Originally Posted by Ryokurin
The cable company will downconvert. The cable company in my hometown switched over months ago, and all they do crop to the 4:3 center of a 16:9 screen. This messes with lower thirds however as they are either partially off the screen or completely missed but the alternative is to letterbox everything, and I'm sure a bunch of analog users would hate that.
I've never understood the desire people have to "fill the screen". If NBC is shooting all their sitcoms in 16:9, I wanna see the whole thing, even if it means letterboxing on my SD screen. And if I'm watching a 4:3 show (on TBS for example) I want it in proper aspect ratio, not strrrreched across the screen.
That's always bugged me.
It's disappointing that APT is so careless with their HD content. I have to wonder if the true HD programs are being shown direct off the network and everything else is recorded in SD. Whatever the problem it means I won't be putting up an antenna to get it next time I'm in Birmingham.
Here in Mississippi, they are really doing right by PBS and showing lots of stuff in HD, even some local shows.
As for what the cable companies are doing, I've noticed some center-cutting going on with DirecTV's locals… I can't remember if it was in Memphis or Baton Rouge, but I saw some D* local content that was center-cut HD; titles and characters were getting cut off on the SD feed and it looked really bad. I suppose center-cutting the 16:9 is okay if the material was shot 4:3-safe, but otherwise it really creates problems.
All this to avoid a couple of little 'black bars' or the occasional letterboxing (black on all sides) effect on SD screens. Hopefully cable systems and stations will begin taking advantage of the data feature (whose name escapes me at the moment) that can signal the equipment to automatically letterbox or crop depending on program content.