Originally Posted by gastrof What I'm talking about is this-
Recorder set to 16x9, but the TV is a 4x3 screen, standard def. Gets the output from the recorder thru composite.
The recorder isn't letterboxing anything, and is getting, recording, and outputting JUST the widescreen picture.
That widescreen picture, getting to the TV, is the full content of the widescreen picture. The sides aren't cut off. Instead the entire content of the widescreen picture is being squeezed into the 4x3 display, resulting in everyone looking tall and thin.
I don't see how you'd be getting a 4x3 version of the widescreen picture, correct aspect ratio, but with the sides missing. The recorder, set on 16x9, should be feeding the whole widescreen picture to your TV. There's no way you're not getting a squeezed widescreen picture.
I'm doing it right now with our local NBC affiliate, and I'm getting the Tonight Show with the full content of the 16x9 broadcast on my 4x3 screen...so everything is squeezed left and right. None of the widescreen picture is missing, but it's being forced into a 4x3 screen, so everything's squeezed, so everyone looks tall and thin.
If I recorded this show and then reset the recorder to letterbox, the widescreen recording would be letterboxed and appear with black bars (and no squeezing or "distortion") on the 4x3 screen.
Things recorded in letterbox, however, won't go widescreen when the recorder is reset to widescreen. (I've tried recording in all three formats, and then tried playing back the three recordings in all three formats.)
As said originally, if you leave the recorder set on "widescreen", widescreen broadcasts get passed on to a 4x3 TV squeezed/distorted.
You can later view widescreen recordings in letterboxed format, if you reset the recorder to letterbox, but you'd then have to reset it back to widescreen to make recordings be widescreen and usable by either type of TV later on.
To have to keep changing the video settings on the recorder is too "messy" and also leaves open the chance of forgetting and being stuck with a letterboxed recording when you were expecting a widescreen one.