Originally Posted by jimre
Whoever. My point is - there's nothing Comcast can do to fix this. They can either choose to cut off part of the picture, or letterbox it. They can't change the show's production decisions.
Why do you think I am blaming Comcast? I'm not. In fact, Comcast's part in this is passive.
It appears Comcast finally implemented AFD in this area. Active Format Descriptor is a signal sent by the source (Fox) which instructs reception equipment to use a specific format - center cut or letterbox or zoom or whatever. AFD means the end user doesn't have to worry about the format of the program. His set will show it in the "proper" way without any user intervention. Fox uses AFD and its splicer system means KCPQ passes that data along to the distributors. Time Warner and DirecTV do not process AFD. Comcast does, but not everywhere yet. Until this week, Ch 13 on Comcast center cut baseball and cut off the score box. This week, the baseball game was letterboxed.
I'm not sure why your post mentions "fixing" this. It's not something that is broken. When Fox made the decision to move graphics out of the 4:3 safe area, that meant center cut would no longer work.
My post had two purposes:
1. This is a significant development in TV production. Fox is the first network to abandon center cut when downconverting to 4:3. And a change at Comcast meant viewers here can now see the program the way Fox intended.
2. I am curious about the public reaction. Baseball is not a big draw in Seattle these days. But, the Seahawks attract huge audiences, most of whom have 4:3 sets. Are they going to be happy with a smaller, letterboxed image? This change had to come at some point. I'm surprised it came so soon, though. I thought it would be later when a significant majority of sets were 16:9.
EDIT: One more thought here. While graphics have moved into the 16:9 area, which is good when watching on a 16:9 set, they are also larger than they used to be. I suspect that was done so that they'd still be easy to read on the smaller 4:3 letterboxed image. So, in the end, I'm not sure how much of an improvement this is for HD viewers. (Well, I guess it would be a win-win for those who prefer big graphics.