Aspect ratio, 4/11, 16/9 and so on

So I’m still experimenting and tried to watch some live TV via Tablo. We watch a lot of older shows, pre-modern, pre-HD, pre-digital, old screen format, etc. but I noticed something weird.
The TV allows me to set the aspect ratio or let it be “determined by source” so it changes automatically.
When viewing TV via Tablo I noticed one 20 year old show shows up in the smaller window with the black on the sides like expected, but another show from the same era displayed on the TV in the wide format. ODD. Did the broadcaster change how they broadcast that show perhaps, “modifying it to fit this screen size” or was there something else?
When recording using my DVD recorder, depending on the DVD disks I use and the recording format I can get the normal “wide screen” or it’s cropped a bit. I was surprised to see inconsistent display of older shows through Tablo making me wonder - is it how they broad cast it or is there some setting I missed in setup?
not a complaint, it is an observation and question!

Broadcasters I believe can change it.   Looks like I have two or three.  But also, and especially channels like MOVIES! which are 480i, they’ll often show a widescreen movie in their 4x3 aspect ratio channel.  The Tablo tools I’m working on (almost releaseable) have an option to transcode (full transcode, so sort of expensive) to eliminate the black bars all around for such things.  It’s not automatic though, but uses a configurable set that is extensible for cropping the frames.

Of course, the end result is a somewhat blurry enlarged (at the front end) 16x9… but still, maybe that’s “ok”.  That probably wasn’t clear except to those that have cropped 4x3 widescreen shot shows before.

cjcox I’m glad you wear a white hat.   :wink:    Glad you are on “our side”.

My coding is restricted to VBScripts and much of that is simple home-brew or parts plaugerized from others and combined into scripts that do what I need them to do. I tried learning C++ a few years back, I do not have the patience for things that take that much time to learn - can’t sit still long enough. 

I bet you have given the reason, at least in part if nothing else. I grew up with B&W sets in wood cabinets (REAL wood! Yes, it still existed back then, not particle board crap with vinyl wood appearance but nice wood cabinets and remotes that used solenoids and ratchets to turn the tuner if anyone still knows what a tuner is! LOL)

I need to learn what all the new terms and numbers mean - scan rates, flyback transformers, vertical hold, all that stuff I know well. But when we get into 1080, your 480i and all that, I’d need to learn that. Servers, networks, computers, VPN, firewalls, I’m fine there. 
(Or give me a classic car to restore, I’m in heaven.)


@cjcox Has the idea here, but just chiming in to confirm:

This is what’s sent out raw on the broadcaster’s end. It could be transcoded to get rid of the bars, but as he noted, it can be expensive.

On the TV I can adjust so it’s fine. I can 'adjust my set" as they used to say. Better that than adding complexity and perhaps making some other issues come into play. 

I just need to learn a bit more about that part and deal with it. There’s always “zoom1” and “zoom2” on the TV also.

Apparently the broadcasters are doing things differently perhaps based on who they are and the show itself and so on. As long as I know it’s the raw stream you are recording and there’s no effect or setting I need to change in the device itself.

Yep… if you can handle the black bars effectively on the monitor… that’s the fastest solution!!

But you know, there’s just not enough zoom1 zoom2 magic on my “TV” to make me satisfied.  YMMV.

I’m relatively new on this and am having the aspect ratio issue on my PC. Wondering if there’s a patch to lock the height and streach or shrink the window that the program is being viewed on.

I second that request. It would be nice to have a feature request to be able to adjust the aspect ratio in the tablo app. It would also to great to select a variety of custom aspect ratios and perhaps be able to set a preference by channel since many networks (e.g. PosiTiV , THIS, Ionplus) seem to set their aspect ratios to an improper on consistently.

Gets annoying whem people in the picture look either too skinny or too fat :roll_eyes:, or there are bars surrounding picture (don’t like my large screen TV producing a smaller picture :frowning_face: ).

Depending how important it is, using a PC - “patch” it with 3rd party app to offload your recordings to your PC and use a media player capable of adjusting aspect ratio like smplayer or vlc (both available for various platforms)

While others find it annoying when the show is “edited” and zoomed in and cut off tops of heads or parts of scenes aren’t all showing… just to fill a screen they were never made for. Original content vs “I don’t care, I just want it as big as I can get” I just wish we’d each get a choice.