AVS Special Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Peoria Illinois
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While the broadcast is 16:9 HD, not all of the programming is, especially on reruns.
When you say "letterboxed" that indicates bars on the top and bottom, (but not the sides) which is the way a 16:9 image should be displayed on a 4:3 TV, or a theatrical movie would show on any kind of TV.
If you mean "windowboxed, (bars on all 4 sides of the image) then something has probably been flagged incorrectly and you need to use a "zoom" function on the TV or Tivo. This will often happen with a 4:3 show, broadcast on an HD channel, but viewed on a 4:3 TV.
A 4:3 content show should be displayed with bars on the sides (but not top and bottom) on a 16:9 TV (called Pillarboxed)
So there are a lot of variables involved. Type of TV, Type of Tivo, zoom settings of TV and Tivo, setup of TV and Tivo, format of content (of the particular show). A rerun of Supernatural played from an old tape might be 4:3 but a new network feed should be 16:9, but a delayed new episode might have been recorded as 4:3 and flagged and displayed incorrectly. AND the cable company can further alter the aspect ratio or flag it incorrectly when they re-transmit the station creating an image that cannot be displayed correctly on anything.
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