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#36455 24-May-2006 10:30

When I talk about widescreen I of course mean that ultimately we should and must broadcast digitally in full anamorphic widescreen (16:9). We have a number of steps along the way, but the fact that our ultimate goal is along way off (although imminent elsewhere in the world) doesn't mean that we shouuldn't look to improve on our current badly out of date scenario.

TVNZ does only broadcast in 4:3 at the moment except for Shortland Street which is shot and broadcast in 15:9. To my knowledge there is no other major broadcaster or programme that uses 15:9. Strange. Don't get me wrong, anything that brings us closer to true 16:9 is good but why 15:9 which seems to have been invented for Shortland Street? Have you ever watched Shortland Street and seen the format 'jump' partway through the programme as TV2 Transmission Control suddenly remembers to make the switchfrom 4:3 to 15:9? This also sometimes happens in reverse during the following programme or more often during the commercials when they switch back.

The logical middle ground for now is the 'compromise' 14:9 option that has been used for a number of years by the BBC and many other international broadcasters. This is where a show is filmed using true 16:9 anamorphic cameras but all of the people / events / featured items in the frame is kept within a narrower 14:9 window. This is called shooting 14:9 Action Safe. Then when the programme goes into post production the graphics / titles / keys / credits and any other additions on screen are kept within the basic 4:3 window. This is called 4:3 Graphic Safe. The programme is then broadcast in 14:9. Other 4:3 shows are still broadcast in 4:3.

What this means to the viewer is that anyone viewing on a widescreen capable TV (there really are plenty of those out there and growing all the time) can see the better 14:9 picture. Those viewing on a 4:3 TV will still see the vast majority of the picture without losing any of the graphic elements that inform us of people names / subtitles / translations etc. Shows that have been shot in 4:3 (such as many of the dreadful US reality imports) are still broadcast in 4:3 so no letterboxing is necessary.

One day we will switch to Digital HD Anamorphic Widescreen. Yes, that day could well be 15 years away but lets move with the times on the way. Telecom has at last been hobbled for the good of the consumer and the industry. Don't just accept TVNZ's lazy attitude and excuses.

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Uber Geek


#36467 24-May-2006 16:19
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Sorry, I hate 14:9 - no TVs I know of will zoom 14:9 to fill the screen vertically, so you either lose the top and bottom of the 14:9 if the tv crops it like letterboxed sources, or you suffer black bars on the sides of it and the top when you set the tv to 4:3.

And when they are broadcasting widescreen stuff on the odd occasion, why the hell cant they send out WSS switching so that I dont have to change it myself?

The excuse of unhappy people with 4:3 tvs is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. With a widescreen crt under $500 thesedays whats the excuse for keeping on going with a 4:3 set? It will only move when someone makes a move, and a guy I spoke to about it at harvey normans said that most tvs they sell are widescreen now.  



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Ultimate Geek

#36469 24-May-2006 16:38
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richms: The excuse of unhappy people with 4:3 tvs is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. With a widescreen crt under $500 thesedays whats the excuse for keeping on going with a 4:3 set?

Would you believe that $500 is an awful lot of money to an awful lot of people. Apparently TVs and other gadgets just don't take priority in some people lives. Hard to believe really, but true! :-D

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#36471 24-May-2006 16:59
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If its not worth $500 then they can watch it letterboxed. While I would sure prefer it transmistted anomorphic for the extra resolution, that _will_ cause complaints from people that end up with tall skinny people on there TVs. Then again the number of people I know who are happy to watch short fat people on there widescreen displays that are set wrong may indicate that correct aspect isnt too high on peoples lists of concerns.

If BCL would hurry up and get DVB-T off the perpetual "testing" stage to a viable platform then this would all be a non-issue as the box can add letterbox or crop as people desire. Damn moving nowhere country with broadcasting upgrades waiting on a satillite that will most likly not be there till the end of the year.


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