gee; then there is a monthly fee for cable or satellite. One would think with all the advertising (only about 18 minutes of actual programming per half hour) it should be free!
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Not true. My HDTV works fine on analog cable. It's completely backwards compatible.
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Irrelevent. It is the hidef *signal* that isn't backward compatible.
When NTSC got color, black and white TV weren't bothered. They didn't need a new tuner.
When NTSC is phased out and only HDTV is transmitted, no analog TV is going to be able to receive the new signal without an outboard tuner.
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Technically, digital will be only one transmitted. I don't beleive there is any regulatory requirement to go to HD, just digital. At least according to the feds (http://www.dtv.gov/whatisdtv.html ) . There are digital TVs out there that aren't HD but will work. Probably not really relevant to anyone not as anal-retentive as I am (g).
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Point taken. I meant to compare analog with digital, not analog to HDTV, a subset of digital.
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I have a similar question. I bought a 37" LCD and have hi-def digital cable box, and when watching the channels that are true hi-def, the picture is practically flawless. But when watching other channels, the picture is disappointing, and actually looks better on our 15 year- old 32" tube TV (with a digital cable box). Is that because like the other poster said, the bigger the tv the more you will notice the flaws of a mediocre transmission?
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