You might expect a distortion-free picture from a modern widescreen television, but there is something on many DVDs and VHS tapes that they can't always cope with.
My experience with Sony widescreen TVs
I had an experience much as described in the article 'The Shape of Things' in the Glympton Global Gazette with model KV-24LS35U. The distortion showed on about 60% of NTSC DVDs and about 30% of PAL and NTSC videotapes.

Videotapes showed no distortion of this type through older Sony fullscreen televisions. The engineers suggested I test the DVD player through other widescreen televisions, with the following results: 2 models of other makes did not show this distortion. Sony LCD, Plasma, fullscreen & 100Hz models showed no distortion, but the basic wide flatscreen models (32", 28" & 24") all showed distortion, the pattern being slightly different with each model and most distracting on the 24" model.

Conclusion: the fault was not something the engineers could adjust or fix. I phoned Sony and have not heard anything since. That was in March 2004.

In the meantime, I have found that a 'video stabiliser' on the AV inputs removes the source of the picture distortion in all cases, except with a small number of videotapes. I do feel that the TV should be able to cope with as wide a variety of input signals as possible, and that it should not be necessary to go to these lengths to get a distortion-free picture from a TV of this quality.
Cardman Digital Video Picture Stabilizer Latest version of the Cardman copy protection remover where the two copy protection systems it removes are Macrovision and CGMS.
MacroMaster Video Stabiliser Eliminate distortion problems with this SCART lead - suitable for RGB rather than composite signals. An extra diode from pin16 to V+ increases stability, but an external power supply is still needed for widescreen signals.
The Shape of Things Article from the Glympton Global Gazette, which keeps moving around the pages, so here's a direct link!
What is Macrovision? There's no problem with it...
I hadn't really been aware of it until experiencing problems with a Sony widescreen television, which showed distortion at the top of the screen. I believed this was caused by Macrovision copy protection, though Sony and various engineers have denied it.

It seems puzzling that televisions are on the market which encourage the use of devices that remove copy protection, in order to get a distortion-free picture.

It is less of a surprise that manufacturer, retailer and their engineers will not admit Macrovision causes any problems.

I notice that many US discs (from MGM, Columbia Tristar etc) do not use this type of copy protection.
Region 2 too! VHS to DVD backup?
It's not just region 1 DVDs that display this picture distortion. And it's not a problem exclusive to Sony!


I recently came across something I wish I'd had access to when dealing with this a couple of years ago...

Region 2 ntsc DVDs using Macrovision copy-protection show the same distortion of verticals at the top of the picture.

And it's not just Sony - I recently saw similar distortion on a Philips wide screen when playing a VHS video tape.

A final word: I now have a multi-region Panasonic DMR-EZ47V VHS/DVD recorder. This will output ntsc as pal-60, so no picture distortion on the TV. If you change the setup to ntsc the distortion reappears. When playing/copying ntsc VHS tapes, the signal is cleaned up to remove distortion (on S-video and RGB outputs), except in some instances, when the distortion is increased and copying to DVD backup is not possible, due to the copy-protection signal being detected!
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