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Aspect ratio on SD digital channel? (PBS)

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I've noticed that some of the programming on channel 31 WNEDDT (most recently, an episode of Nova) is being transmitted in 16:9 but displayed in 4:3, cropping off the sides of the image. It's only been happening since the American channel went digital. Is there a setting on my Cogeco box that I can adjust to make it display properly on my 16:9 screen? Or is this the way that all SD channels that go digital will be displayed?
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Contact WNED and advise them of the problem. Tell them the programme, the date/time and what you saw exactly.

As indicated in the link posted by james99, the HD channel had some issues that were resolved. Perhaps the SD channel also has some issues. There's a link to WNED in that thread.

Here's discussion of another channel that's having issues:

This has nothing to do with the service provider.

I believe PBS is experimenting with a technology called “AFD” short for “Advanced Format Description” and PBS is still working out the bugs.

(PDF File)

See this thread for a similar discussion.:

From what I understand AFD is a flag in the METADATA of a digital program passed on via transmission.

My speculation:
I believe some of the metadata info will be left up to the network affiliate or (in the future) even the BDU to decide on the aspect ratio formatting. For instance, Shaw cable may pass a PBS NOVA episode either in 4:3 center cut or 16:9 letterbox on the analog service, depending on subscriber habits, unless of course PBS (or the PBS affiliate) requests a specific aspect ratio. For Digital SD subscribers the STB could have a firmware update, leaving the aspect ratio selection up to the viewer by flicking a button on the remote. AFD also has implications for HD screens in how they will present 4:3 images

More information about AFD

AFD Coming Soon: Is TV Ready?

NBC Universal successfully tests DTV downconversion with cable, satellite operators

For those enquiring about small local markets switching to digital OTA.
I believe AFD can work properly only if the programming is post produced in digital with the metadata flag embedded in. I don’t think it’s a simple matter of just embedding the flag into a the digital transmission signal, to much resolution would be lost, not enough info could be embedded into the transmission I think.
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AFD sounds exactly like what I've experienced. It's a relief to know that it isn't a problem on my end. Once the standards have been sorted out, hopefully Cogeco will update it's equipment so that customers can have a choice.
In the mean time I think I'll email them and suggest that they switch to letterbox instead of center cut format. Cogeco must have the ability to monitor the feed and manually change the format as needed, even if the program doesn't have AFD tags to identify it (it can't be any harder than monitoring and swapping American stations for Canadian simulcasts).
Is AFD what DWTV (Deutche Welle) uses to trigger widescreen display?
The DW situation is outlined in the second link of post 5. From post 8 of that link...,,6809,00.html
PBS and the infamous "sides cut" picture

Some 6 months or so back i started noticing that my local PBS stations had inadvertantly cut off the sides of the picture.I checked and double-checked my settings and knew it was on their end.

So,i came on the forums here,just to look and see what the people might be saying about this.I di not post just read.

Seems that from what i understood those that had called and checked what the problem(s)might be PBS was working the so-called "kinks" out.

Well,it has been as mentioned klike 6 months and STILL the same problem.I too had called my local cable outlet and they bbasically said,they know at that there si nothing they can do about it.

Is the problems that bad that PBS is still TRYING to figure out how to fix them.I do not have a Hi-Def box,just your average run of the mill early,early digital box.

Any one know more about this.It sucks not to be able to read,not so much the credits of a program but those people that are talking,you cannot fully read their name and what he/she does.

Any news on a plan to remedy this annoying problem from PBS?
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Suggest you contact the PBS affiliate and the service provider to find a solution. There have been several previous threads and there may be some incompatibility between what PBS is doing and Motorola STBs used by Shaw/Cogeco, as there were comments from those service provider customers.
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