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WNPT (Nashville, TN PBS) Cropping SD feed

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by xmguy, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. xmguy

    xmguy Active Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Middle, TN
    Today I finally got tired of trying to watch Nashville, TN PBS (in SD) with the ends of the picture cropped off. So I wrote WNPT to ask them and someone wrote me back and said :

    "WNPT does not crop our image to 4:3; DirecTV receives our widescreen HD image and crops the edges and downconverts it to SD. This problem will go away when DirecTV decides to start carrying our HD feed. We anxiously await DirecTV's switch to HD for just the reason you cite. Unfortunately, I have no idea when they will start carrying us. Since they don't pay us to carry our feed, and we don't pay them to carry it, we have no influence on whether or not they carry the HD feed. Since you pay them for the service, you actually have more influence on what they do than I do.

    Good luck.

    Kevin Crane

    So Now I wonder what can I do now? Also I don't believe the issue will go away if/when D* starts carrying the HD feed.
  2. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Your local PBS station is confused (it seems to happen rather often with PBS stations).
    First, the problem is that PBS is delivering a 16:9 widescreen signal since the digital transition, there is no 4:3 analog signal any longer. So to produce a 4:3 signal for SD receivers, DirecTV has two choices. They can either deliver the 16:9 picture inside a 4:3 frame, with bars top and bottom
    (called "letterboxing") or they can zoom in on the center of the 16:9 picture and cut off the edges, to produce a 4:3 picture (called "centercutting"). What you are seeing is the 4:3 centercut from the 16:9 signal. All the networks, and just about all the other stations, have opted for a centercut picture to avoid all the complaints from people that the picture does not fill the screen on their 4:3 TVs. My understanding is that if your local PBS station wants DirecTV to use letterboxing, they will do that, but it is bound to produce lots of complaints.
    This problem has nothing to do with DirecTV's carriage of the local PBS station in HD. It is true that if it were in HD on DirecTV, HD viewers would see the full 16:9 picture but SD viewers would still get the 4:3 centercut.
  3. rebkell

    rebkell Godfather

    Sep 9, 2006
    It's a mess on WTCI in Chattanooga, it looks like Directv is center cutting, and then stretching it:

    Comcast picture:

    Directv picture:
  4. Mr_A1

    Mr_A1 Legend

    Jul 21, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    This is odd, because I saw a transponder post some months ago where channel 8 had a reserved HD slot and if what the guy says is true, they may need to tell D* to go ahead and carry this channel unless there are unseen problems somewhere down the line.
  5. directvsub215

    directvsub215 New Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    I have had same probs in Philadelphia market--NBC10 (here in Phila) gets center cut with sides cut, while NBC40 from Atlantic City is appropriately broadcast with letterbox. ABC, CBS are broadcast with centercut. when I have tried to contact local stations, they ignore my phone calls and emails. When talking to DirecTV, the ignoramuses deny there's a problem and blame the local stations. Even though I have told them there is a different NBC broadcast on 2 local stations, they don't know what I"m talking about.

    Problem with DTV is that you can't talk to anybody who knows anything or will do anything. I have 3 4:3 TVs with receivers that allow you to set how you want the ratios, though those settings don't work. The cable stations are broadcast with appropriate ratios--USA for example. Just local stations are distorted and bad. Makes me think of switching every day, especially since there is no accountability.
  6. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

    Mar 7, 2009

    That's a big roger on your observations on D* and their responses to technical issues that are at the headend (LABC or BOC) of their system.

    I have repeatedly attempted to have D* address their issues with video levels being incorrect on a number of channels I watch and have tried regular customer service by phone, the customer advocate team, and even contacting their engineering department directly and I have not received a single legitimate response to my questions on THEIR problem.

    I'm steering my friends, family and others away from D* until I can see some answers to my legitimate concerns, and I'm not the only one complaining either.
  7. Tom Servo

    Tom Servo Icon

    Mar 7, 2007
    The problem won't go away when D* carries the HD feed, but the HD channel would at least present the picture the same way the local affiliate does. Which would help SD-only viewers not one dang bit.

    Don't feel bad xmguy, APT has the same issue down in Alabama. Or did last time I watched public television. :lol: Half the APT logo was off the screen. APT also seems to go one worse and stretch their 4:3 content to always fill the screen. Yuck!

    With MPB in Mississippi they are apparently still carrying their own SD feed along with an HD feed and Create. Their problem is the SD feed is squashed narrow when the HD feed carries 4:3 programming. Funny thing is I only noticed it on their Oxford transmitter site. I got a glimpse of another station and it was showing everything ok.

    I thought there was supposed to be some data channel built into ATSC broadcasts that could signal cable/sat providers to automatically crop/letterbox the picture for SD downconversion? Is no one using it!?
  8. LameLefty

    LameLefty I used to be a rocket scientist

    Sep 28, 2006
    Here's is what WNPT looks like:

    Attached Files:

  9. nashpatrick

    nashpatrick Mentor

    Sep 20, 2007
    It looks like WNPT is zooming SDTV content to fill the widescreen. This would explain why it looks funky on the center cut SDTV feed on Directv. I noticed this yesterday afternoon on the show about Tennessee waterways via OTA. Booo.
  10. ChrisPC

    ChrisPC Godfather

    Jun 16, 2003
    This is one reason I have an OTA antenna connected to my HR-20.
  11. Jon J

    Jon J Grouch Extrordinaire

    Apr 22, 2002
    Music City, USA
    The very best current solution if you can get the signal. :up:
  12. xmguy

    xmguy Active Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Middle, TN
    I've gotten so I watch the WCTE (Cookeville, TN PBS feed) on DTV OTA. At at least I can see the image in true 16:9 and the picture quality is better.
  13. Jon J

    Jon J Grouch Extrordinaire

    Apr 22, 2002
    Music City, USA
    The SD signal that DirecTV carries is absolute crud. OTOH, it may not all be DirecTV's fault since many of WCTE's programs often look like they are being played back on a consumer grade VCR. ;)

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