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What aspect ratio is DirecTV sending me?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by pcguru83, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. pcguru83

    pcguru83 Cool Member

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    Aug 8, 2007
    So I still haven't jumped on the HDTV bandwagon yet. Hopefully it will be soon, but for the time being I'm stuck in SD. For the last year or so, my wife and I have been getting our TV OTA from a digital converter box. One of the unexpected benefits of doing so is that we would receive the widescreen picture for all shows available in widescreen. I loved being able to actually see everything that was intended to be seen. I guess I'm a purist like that. :)

    We missed our DVR immensely, so we reactivated our DirecTiVo this weekend. I quickly realized I was back in 4:3 land again, and it bugs me knowing I'm missing part of the picture.

    So my question is this: Can I somehow get that widescreen picture from my DirecTiVo? If not, are the newer DirecTV DVRs (DVR Plus?) capable of this?

    This also begs the question, what happens in February? Since the analog signals from the stations are all(?) 4:3, will DirecTV start sending along the widescreen video in February?

    This isn't a huge deal, but I'd really like my widescreen programming displayed properly. :)
     
  2. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

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    Jan 13, 2007
    The HD DVR's can bring the widescreen back to your 4X3 TV, but you will have to subscribe to HD access to activate the receiver. As a D* subscriber you will not be affected by the digital changeover. And welcome to DBSTalk!
     
  3. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

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    Your DVR will only output 4:3. The HR2x series can output either 4:3 or 16:9 but HD access is required to receive any of the HD stations, which are the only ones broadcasting in 16:9. The R22 is a HR21 with HD disabled, but I don't know if it has 16:9.

    Directv has already switched to picking up the digital locals in some area. The SD channels are center-cut so the aspect ratio is 4:3, even if the original broadcast is 16:9.
     
  4. pcguru83

    pcguru83 Cool Member

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    Aug 8, 2007
    I suspected this might be the case. I noticed after I posted this that my local Fox affiliate was displaying "2 and a Half Men" in widescreen. None of my locals seem to be doing this though. Shame.

    I doubt I'll sub to HD just to get widescreen back. Hopefully HD will be coming soon. Speaking of HD, perhaps this might can be answered too:

    We looked into HD with DirecTV but was told we didn't have a good line of sight to the new satellites. I'm currently picking up my local and cable channels on the 101 degree satellite. What's the best way to double check that the info we were given was correct? Which way would my mount need to be turned to pick up the new satellites?

    And BTW, thanks for the quick responses!
     
  5. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

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    If you are able to see the 101 you should have no difficulty seeing the other two slots. the three spots are 99, 101 and 103, quite narrow actually.
     
  6. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

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    This is not necessarily true. They are picking up the digital signal from WBAL in Baltimore, for example and right now, SNL is not center cut but is letterboxed.

    I believe the choiced of center cut or letterbox is up to the local station.

    To center cut NBC's mostly letterboxed SD broadcasts would be step back several years.
     
  7. pcguru83

    pcguru83 Cool Member

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    Aug 8, 2007
    Wow, that's quite encouraging then. I'm very curious as to why the installer told us otherwise. Very interesting...
     
  8. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

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    Lazy installer, or was still assuming that you'd need the 110 and 119 sats.
     
  9. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

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    Up until very lately it was necessary to have line of sight alignments including the 110 and 119 positions. Some installations were hard to get a good LOS. Be certain that you request a Slimline3 to work in your application, they are just starting to be used so your installer may not be aware of them yet.
     
  10. zuf

    zuf Icon

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    Southern Utah
    The R22 does have the option to select 16:9 or 4:3 (as of the software update rolled out this past week), but because the SD stations that DIRECTV sends out are all 4:3 as bobnielsen pointed out, the 16x9 option on the R22 is not very useful at this point. You still end up with the 4:3 picture with gray bars on the left and right sides to finish filling up the screen.
     
  11. pcguru83

    pcguru83 Cool Member

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    Aug 8, 2007
    This is most certainly it. The time we looked into it was just as DirecTV was making their big HD rollout/push. (Sept '07?). This is very good news, I might just have to reconsider going HD now after all...
     
  12. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

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    Once you watch HD in your own living room, you will wonder why you didn't make the move sooner:) Enjoy.
     
  13. pcguru83

    pcguru83 Cool Member

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    Aug 8, 2007
    Oh I'm sure. :) I really appreciate everyone's guidance, it's been most helpful!
     
  14. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    The reason you are getting it widescreen with your digital OTA box is because you are picking up the HD versions of the shows and your box is downconverting it to SD for your TV, but the aspect ration stays 16x9. With your DirecTivo you are getting a different station, the SD version of the station which is 4x3. Basically it's the OTA analog feed you had before you got your digital OTA box.

    So when you get an HD receiver from DirecTV you will then get the HD feeds of both your locals (if available) just like you get with your digital OTA box as well as HD feeds of various "cable" channels. All are in 16x9 aspect ratio however if it's just an upconvert then it'll have sidebars or stretched, depending on the channel.

    Hope that explains the real reason why you are seeing the difference.
     
  15. dishrich

    dishrich Hall Of Fame

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    Sorry, but for many of us folks in the migrated 72.5 markets, this change was EXTREMELY useful, so that folks with 4:3 sets can center-cut all the locals that D* is now ONLY sending up in HD. W/out this setting, when the HD locals cut back to 4:3 prog, 4:3 set folks were left with a tiny picture in the center with bars ALL around! This is EXACTLY the reason why D* had to enable this in the R22. (the Hxx series non-DVR boxes already had it, so those units were NOT an issue.
     
  16. zuf

    zuf Icon

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    May 24, 2007
    Southern Utah
    You learn something new everyday. Thanks for the informative follow-up, dishrich.
     
  17. dishrich

    dishrich Hall Of Fame

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    Oh believe me, after a couple of my clients got upgraded from D* to those new R22's w/the slimline dish, I heard about it BIG time! :eek2: :eek2: (before they got the new software)
    But frankly after seeing it myself, they had EVERY right to be upset, especially after loosing their perfectly good D-Tivo's & not having to even mess with aspect ratio's.
     

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