Antenna TV Stretching Image?


I was watching recent recordings from Antenna TV and noticed that the usual 4:3 aspect ratio was being stretched to 16:9. I tuned into the live Antenna TV broadcast, and sure enough, the image of programs in 4:3 aspect ratio were being stretched to fill the entire screen. Can anyone confirm that this change has occurred on Antenna TV?

Antenna TV in Oklahoma City is doing that also.

It is the meta data that is being sent with the channel. The Tablo (and many TV tuners) will use that meta data to set the resolution, audio, aspect ratio, etc of the channel to display it on the TV.

H&I in Austin is being sent with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and it should be 16:9, so the picture is pinched.

My AntennaTV has always been 4:3. When the coax is directly attached to the TV tuner the users TV settings can stretch it to 16:9.

These settings don’t apply to HDMI connected devices. Thus the transcoded output from tablo is pillarboxed.

Sadly many classic shows are being edited to either 16:9 or the compromised 14:9, often cutting off tops of heads.

Some of the reasoning for this is advertising. Commercials are now all wide, and want to be broadcast in a wide format, so everything is broadcast wide, without caring about original content - as though people won’t notice or care. I find it appalling.

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On my TV you can set the SD 4:3 display to normal which is 4:3 pillarbox, full which is 4:3 stretched to 16:9 in letterbox, zoom which is standard 16:9 chop off the head, and wide zoom which is normal 16:9.

I can “adjust” the aspect ratio via my TV settings, but it’s only visual. If it’s broadcast at 16:9 and a I set my TV to 4:9… it’s just a wide picture squeezed into a 4:3 *format. If I’d have a 4:3 broadcast and set my TV to 16:9, it’s just be a stretched out picture.

Changing my TV settings just changes to way it fills/fit the screen, it doesn’t truly change the picture from the broadcaster, that is – it’s distorted.

Thanks for all the responses.

I will write a firm, but polite, note to Antenna TV to let them know of my displeasure.

It has been some months since I watched any programs on Antenna TV, so I decided to tune in and see if they made any changes. Hoooray! They have stopped stretching/cropping the image. I can finally enjoy watching their programs again.

getTV is displayed this way (i.e. “stretched”) in Phoenix. It’s one thing when older film based programs have been cropped (i.e. like Seinfeld) to 16:9 and then some level of zoom is applied so that everything still “looks” normal (albeit with a little less vertical information than was in the original 4:3 image), but entirely another when they take 4:3 images and stretch them for 16:9 TVs so that everything in the program actually looks stretched.

Even when TV shows were shot on 35mm film isn’t the original aspect ratio determined by how the show was framed when shot.

Yes, but film often has resolution to the point that you can still get a good amount of detail out of the negative (ex. Many older movies are still being remastered in 4K or even 8k to truly capture what good old film was all along). With that much detail, with a proper remastering/scanning, a 4:3 film based television image (ex. Seinfeld) can be cropped at the top and bottom to make a 16:9 image. Because it is film based, they can display the image in the HDTV aspect ratio. True you do lose a bit of the top and bottom of the 4:3 image, but it is often not critical in most TV programs. I would rather have 4:3 pillar boxed HD images myself (ex. Star Trek original series) as that is how the director intended it, but I’d take this process over the simple, thoughtless image stretching that was originally mentioned by StorySpider any day (especially for programs originally captured on videotape like “All In The Family” or “Sanford and Son” where fine detail will never be available like there would be for a film based program).

This is a good overview on the Seinfeld remaster in particular

Is framing the same as aspect ratio? Doesn’t 35mm film have an aspect ratio of between 1.37:1 to 1.87:1.

If Seinfeld was shot on 35mm film with 4:3 frame and HDTV is defined as 16:9 what happens when the 4:3 frame is stretched to 16:9.

It’s related to how you can implement HDTV. The director framed the show with a 4:3 image in mind. So, if you crop to 16:9, you are going to lose some of the original part of the image at the top and bottom that the director intended. Sometimes there would be a little “extra” on the sides (like the subway shot in the Youtube video that they can use as well). I think in the video at around the 2:37 minute mark he goes into that a little. Either way, taking a 4:3 and making a 16:9 always represents a compromise at best (in the remastering/cropping method) or a terribly stretched and distorted image (in the case of the simple stretching methods used for those videotaped programs). The root of the problem is most Americans don’t like pillarboxed images for 4:3 content even though it captures the true original intent (and framing) of the director.

I’m just wondering what you are basing your statement on. I personally prefer seeing shows in the original format. I’m sure I’m not alone, whether I’m in the minority as you stated or the majority is yet to be determined unless you have empirical data to substantiate your claim.

Your TV may have controls for full, stretch, etc. That makes 4:3 fill the screen not necessarily cropped. Unless you pick the wrong option.

But it’s really not important with regards to AntennaTV. My AntennaTV was and still is 480i with 4:3 aspect ratio. So I don’t think the network is intentionally shipping 16:9 to it’s affiliates. And if you pay attention to what is broadcast, the actual shows are 4:3 but many commercials are windowboxed.

And there are those networks that are 480i with 16:9(stretched) and those that are 480i with 16:9 where the actual show is pillarbox - thus 4:3.

Of course we could get into what happens on a movie shot at 70mm and broadcast on HD at 16:9 and why some are letterboxed.

Just look at the sales figures for DVDs back in the day. “Full Screen” DVDs that were cropped to fit the 4:3 aspect of TVs at the time far outsold letterboxed versions that would appear smaller on the TV screen, but preserve the directors intention. The idea is that the average person historically has wanted to see the image on all of the screen that “they paid for” and don’t like pillarboxing or letterboxing. I don’t agree with it. I’m with you…show me what the director intended in terms of framing and aspect ratio.

It’s more likely advertiser don’t like 4:3… and networks broadcast in a wide format to accommodate their advertisements. Some use the compromised 14:9 simulation aspect ratio.

Isn’t the 720 or 180 scan lines part of it? I have SD channels broadcast as 16:9… but they aren’t HD - just because it has an aspect ratio of 16:9

It’s 16:9 and only SD at 480i

Here is another discussion on the topic, something much more prevalent pre-HDTV, but illustrates the original poster’s complaint. The image on the upper most right (“Anamorphic”) is fundamentally pretty similar to what some broadcasters still do to this day.

Well I guess that might apply if I was watching a DVD. But most TV’s have aspect control options such as normal, full, zoom, and wide zoom.

Then there are a whole set of rules for players connected via HDMI. Say you have a Roku set on video auto-detect. If your TV is 1080P Roku detects that capability. The data flow can get upscaled to 1080p. And that can also then have TV’s default aspect ratio applied…

So as an example if you have hdhomerun, via Roku, with the Roku frame resolution of 1080p on a 1080p TV, a antennaTV mpeg broadcast of 480i 4:3 show up at the TV as 1080p 16:9. And for my TV the TV aspect ratio is Full so that is then applied.