SD Broadcasters.. why not switch to 16x9?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by mattCR, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,515
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt
    This is a question I've wondered about for some time. As most of us know, while we have plenty of HD channels, everything SD is 4:3. Which is most of the channels on a digital cable dial. Now, some of these, especially movie channels (think Encore, or Showtime Pacific Love 4, etc.) are not HD shipped stations.

    But it makes me wonder why there isn't a way to ship these in non-HD 16:9 (think DVD). In Europe and elsewhere, most content is this way. I'm just wondering how difficult, or why there has been a delay in doing such a thing, as any TV sold in the last, I don't know, 5-7 years has been 16:9
     
  2. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    347
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the reason is that it's not in the NTSC 'spec' (I don't think there were ever any non-HD widescreen sets sold at retail in the US) while the PAL specifications were updated sometime in the mid-to-late 90s to include a widescreen standard, as Eurpoe adopted a standard definition widescreen standard years before HD even came to them.


    So, I think it's down to the broadcast technology. If you're broadcasting in NTSC, it has to be 4:3, whether that's full-screen or letterboxed.
     
  3. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,515
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt
    I guess I can make sense of that; but if something is a cable only commodity (like say, Starz4-12 or Sho3-32 or whatever) they aren't actually transmit/broadcasting in a way that you'd think that would figure in.. I don't know, you'd think with the transition to digital, it'd give them more free reign to correct these issues..
     
  4. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    347
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA


    Although it's not broadcast over-the-air, it's still NTSC, though (if it's SD). Probably the 'best' they could do would be to transmit it letterboxed, leaving the viewer at home to decide whether or not to use the zoom function.
     
  5. FanboyZ

    FanboyZ Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    13
    Real Name:
    Zolly Shoah Ben-Becker
    They won't because its the right thing to do.
     
  6. Joseph Burns

    Joseph Burns Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2001
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, it's not in the spec. While folks with 16x9 HD sets (most of us at this point) would be better served if they did an anamorphic squeeze and let us stretch it with our screen controls, folks with 4x3 sets by and large would be left with a squished image and nothing they could do about it. Remember, anamorphic DVDs work in 4x3 because the DVD spec allows for every other line to be discarded when displaying to a 4x3 set, producing a letterboxed image. This feature is implemented onboard the DVD player, and so SD users can't use "the same process," since the hardware needed can't be repurposed from the DVD player to the cable box (unless you're a much bigger geek than me and enjoy frankensteining circuit boards). Cable and satellite providers could implement such tech in their DVRs, and it would seem to be little different from what they provide for HD customers anyway, but remember that there's a premium charged for HD over SD in the DVR market. Introducing the tech would require getting various content vendors onboard with delivering in this format… yeah. With SD in the rear view mirror, it's hard to imagine the investment being made. Having said that, I'd love to see it. There are a number of shows still chugging along in SD and I'd like to stop pillarboxing them (distortion is anathema to me). We'll just have to wait for them to bump up to HD.
     
  7. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,515
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt
    To be honest, I mostly think of pay cable (starz/showtime/hbo/cinemax) when you would think they'd just flip everything to 480I/P if nothing else ;) Why not, they are never "broadcast"
     

Share This Page