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4x3,16x9 and widescreen vs, regular t.v.s


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:21 PM

I have a regular 4x3 television. At the sports bar they have widescreen t.v.s and everything on ESPN
is widescreen and fills the whole screen, i.e. no letterbox -the screen is a letterbox. If I watched ESPN
at home, which I can't because I don't get it, what would I see? (i'm talking about regular ESPN; the
bar isn't showing ESPN HD which I believe exists as a separate channel.)

If everything I see on the widescreen t.v.s is widescreen, then does that mean that everything that
everybody shoots for ESPN is 16x9? If I watched "Law and Order" on a widescreen t.v. would that be
16x9 and fill the whole screen? (It seems to me that on my 4x3 set that shows like "Law and Order"
are slighyt masked.) I don't watch a lot of t.v. except to play DVDS so I haven't thought much about this
before.

Thanks.
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#2 Chance Shirley

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:43 PM

Last I checked, "regular" ESPN is broadcast 4x3. Everytime I see it in a bar on a 16x9 television, the 4x3 image is "stretched," so everything looks short and fat.

Law and Order and many other shows are shot 16x9 widescreen these days. When broadcast for standard-def TV, they're either shown letterboxed or cropped on the sides to fit 4x3 screens.

My current aspect ratio pet peeve is TNT's "HD" channel. Has anyone else noticed that some of their HD programming (especially older movies) is distorted, like they just took a standard 4x3 transfer, stretched it to 16x9, and called it "HD?" Also, instead of "windowboxing" their 4x3 commercials, they show them stretched to 16x9. Ack.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 06:05 PM

Many consumer 16x9 screens have a feature that's sort of a "distorted stretch," that is stretched more at the sides of frame than in the center. It's just another option to make an overt stretch less distorted looking for subjects closer to the center of the frame. This type of stretch is what I see most often on 16:9 screens in public places. It's funny when a 4:3 image containing a 16:9 letterboxed image comes up, the screen stretches it out to approx. 2.35:1!

My parents recently purchased a Sony 16x9 LCD screen and I went to help them set it up. As I was dialing through the menus and came across the "Wide/Wide Zoom" feature my Mom asked, "what does that do?" To which I replied, "confuses everybody." :P

You would think with digital transmission they could have put in some sort of metadata so the monitor could perform an intelligent resize for all the various apsect ratios floating around.
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#4 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 08:38 PM

Very informative. Thanks guys!
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