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165 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 66679 21-Aug-2010 16:51
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Anyone notice the growth of the black bar phenomenon lately?  Definition:  It's when you're watching a Sky channel and notice that there are broad black boarders around all four sides of the picture.  It makes my 42 inch TV display video just like it was a 32 inch model.  I have noticed it frequently on the Living Channel, also on Food Channel, Documentary channel, although not all the time.  Others too.

Possible explanations:

o  Sky want to reduce their satellite bandwidth usage charges and hopes no one notices.

o  They have secretly purchased a major TV manufacturer and are using this tactic to encourage us to buy more and bigger screens.

o  It makes the inferior definition of the remaining channels look pretty good.  (If you guys think our SD is bad, wait 'till you see this!)

o  We have a new device coming up that will rescale the picture and eliminate the bars.  And it will cost just $25 per month.  (A new advertising campaign is on its way offering us this device for just $1 for the first month).

o  It's a diversionary tactic.  As soon as the complaints about the lack of HD content stop, they will remove it.





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553 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 370726 21-Aug-2010 17:25
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OR.....

Read this thread

Basically - they have just changed some channels (living, food etc) to widescreen - they will sort the shape of the shows over the next couple of months.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 370728 21-Aug-2010 17:36
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OK, thanks.  That helps to explain why.  It's still pretty poor customer relations to do this and not tell anyone.  So we still have several months to go before the problem is fixed.  Totally unacceptable.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 370784 21-Aug-2010 19:58
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And black bars exist on many other channels such as discovery because they are 4:3 channels that use letterboxing for all content as it's originally 16:9

Sky can only broadcast what they receive, and in this case Discovery in this part of the world is a 4:3 channel.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 370794 21-Aug-2010 20:29
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I am solely focusing on the issue where all four sides of the image have large black bars - see my definition at the start.  I think we are all familiar with the results and the reasons for it when we see with 4:3 image displayed in 16:9 wide-screen when the black vertical bars displayed on both the right and left.  Also the result of displaying higher aspect ratio images on a 16:9 screen (blu-ray movies etc.) when there are black bars introduced at the top and bottom of the image but not on the sides.

So I reiterate.   I am solely focusing on here is the phenomenon of black bars showing on all four sides.  The image size is shrunk as a result.  It's something we don't commonly see.

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Geek


  Reply # 370879 22-Aug-2010 02:53
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You'll find the channels that you are seeing letterboxed (4 black bars) to be incoming feeds that just pass through Sky.
it's all about money in regards to not getting a 16:9 feed of said channels.
That and host broadcasters sometimes don't want to feed 16:9.
I know that's the case of ESPN, by rights (I believe) we should be able to downlink the 16:9 SD feed from Oz but we're still on the Pacific rim feed.

Meh, get more HD I say.

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  Reply # 370899 22-Aug-2010 09:08
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login:
So I reiterate.   I am solely focusing on here is the phenomenon of black bars showing on all four sides.  The image size is shrunk as a result.  It's something we don't commonly see.


I explained why this occurs - it's when channels are broadcast in 4:3 letterbox. Discovery is the most common example of this as all content on discovery is like this.

There are two ways to broadcast 16:9 content as 4:3 - either centre cut or letterboxed. In the early days centre cut was the preferred option as it meant no black bars on the top and bottom when viewed. The problem with centre cut is that when the material is filmed or when OSD graphics are added 4:3 safe areas have to be factored to avoid important parts of the picture being cut off. ESPN is a classic example of rmally with no 4:3 safe areas so lots of content has the sides chopped off.

The trend now is to use 4:3 letterbox rather than cantre cut which removes the need for 4:3 safe areas and ensures that the full picture can be seen on a 4:3 TV. The downside of this is bars on the top and bottom, and when viewed on a 16:9 TV bars on both sides which is known as the "postage stamp" effect.

The problem with Food TV was that content was presumably in 4:3 letterbox when Sky transferred it across to their digital playout system. Because the channel is now 16:9 this legacy material will have this issue but new content will be full 16:9

DS9

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 370933 22-Aug-2010 10:41
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sbiddle:
login:
So I reiterate.   I am solely focusing on here is the phenomenon of black bars showing on all four sides.  The image size is shrunk as a result.  It's something we don't commonly see.


I explained why this occurs - it's when channels are broadcast in 4:3 letterbox. Discovery is the most common example of this as all content on discovery is like this.

There are two ways to broadcast 16:9 content as 4:3 - either centre cut or letterboxed. In the early days centre cut was the preferred option as it meant no black bars on the top and bottom when viewed. The problem with centre cut is that when the material is filmed or when OSD graphics are added 4:3 safe areas have to be factored to avoid important parts of the picture being cut off. ESPN is a classic example of rmally with no 4:3 safe areas so lots of content has the sides chopped off.

The trend now is to use 4:3 letterbox rather than cantre cut which removes the need for 4:3 safe areas and ensures that the full picture can be seen on a 4:3 TV. The downside of this is bars on the top and bottom, and when viewed on a 16:9 TV bars on both sides which is known as the "postage stamp" effect.

The problem with Food TV was that content was presumably in 4:3 letterbox when Sky transferred it across to their digital playout system. Because the channel is now 16:9 this legacy material will have this issue but new content will be full 16:9


Food TV and Living as well as Discovery are all pass through channels that sky has no control over, contact the broadcaster if you are unhappy, @login do not use this as an excuse to bash Sky TV, now if you had asked for HD versions I would have agreed.

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  Reply # 371073 22-Aug-2010 16:45
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DS9:
sbiddle:
login:
So I reiterate.   I am solely focusing on here is the phenomenon of black bars showing on all four sides.  The image size is shrunk as a result.  It's something we don't commonly see.


I explained why this occurs - it's when channels are broadcast in 4:3 letterbox. Discovery is the most common example of this as all content on discovery is like this.

There are two ways to broadcast 16:9 content as 4:3 - either centre cut or letterboxed. In the early days centre cut was the preferred option as it meant no black bars on the top and bottom when viewed. The problem with centre cut is that when the material is filmed or when OSD graphics are added 4:3 safe areas have to be factored to avoid important parts of the picture being cut off. ESPN is a classic example of rmally with no 4:3 safe areas so lots of content has the sides chopped off.

The trend now is to use 4:3 letterbox rather than cantre cut which removes the need for 4:3 safe areas and ensures that the full picture can be seen on a 4:3 TV. The downside of this is bars on the top and bottom, and when viewed on a 16:9 TV bars on both sides which is known as the "postage stamp" effect.

The problem with Food TV was that content was presumably in 4:3 letterbox when Sky transferred it across to their digital playout system. Because the channel is now 16:9 this legacy material will have this issue but new content will be full 16:9



Food TV and Living as well as Discovery are all pass through channels that sky has no control over, contact the broadcaster if you are unhappy, @login do not use this as an excuse to bash Sky TV, now if you had asked for HD versions I would have agreed.


Oh yeah contact Sky if your not happy.  You think for one second they will listen??




Regards,

Old3eyes


DS9

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 371091 22-Aug-2010 17:27
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old3eyes:
DS9:
sbiddle:
login:
So I reiterate.   I am solely focusing on here is the phenomenon of black bars showing on all four sides.  The image size is shrunk as a result.  It's something we don't commonly see.


I explained why this occurs - it's when channels are broadcast in 4:3 letterbox. Discovery is the most common example of this as all content on discovery is like this.

There are two ways to broadcast 16:9 content as 4:3 - either centre cut or letterboxed. In the early days centre cut was the preferred option as it meant no black bars on the top and bottom when viewed. The problem with centre cut is that when the material is filmed or when OSD graphics are added 4:3 safe areas have to be factored to avoid important parts of the picture being cut off. ESPN is a classic example of rmally with no 4:3 safe areas so lots of content has the sides chopped off.

The trend now is to use 4:3 letterbox rather than cantre cut which removes the need for 4:3 safe areas and ensures that the full picture can be seen on a 4:3 TV. The downside of this is bars on the top and bottom, and when viewed on a 16:9 TV bars on both sides which is known as the "postage stamp" effect.

The problem with Food TV was that content was presumably in 4:3 letterbox when Sky transferred it across to their digital playout system. Because the channel is now 16:9 this legacy material will have this issue but new content will be full 16:9



Food TV and Living as well as Discovery are all pass through channels that sky has no control over, contact the broadcaster if you are unhappy, @login do not use this as an excuse to bash Sky TV, now if you had asked for HD versions I would have agreed.


Oh yeah contact Sky if your not happy.  You think for one second they will listen??


Sky TV has no control over those channels so you need to contact the owner of Living etc. as it is a pass through only.



165 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 371117 22-Aug-2010 18:04
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Thanks to those who have provided insights as to why the 4 x black bands problem occurs.  Information like this needs to be disseminated from their PR people so all Sky customers know what's going on.

I believe it's a Sky problem and only Sky can fix it, through the Living channel or other channel provider for that matter, as necessary.  I cannot see possibly how me contacting either Sky or the Living Channel as an individual will carry any weight whatsoever. But the collective weight of opinions on sites such as that may convince Sky that they need to address the problem.  They should convey to their customers just what is going on.

I stand accused of being a Sky basher.  Whatever.  I see it as perfectly valid criticism.  As Sky are arguably top of the public TV broadcast TV pyramid in this country, we pay for and demand more from them.  The core standards we judge a TV broadcaster by are four fold:  1) content  2) video quality  3) sound quality  4) reliability.  They measure up pretty well in three of these categories where they have made steady improvements over the last three or four years.  But unfortunately since the release of HD two years ago Sky's video quality has made little progress, and in my opinion it has regressed as indicated here.  So they need to do some work to fix the problem and convey to us as customers what's going and, particularly, if and when it can be fixed.  If that makes me a Sky basher, so be it.  I am happy to carry that banner.

 

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  Reply # 371167 22-Aug-2010 19:22
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login:
I believe it's a Sky problem and only Sky can fix it, through the Living channel or other channel provider for that matter, as necessary.  I cannot see possibly how me contacting either Sky or the Living Channel as an individual will carry any weight whatsoever. But the collective weight of opinions on sites such as that may convince Sky that they need to address the problem.  They should convey to their customers just what is going on.


\

Sky can't fix the issue because they aren't the ones who create these channels - they are simply buying content such as Discovery that is in this format.

If you contact Living channel you probably will get an answer - somebody posted an email received from them a few months ago about the issue. Likewise I'm aware of people who have contacted Discovery directly and had answers back from them about their plans for 16:9 for their AU/NZ feed (answer as of a few months ago is that there is no timeframe).




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 371178 22-Aug-2010 19:45
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So by the same argument if you were to buy a new TV from a major NZ retailer and had a problem with it,  it's OK for them to say to you,  "No.  You will need to go back to the manufacturer overseas to get the problem fixed".  (No answer required, it's a rhetorical question).   8-)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 371227 22-Aug-2010 21:51
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login: So by the same argument if you were to buy a new TV from a major NZ retailer and had a problem with it,  it's OK for them to say to you,  "No.  You will need to go back to the manufacturer overseas to get the problem fixed".  (No answer required, it's a rhetorical question).   8-)


an answer is required because the point is wrong, sky only pickup a signal and pass it through, they cannot reframe a 16:9 frame as you seem to want them to, also to your analogy, the tv will show NZ broacasters so would you contact say LG because you do not like the way TVNZ are brocasting their content?

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  Reply # 371229 22-Aug-2010 21:53
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login: So by the same argument if you were to buy a new TV from a major NZ retailer and had a problem with it,  it's OK for them to say to you,  "No.  You will need to go back to the manufacturer overseas to get the problem fixed".  (No answer required, it's a rhetorical question).   8-)


I'm not sure if I get your point with this. Approaching the manufacturer of the product is the normal action for issues with a product. That's why manufacturers have support lines. If I had an issue with a Sony TV for example I'd contact the Sony NZ Support Line - not the retailer I purchased it from.

Sky don't create TV channels - they are a content broadcaster. They can't control the format that content is created in.


DS9

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 371232 22-Aug-2010 22:08
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sbiddle:
login: So by the same argument if you were to buy a new TV from a major NZ retailer and had a problem with it,  it's OK for them to say to you,  "No.  You will need to go back to the manufacturer overseas to get the problem fixed".  (No answer required, it's a rhetorical question).   8-)


I'm not sure if I get your point with this. Approaching the manufacturer of the product is the normal action for issues with a product. That's why manufacturers have support lines. If I had an issue with a Sony TV for example I'd contact the Sony NZ Support Line - not the retailer I purchased it from.

Sky don't create TV channels - they are a content broadcaster. They can't control the format that content is created in.



slightly wrong as the box, vibe, prime, sports channels and movie channels plus a few others are tv channels created by sky tv

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