Broadcast of Macy's Fireworks on NBC at

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Old July 4th, 2005, 07:26 PM   #1
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Broadcast of Macy's Fireworks on NBC

Hey did anyone else notice the commercials during the Macy's fireworks spectacular. It was being broadcast in HD so I have a standard TV and all the commercials had four black bands around the edges sorta like a picture frame.

I never saw this done before. I've seen black bands on the sides and of course your normal letterboxing. What was the purpose behind the black frame? Was it to accommodate standard def users or HD users?
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Old July 4th, 2005, 09:19 PM   #2
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I missed most of the broadcast since I had a better view of the show from my rooftop in Brooklyn. I can actually see both the East River Fireworks AND the Downtown Fireworks from my rooftop. All without having to look up, and thus avoiding a sore neck!

I did get tired of the 45 minutes spent on the roof though and came in just in time to catch the last 5 minutes of the broadcast. I did notice the formatted aspect ratio. Essentially what you were seeing was a live HD broadcast cutting to SD commercials. Since SD has a 4/3 aspect ratio and HD has a 16/9 aspect ratio, one or both of them have to be adjusted to fit your screen. We're all familiar with the 16/9 aspect ratio being letterboxed to fit the 4/3 screen. But adjusting the 4/3 aspect ratio to fit the 16/9 screen is a little less common. This is called pillarboxing. Adding collumns to the side of the picture.

In the case of this broadcast, you were seeing pillarboxed 4/3 square commercials fit into a letterboxed 16/9 rectangular broadcast resulting a framed SD picture. In HD you would've had a full screen with just pillarboxed commercials. But if you're not among the 5% of consumers that own an HD set AND have an HD signal, then you got the double formatted picture of pillarbox inside of letterbox.

Me? I got a live panaromic view of two fireworks shows without a single commercial! Man I love New York!!!
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Old July 5th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the awsome reply with a great explaination to that wierd format.

I have to say the show this year was quite nice.

Take care,

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