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02-15-2012 09:40 PM
Just when you thought your TV was future-proof, Vizio has announced the industry's first line of 21:9 aspect ratio TVs!
I was pretty excited to read about this in the local paper. I have been on the cusp of a TV purchase for the past three years. However, there's always been a new feature that I've been interested in.
First it was 1080p, then it was 3D, last year it was Smart TVs with Wi-Fi built-in.
Every year I have waited for the next feature, thinking that this would be the last one I need to make a purchase.
Lo and behold, the announcement comes out that some TVs are going 21:9, rather than 16:9.
(For those of you that don't know, current 'widescreen' HDTVs are all 16:9 ratio. That is, they measure approx. 16 along the horizontal width, and 9 along the vertical height. Old SDTVs were 4:3)
Why is this exciting news? Well, as an avid movie-watcher, most of the films are shot in Cinemascope 2.35:1, which approximates rather closely to 21:9.
This means that when you are watching a Cinemascope movie shot in 2.35:1 ratio, you have little to zero black bars on the top and bottom of your image.
The way they are marketing this is also so that you can have an online Smart TV console beside your web page navigation window or HDTV broadcast.
Still this is great news, and I'm looking forward to seeing more brands that carry this ratio. I've asked at my local Future Shop and they don't currently carry Vizio sets. Hopefully other vendors will follow and we will see them at a Future Shop soon this year!
02-15-2012 10:35 PM - edited 02-16-2012 12:08 AM
My question is content...
- what is the TV's native resolution?
- is it 4k?
- what content is at that TV's resolution?
- are broadcasters recording at that resolution?
- who still waiting for content that takes advantage of sharp's yellow channel?
02-16-2012 06:52 AM
02-16-2012 03:00 PM
Good questions. I do not know for sure, but my understanding is that it would be an increased resolution so that you can still get 1080p in a portion of your 21:9 screen.
OK, I have found a link on the Vizio site.
It cites 2560 x 1080 resolution with passive 3D(!), Wi-Fi, and Smart TV applications.
Future Shop has to stock this thing! I am falling in love.
I think the plan is to fill the 'vertical black bars' with a navigation menu screen so that you can browse the Internet, You Tube, Netflix or regular 16:9 content.
03-20-2012 05:28 AM
I'd rather go constant image height projection system than be stuck with even more content having vertical bars. I much prefer horizontal bars on my scope Blu-ray's than vertical bars on all my HDTV programming.
I think this is the year I'll finally be upgrading and my eyes are set on the 65" VT50 Panasonic. I have yet to see an LCD (CCFL or LED) with 3D performance that impresses like plasma does.
03-28-2012 01:17 PM - edited 03-28-2012 01:19 PM
Sure, it may help you watch Spartacus without any letterboxing - when someone gets around to coming out with a revision to the Blu-Ray standard that will allow for content at the appropriate resolution, and then some other person later on gets around to re-releasing Spartacus, lol. Any benefit to this seems to exist in the distant future, so it certainly doesn't put me off buying a new 3DTV this year.
Current Blu-Rays are optimized for 16x9 televisions. While Vizio may come up with some clever processing or algorithm to scale content wider than 16:9 up 'til the black bars are "off" the screen, scaling is still scaling and I'd rather just buy a very large 16:9 TV to compensate for the letterboxing bars and watch the video in its native resolution.
The day may come when 21:9 are worth buying, if there's ever content in its native resolution (and more manufacturers than just Vizio get on board), but given the quantity of things made over the past 10 years in 16:9, and likely to be made in 16:9 for many years to come, you'll still need a good 16:9 television no matter what.
03-28-2012 09:50 PM
So, I understand what you are saying, but I have a few counterpoints to your argument:
(1) 16:9 aspect ratio may be popular within the last ten years, but 21:9 (roughly Cinemascope) has been around for almost sixty years and covers a vast majority of films. As a movie lover this is first and foremost on my list -- a TV that prioritizes movies first. 16:9 came out as somewhat of a compromise between traditional 4:3 and 21:9, and now that I think about it, I actually like the idea of having an HD window with a navigation pane on the side to fill up that 21:9 screen. This is not necessary for movies though.
(2) While there is no 'native resolution' for 21:9, I don't believe it is that dramatic of a change to watch 16:9 programming zoomed in on it. Sure, there will be a slight resolution loss, but I don't think it would be noticable to the majority of viewers. Heck, the majority of the population is very happy with DVD. I haven't done the math, but I don't think zooming a 16:9 to 21:9 is any worse than, say, 720p even on the best of images. Include the fact that the majority of programming is diminished by other factors, and I would say that the point is almost moot.
(3) Vizio is not the only manufacturer with this idea. Philips has also released a 21:9 television as well.
It does affect my decision to buy because I have not invested in an HDTV yet, but would much prefer to have something like this in my living room. The cost of the larger screens with passive 3D technology is getting cheaper by the minute, so the prices are sure to fall.
03-29-2012 05:56 AM - edited 03-29-2012 05:57 AM
The choice between Vizio, Philips and Panasonic is an easy one!
I find the loss of resolution distracting when zooming in on scope to make it fit a 16:9 television because I find the loss of fidelity quite noticeable.
I couldn't possibly buy a TV that doesn't have any native programming available.
03-29-2012 07:30 AM
I do find loss of resolution distracting, but not nearly as distracting as poor encoding, compression artificats, and oftentimes, the inherent poor quality of original source material. Those are much larger factors contributing to overall picture quality than zooming a 16:9 image to 21:9.
Furthermore, I think even if you take the best possible quality 720p image in ideal conditions, and compare it against the same image in 1080p, there is only a very marginal difference. Take into account the fact that when you are watching a movie, you usually get swept into the story, and not fixated on pixels, makes the argument about the zooming moot, in my opinion.
My vision is probably the best it will ever be at my age now. 10 or 20 years from now, I will probably be happy back with VHS.