Anyone with a converter being "denied" letterboxed output? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 182 Old 05-17-2009, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Our local NBC affiliate has started, in my opinion, misusing the signal that will force 4x3 content to go fullscreen on a 4x3 set. (So no more "black bars on all four sides" situations.)

They're using it for that, sure, but they (and it seems NBC itself) are also using that signal to block access to widescreen video on certain shows. On such shows, broadcast in widescreen, we can no longer get a letterboxed picture. Instead, the signal is used, deliberately, to chop the sides off and blow it up to 4x3 fullscreen.

In other words, they're locking the converter box on "zoom" and there's nothing we can do about it.

Their explanation is that they're not doing it with all widescreen programming, but just with "certain shows" like the news and "entertainment" stuff like Leno and Fallon. (There are other widescreen shows that they aren't doing this with, and those we can still get using the "letterboxed" setting.) They say simply that the shows they're doing it to are "4x3 friendly".

Not much of an explanation, if you ask me.

My boxes can be set for "full", getting the full widescreen picture without letterboxing, and so COULD (not a good idea, but COULD) be used to feed a widescreen display device.

With them overriding the box's settings, tho', the "full" setting wouldn't be available, and anyone feeding a widescreen display would be stuck with a 4x3 picture and black bars on the sides (or a totally distorted picture...I'm assuming it'd be the former). No widescreen picture.

WHY would the network be doing this and be having their affiliates do the same?

Seems pretty crummy a thing to do, denying us access to a letterboxed view of widescreen shows just because we're using a converter box. (I imagine people with "better" digital tuners and HD sets aren't being affected by this override signal.)

I've protested by e-mail twice to the station. The first time they sent me the response mentioned above, but after I said "But we don't WANT you doing it with non-4x3 programming!" I was ignored. No further replies.

Anyone else having this happen to them?

WHY would they be doing this?
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post #2 of 182 Old 05-17-2009, 10:54 PM
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On our NBC's sub channel and our My Network TV affiliate when I try to go widescreen with my ARTEC T3AP it says "aspect ratio cannot be changed for this channel". On others I can flip to wide, zoom, cropped, or regular. I prefer to have the whole screen filled though.

It's definetly the station doing it I can tell you that....
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post #3 of 182 Old 05-18-2009, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Ummm...

This isn't a sub channel, and they admit they're doing it. There's been no question on that.

The local station also runs a sub-channel that is broadcast only in 4x3, but that's not the problem.

As explained, on their main channel it's widescreen programming they're deliberately adding a signal for 4x3 to, making letterboxing impossible....and it's done by choice.

I've asked not if anyone's seeing this on 4x3 programming, but if anyone else is seeing WIDESCREEN programming being sent out so that your box is forced into "zoom" mode.
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post #4 of 182 Old 05-18-2009, 05:53 AM
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This may get confusing but nothing the station send out affects the way the CECBs zoom. A TV may read aspect flags but the boxes cannot (at least the Zenith and Digital Stream boxes that I have don't).

If you set the box up correctly for a 16:9 widescreen TV, then subchannels have zoom options and the primary will be locked, (aspect cannot be changed) and you will see the x.1 programming exactly as sent by the station. You will have to use the TV's zoom to fill the screen. Most Widescreen TV that I have seen can override auto detection and zoom regardless of any flag.

If you set the box for a 4:3 TV, then the primary channel will have CECB zoom options and the subs will locked. Since the subs are SD 4:3 and 4:3 TVs don't have zoom options this works pretty well.

As long as stations send 4:3 content on a 16:9 broadcast, the picture will be distorted, cropped or centercut at their whim. We can only hope that our reception devices will give us lots of zoom options.

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post #5 of 182 Old 05-18-2009, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post

This may get confusing but nothing the station send out affects the way the CECBs zoom. A TV may read aspect flags but the boxes cannot (at least the Zenith and Digital Stream boxes that I have don't).

There's been discussion about stations setting "Aspect ratio" before. The APEX DT250 (I'm assuming the DT250A also) and DT502 CECB's have an "Auto" setting for "Aspect Ratio."The Zenith/Insignia CECB's have a "Set By Program' setting.

The stations do have the option to have their facilities automatically adjust the "Aspect Ratio" according to the "Aspect Ratio" setting on the program material. I've yet to find a station that has done this. I have found several stations and sub-channels that are permenantly set to 4:3.

What bothers me more, is what MPT does to their programming. They add "Side Bars" to their 16:9 material and also postage stamp 4:3 material some how. It's really frustrating to have Top, Bottom, & Side Bars on 4:3 material and double Top & Bottom Bars (along with Side Bars) on 16:9 programs.
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post #6 of 182 Old 05-18-2009, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

There's been discussion about stations setting "Aspect ratio" before. The APEX DT250 (I'm assuming the DT250A also) and DT502 CECB's have an "Auto" setting for "Aspect Ratio."The Zenith/Insignia CECB's have a "Set By Program' setting.

I forgot about that "Set by Program" on the Zenith. I normally use the various zoom settings, which will always work, regardless of the aspect flag, at least on my boxes. (Zenith and Digital Stream)

Quote:
The stations do have the option to have their facilities automatically adjust the "Aspect Ratio" according to the "Aspect Ratio" setting on the program material. I've yet to find a station that has done this. I have found several stations and sub-channels that are permenantly set to 4:3.

I actually have a local (ABC - WHOI) that does flag the aspect. They just get it wrong about 3/4 of the time so I can't trust it.

Quote:
What bothers me more, is what MPT does to their programming. They add "Side Bars" to their 16:9 material and also postage stamp 4:3 material some how. It's really frustrating to have Top, Bottom, & Side Bars on 4:3 material and double Top & Bottom Bars (along with Side Bars) on 16:9 programs.

I predict that this will continue for at least ten years (or forever) as long as 4:3 content is shown in syndication.

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post #7 of 182 Old 05-18-2009, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post

This may get confusing but nothing the station send out affects the way the CECBs zoom. A TV may read aspect flags but the boxes cannot (at least the Zenith and Digital Stream boxes that I have don't)...




As mentioned, the station and the network both admit they're doing it.

There IS a signal that will tell the box to go to "zoom" when they want it to.

Normally this is done just to 4x3 video being run on a widescreen broadcast, so the black frame on all sides will disappear.

Unfortunately, they're also doing it on some widescreen programming, thus making it impossible to get such in letterbox. You can hit the aspect ratio button all you want, but all that's available is "zoom".

The widescreen picture they're actually broadcasting is thus being denied to us because we're using converter boxes.

Please don't tell me "there's no such thing" when I've plainly said the network and station admit what they're doing.
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post #8 of 182 Old 05-18-2009, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

...I have found several stations and sub-channels that are permenantly set to 4:3...

To be honest, I think the provision is great. If a show or commercial is in 4x3 but is being sent out on a widescreen broadcast, for them to tell our boxes "zoom on this" is great. Even if you were watching in letterbox, it automatically goes to fullscreen, and you lose the four sided black frame.

My problem is that they're also doing it with widescreen programming, so we can't get such shows in letterbox.

They're forcing our boxes to chop off the sides of the picture and blow it up to fill the screen.

I don't need or want that. If the show is in widescreen, I want the option of seeing it letterboxed. If I want it fullscreen on a 4x3 set, I can zoom it myself.

Why would they think this is a thing to do? What possible reason would there be?
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post #9 of 182 Old 05-19-2009, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Interesting little tidbit...

I have a standard def TV with a digital tuner. Normally don't use the OTA tuner on that because its working off a TiVo that's using the converter box.

Switched the antenna lead over to the TV, and used its tuner.

The offending channel?

All aspect ratios available.

I could jump around from one to the other to my heart's content.

Switched things back to the digital converter box, and once again, same channel, LOCKED on "zoom".

Seems like they are somehow singling out converter box owners.
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post #10 of 182 Old 05-19-2009, 11:35 AM
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What setting do you have in the setup menu? Try setting it to 4:3.
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post #11 of 182 Old 05-19-2009, 02:27 PM
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What CECBs have you tried that exhibit this behavior ?

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #12 of 182 Old 05-19-2009, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

What bothers me more, is what MPT does to their programming. They add "Side Bars" to their 16:9 material and also postage stamp 4:3 material some how. It's really frustrating to have Top, Bottom, & Side Bars on 4:3 material and double Top & Bottom Bars (along with Side Bars) on 16:9 programs.

I have a similar situation here in OKC with our local PBS station, OETA channel 13.2 . Some programs are in 4:3 but in "picture box" form, black bars all around the image...I'm guessing this is like your postage stamp 4:3 material. I cannot get my Digistream, Venturer or Channel Master to rectify this scenario.

Its very frustrating that these stupid settings are "locked in". Once on this same station, the material was shot in 16:9, being shown in letterbox 4:3 format, and on top of all this, the total 4:3 image of the letterboxed 16:9 material was "picture boxed". So on a 19" screen the image was not much bigger than the broadside of a VHS tape.
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post #13 of 182 Old 05-19-2009, 05:42 PM
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Thus, the name "Postage Stamp." I/m beginning to find that I'm getting the same problems on analog OTA.
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post #14 of 182 Old 05-19-2009, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

Switched the antenna lead over to the TV, and used its tuner.

The offending channel?

All aspect ratios available.

I could jump around from one to the other to my heart's content.

Switched things back to the digital converter box, and once again, same channel, LOCKED on "zoom".

Seems like they are somehow singling out converter box owners.

Another possibility: the tuner in the TV ignores the flag, while the tuner in the CECB obeys it.
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post #15 of 182 Old 05-20-2009, 08:55 AM
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Hence the question - "what box was gastrof seeing this behavior on ?"

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #16 of 182 Old 05-27-2009, 12:00 PM
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Here is a FAQ on AFD for those interested...

NAB FAQ.
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post #17 of 182 Old 06-12-2009, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

Hence the question - "what box was gastrof seeing this behavior on ?"

I noticed that my NBC HD channel no longer allows me to change the aspect ratio as I could in the past when using a DTVPal/TR-40/Pal Plus.
They obviously placed something in their signal since I had been using the DTV Pal.

I believe Gastrof is also using a DTV Pal of some sort.

My Zenith DTT 901 still allows me to select all of the available aspect ratios on NBC.

So it seems that the DTV Pal is negatively affected by whatever flag is being used.
When you complain to your local affiliate, they may think you're crazy or stupid if they use some other brand CECB to confirm your complaint.

When the flag is active, you'll never see a widescreen picture on NBC using the DTV Pal in the two situations below.

1. On a 4:3 screen, you can't watch letterbox if so desired. It's locked on zoom. (aka. cropped)

2. On a 16:9 screen (analog or digital set), you can't horizontally squeeze the picture on the CECB for a (complete) WS picture on a widescreen TV.
The picture is cropped and stretched unless you select 4:3 on the TV, but then you get a pillared correct aspect 4:3 picture.
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post #18 of 182 Old 06-12-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeper View Post


You'll never see a widescreen picture on NBC using the DTV Pal.

1. On a 4:3 screen, you can't watch letterbox if so desired.

Well you can, but only the shows that they (or their flag) wants you to see that way. I made a call this morning to their BOC and spoke to a guy there, he said I was the first person to call about this problem and he took my name and number and said he'd call me back, but he never did. I'm going to call back on Monday.
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post #19 of 182 Old 06-12-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post




Unfortunately, they're also doing it on some widescreen programming, thus making it impossible to get such in letterbox. You can hit the aspect ratio button all you want, but all that's available is "zoom".

The widescreen picture they're actually broadcasting is thus being denied to us because we're using converter boxes.

Please don't tell me "there's no such thing" when I've plainly said the network and station admit what they're doing.

YES!!!!! They are doing this here in New York, on WNBC, their flagship O&O station! It's such ********, you're not alone. Shows affected are the local news, Today, NBC Nightly News, Conan O'Brien, among others. All are 16:9 shows, but the 4:3 aspect ratio is being forced on us. This only started as of yesterday, June 11th, 2009 here in New York.

P.S. and it is only NBC, none of the other stations (WCBS, WABC, WPIX, WNET, etc etc are doing this).

P.P.S. I am a DTV Pal+ owner.
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post #20 of 182 Old 06-12-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mizzou! View Post

Here is a FAQ on AFD for those interested...

NAB FAQ.

Pardon my French, but that is F*CK*D.

You have wonder who the geniuses are in the NAB and at the networks who think singling out 4:3 analog television viewers like this and forcing this crap down our throats is a "good idea". I mean, it's actually described as a "benefit" for viewers. Are they serious???? It boggles the mind...

The only solution to this is going to be to buy a 16:9 television, and I don't have the budget for that right now.
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post #21 of 182 Old 06-12-2009, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCLA* View Post

Pardon my French, but that is F*CK*D.

You have wonder who the geniuses are in the NAB and at the networks who think singling out 4:3 analog television viewers like this and forcing this crap down our throats is a "good idea". I mean, it's actually described as a "benefit" for viewers. Are they serious???? It boggles the mind...

The only solution to this is going to be to buy a 16:9 television, and I don't have the budget for that right now.

Personally I think AFD is a great idea, and I think you have totally misplaced your anger, with the possible exception that NBC might be sending the wrong AFD code. There are 16 different AFD codes, but I am going to only talk about 4 of them with respect to HD content (8 of them are undefined, reserved or not recommended, and the other 4 that I won't be talking about are used for formats that are not 16:9 or 4:3). Two of them (8 & 10) indicate that the material is a 16:9 full frame image (they mean the exact same thing for 16:9 material, I believe the reason for two different codes is how they map into the codes for 4:3 material if the station or cable company converts the material to a 4:3 coded frame for SD transmission). Code 15 also means that it is a 16:9 full frame image, but it is "4:3 friendly", i.e. it was shot with 4:3 screens in mind, so nothing important should be occuring outside the 4:3 window (but I certainly understand that you may still want to see it). Code 9 says that the material is pillarboxed 4:3 material, i.e. there are black bars on the left and right of a 4:3 frame to make it 16:9.

I don't see how you can complain about WNBC sending useful information, unless they are sending wrong information. This information should be advisory only, and only used if you tell your converter box to use it. There is no "law" or "standard" that says a converter box has to do something a particular way. Most converter boxes have something like a "set by program" zoom setting which should crop the 16:9 image if the AFD code is 9, but there should always be the option to choose to not do that with one of the other settings. Code 15 can be handled in a variety of ways, but again, even if the "set by program" setting automatically cropped and zoomed the image, you should always have the option of setting something else.

In my opinion, your converter box is the problem. They chose to not give you the option of letterboxing the image. Now, this might make sense for code 9 (although I don't even agree with that, in case the station screws up and sends code 9 for material that is not 4:3 pillarboxed), but it makes no sense for code 15. Perhaps Code 15 material should be cropped if you say you want the AFD codes to automatically choose an appropriate zoom setting (although that behavior should be configurable), but you should always be given the option to do something else. If NBC is sending code 9 for programming they consider "4:3 friendly" then they are screwing up, because they should be sending code 15. But my guess is that they are sending code 15 and your box is doing the wrong thing by not giving you the option of letterboxing the material.

So, instead of being upset at NBC for implementing a very useful feature, you should be upset at the manufacturer of your converter box for doing the wrong thing. Perhaps you should be complaining to them and looking for a firmware upgrade to fix the problem. Buying a 16:9 TV is certainly NOT the only solution to your problem. Instead, you could buy a better converter box that doesn't implement AFD in a brain damaged way.

Instead of railing against NBC you should be telling people about how brain damaged your converter box is and tell people that they should avoid purchasing that model and instead recommend one that doesn't behave badly in the presence of AFD. Most likely all of the networks are eventually going to implement AFD (I believe FOX is already sending AFD on their network programming), so things are only going to get worse for you if you don't get your converter box upgraded (not likely to happen, but perhaps if enough people raise the issue the company might agree to fix the problem) or replaced.

In summary, WNBC is not making the decision for you. They are sending useful information that you should be able to use to let your converter box automatically choose the right presentation. It's your converter box that is making the decision for you by not allowing you any alternative. People who are having problems with AFD should be talking about the brand of converter box they have, so we can find out which ones do the right thing and which ones don't.
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post #22 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 12:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmar View Post

Personally I think AFD is a great idea, and I think you have totally misplaced your anger, with the possible exception that NBC might be sending the wrong AFD code. There are 16 different AFD codes, but I am going to only talk about 4 of them with respect to HD content (8 of them are undefined, reserved or not recommended, and the other 4 that I won't be talking about are used for formats that are not 16:9 or 4:3). Two of them (8 & 10) indicate that the material is a 16:9 full frame image (they mean the exact same thing for 16:9 material, I believe the reason for two different codes is how they map into the codes for 4:3 material if the station or cable company converts the material to a 4:3 coded frame for SD transmission). Code 15 also means that it is a 16:9 full frame image, but it is "4:3 friendly", i.e. it was shot with 4:3 screens in mind, so nothing important should be occuring outside the 4:3 window (but I certainly understand that you may still want to see it). Code 9 says that the material is pillarboxed 4:3 material, i.e. there are black bars on the left and right of a 4:3 frame to make it 16:9.

I don't see how you can complain about WNBC sending useful information, unless they are sending wrong information. This information should be advisory only, and only used if you tell your converter box to use it. There is no "law" or "standard" that says a converter box has to do something a particular way. Most converter boxes have something like a "set by program" zoom setting which should crop the 16:9 image if the AFD code is 9, but there should always be the option to choose to not do that with one of the other settings. Code 15 can be handled in a variety of ways, but again, even if the "set by program" setting automatically cropped and zoomed the image, you should always have the option of setting something else.

In my opinion, your converter box is the problem. They chose to not give you the option of letterboxing the image. Now, this might make sense for code 9 (although I don't even agree with that, in case the station screws up and sends code 9 for material that is not 4:3 pillarboxed), but it makes no sense for code 15. Perhaps Code 15 material should be cropped if you say you want the AFD codes to automatically choose an appropriate zoom setting (although that behavior should be configurable), but you should always be given the option to do something else. If NBC is sending code 9 for programming they consider "4:3 friendly" then they are screwing up, because they should be sending code 15. But my guess is that they are sending code 15 and your box is doing the wrong thing by not giving you the option of letterboxing the material.

So, instead of being upset at NBC for implementing a very useful feature, you should be upset at the manufacturer of your converter box for doing the wrong thing. Perhaps you should be complaining to them and looking for a firmware upgrade to fix the problem. Buying a 16:9 TV is certainly NOT the only solution to your problem. Instead, you could buy a better converter box that doesn't implement AFD in a brain damaged way.

Instead of railing against NBC you should be telling people about how brain damaged your converter box is and tell people that they should avoid purchasing that model and instead recommend one that doesn't behave badly in the presence of AFD. Most likely all of the networks are eventually going to implement AFD (I believe FOX is already sending AFD on their network programming), so things are only going to get worse for you if you don't get your converter box upgraded (not likely to happen, but perhaps if enough people raise the issue the company might agree to fix the problem) or replaced.

In summary, WNBC is not making the decision for you. They are sending useful information that you should be able to use to let your converter box automatically choose the right presentation. It's your converter box that is making the decision for you by not allowing you any alternative. People who are having problems with AFD should be talking about the brand of converter box they have, so we can find out which ones do the right thing and which ones don't.

Excuse me, are you an NBC or NAB lackey? IT'S NOT USEFUL. Frankly, I will decide what aspect ratio I want to watch something in, and I don't appreciate NBC reaching into my living room and using this asinine code to disable my aspect ratio control on my box. No network should be deciding how I view the picture on my television. Did you read the NAB FAQ on the subject? NBC, NAB and the Box Manufacturers all agreed on this. Yeah, I'm pissed I suppose at Echostar too for building in this feature, but more so at NBC for having the GALL to think they have a right to control aspect ratio on my set and override my manual controls.
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post #23 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by NYCLA* View Post

Excuse me, are you an NBC or NAB lackey? IT'S NOT USEFUL. Frankly, I will decide what aspect ratio I want to watch something in, and I don't appreciate NBC reaching into my living room and using this asinine code to disable my aspect ratio control on my box. No network should be deciding how I view the picture on my television. Did you read the NAB FAQ on the subject? NBC, NAB and the Box Manufacturers all agreed on this. Yeah, I'm pissed I suppose at Echostar too for building in this feature, but more so at NBC for having the GALL to think they have a right to control aspect ratio on my set and override my manual controls.

No, I'm not an NBC lackey. I believe the feature is quite useful IF IT IS IMPLEMENTED CORRECTLY. Your CECB was not implemented correctly. It is your defective CECB that is removing your choice, not NBC. They are sending useful, advisory information. A properly designed CECB would allow you to OPTIONALLY use it. NBC is not trying to take control of your box. The feature was never meant to be a feature to hand over total control of your box to the broadcasters.

You are misreading the NAB FAQ. The primary focus of that FAQ is not for the consumer, it is for the content providers (cable, satellite, etc.) who will be converting HD content to SD content before they deliver it. In that case the broadcasters are unconditionally controlling the conversion, but in that case you could not control the conversion anyway, i.e. either the broadcaster decides or the cable company decides, and it is better that the broadcaster decides since they can vary the conversion according to the content, rather than the cable company who can't determine what the content of the 16:9 material actually is. If the cable company decided you could wind up watching an hour long window boxed SD program with no recourse (because the original material from the broadcaster was pillarboxed upconverted SD), and the cable company chose to unconditionally letterbox during the conversion.

I don't see how you can possibly think that NBC sending a code that informs your box about the format of the content they are sending is not useful. Again, it is your box that is at fault here. Get yourself a Zenith DTT901. It has the AFD feature implemented properly, i.e. you can choose to use it or you can choose not to use it at the simple press of a button, and it remembers that setting on a per channel basis. Echostar chose to implement AFD as if it was a satellite/cable company rather than a CECB manufacturer.
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post #24 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCLA* View Post

Excuse me, are you an NBC or NAB lackey? IT'S NOT USEFUL. Frankly, I will decide what aspect ratio I want to watch something in, and I don't appreciate NBC reaching into my living room and using this asinine code to disable my aspect ratio control on my box. No network should be deciding how I view the picture on my television. Did you read the NAB FAQ on the subject? NBC, NAB and the Box Manufacturers all agreed on this. Yeah, I'm pissed I suppose at Echostar too for building in this feature, but more so at NBC for having the GALL to think they have a right to control aspect ratio on my set and override my manual controls.

What CECB box do you have? The Zenith boxes and others handle this feature correctly. Maybe you have a setting wrong on your box off and can solve your problem with advise from other users of that equipment.

You can probably find someone with a $40 coupon they are not using or some family or friend that has not requested on yet. Try a Zenith 901 or a box that does it right.

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post #25 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 05:01 AM
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I've observed this behavior on my TR-40's and on my Panasonic DMR-EZx8 DVD recorders.
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post #26 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 05:15 AM
 
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What CECB box do you have? The Zenith boxes and others handle this feature correctly. Maybe you have a setting wrong on your box off and can solve your problem with advise from other users of that equipment.

You can probably find someone with a $40 coupon they are not using or some family or friend that has not requested on yet. Try a Zenith 901 or a box that does it right.

I have a DTVPal+, but AFD is a load of crap. The broadcasters have no reason or need to send some sort of signal telling my box, or ANY box, what aspect ratio something "should" be in. Consumers can make that choice for themselves, with the aspect ratio control built in to their boxes. The box doesn't need the "option" of having it done automatically. This is just another way that broadcasters want to control what you see and how you see it. It reminds me of DRM, which is just the big companies taking choice and control away from consumers. AFD is a completely UNNEEDED USELESS FEATURE. I can't believe they even wasted their time developing something like that.

Utter ********.
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post #27 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 07:30 AM
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Most converter boxes have something like a "set by program" zoom setting which should crop the 16:9 image if the AFD code is 9, but there should always be the option to choose to not do that with one of the other settings. Code 15 can be handled in a variety of ways, but again, even if the "set by program" setting automatically cropped and zoomed the image, you should always have the option of setting something else.

In my opinion, your converter box is the problem.

The DTV Pal/TR-40/Pal Plus are a brand affected by this change NBC has enacted.

These units don't have a set by program selection in the picture format menu.
Instead the unit was designed to automatically crop 480i signals (or the 480i signal already had the flag).
Then the user can set all other resolution signals globally with either horizontal squeeze (for 16:9 sets) or normal (as broadcast).

When the NBC flag now being used is active, the unit treats the 1080i signal as it did the 480i and automatically crops.

Short of convincing broadcasters not to use the flag, I believe a firmware update by Dish would be the only cure.
That can only be accomplished by waiting for newer firmware and returning your unit for exchange,
or purchasing a new unit if and when new firmware is available. Neither being a desirable option for a $20 (more or less) investment.

Your local NBC station may not have any control over this situation depending on where the flag is introduced.

DISH was very forward looking when they designed this unit. It has features that were ahead of broadcasters, when it was introduced.
But frankly, I think they dropped the ball as far as not including a set by program picture setting.
That is something they should have known was going to be used some day.
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post #28 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 08:19 AM
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I think some of you are misunderstanding AFD and why it is used. THis has been used in the UK for quite a long time and it is fairly successful. With AFD, program producers and advertisers don't want to have to worry about framing their content for 4:3 if they don't want to. Having AFD allows them to have their content view in the manner they intend. So if they want it seen full 16:9 by all, it will show letterbox on a 4:3 set. If they made it center cut safe, it will show full screen on a 4:3 set. If you ever want to get to the point where programs/commercials are not shot 16:9, but framed for 4:3, then AFD is the only solution until 16:9 tv becomes universal. 16:9 viewers will get the full 16:9 experience and not be subjected to the 4:3 compromise in place currently. AFD is the ONLY way to accomplish this.

As for NBC implementing (I belive FOX is doing it also or will shortly), it would have to be passed down the program chain. No longer will a local station have to choose to tell the cable company to lock in on center cut or lock in on letterbox (as they have to do with DiSH and DirecTV).
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post #29 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 08:33 AM
 
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I think some of you are misunderstanding AFD and why it is used. THis has been used in the UK for quite a long time and it is fairly successful. With AFD, program producers and advertisers don't want to have to worry about framing their content for 4:3 if they don't want to. Having AFD allows them to have their content view in the manner they intend. So if they want it seen full 16:9 by all, it will show letterbox on a 4:3 set. If they made it center cut safe, it will show full screen on a 4:3 set. If you ever want to get to the point where programs/commercials are not shot 16:9, but framed for 4:3, then AFD is the only solution until 16:9 tv becomes universal. 16:9 viewers will get the full 16:9 experience and not be subjected to the 4:3 compromise in place currently. AFD is the ONLY way to accomplish this.

As for NBC implementing (I belive FOX is doing it also or will shortly), it would have to be passed down the program chain. No longer will a local station have to choose to tell the cable company to lock in on center cut or lock in on letterbox (as they have to do with DiSH and DirecTV).

But the stupid AFD is forcing 4:3 on shows that are 16:9. Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, NBC Nightly News, the Today Show and even the WNBC local news, all are shot in 16:9 wide screen but the AFD is forcing 4:3. And no matter what as I've said a hundred times, people do not need AFD, consumers should be able to make these decisions for themselves. It's quite obvious what aspect ratio a show was shot in. When Extra! or Access Hollywood comes on, before they flipped the switch for AFD, it would show up as a "postage stamp" because the full signal was being broadcast in 16:9 and showing up as letterbox on my 4:3 screen. If I wanted to "Zoom" it, that was MY choice. If I didn't care and wanted to leave it as the "Postage Stamp" I could. That choice is taken away from me with AFD, and AFD is also forcing 4:3 on shows that are shot in 16:9 but "Center Safe". The system is totally flawed. I don't get why others don't get my total anger over this.
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post #30 of 182 Old 06-13-2009, 08:38 AM
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I think the objective was to make CECB aspect ratio grandma friendly, at the expense of the end user not having complete control.
(With certain brand receivers.)
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