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Discussion Starter #1
So I jumped on Videotron's new discount program and picked-up an SA 4250hd box. But I do have four questions. Right now, everything is hooked up to my Denon 888 via hdmi out from the cable box.

1) All of the sd channels are now being output to the tv as square (4:3) even though my setting on the denon is set to output all as 16:9. I'm guessing this has to do with the hdmi connection and the Denon's abilities and not a setting of the 4250 box?

2) Some shows, like Entertainment Tonight, on CTV HD, even though it says HD on the bottom, are coming in as 4:3. Is this normal?

3) On hd channels, the overwhelming majority of commercials are 4:3, again is this normal? Everyone here is watching the image go from widescreen to square and back? It's very annoying.

4) Videotron documentation that came with the box says it's feed is always 1080i and indeed, the 4250 shows the hd channels are being input that way, but I know some stations broadcast at 720p. Is Videotron down sampling the feeds? As far as I know, Videotron does not edit it's feeds in any way.

Thanks!
 

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For channels above 600 (all HD), the black bars are part of the transmitted 4:3 image,so nothing can be done. Just make sure your tv is set to its native resolution (720 or 1080) and STB to passthrough.
 

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Please see the following post for what's on in HD:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76068


And the following useful post which contained the above link, but also contains a lot of useful information for those new to HDTV, like the post on black bars, etc.:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=57741

For item 4, see the link above and see the link on SA STB tips for proper setup. Videotron doesn't change the format, but you need to properly set up the STB. Of course, if the AVR changes the format (as some do, not sure about the 888), then that all goes out the window.

See: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=87543 on upconversion.
 

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So some of the shows on the HD channels are simply SD feeds subbed in?
Yes, for example Two and Half Men season one repeats on FOXHD is 4:3 because the show is only available that way. Many other shows are only available as 4:3 format.
 

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And even shows that are available in HD are not always provided in HD. For example, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune have been HD for 2 years now. For the first year, either the Toronto CTV HD or Buffalo ABC HD station did not use the HD feed. So even if the channel says "HD" it does not mean the show will be 16:9 HD. It might just be an up-converted 4:3 program. I would say if the channel is an HD channel and most prime-time programs look right, everything is fine. If you are watching a program that should be HD and it is in 4:3 format, chances are it means that the local station is just not providing it in HD.

The other morning I was watching "Today" on Sunday morning on the NBC HD affiliate and it was only an SD program. Obviously NBC or NBC Buffalo chose not to broadcast the show in true HD that day.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When I asked the question, I had just purchased/installed the box and wanted to watch some HD shows, so I didn't bother reading the user manual. I now have.

There is a quick set-up procedure that verifies which settings your tv can display (480p stretched is one of those modes) along with a setting that lets you choose if the image should automatically be stretched to fill a widescreen tv.

Perfect!

Thank you all for the info about the 4:3 shows on the hd channels. One thing I do find odd, is that even 4:3 shows on the hd channels, the audio is 5.1.
 
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