Originally Posted by Marty Milton
If you want your TV to fill the screen, then you need to "pony up" for the HD channels. BTW, those black bars are there so people with the old 1:33:1 aspect ratio TVs receive the same content as the 1:78:1 HDTVs.
As far as Bulls games on channel 49, they also look terrible on Comcast cable, as well.
I know this is a old post, but I wanted to reply specifically about OTA signals, not the Comcast HD package and aspect ratios.
What I've seen so far with digital OTA is that not even the network broadcasts HD all of the time it seems, and many of the commercial spots - also network, not locally originated - are SD. This is my MAJOR gripe with the digital TV system in our area, or maybe the entire country. SD looks like crap on a HD LCD TV - maybe it would look OK on a plasma, but I don't have one to compare. The PQ of SD on a quality LCD TV fares very poorly compared to either of my Sony XBR SD CRT TVs. So, I have a great HD picture often on the LCD, but a crappy picture a fair amount of the time because of the program content. And, it appears that only WAND's news is in HD, so one has to put up with the poor OTA PQ with the other local stations locally-originated news programs.
Theoretically, DTV/HD is a winner. But, in reality for many people "in the sticks," and I include C-U in this unfortunate group, one can only receive 6 to 7 stations even using a decent external Hi-VHF and UHF rotatable array with a low noise preamp (switchable in and out). In the analog days, I never received fewer than 10 to 12 stations OTA, some albeit snowy, but very watchable and that included WGN.
What you constantly hear is folks in large metro areas being able to receive up to 25 to 40 DTV channels, some with only a good inside or attic antenna. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion for the majority of the country, i.e. the small city and rural areas, OTA DTV is a disaster compared to the analog days.