October 15, 2005
As Omar recently pointed out, Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center 2005 adds one essential new feature that makes it a "must have" upgrade -- non-linear stretch! I took a few screenshots on my HTPC to illustrate.
This is typical 4:3 television content:
On a widescreen 16:9 display, the content just doesn't fit-- at least not at the original aspect ratio. You get black bars on the side. So what can we do about this? You could zoom in:
Look how much content we've cropped away around the edges! Let's try a simple stretch to fit instead:
No content is lost, but we've distorted everything: it's wider and fatter.
Clearly zooming and stretching both have their drawbacks. Non-linear zoom, on the other hand, is a happy combination of both: the image is slightly cropped on the top and bottom, then progressively stretched more towards the edges; the center is barely stretched at all:
Microsoft calls this Intelligent Zoom, and it has far fewer downsides than a pure zoom or stretch. It's my new favorite viewing mode for 4:3 content!
This new viewing mode isn't just cosmetic. It can be essential to preserving your plasma or LCD television investment! After 8 months, our plasma TV had noticeable burn-in on the edges where the "black bars" appear for the 4:3 content! I immediately switched the bars to 100% white until the wear levels equalized, and now I have the bars permanently set to 50% grey.
However, this new non-linear stretch mode is an even better option. Highly recommended.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
I don't think LCD TVs experience burn-in. (I hope not! ... it's one of the reasons I bought one.)
Plasma and CRT tvs certainly do get burn-in. I've seen some HD channels (very annoyingly) broadcast in 16x9 with those grey bars on the sides.
A lot of new TV’s (my 50" DLP) has this feature built into it. Its called a panoramic mode where it will not stretch the middle but will the sides. This is ok for something like football, but I cannot stand it for movies as people's faces look like they are getting ripped off as they get near the edge of the screen!
A lot of new TV’s (my 50" DLP) has this feature built into it.
Yeah, but the implementation varies significantly.. some are better than others. I'm tremendously impressed with the MCE 2005 version. There is distortion, but it's barely noticeable and definitely not "heads getting ripped off" severe! See here for more:
non-linear zoom, that must be what my 28" Sony is doing. I thought content at the top and bottom of the screen seemed to be a little distorted!
LCD image persistance - Yes, we launched an 'Information Screen' network for the Avon and Somerset Police.
I opted to go with 40" LCD screens, as they have lots of advantages over plasmas. One of the major ones (I thought) being that they would not experience burn in.
A few months of computer generated graphics later and there were some ghostly outlines appearing on the screen.
It's not burn in, it's image persistance!
Unlike burn in, image persistance *can* be reverved. To do this, every night between 1am and 6am the screen displays a pure white picture. This is slowly undoing the image persistance effect.
had a problem like this with my 2001FP, when playing Gran Turismo 4 on my PlayStation2 using the Svideo input. The right-most digits of the race timer, the hundreths and the tenths that flicker from black to white at an insane rate, would burn-in on the monitor. When I switched back to my DVI input, you could still see the ghostly "88" pattern as an afterimage.
I don't know what to call it other than "pixel fatigue". The pixels eventually returned to normal after a few hours of using the monitor for something other than Gran Turismo.
Geeze.. did you have to use a picture that clearly showed the Gophers loosing...?
hi does anyone have this issue. i have mc 2005 edition but when i watch live tv, i dont have the option to zoom in. when i press the info button, the only options that i can select from are movie info, messenger, and settings. its not a big deal but i'd like to have the option.
yea i have update rollup 2 installed. i had some trouble installing it, but i got aroud that problem. does the zoom feature work on any monitor or do you have to have a big screen?
I'm surprised you see the intelligentZoom as barely stretched at all.
In the example you posted above the stretching hurts my eyes!
I go on preferring the black (or grey) bars aside and no stretch at all.
(Thanks for the examples anyway)
As an aside, that was one great football game that I had the privilege of attending. Although it's almost two years ago I recall the ending well. (My) Badgers down 10 with something like only a minute and half to go. Score a quick touchdown. And then somehow, even though Minnesota had rushed for over 400 yards already that day, Wisconsin held them to a 3 and out. Then, the play you have on the screen, blocked punt for a Wisconsin touchdown. The Metrodome probably had 20,000 Badger fans there and that place erupted. I was out downtown Minneapolis that night and people in Red everywhere celebrating and bar hoping.
It was a very very good day (and evening I might add)!
Arghh!! My eyes, my eyes! It still looks distorted to me.
This kind of horizontal zoom is okay until something pans horizontally. Then you get to see stuff accelerate when it gets to the edge of the TV. Horrible, just horrible. As soon as I saw the first pan horizontal on such a setting, I've told everybody I saw with it to turn it off. Try watching a circle go from left to right (or the default Vista screen saver - the circle-bouncy one) - they're bound to give you headaches.
These large flat screens are really only going to perform when receiving HD signals. They really don't cope with standard def.