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Guest Message by DevFuse

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When is HD not HD?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   zooky

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 08:05 AM

Why are some progs listed in the guide as HD but when you tune to it it's really SD (annoying black bars on the sides).

e.g. - Northern Exposure is on today on the Universal HD channel and has the little HD box next to the listing. But, when I tune to it it's really in SD mode, sigh.

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#2 OFFLINE   4DThinker

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 08:23 AM

Yep, sometimes it is a 1080i signal with upscaled SD material. I've noticed my local OTA ATSC channels are not fully up to HD yet. My ABC channel will state "Now in High Definition" on some show when I'm staring at a 480p signal.

#3 OFFLINE   ShawnL25

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 08:25 AM

I am sure this has been covered here before but Northern Exposure is in HD it is being shown at a resolution a 1080i it's just not 16:9 aspect ratio. More over to your point the only thing that I have noticed lately is Flight of the Concords which is being broad cast in the equivalent of non anamorphic widescreen and is not HD resolution. As for those annoying black bars well those serve a purpose, they center the program in its proper aspect ratio rather than ruin it by stretching the picture and sacrificing the frame. While I understand your desire to fully utilize every inch of your HD set, not everything is filmed in a perfect 16:9 aspect ratio and so you have to allow for the occasional black bar at the top/bottom or sides. Really Universal HD should be applauded for their excellent programming in HD 24/7, unlike TNTHD were you never know whether it’s actually in HD or not until you tune to it and it looks like… well you know what it looks like.

#4 OFFLINE   bjdraw

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 08:45 AM

I agree that it is annoying when a show is listed as HD in the guide, but not really in HD, TNT HD is famous for listing EVERYTHING as HD.

As for Northern Exposure, it is in HD, but it's also 4x3. If they go back to the original film, they can make it HD, like hogans heroes on HD.net and like Seinfeld which is available in some markets. Some really old movies are like this too, like It's a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz. Even when they are remastered as HD, they are still 4x3.
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#5 OFFLINE   DMRI2006

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 09:31 AM

If they go back to the original film, they can make it HD, like hogans heroes on HD.net and like Seinfeld which is available in some markets. Some really old movies are like this too, like It's a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz. Even when they are remastered as HD, they are still 4x3.


Sigh. And I thought going to HD was going to instruct some people as to what "Original Aspect Ratio" meant.

If they go back and do that, they are doing exactly what "Pan and Scan" and "cropping" were in standard definition. Even though it might have been "refromatted," HOGAN'S HEROES wasn't shot in 16:9 -- it was filmed in 4:3, as was every television program until recently, and basically every film prior to 1950.

No matter how you "format" it, it's going to be cropped at a price to the original intent of the composition. You will be losing picture area you were meant to see, just like you are when you see HOGAN'S blown up to 16:9.

Thus, the ratio for those programs SHOULD ALWAYS BE 4:3. It shouldn't be blown up for 16:9, ever, because they WEREN'T SHOT IN 16:9 to begin with!

The desire to "fill up" your 16:9 TV set at any cost, regardless of whether or not a show was shot in 16:9, is no different than "Joe Six Pack" wanting every movie in full-screen in standard definition just to fill up his television.

Cropping a widescreen movie like JAWS for 4:3 and taking THE WIZARD OF OZ and screwing around with it to fit a 16:9 screen are exactly the same -- completely, totally "inaccurate" to their original aspect ratios.

It's why classic movies in HD like CASABLANCA, ROBIN HOOD, etc. are formatted on HD-DVD/Blu Ray disc as they should always be, in 4:3. :)

#6 OFFLINE   zooky

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 12:14 PM

I agree that it is annoying when a show is listed as HD in the guide, but not really in HD, TNT HD is famous for listing EVERYTHING as HD.

As for Northern Exposure, it is in HD, but it's also 4x3. If they go back to the original film, they can make it HD, like hogans heroes on HD.net and like Seinfeld which is available in some markets. Some really old movies are like this too, like It's a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz. Even when they are remastered as HD, they are still 4x3.


OK, that makes sense. Thanks for 'splaining it.

I'll go back in my hole now, until I think of another dumb question. :lol:

#7 OFFLINE   MrKlaatu

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 04:00 PM

HD refers to the vertical resolution -- 720 lines or 1080 lines. Aspect ratio is something else. HD programming can be in 4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1, or those wacky European ratios. :D

#8 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 04:19 PM

Actually, the first number, 720p or 1080i refers to horizontal resolution, measured as the number of discreet points that can be seen across one horizontal scan line

For example:

720 might be represented as | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
while 1080i might be shown as ||||||||||||||||||||||||

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#9 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 06:08 PM

And to be fair... HD as defined for broadcast digitally here in the US will always be 16x9. That 16x9 image may be comprised of a 4:3 image with black on the sides or a 2.35:1 (or some other wide ratio) with black on the top & bottom or it may be an actual 16x9 image.

But the point is a 720p or 1080i signal will always be in a 16x9 format, as that is how the standard is defined. How it appears on your TV may vary, but the original image is transmitted that way.

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#10 OFFLINE   Steve Mehs

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 06:48 PM

HD doesn't always equal 16:9. New episodes of King of the Hill were in HD this season, but in 4:3 aspect ratio.
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#11 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 07:54 PM

HD doesn't always equal 16:9. New episodes of King of the Hill were in HD this season, but in 4:3 aspect ratio.


Maybe I wasn't clear.

Take FOX and King of the Hill as an example... when FOX is transmitting a 720p signal, it is always 16x9. The picture inside that may not fill the screen though. A cartoon like King of the Hill is 4:3 with black sidebars and that is formated as a 16x9 image for the broadcast.

Check out the standards if you don't believe me.

People tend to "ignore" those sidebars when they are black or grey but it doesn't mean they aren't there in the signal. Think about ESPNHD and how they have those fancy sidebars when they are sending 4:3 signals... now imagine if those sidebars were purple or orange or black or grey. They are still there and part of the image being transmitted.

Basically you have to look "under the covers" to see if you are watching a 16x9 image that has a 4:3 embedded with sidebars vs a 4:3 image and your tv/receiver is supplying the sidebars.

Take FOX, for example... and next time you watch King of the Hill, try to make those sidebars be grey... you can't, because they are part of the 16x9 signal being transmitted by FOX.

Now... There most certainly can be HD movies and TV shows that are not natively in a 16x9 ratio. Lots of examples of that... but when they broadcast those shows, and keep in original ration, they must embed their own sidebars to fill the rest of the image so your TV won't try and stretch it out.

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#12 OFFLINE   Blackz06

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 10:30 PM

I agree that it is annoying when a show is listed as HD in the guide, but not really in HD, TNT HD is famous for listing EVERYTHING as HD.

As for Northern Exposure, it is in HD, but it's also 4x3. If they go back to the original film, they can make it HD, like hogans heroes on HD.net and like Seinfeld which is available in some markets. Some really old movies are like this too, like It's a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz. Even when they are remastered as HD, they are still 4x3.


Thanks for clearing that up, but that still leaves me confuzzled though. Then why is it when they advertise Northern Exposure during a comercial break is the feed shown in a 16x9 ratio? If they can show a 30 second comercial in 16x9 why can't the whole show?

#13 OFFLINE   MrKlaatu

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 01:06 AM

Thanks for clearing that up, but that still leaves me confuzzled though. Then why is it when they advertise Northern Exposure during a comercial break is the feed shown in a 16x9 ratio? If they can show a 30 second comercial in 16x9 why can't the whole show?


I assume because it wasn't shot that way. They would have to stretch it or crop off the top and bottom.

#14 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 06:48 AM

While hyper-scanning thousands of my sources for HDTV news from around Planet Earth
and beyond, my ultra-sensitive nose for news detected this obscure, but relevant letter to
the editor printed in today's SkyReport:

Where's the Real HD?

SkyREPORT: I would like to see SkyREPORT report which HD channels being added by providers are filmed and/or provided in HD natively and those who are simply up-converting the existing signal. This makes a huge difference in a customer's HD experience. Look at the difference between A&E HD and HDNet- A&E is only up-converted and HDNet is filmed in HD. The picture quality and overall customer experience are completely different. All this talk about 100 channels in HD is misleading to the general public who doesn't understand the difference but will likely feel somewhat disappointed looking at up-converted content on the new HD set they just paid $2K for...

- Matt Hottle, VP Sales and Marketing, Better TV


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#15 OFFLINE   Cholly

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 09:14 AM

Actually, the first number, 720p or 1080i refers to horizontal resolution, measured as the number of discreet points that can be seen across one horizontal scan line

For example:

720 might be represented as | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
while 1080i might be shown as ||||||||||||||||||||||||


Oops, Nick -- slight correction. 720p and 1080i refer to the number of horizontal lines in the picture. For 720p, there are 1280 pixels across a single line. For 1080i (and 1080p) there are 1920 pixels across a single line. :D

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#16 OFFLINE   MrKlaatu

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 09:37 AM

Oops, Nick -- slight correction. 720p and 1080i refer to the number of horizontal lines in the picture. For 720p, there are 1280 pixels across a single line. For 1080i (and 1080p) there are 1920 pixels across a single line. :D


This is what I was saying. Horizontal lines aka vertical resolution.

#17 OFFLINE   davring

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 09:47 AM

Many times people are mentioning "upconverting" some older content. Many, if not most, older shows were shot on film and require no conversion. Possibly some slight formatting but the quality was always there, we just couldn't see it before now. My daughter came by one day and made the remark, "why would they take to time to convert an old movie, I was watching a mid 50's technicolor movie, I had to explain to her that they always were that good.
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#18 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 03:45 PM

HD refers to the vertical resolution -- 720 lines or 1080 lines. Aspect ratio is something else. HD programming can be in 4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1, or those wacky European ratios

Oops, Nick -- slight correction. 720p and 1080i refer to the number of horizontal lines in the picture. For 720p, there are 1280 pixels across a single line. For 1080i (and 1080p) there are 1920 pixels across a single line. :D

Whoops! Of course, you are both right. I was testing you. :P

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