Which national HD channels distort 4:3 content and which ones don't? - Page 11 - AVS Forum
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HDTV Programming > Which national HD channels distort 4:3 content and which ones don't?
nu77's Avatar nu77 12:53 AM 04-17-2010
We sat down to watch a movie we had tivoed a few weeks ago -- Heidi on AMCHD (oldie, but yeah, whatever) -- and the annoying this was that it was broadcast in that "distorto" mode where a 4:3 picture is stretched to fit a 16:9 screen. I find this really annoying -- practically nauseating. Why can't broadcasters can't even get this aspect ratio stuff right?

We had the same problem with a show on IFC a few months ago, and checking around online it seems that they were getting their feed from some Canadian satellite and their broadcast was misconfigured, and there was supposedly no way IFC could compensate.

Same thing with News Hour on PBS -- lots of video segments are often in the wrong aspect ratio -- can't they see when it's wrong?!

I guess I just need to vent... but this continually drives me nuts. And why can't tv manufacturers give you an ability to reverse compensate for these annoyances. I wonder if we'll ever get out of this 16:9 vs 4:3 hell-hole.

jtarheel's Avatar jtarheel 07:22 AM 04-17-2010
TNT does the same thing with some old re-broadcasts.
d3193's Avatar d3193 10:04 AM 04-17-2010
This has become a very annoying problem. AMC HD and IFC HD are frequently unwatchable because of this.
And many editors of news items seem to be unable to spot whether an image is intended to be 4x3 or 16x9, so we see far too many tall and skinny images as well as short and fat ones.
A recent documentary on TCM about the Brothers Warner was filled with anamorphic images that should have been stretched, but were not. I cannot believe they got past the editor of the program, or past the quality control people at TCM. It feels as though no-one really cares.
nu77's Avatar nu77 02:04 PM 04-17-2010
I don't think it's that they don't really care, but it seems that understanding aspect ratios is a little beyond the average person's abilities. Whoever designed this widescreen thing should be shot for not making a broadcast flag that automatically adjusts your display whenever an aspect ratio change is encountered. And whoever the engineer at the tv station that applies stretcho-distorto mode to the broadcast so that granny doesn't see black bars on the sides should be fired!
ABCTV99's Avatar ABCTV99 02:06 PM 04-17-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by d3193 View Post

This has become a very annoying problem. AMC HD and IFC HD are frequently unwatchable because of this.
And many editors of news items seem to be unable to spot whether an image is intended to be 4x3 or 16x9, so we see far too many tall and skinny images as well as short and fat ones.
A recent documentary on TCM about the Brothers Warner was filled with anamorphic images that should have been stretched, but were not. I cannot believe they got past the editor of the program, or past the quality control people at TCM. It feels as though no-one really cares.

I would suspect the editors or quality control people may not be aware of the difference. 4:3 stretched to 16:9 is absolutely unexcusable these days, but I can easily see an unexperienced editor not quite sure how to take a 2.35 image and make it work for 16:9 or 4:3, especially since 'scope' images are delivered either anamorphic on SD tape or anamorphic HD tape this can get confusing if you aren't aware of the OAR and if the network is convoluted as to how to rebroadcast widescreen images.
Ken H's Avatar Ken H 03:24 PM 04-17-2010
Topics merged.
kjbawc's Avatar kjbawc 08:04 PM 04-17-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by nu77 View Post

I don't think it's that they don't really care, but it seems that understanding aspect ratios is a little beyond the average person's abilities. Whoever designed this widescreen thing should be shot for not making a broadcast flag that automatically adjusts your display whenever an aspect ratio change is encountered. And whoever the engineer at the tv station that applies stretcho-distorto mode to the broadcast so that granny doesn't see black bars on the sides should be fired!

I hate what I call the fun house mirror effect as much as anyone, but I doubt the engineer makes the decision. He is only doing what he is told to do.

I, too, see squeezed anamorphic, and stretched 4x3, segments in news broadcasts, and in documentaries, although rarely on PBS. I'm not so sure that these are accidents. Rather, I think they are often done to avoid shifting aspect ratios in one piece. I still don't like it, though.
d3193's Avatar d3193 10:18 AM 04-18-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABCTV99 View Post

I would suspect the editors or quality control people may not be aware of the difference. 4:3 stretched to 16:9 is absolutely unexcusable these days, but I can easily see an unexperienced editor not quite sure how to take a 2.35 image and make it work for 16:9 or 4:3, especially since 'scope' images are delivered either anamorphic on SD tape or anamorphic HD tape this can get confusing if you aren't aware of the OAR and if the network is convoluted as to how to rebroadcast widescreen images.

Many posters here, including yourself I assume, are professionals in the TV broadcast business - as I was until recently. I think you are letting people off the hook too easily.
If an editor is inexperienced then he/she should not be working on nationally broadcast material without supervision. In the case of news, we understand that there are often severe time constraints, and that occasional errors can get through. But once is enough; after that it shouldn't happen again. In the case of programs without these time pressures, there is no excuse. All networks put their programs through a quality control process, and these sorts of errors should not make it to air.
wmcbrine's Avatar wmcbrine 04:00 PM 04-20-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by nu77 View Post

Whoever designed this widescreen thing should be shot for not making a broadcast flag that automatically adjusts your display whenever an aspect ratio change is encountered.

That exists. It's called Active Format Description (AFD). But not everyone is using it... in fact, some outfits are intentionally ignoring it even when it's available, in order to avoid black bars.
nickdawg's Avatar nickdawg 04:13 PM 04-20-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by nu77 View Post

Whoever designed this widescreen thing should be shot for not making a broadcast flag that automatically adjusts your display whenever an aspect ratio change is encountered.

NBC does that with their OTA distribution, even for commercials. And it's annoying as hell!! I really wish I woulda taped and dumped that SNL special that was on last Thursday to show some of the die hard black bar supporters here. Between every. Single. Clip. that was a different format/size, it would change. I did a dramatic account of it on the local news thread:

Quote:


They've been showing clips from 2000, 2001; obviously 4x3 mixed with new "in studio" 16x9 interviews. So I decided to take my DTV converter off of perma-crop and see how "Set By Program" would handle it. What a &*#^@^$ mess!! The picture "changes size" (which consists of flashing and jumping) every other minute. And on top of that there's a delay where you have either a windowbox 4x3 or cropped 16x9 picture. There's no way in hell I could stand to watch that for 2 hours.

Quote:


And apparently it does that during commercial breaks too. Between every other commercial it goes from a 16x9 commercial to a windowboxed 4x3 commercial back to 16x9 then to 16x9 inside a 16x9 frame and eventually dumps to windowbox 4x3 during local commercials. And it has that transition that is jarring between it. I mean jesus christ, there's absolutely no need to change between full screen and letterbox for a commercial that has 4x3 safe text anyway. Absolutely pointless. Funny that "TV's number one network" hasn't adopted this horrid technology.


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