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I just noticed that DW-TV (channel 195) is apparently in widescreen SD (16:9 with no black bars). Has it been this way for long?

My 8300HD is set to output only 1080, so if it is a 480 signal, I'm getting it upconverted. I have a 32" HD LCD TV.

Is this an HD channel now, or can SD customers see it? What does it look like on an SD 4:3 TV? Squished or letterboxed?

Can they do this for other SD channels?
 

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Very interesting. This is still a 480i signal (I have it (480i) and passthrough enabled) on my PVR and seems to behave like other SD channels. However, if I change my PVR to 1080i - Fixed - easy to do under the settings and quick settings, then it appears as a widescreen channel. I'm guessing that there must be some sort of signal in the channel that indicates that it's widescreen and the STB is "seeing" this signal. Note that the "format" under the quick settings is not stretched, but still "normal".

Wonder if there are other channels out there like this...
 

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I'm noticing the same thing on WTVS on Rogers, a widescreen picture but I think they are carrying the wrong sub-channel of WTVS because the programming doesnt match the Guide Info? It seems to be airing only PBS Kids programming instead of the normal PBS feed
 

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Deutsche Welle switched to 16:9 over the summer; I watch the channel regularly. Rogers isn't doing anything special; the broadcaster is delivering it that way apparently. There's some great stuff on that channel in English, actually. I get it as part of the News Theme Pack (along with MSNBC, FOX, EuroNews, etc).
 

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Rogers isn't doing anything special...
Normally a WS programme would be "postage stamped" on a 16:9 TV (bars all around). It is when the STB is set to 480i/passthrough.

It's only when the STB is set to 1080i/Fixed, that it's WS, which is "different" from other SD channels that have WS programming, so there must be something unique about the channel which allows for this to happen under that circumstance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
>>>I'm noticing the same thing on WTVS on Rogers<<<

Yes, channel 163 is displaying in widescreen as well.

>>>but I think they are carrying the wrong sub-channel of WTVS because the programming doesnt match the Guide Info<<<

The logo shows WTVS-DT Detroit 56.2 and does apparently have a lot of kids programming.
 

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You know, i'd call and let them know but I think its just a waste of time trying to explain it. I'm sure they will figure it out sooner or later, and switch feeds.
 

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Normally a WS programme would be "postage stamped" on a 16:9 TV (bars all around). It is when the STB is set to 480i/passthrough.

It's only when the STB is set to 1080i/Fixed, that it's WS, which is "different" from other SD channels that have WS programming, so there must be something unique about the channel which allows for this to happen under that circumstance.
The MPEG2 header can be flagged with the aspect ratio of the broadcast, and the HD set top boxes listen to that flag. It's the same as DVDs when your TV switches between 4:3 and 16:9 modes as well.
 

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>>>The MPEG2 header can be flagged with the aspect ratio of the broadcast, and the HD set top boxes listen to that flag. It's the same as DVDs when your TV switches between 4:3 and 16:9 modes as well.<<<

Could this be done on a show-by-show basis in order to get rid of "postage stamp" shows once and for all?
 

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The MPEG2 header can be flagged with the aspect ratio of the broadcast, and the HD set top boxes listen to that flag. It's the same as DVDs when your TV switches between 4:3 and 16:9 modes as well.
I don't think it is the TV though, the set-top box senses the flag and presents anamorphic 4:3 AR frame in stretched to 16:9 AR 1080i format...
 

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I don't think it is the TV though, the set-top box senses the flag and presents anamorphic 4:3 AR frame in stretched to 16:9 AR 1080i format...
Well let me be a bit more specific. It is this same method that DVDs use to control TV aspect ratio. But in this case the STB is handling the flag and processing it rather than the TV.
 

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At 9:05 PM, Sunday night, channel 163 has a center cut 4:3 of the same program (Wuthering Heights) being shown on PBS-HD. My guess is that the SD version of PBS Detroit is now being created by conversion from the HD signal in preparation for the shutdown of the analog transmitter. The WS version seen previously might have been a setup error in the downconverter that has now been corrected.

DW looks good in 16:9 SD.

BTW, don't assume that SD STBs can react to MPEG aspect ratio flags or pan and scan instructions. It might be in the MPEG chip but not be activated in the box setup software.
 

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I checked out the DW WS presentation. The transmission format is letterbox 16:9 in a 4:3 SD channel. The HD set top is responding to the Active Format Description in the MPEG stream and zooming the letterbox to full screen as long as the HD box is not set to pass 480 i/p format images.

A further idea on the WS on PBS Detroit. If the aspect ratio converter had originally been set to create a 16:9 letterbox in the 4:3 SD format from the HD source, it might have also inserted AFD data into the stream resulting in WS output on the HD cable box. Since most 4:3 viewers don't like letterbox they probably switched it to fixed 4:3 center cut.
 

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Actually it's a 16:9 anamorphic. If you watch it on a SD box, you will see it appear squished.
You are correct. I made my comment based on setting all the output formats to 'on' in the 'info-guide' setup mode of the 8300HD assuming the box would pass the native format. Based on my testing after your post, I found that enabling '480i standard' along with 1080i and 720p will cause the box to output 16:9 letterbox on the HMDI connection. If '480i widescreen' is enabled along with 1080i and 720p, the STB outputs widescreen in 1080i. The box is set to 'Auto DVI/HDMI' in the settings menu. I think the 'Auto DVI/HDMI' setting may be overriding manual settings based on data exchanged between the HDTV and the STB.

The observations appear to confirm that AFD is active in the STB. If this is correct and AFD is fully implemented, adding AFD to SD channels with a mix of full screen 4:3 and 16:9 letterbox would allow automatic switching in the STB and eliminate the need to manually zoom. Canadian specialties with lots of letterbox programming should consider this action as step to eventual HD transmission. Channels like BBC World with 14:9 letterbox in 4:3 SD could also automatically scale to full picture height.

Now the question is: Will Rogers convert the anamorphic WS to 16:9 letterbox at the headend to eliminate distortion for the SD customers?
 

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Now the question is: Will Rogers convert the anamorphic WS to 16:9 letterbox at the headend to eliminate distortion for the SD customers?
I actually don't think Rogers would be allowed to alter the format of signals like that. They are supposed to distribute the programming as it is received. DW-TV would not like the hear that one bit as they made a big deal about their widescreen conversion.

BBC World has actually started transmitting in 16:9 anamorphic in most regions around the world, so it should be like DW-TV in Canada soon enough.
 

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I actually don't think Rogers would be allowed to alter the format of signals like that. They are supposed to distribute the programming as it is received. DW-TV would not like the hear that one bit as they made a big deal about their widescreen conversion.
I don't see why they would be opposed. Letterbox corrects the distortion for viewers with SD TV sets and only reduces resolution for viewers with HDTV. In a trade-off, undistorted images for all viewers trumps better resolution for HD viewers.

BTW, I don't think there are any rules that would prohibit an aspect ratio change to correct a distorted image. Bell TV converts 1080i to 720p so resolution changes seem acceptable as well.

BBC World has actually started transmitting in 16:9 anamorphic in most regions around the world, so it should be like DW-TV in Canada soon enough.
BBC shoots 16:9 framed for a 14:9 presentation in a 4:3 raster which is the current practice in Canada. BBC World is carried as part of the basic analog service with Rogers 4:3 promotional insertions so I don't see any changes in BBC World unless Rogers decides to carry an additional WS version.
 
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