I was told 2 things using a standard direct tv reciever with an HDTV. (1)there would be a "letterbox" look to the tv dispaly in order to get a good picture or (2)the picture will look somwhat distoted if you eliminate the "letterbox" look....is this true or any suggestions. I do not want to buy the HD direct TV package
In basic terms.....your HDTV is capable of displaying more picture than standard definition TV is broadcast at. As a result, standard definition TV, unscaled, will not occupy the entire HDTV screen.....it will be a square image inside the rectangle that is your HDTV screen.
HDTV's come with many types of built in scaling to enlarge or scale the square picture into something that fits into a rectangle but in the end, the source image is a square and therefore, will never really fit 100% perfectly into a rectangle frame.....hence the "distortion" you refer to.