Pet Peeve: Bars and their HDTVs

I just got an HDTV and, being a nerd, I have it hooked up all nice and proper, with the cable box connected to the TV by an HDMI cable. It looks fantastic. (I’m watching the Redskins game right now mostly because it looks so good - I couldn’t care less about the 'Skins).

But having an HDTV has made me painfully aware of when other people don’t have theirs set up properly. Take, oh, almost every bar I go to these days. They all have their fancy widescreen sets hanging up all over the place… and they’re all displaying a grainy, stretched-out standard definition picture.

What a colossal waste of money! And it seems the only bars that DO have it set up right are the massive, chain sports bars – the exact kind of place I hate going to because their idea of a large beer selection means they have Heineken.

Does no one at these bars notice that their picture quality isn’t improved at all? Or are they just too cheap to pay the extra $5 a month for high-def programming?

That first thing you guessed. The hired help don’t know about anything with an acronym. They have trouble spelling “TV”.

Heh, I was wondering when someone might post on this subject. You can blame the fact that most large flat-screen displays are configured for the 16/9 aspect ratio of HDTV, while receiving standard-def signals with a 4/3 ratio. For some reason, a lot of people find it unbearably disturbing to not use the entire screen to display the image. This is pretty much the same as the antipathy many Americans have for the ‘letterboxing’ of wide-screen films when shown on TV.

Cutting off part of the image while at least preserviing the image proportions is one thing, but why the hell anyone would prefer an absurdly squashed image to a pair of relatively unobtrusive blank areas on either side of the screen is beyond me. It seems people somehow feel cheated or defrauded if some portion of the display’s real estate goes unused.

A couple of years back, the company I work for was showing some of its equipment at a trade show. One of the displays was an emulation of a Driller’s control console, with round dials. The 4/3 image was being displayed on a 16/9 screen, i.e. squashed so the round dials looked like flattened ovals. I noticed this and flipped a switch on the display to show the image in the correct format. Not five minutes later, someone else on the booth came over and flipped it back again. (sigh)

Being in northern Spain, my hometown has a fairly large selection of bars, all of which serve tapas.

When given the choice, I always pick the same one. Do they have the best tapas? No. The best waiters? No, one of the current guys still has to bring an order completely right for the first time. Do they have a waiter I’d like for dessert? Nope.

But they’re the only public locale in town where what’s coming out of the sound system matches what’s displayed on the screens. And this also means that all their screens show the same thing - unbelievable!

Anyone who considers “sports on HDTV” as anything other than an oxymoronic ludicrosity is retarded. You are all retarded.

And you are a pretentious douchebag, as always. Can’t you just shut your piehole for a change?

Drop in your penny and the monkey dances. Doors is my monkey.

Ahhh, the ignorance of the innocents is so cute sometimes. lissener, darls, hasn’t it ever occurred to you that the reason we keep YOU around is that you are the most obedient of monkeys, always able to be relied upon to do a little monkey crap-dance when we click our fingers just so?



As a bartender with HD plasma TV’s behind the bar, I find this statement a bit hasty and dramatic.

I work at a neighborhood bar. The games that are broadcast in HD are shown that way; the ones that aren’t are gonna be good ol’ fashioned grainy stretch. (The regulars would pitch a fit if a game that was in HD wasn’t shown that way.)

Now to be fair, the brother-in-law of the owner installs cable for a living, so perhaps we’re a bit “ahead of the curve” as far as neighborhood bars go, but honestly, if you’re at a bar (“massive chain sports bar” or not) just ask the freakin’ bartender to put the game on in HD. If they don’t know how, educate 'em.

If you’re hanging out at a bar where the bartender’s too stupid to get it, or you’re too arrogant to explain it, find a new bar or a new attitude.

Man, I always thought you were somewhat full of yourself the way you denigrate others for daring to have an opinion different from your own. I never realized you were such a grade A asshole about it, though, until now.

I’m trying to figure what about the subject of this thread throws a person into such a rage that he starts throwing bizarre phrases like “oxymoronic ludicrosity” around, but am coming up blank. Once you wipe the spittle off your chin, do you think you could explain coherently what you are going on about?

What does this even mean? How is “sports on TV” an oxymoron? Is “ludicrosity” even a word? If I don’t own an HDTV, how can I tell if I’m retarded?

What cracks me up is when they advertise HDTV on regular TV.
I’ll be with people who see the ad and say “Ooh, Look how sharp that is!”
Forgetting that they are watching on regular TV.

You’re probably right here. There are all sorts of factors, mostly economic, for why a particular HD installation isn’t set up right. The HDTVs themselves are expensive, so users tend to save on accessories as much as possible, without realizing they need the new accessories to properly use the HDTV.

I think it will get better in 10 years or so, when one will have to go out of their way to screw up their HD systems with SD components. Now, there’s so much SD equipment lying around that people are tempted to re-use their existing cables and such.

All this comes down to breaking one or more of The Three Rules of HDTV:

  1. You need to have an honest-to-God HDTV. Not an EDTV or an HD downconverter or anything else that, while is technically capable of recieving an HD signal, is not capable of displaying one.

  2. You need to have an HD-capable connection to the TV. Composite and S-Video connections just won’t cut it.

  3. You need a source of HD programming. If you have cable or satellite, you may have to pay more for HD programming and an HD box. If you want local HD broadcasts, you need an HD tuner (either built-in or external) and an antenna.

Bolding mine.

See, i don’t understand this at all.

Every widescreen TV i’ve ever seen has controls that allow you to have grey or black bars on either side of a 4:3 picture, so you don’t need to make it look ridiculous by stretching it across the wide screen. Hell, the one my friend has will automatically adjust the viewable area for HD and non-HD programming, for optimum picture quality.

Personally, i’d prefer a slightly smaller viewing area for the benefit of having the players look like normal people.

And lissener, perhaps you could explain what is oxymoronic about sports on HDTV. What is it about “sports” and “HDTV” that makes them contradictory to or incongruous with one another? And the fact that you don’t like sports is not an answer. It is, in fact, completely unrelated to the question of whether the concept of “sports on HDTV” is oxymoronic. I can only assume, from your post, that you don’t actually know what “oxymoronic” means; maybe you should look it up.

Heh, you beat me to the punch on the oxymoron thing, mhendo. Seems lissener needs to dust off his copy of “Elitist Posing for Dummies” again.

What’s weird about that is that those commercials do look a bit better, why can’t they use those same cameras for other shows/commercials?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d feel arrogant for suddenly telling the owner of a business how his TVs should be set up. That’s why I haven’t done it at this point. On the flip side, I am one of his paying customers and he should want to make me, and all the customers, happy. For me, it’s a tough call.

Guess I’ll just wait until I’m on a first-name basis with the bartender. Or maybe I’ll just stay home, where the HD picture is perfect and the beer is cheap. :slight_smile:

Every once in awhile I (and I figure others as well) come across what I call a “defining post”, something either brilliant, funny or mind numbingly stupid that will from that point on be the standard bearer from which I’ll always remember and perceive that person. The above was just such an event.

For one thing, burn-in is a valid concern for most widescreen TVs. I have a widescreen HDTV, but I usually leave the display setting on 16:9 even when I’m watching 4:3 content. I fully realize that it’s incorrect (and I’m usually a stickler about this kind of thing), but honestly, the stretch just doesn’t bother me that much, and if it makes burn-in problems less likely to happen, it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.