Black Bars. What's the deal?

I have a 55 inch Mitsubishi wide screen rear projection t.v. I own over 100 DVD movies and most of them are in 2.35 aspect ratio. When I play them I have top and bottom black bars on the screen. When I play the DVD's with 1.85 aspect ratio it fills the entire screen. In my t.v. owners manual it has a page warning you not to leave stationary or letterbox images on screen for an extended period of time and that uneven picture tube aging is not covered by my warranty. Example of these are letterbox top and bottom black bars, sidebar images, stock-market report bars, shopping channel logos & pricing displays, video game patterns and scoreboards, bright station logos and on-line internet web sites. I have been using my zoom function on my DVD player to fill the entire screen when using a 2.35 aspect ratio DVD. A fellow at my local audio video store told me that the black bars at the top and bottom can not burn a lasting image on my screen and when I use my zoom functiion to fill the screen it degrades the picture quality of the DVD. My question is: Will the black bars ruin my t.v or not? Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
I cannot speak for the Mitsubishi brand, my experience is with a Pioneer rear projection system.

Mine has seen at least 300 hours a year of letter box program, with nine years of service. It also sees full screen programming via DSS signal the rest of the time.

With about three thousand hours of letter box, there is no effect from the letter box bars. I am certain my entire image is way down from when new, but that is another issue in itself.
If I am not mistaken the projection type units should not be affectied by this problem? It is the same idea as the screen saver on a computer CRT not letting an image burn itself onto the screen by keeping the image from being static for very long. The phosphores in the CRT itself are what I understood would be effected.Again if I am not mistaken,the projection type units work under a somewhat different principal. I think if you ran letter box images 24 hrs a day for along time it may do what they are warning against on a direct view(cathode ray tube) set. We need a TV "tube" guru to tune in!
Yes/burn in indeed.--From webtv.Took me a long time to notice. I now use what Poneer calls "Full Cinema"

This is vertical. The horizontal doesn't work the same way--Not this constant white/black.If one were to put a bright (top 1/2 of the picture) on pause--long enough;you'd get them there cosmic burn-in-blues--too.This will occur in a non calibrated set even faster.
My Tosh 56H80 does nothing but DVD and LD. No cable, no DSS and no OTA. The set was V.E calibrated upon first turn on with emphasis on corect white level and black level. With only about 300 hrs on the set I noticed very,very faint shadows of the black bars from 235:1 movies. These could only be seen during a totaly black scene(like a fade to black)on a 185:1 movie. I started using one of the set's "theater wide" settings, which fills the screen but crops the sides, for re- watching old favorites. First time viewings and/or critical watching are allways done OAR! Now after filling the screen more often, these shadows can only be seen with the room totaly dark and grainy or noisy 185:1 DVD(older movie like "Dogs of War")is in and an all black scene is displayed. I hope I can continue to reverse the process of the burn in as it looks like I am making progress.
Not that it really matters, but I thought it is the illuminated center part of the screen that wears with use. The black bars are not used and thus stay essentially as new.
I sell Mitsubishi Projection TVs. All the current (year 2000 to present) Mitz Hi-Definition series Projection TVs specify in their owners manuals that you do NOT, REPEAT NOT, leave the broadcast standard image (4x3 aspect ratio) picture on a Hi-Definition type TV (16x9 aspect ratio)for more than 25% of the time. You WILL incur phosphor burn-in along the line of the border if you do so.

I agree that the absence of light (or in this case energy), will not cause premature damage to the luminescence coating on the interior of the picture tubes. The problem is: That by consistently blacking out the sides (or top and bottom)of the image you will continuously saturate only a portion of the picture tubes phosphor coating. This partial area saturation will prevent a "consistent degree of burn-in" to the entirety of the screen; resulting in edge lines that will eventually become obvious to the eye. Once these "borders" are burned into the phosphors you will NEVER be able to erradicate them and you will be forced to live with them for as long as you own the TV. In my professional opinion, watch the stretched image most of your viewing time. I personally wouldn't want to gamble away 10 years off the lifespan of a $3000 TV for 15 months of inconvenience.

You will only have to live with this for a couple of years untill Hi-Def becomes the standard TV broadcast format. The manufacturers have told us they expect about 50% of all broadcasting will be done in Hi-Def by next spring. And the Big Guns in the industry, like Sony, Mitsu, Hitachi and Toshiba, will start mass marketing stand-alone Hi-Def Processors for Cable, Satelight and RF Broadcast starting this summer. And the competion for the market should drop the current $600-$800 processor price dramaticly over the next year and a half. This processor will greatly enhance your viewing options and you'll be able to see the knock-out picture that the HD sets were designed for. I watched the Winter Olympics in Hi-Definition last month and it was breathtaking.

So hang in there for a few months. You've got a great TV - don't screw it up.
I have a Pioneer Elite 16:9 TV and only watch DVD's on it and after 2 years I have had no problem with 'burn in' on my screen.I too shared much concern about this potential problem. My advice, pick up a Video Essentials DVD to properly calibrate your picture. Be sure to turn down the CONTRAST as much as possible to lessen the chance of burning in an image.Then quit being so paranoid and enjoy your TV ! As far as high def in a couple years being common place...I have some swamp land in Florida for sale.
Dear Amwarwick:

This is Morbius. You're wrong. The FCC pushed legislation through congress last fall specifying the need for, as well as the general format for a Hi-Definition broadcast standard in this country. To whit:

Any US transmitter, be it cable, satelight or RF TV Transmitter NOT broadcasting in this format By Midnight, December 31, 2005 will be SHUT DOWN on January 1, 2006. Period. This is an official Act of Congress that was legislated into existence. It is not subject to my opinion. Nor yours.

I suggest you contact your congressman before investing in more swampland and drowning in a lack of credibility.
morbius, you are naive if you think (1) that broadcasters will actually be shut down for non-compliance or, (2) that this will be the first time somone has ignored a federal mandate. please get off your high-horse.
National marketing statistics show that in the year 2000, Hi-Definition Projection Televisions comprised less than 12% of the total sales. In the year 2001, over 40% of the Projection TV market was in Hi-Definition Projection and TV Monitors. Current 2002 sales projections estimate that Hi-Definition TVs and large-format HI-DEF Monitors will exceed a 70% market share. It is obvious that Sony, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Hitachi and RCA have committed hundreds of millions of dollars in the Hi-Definition format. This is not a fanciful nor arbitrary decision. They have not gained their well earned credibility without extensive investigation before pumping millions into Research & Development of the HI-DEF format. They have done so to promote innovation and progress and make profit from it. To say that a new TV format will not be marketable is preposterous. For if this were the way of the world you would still be watching a Black and White TV. Indeed, if we as a society if the were resistive to new ideas in the field of broadcasting and turn a blind eye to innovation you would still be listening to a Marconi wireless.

Progress IS the essence of the electronic industry; and progress cannot exist without rendering established concepts obsolete. The previously established industry standards are continuously sacrificed on the alter of science and progress. Innovation is the fundamental necessity of engineering; as well as the prerequisite of a market driven economy. If you truly believe that new format will not be accepted I would draw your attention to the following:

The wax cylinder, the 78 rpm wax platter, Vinyl 45s & 33s, The 4 Track, the 8 Track, the Philips cassette, Beta tape, VHS tape, Beta HiFi, VHS HiFi, Digital Recording and Processing, Laser Discs, CDs and DVDs , SACDs, and on and on and on ...

As you starting to understand? History has proven time and time again that EVERY mechanical or electronic device or format ever created is doomed to obsolescence. It is the natural order of things. It is PROGRESS. And you can’t stop it because you disagree with it.

The evolution of this industry does not require your consent nor your understanding to be self perpetuating. TV will evolve into this new standard; just like every other broadcast and recording format has evolved. And the time is now. If you doubt this, call your local TV stations and ask them when they will start broadcasting in HI-DEF. I think the answer will surprise you. The market is ready. The public that has seen this format wants it. It has the blessings of the FCC. And it will spur the economy which is why Washington is behind it. You are standing at the dawn of the greatest revolution in the TV industry since we went color. TV will be a whole new world in 5 years. But don’t take my word for it. Just stay tuned....

(PS: By the way, if you think the Federal Communication Commission has no credibility or influence just start broadcasting on a radio frequency without an FCC license and watch what happens.)
Hey fella, take it easy. I'm sorry we have touched a nerve here. Chill out...we aren't making rocketships here. It's just some TV's!! I admire your enthusiasm and wishful expectations for nationwide employment of HDTV by 2005, but do you ever read the various home theater magazines? The FCC can say whatever they please. Bottom line is any mandate given for implementation of Hi Def broadcast by the FCC to transmitter's by whatever date, can and will be changed and for you to believe the manufacturer's claim's that by next spring 50% of all broadcasting will be done in HI-DEF is wishful thinking. You need to read more and educate yourself as to what is really happening and not necessarily rely on what the 'manufacturer's' tell you. By any chance is it possible that the manufacturer's have these glorious expectations to sell more TV's? Believe me, I hope you are right. I would love to start receiving HI-DEF.By the way, you aren't the sales guy who talked me into buying my Sony SCD-1 SACD player are you? Nice player, but total lack of software...the manufacturer said there would be lot's of software...still waiting how many years later!
Ok guys how about the watered down Hi Def broadcasting; and the fact that 99% of all HD tvs in use, couldn't convert the full pixcel count necessary. The Super Bowl while stunning, was only broadcast in 480 pr. Anybody whom thinks "full-HD" will be implimented in 3 years; ---. Get the picture??
Sad, but true avguy.
Just a short thank you - Amwarwick - for taking a little
"Air" out of Morbius2130s balloon. I have worked in the
television industry since 1984, and owned a commercial
video editing and media duplication company since 1989. It
is pretty much common knowledge that HDTV broadcasting is
going nowhere fast. Almost everyone I know that has a wide-
screen TV uses it to play back DVDs or get one of the
satellite services - such as EchoStar.
In my market - Portland - which is the 24th or 25th
largest market - the number of people actually receiving
over-the-air HDTV is virtually nil. It should also be
mentioned that the so called FCC "Deadline" for all TV
stations to upgrade to HDTV will NEVER BE ENFORCED. This is
largely due to the simple economic fact that most smaller
market stations cannot afford to do so.
I will not even begin to address the so called "must
carry" mess between the Cable companies and the Broadcasters. Most cable companies do not carry HDTV signals
and will not likely do so any time soon.