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Old 30th Nov 2017, 6:13 am   #1
rbm1973
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Default 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Is there any converter available to change the output of a Sky digital box RF to 4:3 ratio?

I have changed settings to 4:3 and 4:3L on RF outputs on Sky box, but still the picture is cropped. I want to be able to watch it in 4:3 as the TV was intended to display being a non widescreen TV.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 11:41 am   #2
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Can't speak for Sky but certainly with Freeview boxes and DVDs it's possible to adjust the aspect ratio. 16:9 transmissions come through elongated, the reverse is of course true attempting to view 4:3 at 16:9.

Come to think of it I don't think it's possible to adjust the You View box we have but 4:3 transmissions appear to adjust automatically as long as they're transmitted in that form, eg an old Top of the Pops on BBC 4.

Flat widescreen sets can be adjusted but of course not possible when viewing an older set.

Unless others know I don't know of a special converter that can convert 16:9 into 4:3.

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Old 30th Nov 2017, 11:43 am   #3
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Have you told the Sky box it is feeding a 4:3 TV rather than 16:9?

It's actually difficult to do what you want using external hardware. Unfortunately 4:3 support is a very low priority for manufacturers nowadays.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 3:12 pm   #4
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

My Edision digital DVB-T box has options to change between 480p, 720p, 1080p and 1080i on both 4:3 and 16:9, PAL and NTSC.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 6:07 pm   #5
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

There is actually no such thing as a 16.9 picture. All transmissions from broadcasters are 4.3. To make them 16.9 they use an anamorphic process, which as Brian says makes the 4.3 picture elongated. You simply get a wide angled lens then focus it on a smaller area. Then you get another lens then refocus it back. Or that's how they did it in the movies! In TV terms they squash the image on to the 4.3 frame. They then have a signal built in, which makes a 16.9 set switch to widescreen, and is switched off for standard 4.3 transmissions, which are not squashed. In fact some Sky channels frequently get this the other way around!
The other way is to add the black bars to the standard 4.3 transmission picture so it is framed right. Then send a widescreen signal to a TV to switch it to the zoom settings.
Depending on the age of the 4.3 TV, some have settings to switch the elongated picture to 4.3 or a zoom setting. Very old models will not have it at all and will show a elongated picture, or a black box all the way around.
It's a bit like trying to get shut of the black bands on a 21.9 picture on a 16.9 set. You can sometimes Zoom in, but you will loose some of the picture. Or you put up with the two black bars!

By the the way isn't 4.3L meaning 4.3 letterbox?
So if you want to loose the box switch it to 4.3 only.

Last edited by Grubhead; 30th Nov 2017 at 6:11 pm. Reason: Extra information
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 6:43 pm   #6
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Analogue hardware aspect ratio converters do (or did, at least) exist in the world of professional broadcasting. You probably don't want to know how much they cost when new! Never seen one that has RF in/out though, you'd need to use the composite video output and then a modulator.

They can be found on the secondhand market....
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Miranda-A...MAAOSwI8lZ7TDI
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 8:02 pm   #7
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbm1973 View Post
Is there any converter available to change the output of a Sky digital box RF to 4:3 ratio?

I have changed settings to 4:3 and 4:3L on RF outputs on Sky box, but still the picture is cropped. I want to be able to watch it in 4:3 as the TV was intended to display being a non widescreen TV.

But how can you put an oblong image onto a square(ish) screen without cropping or distorting? It can't be done.
The 4:3 setting will fill the screen, but discard the L&R margins of the picture (centre cutout)
The leterbox setting will present the whole frame with black bands at the top and bottom, those are the best you can do.

There was pan & scan though.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 8:17 pm   #8
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Actually, I would consider the "letterbox" presentation the best one can do, in that as much of the picture is visible as would be on a 16:9 screen (albeit at a reduced size), and more importantly the aspect ratio of the picture is maintained. Personally, I don't find black bars, be they top and bottom on a 4:3 screen or right and left on a 16:9, particularly objectionable. However, of the alternatives, losing the edges of the picture is far better than having a squashed or stretched picture.

Anyway, that's my twopenn'eth.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 9:10 pm   #9
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

I totally agree with all that.

Displaying material shot in a different AR than your screen has got to be a compromise. There is no magic bullet.

A friend of mine once had a set that had a mode that would s-t-r-e-t-c-h
a 4:3 picture to fit the wide screen leaving the centre part relatively unmolested and the outer part progressively more and more stretched ie
s--t-ret-c--h
It made me feel seasick, and I would wait for him to leave the room so I could "fix it" for him
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 9:24 pm   #10
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Ah yes, my Nan and Grandad used to have their TV set on that odd mode, I didn't like it!

I recently bought one of those 'Sumvision' Cyclone SD card media players to use with my vintage TV's, the only settings for aspect ratio are either 4:3 letterbox (oddly called 16:9...) or 16:9 (called 4:3, but when shown on a 4:3 screen it is all stretched vertically, and actually displays perfectly on a widescreen tv..). I was using a Video iPod before which had correct 4:3 and 16:9 modes, where 4:3 would actually cut out the centre of the 16:9 picture and fill the 4:3 screen without stretching it. The only problem with the iPod was the poor video quality, the frame rate was a bit naff, and it looked a bit pixelated at times.

If there is such a device that can change the aspect ratio, that doesn't cost a fortune, I will be interested!

Regards,
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 9:31 pm   #11
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

As I understand it, the important action was kept fairly central, so that cropping the edges had minimal effect on the viewing experience.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 9:32 pm   #12
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

I remember my Aunt & Uncle getting a widescreen TV when a lot of programmes were still in 4:3.

They had it in a stretch mode that made Jasper Carrott look like ET.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 9:37 pm   #13
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grubhead View Post
There is actually no such thing as a 16.9 picture. All transmissions from broadcasters are 4.3. To make them 16.9 they use an anamorphic process, which as Brian says makes the 4.3 picture elongated. You simply get a wide angled lens then focus it on a smaller area. Then you get another lens then refocus it back. Or that's how they did it in the movies! In TV terms they squash the image on to the 4.3 frame. They then have a signal built in, which makes a 16.9 set switch to widescreen, and is switched off for standard 4.3 transmissions, which are not squashed. In fact some Sky channels frequently get this the other way around!
The other way is to add the black bars to the standard 4.3 transmission picture so it is framed right. Then send a widescreen signal to a TV to switch it to the zoom settings.
Depending on the age of the 4.3 TV, some have settings to switch the elongated picture to 4.3 or a zoom setting. Very old models will not have it at all and will show a elongated picture, or a black box all the way around.
It's a bit like trying to get shut of the black bands on a 21.9 picture on a 16.9 set. You can sometimes Zoom in, but you will loose some of the picture. Or you put up with the two black bars!

By the the way isn't 4.3L meaning 4.3 letterbox?
So if you want to loose the box switch it to 4.3 only.
If I may I'm not sure your first paragraph is altogether accurate nowadays. The process you're describing (anamorphic compression) was what we used in broadcasting in the days of 4:3 / 16:9 625 line pictures (no other country in Europe used that system I believe). If you stood near the camera when it switched between the two aspect ratios you could hear a dull sort of 'chung' noise as the additional anamorphic lens was switched in or out of the optical path in the zoom lens package itself - not in the camera. I was working on Ikegami CCD cameras, other manufacturers may have used different techniques to get the same end result.

Since the introduction of broadcast 1080 HD pictures, cameras have always been fitted with native 16:9 sensors as that is the aspect ratio they work in, I do not know of any native HD camera that can switch between 4:3 and 16:9 as 4:3 is an obsolete TV production format.

We still TX a right old mixture of archive programmes so they need to broadcast aspect ratio information for the receivers to deal with - as you say, it is sometimes not as successful as it should be!
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 9:48 pm   #14
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd 1985 View Post
Ah yes, my Nan and Grandad used to have their TV set on that odd mode, I didn't like it!

Regards,
Lloyd
My sister did the same. I also hated it and called it "Stretchy Vison". Very common in pubs at one time.
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 10:20 pm   #15
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

It made me chuckle reading this post, I remember buying my first flat screen tv (40" plasma) and there were lots of programmes on that were for narrow screen,how annoying was that? I'd spent a load of cash on a fancy tv and was still watching a narrow picture.
I agree with people calling it stretchyvision too, you'd press the button to go to widescreen, panoramic, cinema, or whatever other setting you had, but it never looked right, a bit like those huge magnifying glasses they had in the early days. My grandad was a big fan of something called "old moores almanac" it had all kinds of weird crazy things you could build.He'd seen one of these magnifiers in there I think, and bought one, he thought it was great, my grandmother hated it, and they had loads of rows over it.
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 1:02 am   #16
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by red16v View Post
If I may I'm not sure your first paragraph is altogether accurate nowadays. The process you're describing (anamorphic compression) was what we used in broadcasting in the days of 4:3 / 16:9 625 line pictures (no other country in Europe used that system I believe). If you stood near the camera when it switched between the two aspect ratios you could hear a dull sort of 'chung' noise as the additional anamorphic lens was switched in or out of the optical path in the zoom lens package itself - not in the camera. I was working on Ikegami CCD cameras, other manufacturers may have used different techniques to get the same end result.

Since the introduction of broadcast 1080 HD pictures, cameras have always been fitted with native 16:9 sensors as that is the aspect ratio they work in, I do not know of any native HD camera that can switch between 4:3 and 16:9 as 4:3 is an obsolete TV production format.

We still TX a right old mixture of archive programmes so they need to broadcast aspect ratio information for the receivers to deal with - as you say, it is sometimes not as successful as it should be!
As far as I am aware the transmission of TV shows is still done in the 4.3 format. The pictures might be shot on a 16.9 camera. But if you switch the TV picture to 4.3 you get an elongated picture still. There is a signal inside this 4.3 signal that makes the TV switch to the 16.9 angle. When a 4.3 picture from an old TV is shown, the TV doesn't switch to wide. By still using a 4.3 image size, even on HD, you can keep the signal size considerable reduced and therefore have more TV stations. Otherwise you would finish up with a very large signal and also require different sets.

Just a little background on aspect size. The original size of a cinema screen was 1.33 or 4.3. Then later bands were placed on the top and bottom to accommodate the sound on the same film. This became known as Academy Ratio or 1.37. When Television came out they adopted the 1.33 ratio of the film industry. In fact if you look at some pictures of 1920's picture place screens they look like they have got a giant TV set! Even down to the curved edges! Later on the TV industry adopted the 16.9 or 1.78 widescreen as a compromise between the much higher 2.35 of the Panavision system used on the larger screen movies.
However most of the widescreen movies were shot on 35mm film which gives the 1.33 or 1.37 picture. To get around this they used an anamorphic lens, which when reversed gave the widescreen pictures of 1.85 (standard) and 2.35 ratio. Larger types of film gave rise to formats such as Ultra Panavision etc.

1920 picture screen
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 2:51 pm   #17
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

I find most people complain when their TV (correctly) shows an old TV programme in 4:3
as they don't like the vertical bands - shades of 'we paid for widescreen so we'll damn well use it!'. For that reason I always make sure a customer's set is set to 16:9 and not 'auto'. If the customer prefers the correct ratio they are usually clued up enough to adjust it themselves.
Often I see odd sized pictures as an old programme may well be shown in some compromise ratio so people don't look so Michelin Man, especially on some low cost channels. Selecting 4:3 gives stick figures, though the original source was in that ratio. I find 14:9 gives the best result in this case.
To go back to the OP I think experimenting with your Sky box and the TV's settings might give you a compromise, especially as they often fight against each other. However, as said earlier, the 4:3 ratio is hardly a priority nowadays.
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 3:59 pm   #18
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

This discussion reminds me of the DVDs I have of the series Last of the Summer Wine. While the earlier seasons, which were originally broadcast in 4:3, display correctly (by my definition) with the correct aspect ratio and black bars at the sides, and later seasons, broadcast in 16:9, correctly fill a 16:9 screen, the pilot episode (which is tacked onto the end of the final 16:9 season) will not display in the correct aspect ratio whatever selection I make. I feel this is a good example of the contempt correct aspect ratio is held in these days. Fortunately, I have an off-air recording of this episode in the correct aspect ratio.
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 10:04 pm   #19
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

And let's not even mention the trend to film everything on a smartphone in 9:16 portrait, to the point where it has become a brand-stamp for "Amatuer footage".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9zSfinwFA
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 2:44 pm   #20
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Default Re: 16:9 to 4:3 Converter?

I face the same problem with my projector - it's 4:3 and my sources are normally my FreeView and FreeSat PVRs. I don't think I can get 4:3 PAL out of them. One thing I will try though is to make my own DVD recording and play from a DVD player into the projector. That may give me enough options to get a non-stretchy, non-squeezy aspect ratio. Either letterbox or cropped sides would be OK. I don't use the projector enough to warrant replacement.
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