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A few questions about the 86cm Panasonic (I'm sure this relates to the 76cm as well, as they seem to have the exact same specs apart from the size).

Question 1: I'm using a Sony 730P DVD player and I've noticed that if I select progressive output from the DVD player, I can no longer select an aspect ratio on the TV - it automatically switches to 16:9, even if the DVD is 4:3. Is this supposed to happen? So far I have to switch progressive off on the DVD to watch 4:3 DVDs.

Question 2: Most 16:9 movies seem to come with 4:3 extras, and many 4:3 TV shows have 16:9 menus. So I need to switch between 16:9 and 4:3, is there a way to get the TV to do this automatically or do I have to do it manually myself? Never had this problem with my 4:3 TV (I realise that it was the DVD player doing the work before), and also I don't have this problem using WinDVD on my PC as it automatically resizes the window to accomodate 16:9 or 4:3.

Question 3: I don't have an STB yet (I'm trying to wait for the HD toppy to be released). Anyway, I've noticed that analogue free-to-air TV looks noticeably worse on the 86cm screen than on my 68cm - is it just that any artefacts that were there are now larger and more easy to see?

Question 4: This is related to Q3 - to get an improved FTA picture should I just go for a cheap SD STB box now and get the HD toppy when (if) it's released - or what? I must say that we watch virtually no TV live, most stuff is recorded (on VHS) and played back later, so I think a recorder of some description is a necessity.

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I have a 76cm 100a (older model) and I'm not an expert but here's my take.

Question 1: I'm using a Sony 730P DVD player and I've noticed that if I select progressive output from the DVD player, I can no longer select an aspect ratio on the TV - it automatically switches to 16:9, even if the DVD is 4:3. Is this supposed to happen? So far I have to switch progressive off on the DVD to watch 4:3 DVDs.

The TV loses its ability to do PIP and aspect changing when operating on the so-called HD modes, i.e. it can do PIP and aspect changing with 576i input but not with 576p and 1080i inputs. It says this in the manual if you look hard enough. This is not such a big deal if you buy a STB as the STB will likely do PIP etc itself.

Question 2: Most 16:9 movies seem to come with 4:3 extras, and many 4:3 TV shows have 16:9 menus. So I need to switch between 16:9 and 4:3, is there a way to get the TV to do this automatically or do I have to do it manually myself? Never had this problem with my 4:3 TV (I realise that it was the DVD player doing the work before), and also I don't have this problem using WinDVD on my PC as it automatically resizes the window to accomodate 16:9 or 4:3.

Not sure what you mean here but when using 576i input or the internal tuner then you could set the aspect selection to AUTO and it will "stretch" out the 4x3 material to your screen width. It will display 16x9 in its native format.

Question 3: I don't have an STB yet (I'm trying to wait for the HD toppy to be released). Anyway, I've noticed that analogue free-to-air TV looks noticeably worse on the 86cm screen than on my 68cm - is it just that any artefacts that were there are now larger and more easy to see?

Yes, the inbuilt analogue tuner gives a poor picture. Mine does too. This has been commented previously in this forum. Forget about the inbuilt tuner, you need an STB and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much better the picture will be.

Question 4: This is related to Q3 - to get an improved FTA picture should I just go for a cheap SD STB box now and get the HD toppy when (if) it's released - or what? I must say that we watch virtually no TV live, most stuff is recorded (on VHS) and played back later, so I think a recorder of some description is a necessity.

This is a question for which you will get plenty of differing answers about. Most people seem very happy with the current toppy. Be aware that there is not a lot of HD material at the moment (and not for the forseeable future as the situation has hardly changed in the last 2 years as I've seen). You can't really go wrong if you research this forum etc and buy a recommended cheap STB and hedge your bet for a while.

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Thanks for the response...but...

I have a 76cm 100a (older model) and I'm not an expert but here's my take.
Question 1: I'm using a Sony 730P DVD player and I've noticed that if I select progressive output from the DVD player, I can no longer select an aspect ratio on the TV - it automatically switches to 16:9, even if the DVD is 4:3. Is this supposed to happen? So far I have to switch progressive off on the DVD to watch 4:3 DVDs.

The TV loses its ability to do PIP and aspect changing when operating on the so-called HD modes, i.e. it can do PIP and aspect changing with 576i input but not with 576p and 1080i inputs. It says this in the manual if you look hard enough. This is not such a big deal if you buy a STB as the STB will likely do PIP etc itself.

It wasn't really PIP I was interested in - the main problem (as I see it) is if I switch my DVD player to progressive output - the TV switches to 16:9 even if the DVD is 4:3 - so I get nice fat people. :blink:

Question 2: Most 16:9 movies seem to come with 4:3 extras, and many 4:3 TV shows have 16:9 menus. So I need to switch between 16:9 and 4:3, is there a way to get the TV to do this automatically or do I have to do it manually myself? Never had this problem with my 4:3 TV (I realise that it was the DVD player doing the work before), and also I don't have this problem using WinDVD on my PC as it automatically resizes the window to accomodate 16:9 or 4:3.

Not sure what you mean here but when using 576i input or the internal tuner then you could set the aspect selection to AUTO and it will "stretch" out the 4x3 material to your screen width. It will display 16x9 in its native format.

AUTO seems to also adjust the size of 16:9 slightly, I'd prefer to get 4:3 as 4:3 and 16:9 as 16:9 automatically, so far it looks like I have to manually select the aspect to match the title on the DVD.

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OK, set your TV to 16x9 input and then set your DVD player to output 16x9 (widescreen). You must have the DVD player set to something else?

That's the thing - my DVD is set to 16:9.

When the DVD is outputting interlaced - I can select either 16:9 or 4:3 on the TV to correspond to the DVD.

BUT, if I set the DVD to output progressive then regardless of DVD content OR TV settings, I get 16:9 on the TV.

I'll just have to keep switching from progressive back to interlaced whenever I want to watch 4:3 DVD material.

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I've got the Pana 200A 76cm model, and my understanding is that in progressive mode, the TV simply accepts the feed provided from the source. So in your situation, it would seem you would need to ensure that the source (ie. your DVD) is set correctly to send the 4:3 material.

Can you not set the DVD to 4:3 mode when you are viewing 4:3 pictures.

Sorry if I'm oversimplifying things, but it seems that your problem is with the source feed rather than the TV settings.

Good Luck.

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