TV channels botching aspect ratios, what the deal?

JasonLa

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This is driving me crazy but lately TV channels have been taking programs originally recorded in 16:9 and are distorting it to something like 2.39:1 so that there are black bars about 10% of the height of the screen on the top and on the bottom. And worse taking old 4:3 programming and stretching it to that same aspect ratio the result is everything is distorted objects and peoples heights are squashed down and widths are stretched. The results are everything and everybody looking unnaturally proportioned. The whole reason for HD TV was to standardize aspect ratio so that there were no bars on the top and bottom. And the universal TV setting for the user to choose to distort 4:3 programming to 16:9 if they so choose. But with the TV channels messing with the programming nothing can be done as far as i can tell with said TV setting to undo the issue they created for some unknown absurd reason. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
 

Thomas Newton

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The whole reason for HD TV was to standardize aspect ratio so that there were no bars on the top and bottom.
TVs had a standard aspect ratio in the NTSC days. It was 4:3. When HDTV first came along, on CRT sets, some had 4:3 aspect ratios while others had 16:9 ones. The continued production of 4:3 sets may have had as much to do with the difficulty of making large CRT-based TVs as anything else.

While the change to 16:9 made TV more widescreen-friendly, it did not make it "so that there [should be] no bars" regardless of the content. There is content whose OAR is too wide ("The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly") or narrow (Academy Ratio films) to fill a HDTV screen when properly displayed.

But what you're describing sounds like bars being introduced (or changed) as a result of Modified / Marred Aspect Ratio. I've heard of MAR being done to force-fit 4:3 content onto 16:9 screens (the new "Pan and Scan"), but why would a provider do it just to add bars? It doesn't make sense.
 
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Tino

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This is driving me crazy but lately TV channels have been taking programs originally recorded in 16:9 and are distorting it to something like 2.39:1 so that there are black bars about 10% of the height of the screen on the top and on the bottom. And worse taking old 4:3 programming and stretching it to that same aspect ratio the result is everything is distorted objects and peoples heights are squashed down and widths are stretched. The results are everything and everybody looking unnaturally proportioned. The whole reason for HD TV was to standardize aspect ratio so that there were no bars on the top and bottom. And the universal TV setting for the user to choose to distort 4:3 programming to 16:9 if they so choose. But with the TV channels messing with the programming nothing can be done as far as i can tell with said TV setting to undo the issue they created for some unknown absurd reason. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
Examples?
 

Matt Hough

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I've been recording some of MeTV's broadcasts of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Perry Mason, and both of those 4:3 shows have had their OARs adapted to something close to 1.66:1. So, the image doesn't quite fill a 16:9 screen, but the pillarbox bars are not as wide and thick as with 1.33:1.
 

Scott Merryfield

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But what you're describing sounds like bars being introduced (or changed) as a result of Modified / Marred Aspect Ratio. I've heard of MAR being done to force-fit 4:3 content onto 16:9 screens (the new "Pan and Scan"), but why would a provider do it just to add bars? It doesn't make sense.
A few years ago, I was flipping through the channel guide during a commercial break for whatever sporting event I was watching and saw that AMC was airing The Godfather. When I selected the channel, I was shocked to see what appeared to be a 4x3 pan & scan version of the film stretched to 16x9. It was absolutely horrible.
 
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YANG

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This is driving me crazy but lately TV channels have been taking programs originally recorded in 16:9 and are distorting it to something like 2.39:1 so that there are black bars about 10% of the height of the screen on the top and on the bottom. And worse taking old 4:3 programming and stretching it to that same aspect ratio the result is everything is distorted objects and peoples heights are squashed down and widths are stretched. The results are everything and everybody looking unnaturally proportioned. The whole reason for HD TV was to standardize aspect ratio so that there were no bars on the top and bottom. And the universal TV setting for the user to choose to distort 4:3 programming to 16:9 if they so choose. But with the TV channels messing with the programming nothing can be done as far as i can tell with said TV setting to undo the issue they created for some unknown absurd reason. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
such situations happened when TV stations did not bother to re-do their library content and straight away push it to broadcast department to transmit it out to public with 16:9 signals。
 

bmasters9

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A few years ago, I was flipping through the channel guide during a commercial break for whatever sporting event I was watching and saw that AMC was airing The Godfather. When I selected the channel, I was shocked to see what appeared to be a 4x3 pan & scan version of the film stretched to 16x9. It was absolutely horrible.
And expanded out the wazoo to pack it full of commercials of every description!
 

Thomas Newton

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A few years ago, I was flipping through the channel guide during a commercial break for whatever sporting event I was watching and saw that AMC was airing The Godfather. When I selected the channel, I was shocked to see what appeared to be a 4x3 pan & scan version of the film stretched to 16x9. It was absolutely horrible.
That sounds like a Mob movie that you can refuse!
 

Hollywoodaholic

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I've noticed the slightly wider Alfred Hitchcock Presents on MeTV, but at least it's not the abomination that is what Neflix does to The Twilight Zone (original) to stretch or expand it to fill the entire screen.
 

JasonLa

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But what you're describing sounds like bars being introduced (or changed) as a result of Modified / Marred Aspect Ratio. I've heard of MAR being done to force-fit 4:3 content onto 16:9 screens (the new "Pan and Scan"), but why would a provider do it just to add bars? It doesn't make sense.
This is kind of what I'm talking about it doesn't make sense. Since day one of 16:9 TVs they have had a setting to allow the user to choose to MAR the ratio by stretching 4:3 to fit the 16:9 screen for example. Plus a few other settings to fit content to the screen. Which if fitting a larger ratio like 2.35:1 using the fit options crops off the left and right sides of the frames. Which for people who don't care about content integrity are fine with and the reason they made the TVs to allow them to do that.

Examples?
UP TV now owns the future of the show "The Librarians" To kick that off they have done special edition airings of all previously aired episodes (originally 16:9 programming). UP TV airing of the show is for whatever nonsensical reasoning stretched the 16:9 to an even wider aspect ratio resulting in the estimated 10% of the screen on both the top and bottom of the screen being black bars. The program that airs before that: "Gilmore Girls" (originally 4:3 programming) is not just stretched to 16:9 but goes beyond that to match that of the ratio they nonsensically stretched the librarians to. But I have seen this on other channels as well but can't recall them right now.

such situations happened when TV stations did not bother to re-do their library content and straight away push it to broadcast department to transmit it out to public with 16:9 signals。
But there has never been the need for the TV stations to alter the aspect ratio pre transmission because the TVs have always had the settings for those who could care less about the integrity of the programming for the sake of having no bars. For me it just grinds on me like someone trying to use sandpaper to clean my skin to see the programming distorted like this. And like I said as far as I know, there are no methods by TV setting or other to undo what they do so that while you watch it the programming is of the correct ratio. And why this bothers me so much.
 

RobertR

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A few years ago, I was flipping through the channel guide during a commercial break for whatever sporting event I was watching and saw that AMC was airing The Godfather. When I selected the channel, I was shocked to see what appeared to be a 4x3 pan & scan version of the film stretched to 16x9. It was absolutely horrible.
Yes, I also saw that on the likes of USA Network and/or TNT, etc. It's an abomination, and one of the reasons why I got rid of Directv.
 

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