If you are talking about the thin black bars on the sides of widescreen movies (like the one that was just on), that is because they are "OAR Upconverts" and not true HD. I'm guessing it is either a source issue (maybe they are zooming 4x3 letterboxed movies) or something else. Either way it is Showtime's end (or their suppliers) and not DirecTV or your equipment.
I have my tv's overscan set about 3% and many times I get good sized
black bars on all 4 sides of the picture! The AR seems to be fine, the picture is just to small! Showtime is the only channel that I get black bars on all sides. There are a few shows on HDNET that I get small black bars on the side
The place they used to do upconverts had a process that resulted in this. They now use another company, with an updated process. Plenty have complaind about the crappy upconverts.
Showtime is unable to get HD transfers in most cases, due to contract problems and also extreme costs. Thankfully Paramount and MGM are giving them all HD and many Disney films are in HD, plus some being upconverted..
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