[Tig] 4x3

Robert Lovejoy chroma601 at gmail.com
Sat Jun 4 01:50:06 BST 2011

One thing I'd like to understand about the US aspect ratio mess is the
manner in which SD TVs are supplied images.  In broadcast television, analog
is supposedly shut down and digital signals are supposedly broadcast in 16
by 9, with 4 by 3 pillarboxed.
    Do the stations themselves provide the 4 by 3 full frame iterations to
the cable companies, or do the cable and sat people create them?  I had
thought once we went all digital SD TVs would have permanent letterbox and
DPs would begin composing for the whole wide frame.  Of course, that was
    But where in the chain do the cropped versions originate?  Do networks
and stations still provide separate HD and SD feeds to the cable?
     Here in Asheville I've seen more permutations than I could have
imagined.  Until recently one of the locals was airing a 4 by 3 syndicated
cartoon show squished into 2.something  by 3 with huge pillarbars.  There
seems to be no standardization, lots of confusion, and less care.   Besides
the widely variable aspect ratio approaches, there is also a ton of stuff
out there that seems poorly rendered with interfield judder and badly jagged
     In an age where mp3s killed SACD and DVDA, the desire to put out the
best possible images seems to be losing ground to the down and dirty.

Bob Lovejoy

PS - A lot of people really do get it right, thank goodness, but a lot more
are bewildered!  The premium cable stations, for example, generally seem
pretty good.

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