Polaroid FLM-3732

So as many of you know, I own the Polaroid FLM-3732, my first ever decent TV, HDTV even. Man, it is actually a really nice TV considering that it from a brand that few associated with TVs. The sound quality could be better, and I have often complained about tweaking the color, but all and all it is a good TV. I would suggest buying it if you find it on a really good sale like I did.

Nonetheless, there is something I don’t like about this TV, and that is the VGA input. For some reason, I have only been able to get it to recognize 4:3 resolutions from Lori’s laptop. If I choose a resolution that is not 4:3, instead of filling the screen, it would only scrunch it down into a letterboxed image inside of the 4:3 screen. Why is this? I have no freaking clue.

Well you might say, why not use the zoom function to just make this fill up the screen? The zoom function is not available in this mode. Only “normal” (4:3 box) and “stretch” (16:9 screen filled). I finally came up with a half-ass solution that works for most movies though.

If you want to watch a movie that fills the HDTV screen, set up a 4:3 resolution such as 1024×768 on the screen and load your movie into a powerful movie player (such as VLC). At this point, you manually set the movie to a 4:3 resolution so that it scrunches it tightly and fills the 4:3 screen (in VLC this is Video->Aspect-Ratio->4:3). Now you are able to fake anamorphic widescreen by now using “stretch” mode to stretch that 4:3 image into fullscreen 16:9.

There is one problem here that I had not realized before. This techinique works great on captured HDTV and 1.85:1 movies which are close to 16:9, but it will actually cause the image to be *too* scrunched if you work with a 2.35:1 widescreen scope movie. I haven’t tried this in practice, but I *think* what you would want to do in this case is set the resolution to 16:9. By doing that you would be making the movie 78% of the original width which is similar to the 71% width change on the 16:9->4:3 conversion. There would be a little bit of stretching, but it probably isn’t too bad.

Another problem that I have run into is that I sometimes see material which was recorded off of standard definition TV but was broadcast in a wide format giving you windowboxing. Cropping to 16:9 then setting the aspect ratio to 4:3 does not seem sufficient in VLC because the aspect ratio is applied before the crop. I bet I will need to actually do some video processing to take care of this. I am not even sure if I would want to because the only show we had this problem with already looked like pixelated crap at 4:3 windowboxed, I’d hate to see it fill the screen…