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70 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 58540 13-Mar-2010 23:35
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I've got an issue with the aspect ratio on the Living Channel that I hope someone here can suggest a solution to.
Running a MySky HDi to a 720p 16:9 LCD TV, via HDMI.

Living Channel appears to be broadcasting in 16:9 but it's crammed into the space that a 4:3 TV picture takes up, therefore I get black bars down the side and across the top, and a very small, but widescreen, picture in the middle of the screen.

I've checked all the settings and can't see anything to change that makes any difference.  Other channels are OK.

Any ideas anyone??

Cheers
Andy

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894 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 307012 14-Mar-2010 06:13
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Living is broadcast in 4:3 so correct aspect on a 16:9 TV would show pillar boxes at each end of the screen.It becomes a problem when they then screen a letter boxed program.You then get the picture stuck in the middle of the 16:9 screen.The "postage stamp effect". The Food channel and discovery are also like that.It's a real pain but everything is "correct aspect". You could play with the zoom on your TV but it's always a compromise. Living and Food are made locally go to there site and make a comment about this ask when they plan to go 16:9?

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  Reply # 307029 14-Mar-2010 09:21
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They're also letterboxing 16:9 incorrectly at 14:9. So regardless of how you set your tv, the picture will look stretched.  I recommend the same, send them an email of complaint.




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  Reply # 307030 14-Mar-2010 09:26
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What you are experiencing is normal.

Living is broadcast in 4:3 rather than 16:9, this means that it will have borders on each side of the picture to display the 4:3 pictcture in the correct aspect ratio in the middle of the screen.

The problem you are experiencing is that many shows on Living (and other channels such as Discovery) are filmed in 16:9 so to display these on a 4:3 channel you have two options, centre cut the footage (simply just chop the left and right of the picture off), or letterbox the picture so the 16:9 footage is displayed within a 4:3 frame which results in black borders at the top and bottom of the image.

16:9 is pretty much regarded as the best option as it results in no loss of picture - if you do a centre cut you instantly lose 1/4 of the picture.

The downside of this is that when a 4:3 channel playing 16:9 letterbox content is displayed on a 16:9 screen it results in a small postage stamp image in the middle of the screen with borders on all 4 sides.

There are numerous channels on Sky now that suffer from this issue and it's just a matter of waiting for Sky to move broadcasts to 16:9, something that they are doing on a channel by channel basis.

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  Reply # 307047 14-Mar-2010 11:06
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Dont know why they simply cannot sort their stuff out, its coming up 12yrs since 16:9 came the norm in UK where most of their material comes from, lets not hope its 2020 before all the Sky channels get it right.

Cyril

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  Reply # 307065 14-Mar-2010 12:48
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cyril7: Dont know why they simply cannot sort their stuff out, its coming up 12yrs since 16:9 came the norm in UK where most of their material comes from, lets not hope its 2020 before all the Sky channels get it right.

Cyril



Can't agree more..

The crazy thing is channels like Living and Discovery seem to have pretty much close to 100% of the content now in 4:3 letterbox. If the source material is all 16:9 it seems brain dead to be making a 4;3 channel!






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Master Geek
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  Reply # 307074 14-Mar-2010 13:06
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Phew - I'm not going mad, nor missing something in my own set-up.
Time for an email to Sky, but I have to admit, I've never had much success with getting an email response from them on anything. They have to be one of the worst customer service departments in the country!

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 307078 14-Mar-2010 13:14
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Try this feedback link for the living channel as well as trying sky TV...

http://www.livingchannel.co.nz/feedback.php



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 307079 14-Mar-2010 13:20
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Feedback posted!
Here's hoping they'll respond.

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  Reply # 307683 16-Mar-2010 09:36
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kiwind: Feedback posted!
Here's hoping they'll respond.


I sent Living an email on this very topic around a year ago. The reply I got suggested to me that nobody there even understands aspect ratio and the difference between a 16:9 broadcast versus a letterboxed 4:3 broadcast. I don't have a copy of the reply any more unfortunately but it was along the lines of "We're already broadcasting in widescreen, most of the programmes we air are in this format which is why you are seeing the black bars at the top and bottom of your screen" - I gave up pushing the issue any further but their lack of understanding is evident in every set of promos they run - some are in 4:3 full-screen, some are in letterboxed 4:3, some are in 14:9, some even appear to be in true 16:9 but obviously plopped inside the 4:3 'shell' so viewers on a 4:3 set would see a squished-up image.

It's a mess, they really need to get on top of it. The travesty is that over the last couple of years they really seem to have upped their game in sourcing newer content - most of it is three years old or less, so would be widescreen material, they just need to 'flip the switch' (as it were) and broadcast it that way. Their bit-rate is also horrible.

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  Reply # 307728 16-Mar-2010 10:59
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Yip that's Living channel. I speak to them on the odd occasion about aspect, they don't have a clue.
Someone should get a job there and change things from the inside.
There is nothing Sky can do.

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  Reply # 307997 16-Mar-2010 20:55
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I don't have a copy of the reply any more unfortunately but it was along the lines of "We're already broadcasting in widescreen, most of the programmes we air are in this format which is why you are seeing the black bars at the top and bottom of your screen"


Pity, because my phone conversations have been exactly the same. I suspect they have no or little technical guidance, or whoever is there is stuck in the 70's.

Maybe the only solution is to keep pestering Sky so that eventually they send someone down from engineering and give these guys a good biff around the head.

Cyril

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  Reply # 308076 16-Mar-2010 23:47
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If their source material is already letterboxed there isnt much they can do with it other then start to stretch it to fill the screen. and that has issues (they think) if the stuff isnt 4:3 safe

For some reason these digital only channels seem to think they need to make things 4:3 safe, its the same stuff that happens on C4 with music vids where they wont stretch the letterboxed content to the full 16:9 frame even tho it should be done.

making stuff 4:3 safe is the tv equivilent of designing for 640x480 - sure there may be a few people that miss some content, but its f%%king it up for the majority.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 308117 17-Mar-2010 05:58
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Their source material (or at least the vast majority) would be 16;9 considerig most of what they play is reasonably new British programming. As Cyril said Britain has been widescreen for well over a decade now. Possibly some of their American content like This Old House would be 4:3 but that would be the minority and could be pillar boxed.

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  Reply # 308123 17-Mar-2010 07:33
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As I said earlier in the thread, in a recent two week stay in Aus, the same content was played on the lifestyle channel of Foxtel, it was in FHA 16:9.

Cyril


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  Reply # 308814 18-Mar-2010 15:59
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Got an email from a Sarah at Living channel today, heres the guts.

------------
Thank you for your email, and I apologise for the delay in replying.

The Living Channel and Food TV are in the process of a systems upgrade which will eventually result in us broadcasting in widescreen and bring us in line with the rest of the Sky channels.
--------------

Sounds good, well wait and see.

Cheers
Cyril

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