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Trying to understand a problem with WNET


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   GaryEA

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Posted February 23 2009 - 07:32 AM

I was hoping somebody could help a guy who isn’t tech-savvy make sense out of a problem I’m having with some WNET/Channel 13 programs. I get my cable from Comcast and don’t have an HD capable TV. In fact, my TV is a standard 4:3 screen. I just haven’t taken the leap yet. My favorite programs on WNET are Frontline, American Experience and any documentaries they may air. Two weeks ago, Frontline began to look different. Instead of being letterboxed like it has been for years, it was “zoomed in”, for lack of a better term, and information was being cut off on the sides (names, Frontline logo). It was unwatchable. American Experience and the recent Simon Schama doc have also suffered in the same way. However, if I watch Frontline on demand, it is properly letterboxed. So why is this happening? Comcast told me I did not need a converter box because the existing cable box will handle the transition to DTV. My email to WNET has gone unanswered. In a sidebar to this, WLIW aired Sesame Street in a combined letterboxed/window boxed format. Thanks in advance. Regards, Gary

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Hanson

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Posted February 23 2009 - 08:22 AM

The networks used to send an SD feed and an HD feed with the SD feed formatted for a 4:3 screen. As of, I believe the end of last year, the networks are only supplying the HD feed, and it is up to the affiliate whether to letterbox it or cut off the sides. The latter is severe since it will cut off credits and other text in addition to the picture info. Until the affiliates get more complaints about the cutting off than they would if they letterboxed, this will continue. The networks have pushed their logos inside the 4:3 area so their bugs don't get cut off by the affiliates. I am not sure what will happen with the DTV switchover with regard to the cable companies. I assume it will be letterboxed.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Chip_HT

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Posted February 23 2009 - 01:45 PM

Not exactly....I've been seeing some shows on some channel that's called "ab" with a half circle logo. Lazy affliates....

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   GaryEA

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Posted February 24 2009 - 02:46 AM

Thanks for the replies folks. I now understand what's going on, thanks to your explanation Hanson. But like Chip said, I'm starting to notice it more and more on other stations. ABC (or AB as it reads on my screen) is one, ION has reruns of NCIS zoomed in so much it hurts, but they nudged their bug inward so it can be legible. There are a couple others but I can't think of them off the top of my head. If this turns out to be stone-cold laziness, I'm going to be really disappointed, in WNET especially. They've basically teamed with WLIW/21 and I've seen no problems with their programs. I haven't watched NJN in a while because the signal is so weak, it's distracting. And that's on cable! Has anyone noticed this on other stations?

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Hanson

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Posted February 24 2009 - 03:13 AM

I don't think it is laziness. It is because they assume that everyone and their dad will call in to complain about the letterboxing, so they crop it instead. If the number of people complaining about cropping is less than their imaginary number of people who will complain about letterboxing, they will keep cropping.

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 24 2009 - 04:19 AM

PBS Channel 2 in Miami also crops the sides off of widescreen programming. It's incredibly annoying. (I only get the other local PBS station in HD.)
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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   GaryEA

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Posted March 08 2009 - 08:21 AM

Okay. I'm just disgusted with this. While watching SNL last night, I noticed that as they came back from a commercial break, the photos they show of the host went from widescreen (black bars and all) to "fullscreen", as in the enlarged (read: cropped) widescreen image. I know widescreen TV's are becoming the norm, and I want one as well, but a lot of people don't have them. And if the solution to the "black bars" problem is to make MACGRUBER into ACGRUBE, then it's WRONG solution. I'm watching TV in MAR.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Hanson

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Posted March 08 2009 - 08:27 AM

Perhaps they are trying irritate you into getting a widescreen TV.

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Chip_HT

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Posted March 08 2009 - 06:01 PM

I haven't seen Smallville in two years, it's been "MALLVILL"




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