Aspect Ratio on LVW-1105HC+

I have a widescreen TV linked to a Sagem Freeview box with hard disk. I have recently purchased an LVW-1105HC+ DVD recorder so that I can transfer any recordings I want to keep from the Freeview box in order to free up disk space. Recorded TV programmes viewed from the Freeview box display correcly in widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, but when I transfer these recordings to DVD, or indeed if I record directly from TV to the DVD recorder, these are playing back in 4:3 ratio, with black marks to left and right and the images stretched vertically. Even the top menu of the DVD recording is almost invisible. My connections are:

Aerial into Freeview box
Scart from Freeview box to TV
Scart from Freeview box to DVD
Scart from DVD to TV

The DVD recorder is set up for 16:9 ratio

I have racked my brains for a solution, so I would really appreciate any help.

Welcome to CD Freaks :slight_smile:

The LVW-1105HC+ does have a drawback in that it does not store the aspect ratio flag on a DVD recording, which means that if you record widescreen content flagged as 16:9, the DVD recorder will flag it as 4:3, which will result in a 4:3 stretched looking picture during playback. The first thing you can try doing is see if there is a stretch option on the TV to stretch the picture to fill the screen. Most 16:9 TV’s have this feature and would result in your DVD recordings looking as they should. However, if your TV does not have such an option, there are two methods you can try to overcome this issue.

The first first method would involve setting your Freeview box to 4:3 Letterbox before making the transfer to DVD (if you Freeview box has this Aspect ratio mode). This would result in a recorded 16:9 picture including the top & lower black bars in the picture. When you play this back, most TVs will stretch the 16:9 image in the frame to fill the screen, since the vast number of widescreen VHS recordings have have the unused black portions in each frame. Unfortunately, this method results in lost picture quality, since instead of recording a full frame, the DVD recorder stores the 16:9 image along with the upper & lower unused portions of the frame.

The 2nd method is to record as you have been doing up until now, but then use a software tool such as IFOEdit to change the Aspect ratio in the recording to 16:9. This can be done without re-encoding the title, however it will mean having to rip the contents off the disc and write it back with this flag set. This means that if you choose this method, I would recommend using a rewritable disc to make the recording and then use a write once disc to store the recording after editing the Aspect ratio on the PC.

Thanks a lot for that Sean, I will give it a try when I get home tonight. Just thinking, though, if the first method (TV adjustment) isn’t available as an option and the second method results in loss of quality, I would feel as though I’d been well ripped off buying this model if the only way to view content as recorded was to have to manually adjust it through a PC - especially as I only have a DVD ROM on my PC so would mean additional outlay for a new drive. Do all DVD recorders suffer from this or did I just choose a donkey?

From what I have read about, the vast majority of DVD recorders do not set this flag, including the higher end Lite-On’s. I am rather surprised that this is not standard, considering that it is just a matter of setting a flag in the disc’s IFO. On the other hand, there may be other reasons also. For example, when you load a blank disc, the DVD recorder automatically initialises the disc and has no way of telling if you plan on storing 16:9 or 4:3 content on the disc.

One main issue is that a DVD disc can be flagged as 16:9 or 4:3, but not both, at least with the way DVD recorders write the recording to disc. However as it is possible to record more than one recording on a DVD, if the recorder decided to flag the disc as 16:9 due to the first recording being in this format, a problem will arise should the uesr then decide to make a 4:3 recording on the same disc later on.

Hi, Sean

Just thought you’d like to know that the problem is solved, and your advice guided me in the right direction! The TV was set in Automatic mode which automatically adjusts the picture depending on which aspect ratio the broadcaster is transmitting. I then realised from your information that the DVD was telling the TV to show in the default 4:3 format a programme that was recorded in 16:9, hence the distortion. So by changing the TV to 16:9 mode for DVD viewing, the DVD correctly displays, and without loss of quality.

Thanks for all your help, and how good it is to experience such a well moderated forum that is missing the usual bad language and flaming.