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Stretching SD/4x3 Content to Fill 16x9 Widescreens

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N-Dizzle View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 5:37am
In my series of Television Related Rants, this comes up too.    There's nothing I hate more than turning on a HD channel, only to see that an older program in the normal, almost square 4x3 aspect ratio, stretched or altered to fill the 16:9 screen.    Two of the worst offenders in this category are TNT and TBS.    If you turn on Family Guy on TBS HD, what you are seeing is NOT HD, since Family Guy was not produced in widescreen or HD.    It's the same 4x3 episodes, just stretched to "fill the screen", but labeled as HD.    

Part of this has to do with public perception.   People seem to have it in their head that buying a HDTV set will magically make everything HD and the picture will fill the screen 100% of the time.   WRONG.    Only programs produced in HD and channels that broadcast HD are true HD, in the 1080i or 720p format.   Also, the picture is not supposed to "fill the screen" all the time.   Shows, movies, news, etc NOT shot in 16:9 widescreen are not supposed to fill the screen.   To watch it undistorted and un-trashed, there are supposed to be black bars on the sides of the screen.  

The rest of it has to do with the networks wanting to have the most HD programming.   HD is a huge selling point right now with cable/satellite/IPTV providers.   Just look at their ads.   And the networks are desperate to get viewers who want HD to watch their channel.    Unfortunately, they're being fraudulent.    They think they can pull the wool over the viewers' eyes and make us think that hideously stretched pictures are "real HD".    Unfortunately, the masses have seemed to fall for it.    I have no cule how.   It's plain as day when actors look 10-20 pounds heavier and the TV looks like a warped funhouse mirror.   

Anyway, it's extremely obnoxious since many other networks that have launched since TNT now use a similar method.    Networks like Food HD, History HD and A&E HD also stretch their SD content and commercials to "fill the screen".   And the worst part is, History HD stretches new programming, shown in letterbox, rather than showing it in HD! AngryAngryAngry    TNT is also a bastard because every episode of Bones is shown in stretch on TNT HD.   Bones has been HD since day one on FOX.    TNT and TBS also show movies, most that are widescreen, in stretch also.

But oddly enought, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind(the old versions) are shown correctly in 4:3.  Shocked

What a bunch of ass backwards networks!!!CensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensored
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ad nauseous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 5:48am
I know it annoys me too that no other people NOTICE IT!!!!!!! gagh!!!!! I have YET to see a widescreen with unstretched programming. Angry
One good thing about TV-you could always turn it off
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote N-Dizzle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 6:01am
Originally posted by Ad nauseous Ad nauseous wrote:

I know it annoys me too that no other people NOTICE IT!!!!!!! gagh!!!!! I have YET to see a widescreen with unstretched programming. Angry


Then you've never seen my TV.   I made sure to do an aspect ratio lesson when we got our HDTV. WinkLOLLOL

But it really pains me when I go out and see a TV at a restaurant, public place, etc that has a beautiful new HDTV set showing a stretched picture, sometimes even analog cable w/o a box! ShockedShockedShockedShockedShocked  EEK!!!    And then I wonder how many people are watching their TVs like this?   How many people have these beautiful TVs and are not experiencing their whole potential?   The Scientific Atlanta DVR connected to our TV came from the cable company set to iutput in 480i(the lowest resolution).     And on top of that, most HDTVs come set to stretch from the factory.   So a distorted,stretched picture appears to be "normal". (shudders)   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 6:32am
You young people!
 
Back in prehistoric times before cable, sometimes it was an impossibilty to stop the TV picture from flickering.  Flickering was when the picture would just move endlessly up the screen, over and over and over, as if in a loop.  Sometimes, we'd just watch it that way.  LOL
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HollyRock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 4:10pm
Originally posted by Thor Thor wrote:

You young people!
 
Back in prehistoric times before cable, sometimes it was an impossibilty to stop the TV picture from flickering.  Flickering was when the picture would just move endlessly up the screen, over and over and over, as if in a loop.  Sometimes, we'd just watch it that way.  LOL
 
 
 
Oh, man - I do NOT miss that.  You'd sit 5 inches away from the TV and whack it every few seconds, and occasionally you'd get it just right and it would hold still (the Fonzie effect)...for a few minutes...and then start flipping again.
 
I've gotten the Aspect-Ratio lesson through and through, courtesy of gadget-guy (my husband). 
 
It is always disappointing to tune into something that claims "HD" on the program guide, and it is clearly not.  It's an outrage!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dp7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2009 at 3:18am
Originally posted by N-Dizzle N-Dizzle wrote:


But it really pains me when I go out and see a TV at a restaurant, public place, etc that has a beautiful new HDTV set showing a stretched picture, sometimes even analog cable w/o a box!


It's even more of a gem if they are tuned into an HD channel showing an HD program on an HDTV, but the screen is still in 4:3 stretched mode still showing the program all basterdized and stretched!  AND everyone acts like the non-HD distorted picture is clear and regular HD!  Unhappy 

The next two paragraphs are slightly OT, so pardon me.  At least that isn't as bad as trying to explain to my mom that widescreen is NOT cut from a full screen picture, and that you see more picture when its widescreen.  She can't grasp the situation that 4:3 is cut from 16:9 and you see LESS information, not the other way around!  At least she can tell when 4:3 is stretched to fit and demands it be set right, even if she hates the bars.

And finally, don't even get me started on these digital converter boxes.   I wonder how many people are going to think they have crystal clear HD-quality reception after the digital transition is over when they still use a 1979 analog tube TV that receives an SD signal from the HD converter box.  They don't get the box converts HD to SD so the old TVs can see the signal!  A relative already told me (after they got the converter box) that they never need to replace their 1980s TV now that it "is capable of showing HD quality programs just like those flatscreens now!"  Angry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ad nauseous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2009 at 3:38am
Originally posted by N-Dizzle N-Dizzle wrote:

Originally posted by Ad nauseous Ad nauseous wrote:

I know it annoys me too that no other people NOTICE IT!!!!!!! gagh!!!!! I have YET to see a widescreen with unstretched programming. Angry


Then you've never seen my TV.   I made sure to do an aspect ratio lesson when we got our HDTV. WinkLOLLOL

But it really pains me when I go out and see a TV at a restaurant, public place, etc that has a beautiful new HDTV set showing a stretched picture, sometimes even analog cable w/o a box! ShockedShockedShockedShockedShocked  EEK!!!    And then I wonder how many people are watching their TVs like this?   How many people have these beautiful TVs and are not experiencing their whole potential?   The Scientific Atlanta DVR connected to our TV came from the cable company set to iutput in 480i(the lowest resolution).     And on top of that, most HDTVs come set to stretch from the factory.   So a distorted,stretched picture appears to be "normal". (shudders)   
Same here.

A little while ago around Winter Spring/Summer 2008 in NCCC we got a brand new Arts and Science Building that just opened in 2007. In it it had a little seating area with a widescreen TV that had Directv, that I watched before classes started. Before I realized how to fix the aspect ratio it always had a stretched screen that always irked me. FINALLY one day I fiddled around with the TV remote and figured out how to change the aspect ratio!!! I changed it to 16:9 and it got rid of the stretch effect!!!! the only problem was that it cut off a bit of the top and bottom, that didn't matter that much to me, at least the stretch effect was gone. Clap

I recognized the stretch effect from growing up watching the Prevue Channel in which they showed previews at the top of the screen almost all the time stretched to fit the top of the screen, to this day I'm reminded of that when I see a stretched widescreen picture.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ThreadKiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2009 at 5:11am
This is long--sorry--but I've done a lot of fiddling with my satellite box and HDTV, and have some observations to share. Like N-Dizzle, I'm a stickler for aspect ratio purity. I want 16:9 programming to fill the screen, and sidebars with older 4:3 programs.
 
There are usually three distinct stretch options on most HD TVs (and, by the way, most cable and satellite boxes). They may be named differently on your TV/box. (I hate reading instructions as much as the next male, but this is one time it's helpful to do so.)
 
"Stretch" stretches the picture horizontally to fill the screen, but does no stretching at all vertically. This is the exaggerated stretch most of you talked about above.
 
"Zoom" stretches the picture in both directions proportionally, so that it fills the screen from side to side, but then you lose a bit of the top and bottom of the picture. At least this doesn't make people and things on the screen look funny, because the original aspect ration is preserved.
 
"Fill zoom" stretches the picture to fill the screen horizontally, and also stretches it vertically, but not as much as would be required to preserve the original dimensions. This can be a decent compromise between Stretch and Zoom, because it fills the screen, and reduces both horizontal distortion and loss of picture at top and bottom. Still, you can notice some horizontal stretching if you look for it.
 
My older HD satellite box had an option called, I think, "pan zoom" or something like that. It stretched only the outer thirds of the 4:3 picture and left the center third (where faces usually are) more or less undisturbed. However, if the camera moved across a scene, or across a person's face, you could see things stretching as they appeared on the side of the screen, then they shrank as they crossed the center of the screen, then stretched out again as they moved through the other side of the screen. Spooky...looked like something from the Twilight Zone. 
 
Ideally, you should set your cable or sat box to insert the vertical sidebars on 4:3 programming, then set your HD TV to "native" mode. What happens then is you will see 4:3 stuff with the sidebars inserted by your box, and HD programs in full widescreen mode.
 
None of which helps when TNT, TBS, and History Channel try to "help" by stretching 4:3 programs for you in some stupid way. History Channel sometimes stretches the picture horizontally, then for some reason shrink the picture vertically and insert bars at top and bottom. This makes the horizontal stretching even more exaggerated. I've been so frustrated by this at times that I've set my sat box back to the 4:3 output setting and then used the zoom options on my TV to adjust for some of the distortion the channel is sending down the line. Doesn't always work, but it makes me feel better.
 
Another option is to watch the 4:3 programs on the low-def version of the channel--DirecTV still carries them. Sorta defeats the purpose of an HD TV, however.
 
Even though these are frustrating issues, I still wouldn't give up HD for anything. I've had it for four years and it hasn't gotten old...I still often find myself amazed at the beauty of whatever I happen to be watching on the screen.
Hundreds of threads killed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote N-Dizzle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2009 at 6:06am
On our TV with the Component input, the TV has to be set to a setting called "Full" which shows the channels from the cable box however they are presented.   HD widescreen shows fill the screen, SD channels have black bars on the side from the cable box.   

The most annoying thing happens on stupid channels like USA and F/X.   There's bars on the sides and the top, which is always fun, as your large TV becomes a smaller TV. Angry    I usually avoid those shows.   

I usually take the "watch the SD channel" route for History channel.    When your cable company only has 10 national HD channels, it's very easy to not browse those channels and just watch SD instead.   Of the channels we have, all but ESPN and ESPN2 and the HDTV Tier (Universal HD, HDNET, HDNET Movies, MGM HD) stretchUnhappy.   

Considering I hate all the channels we have(TNT, TBS, A&E, HGTV, Food, History, HD Theater), most of my TV viewing is SDTV.   So I'm pretty used to the bars.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anankha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2009 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by Thor Thor wrote:

You young people!
 
Back in prehistoric times before cable, sometimes it was an impossibilty to stop the TV picture from flickering.  Flickering was when the picture would just move endlessly up the screen, over and over and over, as if in a loop.  Sometimes, we'd just watch it that way.  LOL
 
 

My mom still has a TV she got from a yard sale that does that, especially on local channels and when there are colorful commercials. The thing that fixes it is moving the cable cord around. Seems strange, but it works.
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