06/21/2017: Building my digital library (part 2)

No matter what the resolution, Plex is able to stream it to any device. The issue is that it is then on the device to figure out how to display the picture. This will often result in stretched or video with part cut-off. It also puts strain on the system to “figure out” how to display the video. So, I would rather just ensure that everything is set correctly at the file level.

Here’s a side note about converting to HD. As I mentioned, some of the shows were in resolutions lower than HD. If you remember, prior to HD, most TV screens (at least in the Unites States) were square. When HD came along, the picture was rectangular. So, any shows that were made prior to HD becoming widely used (around 2003) don’t fit properly on a HD television. Either they are stretched horizontally, zoomed in, or have “black bars” on each side of the picture. A few shows that my daughter likes are from the 90’s. Also, there are channels that broadcast in Standard Definition (SD). The shows are rectangular like HD, but the resolution is not as good.

The first thing I did is make a table of all the different resolutions of 16:9. The 16:9 is the screen ratio for HD. The 16 is the width multiple and the 9 is the height multiple. For example, a 1280×720 (720p HD) screen is a multiple of 80. If you multiply 80 by 16, you get 1280. If you multiply 80 by 9, you get 720.

Width (x16) Height (x9) Multiple
1280 720 80
1200 675 75
1120 630 70
960 540 60
800 450 50
640 360 40
592 333 37
576 324 36
560 315 35
544 306 34
528 297 33

Next, I would check the resolutions of the TV shows that were transferred. Each series usually had one or two different resolutions. For example, one series had a resolution of 528×300 in season 1, but changed to 528×332 in Season 4. Now that I knew that, I could compare the two numbers to match one of the 16:9 resolutions on the table I made. The 528×300 matched 544×306 resolution (16:9 x 34). The 528×332 matched 592×333 resolution (16:9 x 37).
I could just “force” them both into a set resolution, like 16:9 (35): 560×315. But, that would either mean cutting off part of the picture or adding a lot of the black box around the top or bottom of the picture. For example, the shows with the 528×332 resolution would have a total of 17 pixels cut off from the top & bottom. The shows with the 544×300 resolution would require an addition of 15 (total) pixels of black to the top and bottom of the screen.

Now that I know what my goal resolution is, I need to figure out how to get to it. So, I subtract and divide the different resolutions. Here is how I calculated the 528×300 resolution

Width Height .
544 306 Goal resolution
-528 -300 Current resolution
16 6 Difference
÷2 ÷2 Divided by 2
8 3 Padding

The “padding” is how many pixels of black lines I should add to top, bottom, left, & right of the picture to make it the goal resolution. As long as you have a set number of pixels to add that are divisible by 2 with a whole number (no fractions or decimals) remaining, things will be okay. In this case, I need to add 8 pixels of lines to the left and 8 pixels of lines to the right. The amount of pixels of lines I need to add to the top and bottom is an issue, though. The number “3” is not divisible by 2 into a whole number. So, we have to split it in a way that will equal 6, but will not be equal. I choose to put 4 pixels on the bottom and 2 pixels on the top (like the image below).

To be continued…


About Thomas J. Brown

I am the last true Saiyan...wait, that can't be right...
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