[opendtv] 480i 16:9 with pillarboxed image

  • From: "Albert Manfredi" <bert22306@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 05:07:54 -0500

Hi guys. Some time ago, I suggested that an easy way to transmit images safely, even without using AFD, would be to just go ahead and transmit any SDTV as 16:9. I guess all SDTV is always transmitted as 704 X 480i anyway, so 16:9 is an option.

Then, if the image is 4:3, as it often is with SD material, just transmit two black pillars. So even people who don’t have AFD can set their monitors to 16:9 and leave it there. You lose a slight amount of horizontal res that way, in 4:3 material, but hard to notice. Most 4:3 material is way low res anyway.

Turns out, this has happened. Our NBC O&O used to transmit a local DC channel on its 4.2 subchannel, which was wide screen and AFD. Now they've replaced that with something called Cozi TV. Seems to be mostly old TV shows. Naturally, these are all 4:3. And yet, they're still transmitting 480i 16:9, with pillars. Good thinking.

Conversely, our MHz Networks station, with two multiplexes totaling 12 different streams, evidently just retransmitting whatever the different countries of origin are sending them, can't make up its mind. All streams are SD, but some 4:3, some are widescreen postage stamped in 4:3, some are anamorphic squeeze but still transmitted as SD 4:3 (requiring manual stretch), and one of the streams, the Korean one, can't make up its mind. Some programs 4:3, others anamorphic squeeze, but never AFD.

Is there something difficult about AFD, so many years after the transition? And/or, why not just transmit everything in a 16:9 envelope? STBs used with old TV sets never seemed to have trouble filling up the 4:3 CRTs with whatever was fed to them? I think it's time to settle on some sensible modes.


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