Why are some of my HD channels square rather than widescreen?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Galen_M, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. Galen_M

    Galen_M Auditioning

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    I recently purchased my first HDTV(thanks to help on here, Samsung 50" DLP). I have Adephia digital cable with the HD pack (something like 10 channels at most). Anyways, I first had it hooked up using component cables and all shows filled the entire screen(I know some were stretched). I bought an HDMI cable recently and hooked it up that way and now none of the non-HD channels fill the whole screen(which is ok) but also none of my local HD channels come in widescreen; only HBO HD, Discovery HD, ESPN HD, etc... My CBS and NBC shows that are broadcast in HD are square on both the non and HD channels. Anyone know why this is the case, do I not have something set correctly?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Do the HD channels looked "squished" from the sides, with everything and -body looking tall and skinny? Check the settings on your cable box or DVR. You should probably set the picture format to "pass-through". Also make sure your output resolution is to the native resolution of your TV screen.

    Next check the TV side of things: make sure you have the correct aspect ratio set on the TV. Your set may let you pick different default aspect ratios for each input, therefore your HDMI input might not retain the settings you created with for the composite input. (I went in the other direction - originally had my Scientific Atlanta HD DVR connected via HDMI, then switched to composite when I got my new Sony DVD changer and put that on the HDMI input, and I don't recall now what changes, if any, I made. Also I have a JVC LCoS and I'm not sure if it does different aspect ratios for each input.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. Galen_M

    Galen_M Auditioning

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    As far as I can tell, there are no setting on my cable box to change display settings whatsoever. It's a Dual Tuner/HD DVR Motorola DCT6212 III if that helps at all.

    Aspect ratio is set for 16:9 for the HDMI output. Actually, it only allows me to set it to either 16:9 or 4:3 when on the HDMI input. Changing it to 4:3 really makes the picture look squished on the sides. It's almost like the shows are supposed to be square? But aren't HD shows like "Bones" for instance that's on FOX right now supposed to be in widescreen HD?
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Yes, sir. I'm looking at HD Bones right now.
     
  5. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    You don't see anything on the cable box's menu screen like 'Setup' or 'Picture' or 'Video'? At this point, I'd say to try giving your cable company a call. Even if they can't help you out over the phone, they'll send someone out to give you a hand.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Galen_M

    Galen_M Auditioning

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    OK, I was wrong about Bones, it does show in full widescreen. I guess just some of the shows that are claiming to be HD either aren't, or are but just aren't in widescreen if that's possible.

    I'm thinking about just hooking my cablebox back to one of the component inputs and getting a new DVD player to use with the HDMI input on the tv. You still do get HD using components right? I had a salemen tell me it's not true HD if you're using componenent cables but I'd never heard that before.
     
  7. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

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    Galen which shows arent showing up correctly? Even though the channel may say HD, some shows still are not. Most night time stuff is though
     
  8. Galen_M

    Galen_M Auditioning

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    The show that really got me started on this thread was my local morning news and evening news. Supposibly they just changed to HD but all their stuff comes in letterbox size. It's an NBC affiliate. What's weird is if I change the input to one of the S-vid ones it still doesn't fill the screen, but it does become widescreen(but a widescreen smaller than my tv) if that makes sense. So when I do that, I have bars both on the sides and on the top and bottom. Then, if I switch back to the HDMI input it fill top to bottom but not side to side.

    I think I just figured out today that all shows on the HD channels are not HD(yeah, I'm stupid). When I check out the channel line up and put it on the ones that are supposed to be in HD they are filling the screen.
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I also have Adelphia, but my local outfit uses the Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD DVR. Don't know why I assumed they use the same box nationwide, this is Adelphia we're talking about, after all. [​IMG]

    Anyway, yes, of course it is possible for Hi-Def programming to be 4:3 rather than widescreen, just as it is possible for program material to be widescreen and not HD. The two ideas really have nothing to do with one another. A 4:3 image with 720 or 1080 lines of resolution is just as much hi-def as a 16:9 image with the same number of lines of resolution, and is the only way to correctly display a high-def version of something whose native aspect ratio is 4:3. (HD versions of Casablanca, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are certainly not going to be presented in 16:9, after all.) They're still going to provide several times the resolution within that 4:3 frame as the current NTSC DVDs do, and that's the point of HD.

    With my Scientific Atlanta box the signal is HD whether you're using the component or HDMI connection - I've used both and if there's a difference, I can't see it. I've heard that one or both of the coming hi-def DVD player formats will only send the HD signal via the HDMI output, but I'm not sure that's been settled, and in any case neither of them is on the market yet. This is probably what the salesman was thinking of. As far as I know this limitation does not apply to cable boxes.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  10. Galen_M

    Galen_M Auditioning

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    Great post Joesph. Thanks.

    Definitely no screen setting on my Adelphia box.(I can't wait for Comcast to come take them over in my area).

    As for the DVD player using HDMI, what do you mean the "coming" ones? Aren't there already a lot of HD DVD players on the market right now? Or do you mean there is going to be a new actual format to DVD's that plays in a higher resolution?

    I think getting a DVD player to use with my HDMI input is probably the best choice for me. It bothers me watching shows with the bars on the sides so right now I end up changing inputs to an S-video input when watching channels or shows that are not in HD. Wish I could just use a component but the tv only has 2 component inputs and the one HDMI so the HDMI goes for cable right now, component 1 for DVD, and component 2 on an auto switch for Xbox 360, PS2, gamecube.
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    A change in ownership won't necessarily mean a change in equipment. Like I said, I also have Adelphia and I have a Scientific Atlanta box. But I'm also looking forward to Comcast taking over. With a little luck they'll add some of the local HD and basic cable HD channels that Adelphia doesn't currently carry, and upgrade to the multi-room version of the HD DVR I already have - which allows you to transfer recordings from one box to another, and watch shows stored on the DVR in a room equipped only with a regular HD cable box. Cool stuff, but Adelphia is just in a holding pattern on pretty much everything, trying not to lose too much ground to satellite and survive until Comcast can take over.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  12. Ken CM

    Ken CM Agent

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    I've had a couple of Motorola HD/DVRs from Comcast and here is what I do to change the settings. Turn the box off and then press "menu" and "info" at the same time. A screen comes up where you can change the outputs. Hope this helps.
     
  13. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah, the Scientific Atlanta boxes have the same process for the initial setup - at least the HD DVRs do. Some things can only be accessed via this menu, others will work from the remote and the regular menus, but only after you've done the initial setup. I got my first DVR in October and the second for the bedroom in November and plumb forgot having to go through that process.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  14. Galen_M

    Galen_M Auditioning

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    Thanks Ken! Didn't know about that. Changed a couple setting after getting into that menu and it fixed everything right up. Appreciate it!
     

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