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4:3 OLED TVs: A Win For All
Posted by cin5 on June 21, 2020 at 13:56:05:
Anyone owning or planning to own an OLED TV surely appreciates their uniquely stunning black level performance, a must for noir genre movie fans. On a related topic, perhaps 55% or more of your favorites were probably shot in 1.85:1 aspect, so the horizontal bars you see shouldn't be too thick on your standard 16:9 OLED. Some recent movies and some old classics like "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Sound of Music", "Three Women", "Ben Hur" and "Hud" were shot in 2.35: 1. Consequently, they will all have thicker horizontal bars. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio_(image)
Everyone hates bars but it's much worse for many cinephiles like me who also enjoy movies released prior to the mid-50s. Many of those, both "A" and "B" pictures, were filmed in 1.37:1 aspect, such as
Ditto for decades of vintage TV shows from the early 60s (Perry Mason) to the mid-90s (X-Files).
Try watching any of it even on a 77" OLED. If you're like me the vertical bars, which will be even thicker than horizontal bars when viewing most widescreen aspect content, will be unbearable. And stretching Perry Mason or cropping Gilda's (or Scully's) matador hat is unthinkable. Consequently, many of us are compelled to watch this "pillarboxed" 4:3 content on CRT TVs. Picture quality is not too bad and CRTs have excellent OLED-like contrast ratio. But except for a 40" direct view CRT which Sony once released about 17" years ago, virtually all CRTs are a painfully small 32", less than half the area of 65" widescreen TVs. And the best of performing CRTs (flat CR tube. component video inputs) are becoming impossible to find, and to get serviced. The same for refrigerator sized rear projection CRTs, which while some had 50" screens picture quality couldn't match that of direct view CRTs. And though direct view projectors can deliver high contrast ratios and large 4:3 images many of the better models cost at least $5,000. and may present placement problems for some users.
The obvious solution here to persuade select TV brands to market a 4:3 OLED TV, size ~ 40" to 50".
Unfortunately, as much of the CE industry is closely tied to Hollywood, it's not surprising that cutthroat aspects of that business reflect indifference towards consumer opinions and expectations, at least among the major TV brands, all of whom no longer accept consumer feedback at their websites. Indeed, "apparent" demand might have grown substantially larger if cinephiles hadn't given up in disgust with asking OLED brands to release 4:3 TVs. Again, except for perhaps Pioneer, most of the majors are deaf to consumer requests, save perhaps from what they glean from their own prognostications. And try finding their marketing VPs' contact info to share new product ideas; good luck with that.
However, I am about to begin proposing this new product to several other approachable brands .
While demand for a 4:3 OLED may not be huge it is certainly vibrant and long lived. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/40-oled-technology-flat-panels-general/1852162-will-anybody-ever-make-4-3-oled-display-watching-old-tv-shows-stuff-4-3-a.html
Additionally, there still are communities at AVS and at other home theater forums devoted to long defunct direct view CRT TVs, of course which are almost exclusively 4;3. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/64-direct-view-single-tube-crt-displays/ And here only two months ago members are still calling to bring CRTs back into production, as they have for years. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/64-direct-view-single-tube-crt-displays/1423003-please-bring-back-crt-tv-s-into-production-line-again.html
It's also well known among videophiles that CRTs, plasmas and OLEDs share very similar performance levels-unmatched by any existing display technology. But as Anthony1 from the first AVS link above suggested, many CRT fans would instantly embrace a space saving flat panel 40" or larger 4:3 OLED TV.
A good sized 4:3 OLED is the way to go-and ideally with a processor at least nearly as good as Sony's to upscale DVD and BD content.
Analog Video Connectivity: A Must for the 4:3 OLED
Whatever the reasons for the CE industry's imposed Analog Sunset, it unfairly deprives cinephiles of enjoying their feature packed Denon, Marantz, Pioneer and other high end DVD players. Sony includes one (1) composite input, though most inconveniently placed on the side of their A9G OLED (presumably just for camcorder playbacks)-but which is unsightly and would require longer cable runs from the TV to the DVD player.
But all high end DVD players have component video outputs. And as that connection yields the highest quality analog signal it likely will make it easier for the OLED's processor to upscale the DVD video signal.
Furthermore, virtually no currently produced BD players have zoom control-a highly prized viewing tool among cinephiles. I was badly upset that my otherwise excellent Oppo BDP-95 has only partial zoom control; it doesn't allow you to reposition and center a desired part of the zoomed image on the screen. My new Pioneer UDP-LX500 BD player and the discontinued Arcam 411p are about the only BD players which can. But virtually all DVD players have this advanced zoom control functionality, like my trusty JVC XV-NA70BK.
Cinephiles have long been victimized by the Blu-Ray Assn for mandating Oracle's BD-J disc authoring-which by default or deliberately locks out zoom and sometimes also slow motion features-and forces compliance upon BD player brands. But all DVDs are free of these oppressive restrictions that rob consumers of the freedom to enjoy as they please the products they purchase. Advanced zoom and slow motion controls are invaluable viewing tools allowing cinephiles more intimate viewing and appreciation of select scenes. https://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=17681489#post17681489
Sadly, few if any DVD players have an HDMI output. Thus, all OLED TVs should include component video inputs-or at the very least a rear mounted composite and/or S-video input. Indeed, all OLED TV brands can be assured that adding this analog video connectivity to the proposed 4:3 OLED will further endear this long awaited niche product to the home theater enthusiast community.
Pixel Count and DVD/BD Upscaling
All currently produced OLED TVs have 4K resolution; the pixel count being roughly four times that of the LCD or LED panels used to build earlier 1080p displays. So unless the 4:3 OLED TV has a high quality on board upscaling processor-like the one in Sony's A9G OLED-the 1080p BD or 480i DVD content displayed on 4K OLED panels may likely fill only a small part of the screen. Alternately, it's worth considering that while these processors generally do a good job, since most users would only be watching 4:3 content on a this 4:3 display, if it was instead a 1080 rather 4K OLED, BDs would be shown in their native 1080p scale; only DVDs would need to be upscaled. Of course, there currently are no consumer OLED brands making 4:3 OLEDs, nor are there any 1080 widescreen OLEDs.
Ultimately, only each TV brand would know how the economics of OLED panels with 1080 vs. 4K pixel counts would impact their own production of 4:3 OLED TVs. But if they stay with 4K pixels, Pioneer or those brands below should aim to design the 40" to 50" 4K 4:3 TV's OLED TV around the best upscaling processor within the niche market price point, perhaps ~$2200. or so. The high quality upscaling of 1080p BDs and DVDs (source formats still probably most common among collectors of vintage movies and TV shows) will allow viewers to sit at a comfortable distance.
Fortunately, as OLED technology has now matured the overall cost of making these TVs today has fallen substantially, thus volume sales risks versus tooling costs may be comfortably low-even when marketing lower volume 4K 4:3 OLED TVs with advanced upscaling, the same full featured remotes found in popular 16:9 widescreen OLEDs-and the added component video inputs.
Regarding assembly parts, though LG is likely still the sole supplier of OLED panels this firm may be helpful in getting 4:3 TVs built as cheaply as possible. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Display_Corporation
And there are now numerous OLED panel fabricators. Perhaps these and others are supplying the Chinese OLED TV brands listed below-those which may already be selling OLED TVs in North America.
Again, regarding demand, even if there are conservatively just ~ 10,000 members among the most prominent home theater forums expressing interest in owning 4:3 OLEDs, the number of consumers actually wanting one could be well beyond 10 to 50 times as much. Demand could easily be tested with runs of 7,000 units or so. And if Pioneer or Chinese brand OLEDs can perform nearly as good as Sony and LG models, and/or for a somewhat lower price, sales may grow even higher.
Finally, given the still extant global pandemic lockdown with so many people staying close to home, a 40" or larger 4:3 OLED will make big chunks of one's vintage personal movie and TV collection look their best.
I will first be approaching Pioneer, as I especially hope it will be they who agree to market this product. Though no longer making TVs, their UDP-LX500, which I purchased last week, is arguably the best full featured BD player in its price class.
If Pioneer's 4:3 OLEDs were to impress like their Kuro plasmas had for years they may literally corner the market. Depending on Pioneer's interest will I decide on approaching several Chinese OLED TV brands which now or soon will be serving the US market. https://www.cnet.com/news/ces-2020-chinese-tv-giant-skyworth-goes-big-to-enter-us-market/
Huawai's website shows numerous offices throughout the US. Some even post the contact info of their marketing directors at their websites. And unlike the majors, these newcomers welcome consumer feedback.
Bottom Line: If you don't ask you don't get. So for those who have long awaited 4:3 OLEDs please express your requests at the feedback/contact pages of the above brands' websites.
But for the reasons given, please begin with Pioneer.
And please be sure to also your interest for 4:3 OLEDs-and what you're doing to make them happen-at bestbuy forum, tom'shardware.com, hometheaterforum.com, AVSforum.doc, CNET.com, AVforums.com, Blu-Rayforum.com, et al.
Please do it today!
DISCLAIMER: Though it would be nice to receive credit for helping to make 4:3 OLED TVs a reality, I am in no way seeking any kind of monetary compensation, nor am I employed by the CE industry. For me, it's all about the joys of home theater.