Picture settings are simple and, on the whole, it’s best to fiddle with them as little as possible. Not least because, on top of everything else, this is a 200Hz screen with a fast refresh rate aimed at reducing flicker and delivering smoother results, even with fast-moving images.
Standard definition proportions are preserved, filling the screen's extremities with huge black borders
One setting you’ll to tinker with occasionally, is the aspect ratio of the display. There’s a button dedicated to this in the middle of the remote, so it must be important. After all, you don’t want the TV to automatically stretch the picture to fill the screen no matter what. A classic film shown in 4:3 format would suddenly be populated only by short, squat characters and – unless you’re watching the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz – that ain’t a good thing.
The Auto setting is pretty clever and knows to leave black bars on the side of 4:3 content. Although this is obviously the right thing, it might leave you wondering why you paid so much for a TV with big expanses of blackness at the sides. Conventional 16:9 signals are moderately stretched and zoomed, most noticeably when you’re tuned to a news channel with a tickertape across the bottom, which is partially cut off.
Still, you definitely want whatever you’re watching to fill the screen because, at this width, it’s immersive. It fills, obviously, a greater part of your natural field of vision. While the 21:9 Cinema 56PFL9954H looks a little weird when switched off, turn it on and you’re quickly used to it. So much so, that you really miss this viewing experience when returning to regular widescreen.
And at this width, the extra-inviting appeal of Ambilight is even more effective. There are five backlighting panels on the top of the TV and four on each side – none at the bottom. Since each panel displays its own colour, it is by far the most effective Ambilight yet with a sophisticated and deeply impressive effect. Turn it off and it’s like the screen has just shrunk. As for film purity, it’s true no cinema screen has an Ambilight effect. However, it’s always impressive, and never more so than on this scale.
Ambilight effects colour the background wall to match picture hues
What of the picture itself? Actually, it’s breathtaking. The Sky HD screening of Spider-Man 3 showed the 21:9 picture off beautifully. After 20 seconds of displaying the picture with black bars at top and bottom, it settled into a flawless full-screen presentation. In the early scene, when the pitch-black alien Venom crash-lands on Earth, the dark creature was still picked out in perfect clarity against the night time Central Park backdrop.
I watch all my films on the iPhone using a cool program called ffmpegx. It makes every film fit the screen perfectly. What do I need this thing for then??? I guess because some people think size matters. Well they are wrong, size is relative. And relations are more important than size. Remember you choose your friends, but you do not choose your relations.
I want I want I want
intro, tech stuff - tick
200Hz refresh, massive width - tick
special freeview features and good visuals - tick
easy interface, 5 HDMI - tick
great ambilight improvements - tick
this is a great set..I'd love to buy one.
oh, wait....THATS the price???!?!?! ouch! I think I'll have to stick with my toshiba Regza for now :-)
it's full of stars!
I think the reason why cinema screens are ridiculously wide is quite simply to allow more seats to be positioned in front of the screen. And I agree with your sentiment that only certain types of shot are suited to the 2.35:1 aspect ratio - e.g. the skyscraper shots in "Towering Inferno" or "Die Hard" are not those types!
Where's the 2.35:1 aspect-ration icons. I refuse to use outdated 1:1 icons!!!!111!!ONE!1!1:1
Back when I first got a 16:9 set in 1992 I started collecting LaserDiscs but for many films the studios would use the black part of the picture to hold subtitles and assume it was being shown on a 4:3 set so if I zoomed the picture then I would lose the lower line often. With the switch to DVD and native 16:9 support this practice has continued and you still get subtitles in the black part for a 2.35:1 film so on this new TV you will lose the black bars but also lose the subtitles. I used to matte my projection screen for 2.35:1 but these days I just put up with a 16:9 100" screen even when watching 2.35:1 just because of the subs even on Blu-ray. Not to mention the fact that films like The Dark Knight which switches ratios between the IMAX portions and regular 35mm sections.
It just isn't worth worrying about. Paris because I suspect she is stupid enough to buy into this thing just to get rid of the black bars.....