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Old May 18th, 2002, 08:48 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
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Broadcasting in 16:9

Can someone clarify this for me, please.

If something is shot in 16:9 and is being broadcasted by a TV station to the audience at home, how will that audience view that material wich was shoot on 16:9 if they only have 4:3 TV sets?

In other words, what would that look like?
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Old May 18th, 2002, 09:53 PM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
 
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What will it look like? It'll look "squished." Where everybody on screen is tall and thin.

However, most likely it wouldn't be broadcast at all. There is some 16:9 broadcasting done on High Definition channels, and the broadcaster assumes the audience is watching with 16:9 sets. Usually these channels are sisters to other channels already showing the same programming in normal 4:3.

In other words, there will be satellite/cable channel 1165 for a particular station, and then High Def 16:9 programming of the same material will be on channel 1165.5.

When I was in Salt Lake City for the Olympics, that's how the NBC affiliate was operating... with their 16:9 programming on a ".5" channel which you could get only with the right kind of receiver.

As far as 16:9 going out over regular channels, the broadcaster generally will not air it unless they're supplied with a 4:3 version containing a black letterbox matte above and below so that the 16:9 image fills the frame from left to right and still maintains the proper aspect ratio. Of course they'll probably run a "pan and scan" version also but it's much more work to supply them with pan & scan version than it is a letterbox version.

Naturally I'm referring to the U.S.A., in other countries it'll be different. Not too many 16:9 sets in US households. Hope this helps,
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Old May 19th, 2002, 01:36 PM   #3
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Chris. Thanks kindly for your info.
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Old May 20th, 2002, 10:17 AM   #4
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In the UK, standard definition (Pal) 16:9 programs are only broadcast anamorphically on digital tv. If the same channel is broadcast on terrestial analogue either a 14:9 or 16:9 letterbox is used.

For digital 16:9, the reciver is able to tell if the signal is 16:9 or 4:3 a code is embedded on line 23 of the Pal signal in the blanking area, defining whether the image is 4:3 or 16:9.

Most digital set top boxes can automatically convert 16:9 anamorphic to 16:9 letterbox in the same way that DVD players do. The digital tv set top box allows you to choose either a 16:9 or 4:3 tv set and it reformats the image accordingly - usually automatically (but sometimes you have to do it manually), 16:9 TV sets are becoming common here now.

Most of the big TV shows in the UK are shot and broadcast (to digital viewers) in 16:9. HD is a long way off in the UK because most people have accepted 16:9 Pal as good enough.

Last edited by Phil Connolly; May 20th, 2002 at 12:18 PM.
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Old May 20th, 2002, 11:08 AM   #5
Obstreperous Rex
 
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Thanks Phil. I was hoping someone from the UK would chime in on this as I thought 16:9 sets were becoming common over there on your side of the pond.
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Old May 20th, 2002, 04:26 PM   #6
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They certainly are becoming popular.... so much so that the BBC now refuses to broadcast most 4:3 material (there's an essay about it somewhere on their site).

Even low budget television stations now broadcast in widescreen, and due to them being low budget often leave poor 4:3 viewers with chopped-off graphics and presenters heads hanging half way off the screen.

Some rather more sensible channels see that there is little need for widescreen until most material is shot in widescreen (eg. Discovery etc.).
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