Widescreen quandry with Series 2

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Schmye Bubbula, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. Schmye Bubbula

    Schmye Bubbula Member

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    Oct 14, 2004
    I searched around here, and either didn't find or didn't understand advice on widescreen. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around all this.

    – I just bought my first HDTV.
    – I have a Series 2, so I guess it's recording & outputting 480i SDTV. (I recognize that I need a newer model TiVo to actually record & playback in HDTV.)
    – When I change my TiVo's TV Aspect Ratio setting to 16:9, I don't see any difference in the TiVo menu screens or program playback: the menu screens fill top & bottom with black bars on the left & right, as expected, but a recorded HDTV program has the 16:9 aspect ratio, but it doesn't fill top & bottom.

    I don't get it. I would think that when I set my TiVo Aspect Ratio to 16:9, it would maximize my picture size of widescreen programs by zooming-in to fill top & bottom, leaving some black, left & right. (To complicate things even further, my Roku box, when configured for 16:9, forces Netflix to send horizonatally-squished anamorphic ("Cinemascope") feeds, requiring my TV to be set to Wide, which gives me completely full-screen 16:9 for Netflix streams, but distorts/stretches everything else.)

    On the other hand, when playing recorded SDTV programs, it does fill top & bottom. Is the thing that my old TiVo doesn't know the difference between HDTV & SDTV and can't adjust my SDTV playback of HDTV material accordingly? Then what does the TiVo TV Aspect Ratio setting do? (I guess if it did zoom-in for widescreen programs, then it would chop top & bottom off of non-letterbox programs, huh?)

     
  2. CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    It makes a difference on web videos.
     
  3. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Series 2 is not HD, it is only analog (480i). To record/watch HD content, you would need a Series 3 or higher, such as HD, HD XL, Premiere.
     
  4. taronga

    taronga Member

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    KY
    From what I can tell (owning a S2DT and a HDTV), the TV aspect ratio option on the Tivo does absolutely nothing. The best I can say for the Tivo is if I transfer a 16:9 MPEG2 from my computer to it, it will recognize that and show it in the correct aspect ratio, if letterboxed. I have to use the zoom mode on the TV to get the image to fill the screen. Of course this amplifies the deficiencies in the analog picture, but if you (like me) are still using a S2, I doubt picture quality is your main consideration.
     
  5. Schmye Bubbula

    Schmye Bubbula Member

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    Oct 14, 2004
    1) With regard to ThAbtO's post, I already stated in the fourth sentence in my original post that, "I recognize that I need a newer model TiVo to actually record & playback in HDTV." Rather, what I'm seeking in this thread is whether it's possible to record 16:9 HDTV onto the Series 2's 4:3 SDTV such that the size on screen is maximized with black bars only on two sides, instead of an itsy-bitsy window with black bars on all four sides, a waste of perfectly good space and an awfully small picture. When I record a 4:3 SDTV program, it's fullscreen top-to-bottom; why can't it be fullscreen top-to-bottom with a 16:9 broadcast, which looks like it still would leave a little bit of black bars left-and-right?

    2) Well, now I know what CuriousMark's (cryptic) response meant — I found this explanation in the archives:
    3) So now the remaining curiosity is, even when I'm watching live TV on my new HDTV set, some HDTV stations' 16:9 programs appear fullscreen, and other stations' 16:9 programs are small windows within my screen. Ditto with some of the subchannels' 4:3 SDTV broadcasts: some are fullscreen top-to-bottom, others are small windows within my screen. Why is that? And does it have a similar bearing on why I can't get the largest-possible 16:9 window recorded onto my 4:3 Series 2?
     
  6. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    16:9 on a 4:3 would result in a picture frame type of picture with bars all around (picture shrinkage).
     
  7. Schmye Bubbula

    Schmye Bubbula Member

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    Oct 14, 2004
    ^ Yeah, I can see that. But what I don't understand is, they're just aspect ratios, not absolute dimensions. And actually, it's 16:9 mapped onto 4:3, on a 16:9 screen. The top & bottom black bars are narrower than the left & right black bars, so why can't the slack be taken up and display fullscreen top & bottom, with just a little bit of black bars left & right?
     
  8. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    This is how I understand the issue.

    HD programming will be window boxed, because a 16:9 picture is being displayed within 4:3.

    SD programming from the sub-channels for the most part will only have black bars on the sides because the picture is 4:3. However, a sub-channel could broadcast letter boxed content in which case that would appear window boxed.

    Also, local stations will broadcast syndicated programming in SD over an HD station, which produces an even smaller window boxed picture.

    Most HD TVs have a few settings to stretch the image to fill the screen.
     

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