My dad got a nifty widescreen HDTV last year on his birthday, about a year ago.
Not knowing much about HDTV, but being the de-fault go-to-person for technology in the family, I had a crash course on how to set the thing up. I became the defacto “know-it-all” about this TV.
After loads and loads and loads of frustration, we finally got the HD DVR playing nice with the TV so that the correct signals were being sent from the box to the TV and everything was being shown in the correct aspect ratio and the correct definition. It’s worked great for 11 months now.
I had to do a LOT of explaining to dad about the difference between 4:3 and 16:9. He’s both an alcoholic and on pain meds (a different rant) so there are very few hours in the day where things can be explained to him and he still remembers the answer the next day. But I was patient and have explained the difference several dozen times now.
I broke it down fairly simply:
- Some shows are shot with a “square” camera and they will be shown on your rectangular TV as a square with black lines on either side. It’s done this way to avoid distortion. They were made to fit nicely on a square TV. If you stretch it out, it looks wrong.
- Some shows are shot with a “rectangular” camera and they will be shown on your rectangular TV as a rectangle and will fill up the entire screen. These shows were made especially to fit on your screen.
- Some shows were shot with a “rectangular” camera but they are not broadcast in a way that will fit fully across your screen. They’re broadcast so they fit fully across people’s square screens. If you see a show like this with lines on all side, it’s ok to use the “stretch” button on the remote to make it fill up your screen. It will look fine.
(yes I know the camera stuff is hooey but it’s the best I could come up with)
So the other day I saw a note on his fridge that was a reminder that the Cable Guy was coming out. Apparently there was no sound coming on 2 channels.
- Ask about no sound on channels 46 and 47
- Stretch picture to fit.
He wanted the Cable Guy to set up his TV to stretch everything to 16:9…proper ratio be damned.
I questioned him on this. I begged. I pleaded. I tried to explain again for the umpteeth time.
No dice. I visited yesterday…all of the pictures were stretched.
So now the old man can “get his money’s worth” out of his humongous television screen by totally fucking up a good chunk of the broadcasts.
How this is remotely better, I do not know.
Old people…God bless 'em.