Originally Posted by AntiguaGuy
I just got back from a meeting in Chicago; I stayed at the Hyatt Regency downtown. There was a big nice Panasonic 16:9 flat panel in my room; most channels were displayed as "progressive" stretched SD - where the center portion isn't distorted, but the edges are extremely stretched. This nauseated me, and the menu was locked, so there was no way for a guest to change it. People in the center of the picture looked okay, but when they moved to the right or left of center, they had one shoulder broader than the other and one side of their face twice as wide as the other side. (like I was viewing it in a funhouse mirror.) But here was the real kicker for me - content that was input in 16:9 was progressively stretched to 19:8, with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. So nothing was displayed in its intended aspect ratio - both 4:3 and 16:9 were distorted.
What a waste! I would have much preferred an undistorted picture on a standard 4:3 screen, and that would cost Hyatt a lot less.
I'm staying this week at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago. At check-in, the lady at the counter told me that I was fortunate to be among the first to stay in one of their newly remodeled rooms. The room and its furnishings are very nice, including a new 37" LG flatpanel. It plays about 60 analog channels, all of them stretched horizontally. The 4:3 channels are stretched to 16:9 to fill the screen. 16:9 material is stretched to 19:8 with black bars at the top and bottom. No digital or HD channels available.
The TVs in the Ritz's healthclub are "antique" 4:3 CRTs, and I enjoyed watching that much more than the stretched pictures on the flat panel in my room.
This is a big dissappointment, but not enough to keep me from recommending the Ritz-Carlton. The rooms are consistently immaculately clean and well-maintained, the beds are extremely comfortable, the linens are luxurious, and the staff members are courteous and attentive. High-speed internet and use of the healthclub are complimentary. Over the years, I've stayed at most of the hotels in downtown Chicago, and it's hard to beat the Ritz-Carlton. (But I wish they'd fix the TVs).