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DJY

16:9 Vs 4:3

27 posts in this topic

I'm only new to DTV (received my 5290 today!) but have been reading the old forums for some time...

Thought that this info from the old forums might be worthy of inclusion...

old post by steve.mercer

This is just a very quick run down:

Capital 10: Probably most content is 16:9 during peak viewing times. Picture quality is generally good and sound (usually MPEG encoded Dolby Prologic) is usually good.

Win: Most Sydney sourced stuff is 16:9 and generally good picture and sound (usually MPEG Prologic). HD rebroadcasts from Sydney are usually in postage stamp format, which is annoying. Locally produced material and studio production is 4:3 and pretty average picture quality.

Prime: Most is 4:3 with MPEG Prologic sound.

ABC: Most is now good quality 16:9 with AC (Dolby 5.1 sound) (but only tranmitting through two channels - front left/right). Also currently transmitting a comprehensive test pattern for DTV set up, an AC radio station, Fly TV and ABC Kids (the latter two are expected to cease on 30 June 2003).

SBS: Mainly 4:3, MPEG sound, but SBS commissioned productions are usually 16:9 and of excellent quality. Studio produced stuff is usually 4:3. SBS is now running a separate HD station, but this is just upconversted to 576p at the moment (eg no 'native' HD transmissions). SBS also has a world news station in 4:3 and a couple of radio stations.

but instead of posting it in the Archived thread, maybe we can update this as we notice things - so other new members who also are new to DTV (like me) can come into this [current] forum to see how much 16:9 versus 4:3 is being aired in Canberra!

Then all we have to do I guess is hassle and lobby it seems Prime, and SBS mostly but all channels to hurry up and air ALL shows in 16:9!

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There are a number of updates to the information below. Unfortanately the most notable is the deletion of Fly and ABC Kids :blink:

Widescreen is becoming more prevalent, though calling May 2003 "Widescreen Month" was a bit premature. ABC and SBS have really picked up their 16:9 percentage.

Note that the promos for ABC News and 7:30 Report are broadcast in 14:9 but the programs are still 4:3. :P

Prime/7 is still a little way behind, apart from Sunrise in 16:9. Footie on WIN and TEN in widescreen is nice, except for the gigantic WIN logo.

The "Now and Next" on Prime is slightly more reliable than before. Just.

The other point is that the screen ratio appears to be more consistent than before. It was not unusual to have a 4:3 image stretched and a 16:9 super-stretched on channels other than WIN. I haven't updated my STB so the broadcasters must have changed their settings.

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Prime/7 is still a little way behind, apart from Sunrise in 16:9. Footie on WIN and TEN in widescreen is nice, except for the gigantic WIN logo.

The "Now and Next" on Prime is slightly more reliable than before. Just.

You get now and next info on Prime?

Whilst the 4:3 locally produced shows are very disappointing...

I noticed tonight something which amazed me! I had alread worked out that Prime (7) news is unfortunately in 4:3 - but initially thought it must just be because of Canberra based Prime - rather than Sydney's 7 (surely they are in widescreen in Syd?!??!) YET THEN...

I noticed that the local weather 30 grab before the real Ch 7 weather secion was in 16:9?!!!!!

So the local station (Prime) is broadcasting in 16:9 - yet the News from Sydney they are re-directing ISN'T?!?!?!?? WHAT THE.....

ABC / SBS / and locally made (6pm) WIN News still in 4:3 is very bad.

Anyone reading in here work for any of the stations?

Or anyone got any info as to when they will start broadcasting news in 16:9?

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DJY, both STB manufacturers and the broadcasters need to develop DTB. In the early days, channel 7's signal was infamous for locking up STB and the solution had to come from both sides, well, depending on the STB. We don't see that much now but when applications start to be served up, I can imagine a fresh batch of bugs.

I get "Now and Next" from Prime occassionally, usually prime-time (no pun intended). Actually, I should say "Now". At one stage the NaN were showing the time one hour ago with the next program and such extensive descriptions as "NEWS" or similarly terse. Someone must have realised that it wasn't working and typed a description of "TIME KEEPS SLIPPIN" in the window shortly before the function disappeared. From that baseline, the service that has reappeared is better.

ABC NaN gives extensive details, almost plot spoilers.

ABC has a lot of news to widen. (And SBS News relies on a lot of 4:3 sources from overseas.) I don't know to what extent the move from ABC Gore Hill to Ultimo is delaying. Or maybe it's just some money thing again. At least CNNNN is in WS with a full width ticker.

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It seems like that they already have moved into Ultomo as the TV news in sydney has a new set (and that strange format).

ABC probely won't go 16:9 news until next year. The funny thing is my dad has said that they have to convert all the 16:9 material into 4:3 to broadcast.

BTW. Canberra won't go 16:9 until they get the new control room built.

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4:3 ratio shows are becoming increasingly frustrating for me!!! I thought I might start a little list - which might be interesting to watch (timeline wise) to see if / when they change?!) Does any one know if any of the television techs / execs read in here?!?!??!?!

Time to SHAPE up guys! (if you do read these)!

So my hit list from my first week of DTV viewing...

Shows in 4:3

ABC - News

ABC - 7.30 Report

ABC - Lateline

Prime - Amazing Race

Prime - News - yet 16:9 in all other capitals?!??!

Prime - News - 4.30pm ed - how is this one in 16:9 yet the 6 oclock news still 4:3?

Prime - World Cup Aerial Skiing Mt Buller

WIN - News (Canberra produced)

WIN - West Wing - yet 16:9 in all other mainland cities?????

WIN - Six Feet Under

WIN - Enterprise - all Star Trek's are still being broadcast in 4:3 - yet not only 16:9 but HD in other cities?!??!?!?!

Feel free to bring up others... might be interesting to update this list - to see which channels really are the worst?!

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Win - the West Wing for me comes in a postage stamp size (black bars top and bottom, left and right). A few weeks ago it was in widescreen, then suddenly changed to this format. Oddly, the advertisements during the show are either full 4:3 or 16:9 (much bigger picture size than the show itself).

I have been in touch with Win in Canberra as well as Win in Wollongong (where the transmission originates) and neither know what is causing this. In fact, they seemed surprised but had noticed that some of their advertisements are also postage stamp as well!

The trials of Digital in a regional area.

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I have never, ever seen WEST WING shown in it's proper widescreen aspect on WIN in Canberra -- they have always broadcast it letterboxed within 4:3, just like ER. I'm surprised to hear that you have seen it in its full glory here. But WIN have always been strange about widescreen; even when they use the whole screen for a movie or program, there is often a thin black line around all four edges. ENTERPRISE changed formats every few weeks last year, sometimes centrecut, sometimes letterboxed, occasionally in wide. Very annoying, but perhaps they are trying to build up demand for the DVD box-sets! :blink:

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Win - the West Wing for me comes in a postage stamp size (black bars top and bottom, left and right).  A few weeks ago it was in widescreen, then suddenly changed to this format.  Oddly, the advertisements during the show are either full 4:3 or 16:9 (much bigger picture size than the show itself).

The trials of Digital in a regional area.

I'm glad someone else has noticed this!!!

And not just for West Wing!

Six Feet Under at one stage also was viewed in this weird format!!!!

I did attempt to use zoom - hoping if the ratio was similar I could fill my 16:9 tellie with it... but it was even worse!

When I spoke to WIN about 12 months ago about digital television - no one knew anything...

as for regional status here in Canberra - well it continues to annoy me! All DTV refers constantly to the five mainland capitals and its capabilities...

Mmmm what about the National Capital!?!??!?!

Time WIN started lifting their game I think!

EDIT: Now it isn't just WIN doing this 16:9 in 4:3 ratio thingie... (so black borders on top / bottom / AND sides)

Chucked on the tellie today - about to surf - and PRIME had their movie in it as well?!?!??!

It looked like the movie was actually in 14:9 - as the image being broadcast was very skinny - and only 4:3 width!

Making more black on my nice widescreen Loewe than image?!?!??!?!

HELP!

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We have letterbox, pan-and-scan, 14:9 and 16:9.

Now, I think that a 16:9 image bound within 4:3 displayed on a 16:9 TV should be described as "Ned Kelly-ed". :ph34r:

(Apologies to Sydney Nolan and Ned)

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I prefer the term "windowboxed", myself ..... or perhaps it should be something like "photo album", since the picture often looks as though it's mounted on a black background! :blink:

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I've always assumed that programs shown with black bars all the way around have been HD in Sydney and the SD format is restricted so as to save bandwidth (eg given that the SD and HD versions are transmitted at the same time in Sydney). However, I am probably wrong.

Sometimes movies shown in HD in the capitals are shown in the surround black bar format. However, I have noticed that the start of the movie is often like this, and reverts to full WS after 5 minutes or so.

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We have the same problem with WIN Digital TV in Wagga Wagga, which gets it's feed from Canberra.

This issue was talked about in the old Wollongong Viewers Forum. You will see the problem is happening there with WIN TV as well. It's because WIN TV hasn't purchased any Active ARC equipement like the City station have.

Anyway I've read that if the show they are screening hasn't been shoot with a protected 4:3 area, then they are shown this way on Digital to make sure that the Analog viewers don't miss any information.

Mark

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I've read that if the show they are screening hasn't been shoot with a protected 4:3 area, then they are shown this way on Digital to make sure that the Analog viewers don't miss any information.

Correct. As stated earlier it’s because of the lack of proper ARCing equipment (using WSS) to convert 16x9 to 14x9 or 4x3 depending on source.

Because they can’t convert 16x9 to 14x9 on the fly, they present 16x9 "window boxed" on digital, so that when centre cut the picture for analogue its magically in 14x9! Pretty pathetic and hardly an incentive for people to upgrade to digital if they have to watch movies surrounded by crappy black border.

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I couldn't agree more Darklord. WIN should just buy the ARC's and stop being cheap! It's not like this issue is going away.

You guys can read about the same issue that our Tassie friends (including Darklord) are having with WIN TV in Tassie in this thread:

http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtopic=25

WIN should have the same policy that SC Ten has. That is, showing 16x9 programs as 14x9 on Analog. It only means small black bars on the top and bottom of the Analog picture. It's very little impact on Analog views but gives us Digital viewers a full 16:9 picture. See this thread for more info post by Darklord:

http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtopic=459

Mark

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Thanks bizzibee and Darklord!

So now we all need a WIN email address to start asking WIN when they are fixing it and buying an ARC!!!

Maybe for once we can make spam work?

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Hi DJY,

Well the easiest way for WIN to fix the problem without having to buy an ARC is to show all 16x9 Programs on Analog as 14x9 as SC Ten do.

Problem Fixed!

I don't think any Analog Viewers would notice......... Well maybe some of them would.

Mark

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Hi DJY,

Well the easiest way for WIN to fix the problem without having to buy an ARC is to show all 16x9 Programs on Analog as 14x9 as SC Ten do.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the point is they need an ARC to convert 16x9 to 14x9. Otherwise 4x3 shows would be shown as 4x3 in a 14x9 window! :ph34r:

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Well, I am glad I now understand the problem behind the 'postage stamp' sized picture on certain WIN shows. Apparently the WIN Canberra broadcasts originate in Wollongong, so the blame should be sheeted home there.

If you notice, some advertisements on WIN also appear with the black borders all the way around. In any case, I don't watch WIN much and The West Wing finishes this week.

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I don't watch WIN much and The West Wing finishes this week.

But Survivor starts soon!

But from reading the other threads... that will be in 4:3 most likely...

so it won't be as back as this postage stamp / window boxed broadcasting.

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Hi Darklord,

I talked to a guy a SC Ten some time ago and he said they didn't use an ARC. So I assumed there must be another way of doing it. However things could have change and/or I've got myself confused. Which is very possible.

However I do know that SC Ten provide the best Digital Service at the moment here in Wagga Wagga. Well they did until both the Main and Standby Power Amps in their Digital Transmitter died. It's only a tiny Transmitter (200watts off the stick).

Anyway the Engineer from SC Ten in Canberra was very quick to try and fix the problem. He drove over to Wagga (3 hour trip one way) and changed over to the standby Power Amp when the main unit failed. However the standby Power Amp only lasted a few day and it went faulty as well. So we are waiting for two new power amps to be shipped over from Italy.

You miss it when you don't have it.

Anyway sorry if I mislead anyone. I assumed that SC Ten had a way of doing it without the need to purchase an ARC. I guess it's another example of how SC Ten is prepared to buy all the required equipment for Digital while some of the other Broadcasters aren't.

Again sorry if I mislead anyone. We should tell WIN to buy an ARC so us Digital Viewers can enjoy Widescreen Programs. Isn't that the point of Digital TV anyway. Better picture & sound!

Mark

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I talked to a guy a SC Ten some time ago and he said they didn't use an ARC. So I assumed there must be another way of doing it. However things could have change and/or I've got myself confused. Which is very possible.

You could actually be right Bizzibee. I have no problem admitting I know very little about this issue! I'm simply going on info I’ve heard from the head engineer of SCX Tasmania, and various info I’ve picked up about ARCs at these forums.

Also worthy of note is that Southern Cross in Tasmania is different to what you receive in Wagga Wagga. Southern Cross here is a mixture of Channel 7 and Channel 10 content, as we only have 2 commercial stations (WIN however is pretty much the same Nine content as you receive).

Since SCX here take material from 2 different networks, it’s possible they require an ARC to switch between various sources to convert to 14x9 or 4x3 for analogue, depending on channel and source footage. The thing is it’s impossible to say yet, as we're still not receiving a proper digital service from them! At this stage SCX Tas Digital is just their analogue service converted to digital for broadcast, so picture quality is very bad and everything is 4x3/14x9.

In about 6 weeks time the above will change and SCX will finally provide a true digital 16x9 service to Tas. When this happens I expect that everything of 16x9 origin will be displayed as 16x9 on DTV (without window boxing!), and converted to 14x9 for analogue.

I’ll keep you informed of SCX Tas developments.

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Perhaps SC Ten are now using an ARC. I heard they are very expensive. That's most likely the reason WIN doesn't have one (yet).

Anyway let us know how thing progress.

Mark

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He drove over to Wagga (3 hour trip one way)

Hey mate!

How slow did he (or do you) drive?

3 hrs?!?!

oops hope there are no police members reading this...

I'll be driving over Friday afternoon for the Jazz Festival?!?!? :blink::P

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How is it possible that PRIME have 16:9 news at 4.30pm - but the 6 o'clock edition is still 4:3????

(yeah I know what was I doing home at 4.30?!??!?!!)

I gather (guess) the 4.30pm edition is either national or coming out of Melb? Yet the 6 o'clock is Sydney based?

Surely Syd Channel 7 news is 16:9 in Syd - yet we only get 4:3????

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