I have a question regarding what aspect ratio certain television programs are shot in... I recently got a 16x9 monitor, but the Dish converter with an HD digital recorder is currently out of my price range. Therefore I currently watch "letterboxed" programs like E.R., STARGATE: SG-1, and STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE in the zoom mode to fill the width of my screen. I know that some of the other programs I watch are available in HD-Widescreen if I received an HD signal. Since I don't get that signal yet, I'm wondering if programs like NYPD BLUE, THE SIMPSONS, and MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE are cropped for standard broadcast, or if they are shown on regular television in a sort of "open matte" style format? Does anyone know how they are shot? On standard broadcasts is the top and bottom of the frame a "safe area" that I can safely zoom without destroying the composition? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated... Thanks!