Why do most HDTV broadcasts still display side bars on 16:..

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

I'm an HDTV newbie.
Have searched the FAQ's and found no answers to the below
observations.

Have just set up a Sony 61xs955 and am confused about 16:9 HDTV
broadcasts.
As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
displays black bars on the sides of the picture.
During prime time on NBC I receive the broadcast programming in 16:9.
Why the difference?
I also notice that if a prime time HDTV broadcast is in 16:9 the
commercials have black bars on each side.

Any clarification on this appreciated!
8 answers Last reply
More about hdtv broadcasts display side bars
  1. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    mouln@yahoo.com (victor voul) wrote in message news:<30da9028.0412031126.1d9456d3@posting.google.com>...

    > As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
    > it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
    > displays black bars on the sides of the picture.

    They do this whenever (a) the original content was not shot in 16:9,
    which is still true of most TV shows, or (b) it was shot in 16:9 but
    wasn't kept in an exclusively HD channel all the way from the origin
    to the transmitter, and got converted to 4:3 at some point along the
    way, as is true of many commercials.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    mouln@yahoo.com (victor voul) wrote in message news:<30da9028.0412031126.1d9456d3@posting.google.com>...
    > I'm an HDTV newbie.
    > Have searched the FAQ's and found no answers to the below
    > observations.
    >
    > Have just set up a Sony 61xs955 and am confused about 16:9 HDTV
    > broadcasts.
    > As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
    > it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
    > displays black bars on the sides of the picture.
    > During prime time on NBC I receive the broadcast programming in 16:9.
    > Why the difference?
    > I also notice that if a prime time HDTV broadcast is in 16:9 the
    > commercials have black bars on each side.
    >
    > Any clarification on this appreciated!

    As has been said, High Definition is always 16:9, so when the networks
    have to broadcast non widescreen content they have two choices: 1.
    Perform a zoom/stretch of the 4:3 footage (as TNT HD loves to do) or
    2. add in side bars on the left and right to compensate for the more
    square 4:3 aspect ratio of non-HD programming.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    victor voul wrote:
    > I'm an HDTV newbie.
    > Have searched the FAQ's and found no answers to the below
    > observations.
    >
    > Have just set up a Sony 61xs955 and am confused about 16:9 HDTV
    > broadcasts.
    > As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
    > it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
    > displays black bars on the sides of the picture.
    > During prime time on NBC I receive the broadcast programming in 16:9.
    > Why the difference?
    > I also notice that if a prime time HDTV broadcast is in 16:9 the
    > commercials have black bars on each side.
    >
    > Any clarification on this appreciated!

    Because they don't want to distort the original aspect ratio of the
    video being broadcast. If it was shot in 4:3, it doesn't neatly fit
    into 16:9. There are three ways to deal with it: 1) Expand the entire
    image both horizontally and vertically to fill the screen, then chop off
    the portions that fall above or below the actual screen, 2) Expand the
    image horizontally only to fill the screen, thus stretching everything
    unnaturally, or 3) Center the image in the widescreen space, leaving
    black bars on the right and left. Most people find this to be the best
    solution of the three.
  4. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    mouln@yahoo.com (victor voul) wrote in news:30da9028.0412031126.1d9456d3
    @posting.google.com:

    > I'm an HDTV newbie.
    > Have searched the FAQ's and found no answers to the below
    > observations.
    >
    > Have just set up a Sony 61xs955 and am confused about 16:9 HDTV
    > broadcasts.
    > As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
    > it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
    > displays black bars on the sides of the picture.
    > During prime time on NBC I receive the broadcast programming in 16:9.
    > Why the difference?
    > I also notice that if a prime time HDTV broadcast is in 16:9 the
    > commercials have black bars on each side.
    >
    > Any clarification on this appreciated!
    >

    In short, the black bars are added at the network (?) to send you a 16:9
    picture. This is true with all non-hd programing. HD programming will be
    in 16:9 and not have the black bars. The black bars are added to SD
    programming and most commericals.

    Hope this helps. There is nothing wrong with your setup or equipment.

    Dave
  5. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "victor voul" <mouln@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:30da9028.0412031126.1d9456d3@posting.google.com...
    > I'm an HDTV newbie.
    > Have searched the FAQ's and found no answers to the below
    > observations.
    >
    > Have just set up a Sony 61xs955 and am confused about 16:9 HDTV
    > broadcasts.
    > As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
    > it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
    > displays black bars on the sides of the picture.

    (I have the same TV set that you do.)

    The reason for this is that the network is sending down a 4:3 standard
    definition signal. But you are taking it off the local station's digital
    broadcast channel, being used for HD. Not WZYZ-TV but WZYZDT-TV. So, it is
    transmitting to your TV set in HD digital, even though the program content
    is just a 4:3 standard definition program. Result: black bars on the sides
    and a less-than-optimum picture. But the set sees the HD signal, not the
    program, so it tells you "1080i" or "720p". When you tune in at night -- or
    any time -- and get an HDTV program, you get it 16:9 with an HD picture.

    If you tune to the station's analog channel and press "guide" on your
    remote, you will see that it then says "NTSC" instead of 1080i or 720p.

    Most commercials are shot in 4:3 SD, so they show up with black bars on the
    sides. I think, but am not sure, that some stations/networks may
    automatically go to a 4:3 format during commercial breaks. That will change
    as more spots are shot in HD. If you get ESPNHD, you will see that they put
    up grey bars that say "ESPN" all day long, to bracket their SD programming.
    When they show a game or SPORTSCENTER in HD, then it's 16:9. That's the way
    it is right now -- you go back and forth all the time from 16:9 to 4:3 with
    bars on the sides.

    Some local stations will broadcast all their programming on their HD channel
    blown out to 16:9. That, in my opinion, is worse.

    If you don't mind a goofy-looking formerly 4:3 picture, you can use your
    "wide" settings to watch everything in 16:9. Some do. You'll be in
    TNT-Land.

    BTW, when you first fired up your set, did you find that all your whites
    were swimming around and you had to turn off the "Live Color" via the video
    menu, which Sony had shipped turned ON? I did. Very weird. Not sure if
    that effect from "Live Color" relates to something on my end or it's just
    something Sony didn't really check out before they added it. Glad it has an
    OFF button, though.

    mack
    austin
  6. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    Because not all HD stations are HD all the time.
  7. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    You have received many good responses to your question. I would just add
    these points.

    When you see black bars on the right and left, you are receiving content
    that was/is 4:3 content that probably started out as (at best) 480i or
    something close to it. It is "padded" on the right and left with black bars
    to give it a 16:9 aspect ratio, AND it is up-converted to 1080i (or 720p) to
    make it "high definition". Your receiver, of course, has no idea of all the
    electronic manipulation that has occurred to the signal prior to its
    arrival. All it knows is that the signal looks like a 1080i, 16:9 signal.

    You are right, this kind of up-converted signal is common during the
    non-primetime hours.

    During primetime, you will usually receive true 16:9 1080i (or 720p) high
    definition content.

    Neil
    Salem, MA USA

    "victor voul" <mouln@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:30da9028.0412031126.1d9456d3@posting.google.com...
    > I'm an HDTV newbie.
    > Have searched the FAQ's and found no answers to the below
    > observations.
    >
    > Have just set up a Sony 61xs955 and am confused about 16:9 HDTV
    > broadcasts.
    > As an example if I tune to NBC the the screen display indicates that
    > it is an HDTV broadcast being received in 16:9. But the screen
    > displays black bars on the sides of the picture.
    > During prime time on NBC I receive the broadcast programming in 16:9.
    > Why the difference?
    > I also notice that if a prime time HDTV broadcast is in 16:9 the
    > commercials have black bars on each side.
    >
    > Any clarification on this appreciated!
  8. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    >Our so-called "leaders" are put in place by
    the marketers to facilitate their needs. Down this road lies disaster,
    I am
    afraid. You can't have the merchants running everything. That's almost
    as
    bad as turning it over to the priests.

    Merchants don't "run" anything since the buying power is completely
    voluntary by the consumer. If enough consumers get pissed at over
    advertising, they will stop patronizing those companies and/or stop
    watch the programs when they're run.
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