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HDTV question (1 Viewer)

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 22, 1999
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538
Let me know if this is not an appropriate place for this question since it is not about a particular show, but a more general question...

I'm new to HDTV. I've had a capable TV for about 3 years, but have only recently upgraded from basic cable to the digital package that includes several HDTV stations.

I've noticed something every once in a while that I'm curious about. Periodically, with a program that is supposed to be broadcast in HDTV (the "available in HD" or "HT sponsored by..." blurb comes on at the beginning), it will alternate between a widescreen HD presentation, and a pillarboxed 4X3 presentation.

For instance, the first episode of House this season started out pillarboxed, and after the first commercial break the rest of the episode was widescreen HD. On the first episode of Night Stalker, it was all widescreen HD, except after returning from one commercial break, it was pillarboxed for about 2 minutes and then returned to widescreen.

Why does this happen? Is this a problem with my network affiliate? Or a problem with my cable provider?

By the way, I recall this happening only with our ABC and FOX stations. I believe all the other HD stations have broadcast as expected. This leads me to believe it is a problem with the affiliates, but I'm still curious about "Why?"!
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,495
It's your local network affiliate sleeping on the job (not flipping the switch back after a commercial break).
 

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 22, 1999
Messages
538
Thanks for the info -- does this mean someone has to actually manually switch back and forth between pillarboxed and widescreen when switching between HD and non-HD material? Or is it an automatic process that is not working properly with these particular affiliates?
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,495
Considering that I've read reports from people who belong to my area's HDTV Yahoo group that they usually call the TV station to get them to flip the HD switch, I guess it's still a manual process given the non-standard intervals between commercial breaks, et al.
 

Mike Slade

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 12, 2003
Messages
308
Yeah some stations have someone manually switching HD. If you can find a number to the local station you can normally get master control on the phone and remind them to flip the switch. Some stations do work on an automatic switching system that rely on the broadcast schedule provided by the network. My local CBS even managed to screw that up by scheduling wrong. All of last season and the first episode of CSI: Miami this year, they never switched the HD on until after the 10:30 commercial break.
 

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