Originally Posted by d3193
Don't get me wrong; I love TCM - one of the most worthwhile channels on cable. But they have set their own very high standards for showing films the right way, and it's always a shock when they get it wrong. I wouldn't bother commenting if it were IFC or any of a number of other channels that just don't seem to care.
The problem is, most of their SD stuff is probably on digital betacam or standard DVC tape. Prior to the upgrade, they only had to pop in the tape, set up to the bars and roll it at the appropriate time. Letterboxed stuff was letterboxed already on the tape - they don't do anything to make it that way.
Now, they have an HD switcher. The naitve aspect/resolution is 16x9 HD. So, it either needs an HD signal, or someone to tell it the signal is SD and how to handle it. If they do nothing, the switcher is going to stretch it, like you would an anamorphic signal. If you have it set up to upconvert a letterboxed movie, it's going to crop 4x3 content on an SD tape. If you have it set to display the source natively, 4x3 content will look normal, but letterboxed stuff off the SD tape will be a postage stamp in the middle of the HD screen. If the paperwork isn't correct for the movie, the operator may set it one way when it needs to be another. Likewise, with multiple settings that need to be recalled, it's possible to do it wrong.
That doesn't even account for technical issues, requiring them to switch the HD feed over to show the SD feed, which is likely to stretch it unless the reconfigure the output - which would be side to widescreen mode in order to display HD.
The point here is, the operators never had to anything at all to display everything OAR. They just rolled the tape, which had the film at the proper aspect already. Now, they have an odd mix of old 4x3 SD, letterboxed SD, 4x3 HD, letterboxed HD and a bunch of new equipment that is always going to have bugs that don't show up until you go on the air with it.
For that reason, I'll cut them a ton of slack. If they still make these mistakes in 6 months, then I'd gripe.
The WB library is indeed one of the largest, but a surprising number of their films already have HD transfers. However I understood that they were not set up to air any true HD yet, that everything would be upconverts for a while. Do you have info to the contrary?
They likely don't have very many of those new transfers on tape yet (or ingested on the server, if they're using a tapeless playback system). In some cases, it's just a matter of getting them in. In other cases, they just have to renew the rights and include HD. Finally, in other cases, they're still waiting for the transfer to be completed.