Pillar Box Broadcasts on Plasma TV Sets

Pillarboxing means to display a 4×3 image on a side of the screen in between vertical bars. Pillarboxed Broadcast happens to be the only means to bring a pre-HD television show or a pre-1953 movie for viewing on a broad 16×9 screen without any distortion and without cropping the image.

Some questions arise, such as whether watching a lot of 4×3 programming can burn-in on the HD television to leave an afterimage of bars. Another question is whether it could cause a danger of spending unusually longer durations watching SD stations with 4×3 mode as your television enables Pillarboxed Broadcasts, or a lot of 4×3 contents with HD stations, as the station itself includes the bars.

However, the answer is ‘no’ for the both the questions. In the past, plasma televisions have suffered from such burn-in issues. Lately, engineers have dealt with these issues to enhance the technology, so that there is not much of danger. DisplaySearch’s Director in North America Television Market Research namely, Paul Gagnon, has stated that it is no more a big issue. Further, it is not much of an issue in older televisions sets too, as the problem is reduced with age itself.

However, too much of 4×3 viewing is likely to cause an uneven wear to the plasma, and in fact even more in robust LCD sets, creating a burn-in kind of effect. An enormous amount of viewing renders this. According to Joel Silver from Imaging Science Research Laboratory, if eighty to ninety percent of your television viewing involves Pillarboxed Broadcasts, then eventually it could land up in a problem. Due to lack of phosphors in LCD sets, they can’t actually burn in, but can be worn unevenly.

A few stations apply creativity in Pillarboxed Broadcasts by displaying slow-moving patterns instead of black bars at the side portion of the screen. This reduces the chance of a problem. I suppose it also reminds viewers about the fact that they are viewing an HD station.

Presently, most of the plasma television sets come with a grey bar option, which also helps in reducing the chances of burn-in. You ought to use this option while you watch standard definition stations. However, it doesn’t work with Pillarboxed Broadcasts of high-definition stations, because the pillarboxing is done in the station itself, and not your television.

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