Picked this DVD recorder up and I'm attempting to record from my cable TV but anything in widescreen is being recorded in non-anamorphic widescreen. The image is also being displayed non-anamorphic (with the black bars) when viewing the cable TV through the DVD recorder without recording. When I view the cable TV directly to the TV it's being displayed in proper anamorphic mode.
The cable TV box is connected to the DVD recorder with RCA cables and then RCA cables from the DVD recorder to the TV.
In the DVD recorder's setup menu under "Recording" there is a setting called "Aspect Ratio (Video mode)". It's set to Auto by default, which I have tried when recording. I have also changed it to 16:9 with same result.
I read a review for this DVD recorder on a site where the author specifically mentions the DVD recorder's best feature is that, I quote, "The problem in the past is that with other DVD recorders, you always get a squished image when trying to record anamorphic 16:9 video to a DVD. This recorder has the option to record in 16:9 format so that your widescreen video will appear correctly no matter where you play it back."
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Your cable box is putting out a non-anamorphic picture. The DVD recorder is simply recording the picture it's given. The only fix is to set the cable box to output an anamorphic picture. Most do not have such an option.
The reviewer is talking about what happens when the source is putting out an anamorphic picture -- the DVD recorder can be set to flag the recording as 16:9 rather than the usual 4:3.
Thanks jagabo for the reply.
But if a setting such as that would be the issue, how come it is displayed anamorphic when I connect it directly to my TV, just not when played through the DVD recorder?
Maybe you are able to tell if my cable box can do that or not? It's called Pace, model no. RNG110.
The cable box only outputs 4:3 video when using composite cables(rca cables).The only way to get the proper 16:9 picture mode is by using component cables from the cable box out which the dvd recorder cant use.If it's displayed in 16:9 them it's being cast over either hdmi or component cables,no way to do that with rca cables.I think,therefore i am a hamster.
There was no setting on the Pace RNG110 that could be changed to display HD channels in anamorphic widescreen when using the box's SD connections. Beleive me, I tried. I even went into the hidden menus looking for a solution.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 2nd Aug 2016 at 01:53.
I was using HDMI when connecting the cable box straight to the TV.
So in other words, there is no way to record in anamorphic widescreen with this DVD recorder...
Are there any DVD recorders on the market that are able to do this?
The RNG110 letterboxes 16:9 HD pictures for composite or RF out because Pace expects that viewers using an SD connection are watching with a 4:3 TV rather than recording with a DVD recorder. I believe HDMI to composite converters also letterbox to ensure the picture displays correctly on an old 4:3 TV, so they won't help with this problem.
Another "gotcha" is the majority of DVD recorders cannot detect or embed the anamorphic flag required to automatically trigger a display to "unsqueeze" the anamorphic dvd into true 16:9. Instead, the 16:9 video is recorded and displayed vertically squeezed into a 4:3 frame. So one needs to hit the "wide" button on their TV remote each time one of these dvds is played. Mostly this is a convenience issue: its annoying to fuss with the TV for each dvd, and theres always the chance mfrs will eventually eliminate the manual "wide" setting from future TVs as a cost-cutting measure.
That is where certain models of dvd recorder, like the Toshiba 410, have an advantage: when set to 16:9 aspect, they DO embed the standard anamorphic flag in their 16:9 recordings. This eliminates fussing with the TV controls and assures any DVDs you lend to friends/family will not confuse or frustrate them. Those of us using DVD recorders without the flag embed feature are forced into the tedious workaround of ripping the original recorder dvd to our PC, adding the anamorphic flag with a utility like pgcEdit, then burning a final dvd copy with the flag properly embedded (usually one also needs to embed a flag to auto-run the disc menu as well). Why in the hell EVERY dvd recorder ever made did not offer auto-run menu and auto-run anamorphic flag is baffling: the lack of these features certainly helped kill their initial appeal to consumers.
Last edited by orsetto; 2nd Aug 2016 at 13:25.
DVDPatcher as insurance. My old Panasonic DVD recorder would only display 16:9 recordings correctly if both the video aspect ratio and the IFO aspect ratio agreed that the video was 16:9. There is no way to be sure other players don't behave the same way.
The ability to manually set the 16:9 display aspect ratio flag was unnecessary during the time when DVD recorders were most popular in N. America. TVs were mostly 4:3, NTSC analog broadcasts were 4:3 only, and SD digital cable was 4:3 only, so few consumers in NTSC countries would want or need to record a picture intended to be displayed at 16:9 before HDTVs and HDTV broadcasts became common. Only recorders produced for N. America after 2008 might need the ability to manually set the 16:9 display aspect ratio flag, but by that time most consumers had stopped using DVD recorders because they were harder to use than a DVR from their service provider and did not record in HD.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 2nd Aug 2016 at 16:17. Reason: clarification
DVDPatcher alongside pgcEdit. I've been very lax in not using it, since my mind is focused on getting pgcEdit to auto-load the menu or auto-play the first title. Aspect ratio can be worked around via the TV remote, but players and PCs that flatly refuse to recognize a recorder dvd at all (because the stupid recorder fails to embed ANY info on how to PLAY the dvd) is my biggest problem. So far I've been getting away without patching the VOB ARs: the pgcEdit AR flag seems to be recognized by every computer, media player, BD player and DVD recorder I've tested. I really hope this is just a backwards compatibility issue with some older recorders like the Panasonics you mention: I don't relish the prospect of revising a couple hundred dvds! Going forward I need to use DVDPatcher more consistently.
Your background info on the PAL system in place when DVD recorders first arrived was interesting: thanks for that. Respectfully, I would still argue it made no sense for recorders sold in North America to offer true 16:9 anamorphic recording as an option but NOT make the required flags available. The missing 16:9 flag is a minor inconvenience when viewing on a 16:9 television, but was a dealbreaker with 4:3 televisions: that same flag also told the DVD player to letterbox the video when connected to a 4:3 display. Minus the flag, 16:9 recorder dvds will only play vertically squeezed on old CRT TVs. If one didn't or doesn't know how to rip and process such DVDs thru a correction utility, they're stuck with a problem either way. Its fortunate the utilities provide a cure, but its extra time and effort spent that wouldn't be necessary if the recorders were properly designed in the first place.
I understand your contextual point that the feature wasn't considered vital when most sources and displays were still 4:3, and would totally agree with you if the recorders did not offer 16:9 recording at all. But they did offer it, so should have included the AR flag feature required to trigger the proper player framing. I suppose we can give them a pass on that, because 16:9 televisions do provide a simple workaround. The inexplicable failure of JVC and Pioneer (among others) to embed first-play flags in their dvds is less forgivable, and a royal pain. Toshiba was one of the few recorder mfrs with enough sense to include first-play and AR flags in every unit they sold. Sadly, their reliability was terrible, forcing many of us to opt for the crippled (but dependable) Pioneers, etc.
The early years of ATSC/QAM left owners of these recorders between a rock and a hard place- some new accessory tuners had switchable 16:9 outputs but if you still owned a 4:3 television, you were stuck recording letterboxed to avoid distorted squeezing. If you tried to be future-proof by recording in true 16:9, the dvds played squeezed on your existing 4:3 TV and you were screwed until you ponied up for a 16:9 display. A needless Catch-22 that was easily avoidable (and was avoided by Toshiba, at least). The widescreen flag had nothing to do with ATSC, it was part of the DVD spec, so if a recorder was going to offer 16:9 as a distinct display option it seems pointless not to have a recording option to match. Recordings of widescreen line input would have then had a flag triggering appropriate letterbox or 16:9 framing on any dvd player in accordance with the connected television.
The manufacturers weren't interested in the tiny portion of the public that had such sources, were aware of it, and cared.
Last edited by orsetto; 2nd Aug 2016 at 23:26.
For every person that had an anamorphic source and appreciated a 16:9 DAR flag for their recordings there would be a hundred like the OP who called their support lines complaining about how their 16:9 DVD recordings didn't work right. Then support would have to spend half an hour explaining the difference between anamorphic and letterboxed. That's why they didn't include the feature. When those people called they could simply say "we don't support 16:9", end of call.
However, if they typically provide anamorphic output, guy24s could get an HDMI splitter and an HDMI to composite converter, which would allow him to watch TV via HDMI and record an anamorphic picture at the same time.
Plus, there is at least one HDMI to composite converter with an internal splitter: https://www.amazon.com/ZenhonŽ-HDMI-converter-CVBS-1080P/dp/B00TJSOC3A/
Good point about adding a splitter for simultaneous viewing/recording with an HDMI>Composite converter. If one expects to leave the converter permanently connected, this would be the preferred setup.
After trying several of these converters, I opted not to use them except for special circumstances. Other than allowing true 16:9 AR to be recorded from a decoder box, they're of no benefit because the quality tradeoff is fairly severe. The converted 16:9 PQ is no better (and often worse) than simply recording the cable box 4:3 letterboxed output and zooming it with the TV controls.
I'm fortunate to have decent off-air reception of the local channels, which I feed my older DVD/HDD recorders via Zenith and Channel Master ATSC boxes with 16:9 output capability. A couple times a year, I screw up or forget a timer setting and miss an episode of a series I'm archiving. To fill in the gap, I'll connect an HDMI>Composite converter to my cable box and use the on-demand feature to capture the episode I missed. The converter quality is mediocre, but its better than nothing and keeps all the episodes in matching 16:9. The only other use I have for the converter is connecting my laptop HDMI to a dvd recorder when I want an analog capture of a youTube video or some such.
To the OP, I'd suggest tolerating the 4:3 letterbox dvd recordings if you didn't pay much for the Toshiba 410 and expect just casual use from it. If you're really serious about archiving cable programs in 16:9, forget DVD recorders: cable all but killed the market for them with numerous intentional compatibility issues. Getting top-quality 16:9 from decoder box to DVD recorder requires $300-$400 worth of discreet converter modules: for that money, you may as well invest in a CableCard-compatible PVR accessory for your PC or better yet a used TiVO. At least those offer true HDTV quality along with 16:9, and you could always make DVDs from their files later if needed.
To the OP, if you don't want to spend the extra money for a full fledged STB that outputs WS over composite(if it's even available to you) then using such a converter is really your only choice, warts and all.
Many moons ago I had a Polaroid HDD/DVD recorder which would record from composite-in jacks. My satellite receiver had an option to send out a signal in 480p (which the Polaroid could handle) that was squeezed WS anamorphic. Thus the Polaroid would record a 480p 4:3 squeezed anamorphic picture, which could then be "unsqueezed" to a 16:9 picture on a WS display. Mind that this was about 10 years ago, so at the time I considered this a really cool "poor man's recording of WS in ED." At some point the satellite company decided to eliminate the option of the anamorphic output by changing the software, and so that era came to a close, thankfully. Today, it's a lot easier just to use a Tivo, or something like the Hauppauge box which will record WS in true HD.84Lion
I've been trying to wrestle one with a dead dvd burner away from my best friend for years, to replace my mediocre HDMI>Composite converters. He won't give it up due to sentimental value, as it was a milestone birthday gift. I've considered buying one off eBay, but the asking prices are ridiculous (not to mention shipping costs).
Which TiVO model should I choose? There are many listed on Amazon. Any major difference (apart from the internal storage space) and is it possible to get the files over to the PC from all TiVO models?
If you opt for a TiVO, you would not connect it to the cable box at all. The TiVO is one of very few independent devices with a CableCard slot. The CableCard is the actual 2-way decoder/authorization subsystem of the cable box that makes it exclusive to your cable company: the rest of the box is fairly generic. Largely because TiVO came up with the PVR concept before the cable companies figured it out for themselves, TiVO has leverage that makes the cable companies supply their decoders on a card that slots into the TiVO. The TiVO contains its own multiple tuners and recording system, so you can dispense with a separate cable box altogether and just rent the CableCard for $3-$5 per month. Of course you would still pay the rest of your cable bill, the TiVO just shaves $10-$20 because you can stop renting a separate box.
Naturally, the cable companies don't make switching to TiVO easy. Many of them will stonewall you on the CableCard installation, pretending they never heard of it, or the tech they send out will install it incorrectly (by malice or ignorance). You have to be patient, hold your temper, and keep politely insisting until they "provision" the CableCard in your TiVO properly ("provision" is cableco lingo for installing and authorizing).
Note also the money you save not renting the cable box will be re-directed to paying off the TiVO and/or paying TiVO's own monthly fee. The TiVO system uses the famous "give away the razor and make money on the blades" marketing trick: you can buy a brand new TiVO for $150-$300 depending on model and sales promotions, but then you're on the hook for approx $20/mo data subscription. Until recently, TiVO offered a fairly reasonable upfront package deal option of a new recorder + lifetime subscription for roughly $500 (with no further fees). But they stopped that last year and now the bundle price is ridiculous. To get around this, many people buy second-hand or refurbished TiVOs with lifetime service: the lifetime feature is transferable to the new owner. Such used units sell for $250 and up: an excellent deal. I believe the "TiVO Premier" is the most popular second-hand model for cable, but I might be wrong.
Choosing a TiVO model can be tricky. You want one with CableCard slot and PC transfer option, but they sold models with slow and fast PC connections. Faster is much better. The TiVO files needs to be "unwrapped" by a utility app, which reveals them as standard HDTV files that can be stored as-is or converted into DVD/BluRay format.
I do not (yet) use a TiVO myself. so can't advise you on further specifics. The best tips I've seen are posted by a member named "Kelson" over on the AVSforum. There are more TiVO threads on AVS than on VH: here, people seem to prefer a CableCard accessory for their PC and record directly to their computer via Windows Media Center. This can be a great option for some people, but it doesn't function under Windows 8.1 or 10, and Microsoft seems hell bent on eliminating it in future. It helps to be somewhat geeky and willing to maintain a dedicated Windows 7 PC as your TV recorder. The TiVO is more convenient and comprehensible for the average user, but it does cost more and requires some clever shopping around.
Last edited by orsetto; 4th Aug 2016 at 17:36.
Yes, there are differences between models. Some TiVos are only made to receive over-the-air TV via antenna (TiVo Roamio OTA DVR), some can be used for both cable TV service and antenna (TiVo BOLT, TiVo Roamio DVR or TiVo Roamio Pro DVR), and some are satellite units that won't function without a larger unit to feed them a signal (TiVo Mini).
Note that using a TiVo to record cable TV requires a CableCARD, which you must obtain from your cable provider. The rental fee for a CableCARD can be anywhere between free and $7.45/month depending on your provider and possibly how many other cable company cable boxes/DVRs you have. You also need to pay TiVo a monthly fee for guide service, which the TiVo requires in order to function. The monthly charge is $14.99 (plus applicable taxes) or you can pay a one time lifetime (of the device) fee of $549.99 (plus applicable taxes).
[Edit]I don't have a TiVo. After weighing the cost for a TiVo, I went the PC CableCARD tuner route.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 4th Aug 2016 at 17:44.
orsetto and usually_quiet, thanks for the detailed responses on my TiVO questions! I'll have to read up some more on TiVO and then evaluate which is the better route to take; TiVO or record via the computer. Anyway, thanks for all your help!
If you go the PC with CableCARD tuner route, you still need to obtain a CableCARD from your cable provider. It's possible that you will need a tuning adapter as well for some cable providers, but a TiVo would as well.
Recordings from copy-once channels won't be portable, and copy-once channels require Windows 7's Media Center or Windows 8.1's Media Center for watching or recording. There is no access to on-demand content using a PC CableCARD tuner.
I use a Silicondust HDHomerun Prime, which has 3 tuners and an Ethernet interface. It may be connected directly to the PC's Ethernet port (only one PC can use it) or a router's LAN ports (all PCs on a wired network can use it). I highly recommend it. Silicondust is working on its own DVR software solution (HDHomerun DVR) to replace Windows Media Center, but it has not yet received CableLabs Certification so there is no version for sale yet which allows recording copy-once protected channels. The software will be available for OS X, Windows 10, and Android.
Comcast, Verizon, and Bright House have mostly copy-freely channels. (The main exceptions are premium channels like Showtime and HBO, but a few others may be copy-once protected as well.) Most other major cable service providers have more copy-once channels than copy-freely channels. In some cases, only local TV stations will be copy-freely. I have Comcast.