Originally Posted by foxeng
If you mean receive, then most TV's can "zoom" the picture up, and some can "stretch" the picture. Both have drawbacks. The zoomed picture cuts off the top and bottom of the picture loosing picture information. The stretched makes people look short and fat.
If you mean transmitted, we live in a 16:9 world now. We are a 16:9 house. We format all video for 16:9 meaning we use the entire picture with usable content. Subchannels have now just started to format for 16:9. Antenna TV and This TV has not done so yet. They transmit a 4:3 image and those programs that are 16:9 are "center cut" meaning the information beyond the 4:3 borders are just "chopped off" and discarded. In order to maintain the proper aspect ratio of the content coming to us, we add the black bars on the 4:3 image for 16:9 displays. This is becoming the normal practice with material that is 4:3 in nature within the industry.
Stations that do stretch the picture or zoom the picture usually hear about it from their views. There are more viewers who prefer to have the black bars than a distorted or cut pictures. So we choose to add the back bars. We ask those MVPD providers who carry our signals to respect the aspect ratio we broadcast.
Yes, indeed I meant "transmit" as being on the TV station end... and I of course am familiar with the typical "zoom" and "stretch" (etc.) controls. What I'm seeing is a sometimes huge disparity from one show (or movie or "whatever") to another in what zooming/stretching options are shown on the selection screen - they vary not so much "tv to tv", but more "movie to movie". You'll have one movie that you can't get but within an inch or two of the top and lower borders of filling the screen w/out distortion, and another that fills the screen completely - without "short/fat" or "tall/slim" distortion, with no adjustment required on TV whatsoever. In other words, "the stuff is all over the map" these days, it seems, with little consistency, even on, say, Netflix streaming. Now, on regular antenna-based TV programming, most of the programs fill the screen perfectly w/no home adjustments needed. Despite former problems with "too fat" or "too tall" images, many folks don't want an itty-bitty picture ("postage stamp" picture, I call it) surrounded with big black borders that effectively turns their nice big TV screen into a variation of a 1960-TV-sized image. Additionally, many TV sets today, including some LCD and especially high quality plasma screens, which I know are still sold, though less frequently than LCD or whatever - suggest not running partial-screen (black borders) shows/movies more than 15% of "on" time, to keep from slightly damaging screens. (Not actually talking about "burn", but more about misbalanced usage due to partial screen images vs. black space.) These are some of the things I find disheartening about the "postage stamp" sized screen images, when you have an otherwise "huge" screen not fully utilized. Surely I'm not alone, here!...lol!... (BTW, thanks for your, and the other folks', replies to my queries, here.)