Stupid people and HDTVs

Yes, because I am just that stupid. I bought it to keep my TV stand from floating in the air. I am legally blind and can’t tell the difference between grossly distorted imagery and crystal clear HD programming. My sensibilities are barely beyond those of a flatworm, and I should have my TV license revoked.


Or, I enjoy HD programming when available; and can watch standard programming in any format with getting my panties in a bunch.

It was the entirety of your post 30. What exactly was the point of that post if not the number of available channels? And a number of people in this thread are assuming that they know what someone else’s TV images look like. That seems pretty funny to me.

And Trunk, it is a matter of taste. It may be inexplicable to you, but de gustibus non est disputandum.

No, but I’ve seen burn-in on my own 6-mo-old plasma.

It was a slightly tangential response to a slightly tangential post:

If have seen TVs do this stretching. It is a gross distortion as opposed to a mild distortion such as a reduced or slightly incorrect color gamut. It is extremely bizarre that there is even any discussion about this.

Indeed it is, my brain is easily able to compensate for the distortion. I hardly notice it. Maybe you should get your vision tested.

But given that one button press - one! - is the difference between watching things in the correct shape, and watching them 33% too fat, why on earth would you choose to watch them too fat?

And as for the vision thing, surely it’s better to be able to distinguish between different widths? How are you going to know when to divorce your wife and trade in for a younger model if she can put on 40 pounds without you noticing? It’s not even like you can look at her from an angle to compensate, like you can with mis-configured TVs… :slight_smile:

Stretched pictures are not gross distortions, at least not on my TV. Maybe y’all should have gotten better tv’s or maybe just stayed out of the HDTV game until all of the programming went that way. As it stands, for me, most of what I watch is in HDTV, why sacrfice the clartiy and amazing picture I get for those shows (which are most of what I watch) if I happen to run accross a 4:3 show and don’t want to look at those annoying bars (on my set, the vertical bars are gray, to match the set frame – bu they still annoy me, moreso than the distortion my brain compensates for anyway). Sure there’s more 4:3 stuff out there than HDTV, but how much of it do I want to watch? probably not much. I am not losing sleep ovet the fact that I can’t see QVC in hi-def. I just don’t understand why people give a rat’s ass how someone else chooses to view tv of all things.

Well, this 33-year-old has somehow managed to set everything up, by gum, by crackee, by Gadfrey, by jove, and it works superbly due to my masterful cable-warriorsmanship. The RF from the wall splits three ways, to the TV directly, to the cable box, and to the VCR. The VCR connection is S-video, which is the lowest-fidelity connection in the whole setup. When I watch regular TV, it’s usually through the cable box (which has a HD DVR built in), which connects to the TV via a HDMI-DVI cable. Sound travels to my audio receiver from that same cable box via an optical cable. Oh, the lush digital sound I get. And I know when I’m seeing an HD picture and when I’m watching plain-jane TV.

And this week, I’ve seen a minor explosion in the HD channels available from my cable provider. Just last night, four new HD channels were added: TNT, HGTV, the Food Network, and A&E. And this past weekend, they added our local CBS in HD, so I’ll get to watch the Super Bowl in glorious high definition wonderfulness.

As for the setup for watching regular TV: my default for old-format TV is a fourth mode offered by my television, called “Wide Zoom”. It shaves a tiny bit off the very top and bottom, leaves the center of the screen normal, and very gradually increases the “stretch” as the image gets closer to the outer edges of the screen. It’s a compromise setting; since most of the action happens in the center of the screen, most of what you look at appears normal and unstretched, with the added bonus that the entire screen area is filled and you lose far less off the top and bottom than you do with “zoom”. The “wide zoom” is only annoying during slow horizontal camera pans. But, that’s a small price to pay for losing the vertical bars.

So, suck it. Some of us old-timers still know a thing or two about modern technology. Now, take this nickel to the drugstore and get yourself a cherry phosphate; me, I’m off to an ether frolic with some buggy whip salespersons.

My parents don’t think the people look squished, and if you put the pillarboxes on they say “But where’s the rest of it?” I mean, what the hell, it makes them happy. I don’t generally watch TV over there, though. At least on my TV (and I think theirs), it defaults to pillarboxes for regular TV and widescreen for HD all on its own.

In my case, the aspect ratio button is only on the TV remote, not on the “universal” cable box remote, so I would change channels, change remotes, push the button, then do it all over again if I change back to an HD channel. If I spring one day for a fancy universal remote, maybe I’ll start switching. As it is, I prefer to keep clutter down by keeping extra remotes (like the TV remote) in the entertainment center.

Hey, you watch 4:3 stretched out long enough, everybody looks skinnier. It’s win-win!

Nothing to add really to this thread, but seeing as it wasn’t really worth starting a thread on it’s own, this is a good place to brag about my new Sanyo Z5 front projector. $1500 gets you 120" HD glory. Way better dollar to inch ratio than generic HDTV’s, so long as you can get some light control working. WEEEEE!!!


My father, 75 years-old, has this enormously complicated HDTV/Tivo/etc setup that invariably goes kablooey at least once an hour because he mistakenly hit some button on the remote. Absolutely drives him crazy.

He once asked me what my opinion was on what was wrong with the TV and I looked him in the eye and said “Dad, you’re just too old for your electronics.”

You haven’t seen the right TV. Like you, I have seen many TV’s that–no matter which stretching mode you use–the stretched image looks obviously distorted. However, my roommate’s 60-inch TV has a stretch mode that produces A VERY NORMAL LOOKING PICTURE! Does that shock you? It’s true. It uses some kind of method as described above where the edges are stretched more than the center of the picture. That sounds like it would produce a funny-looking picture, but it doesn’t. It also crops off a very small amount at the top and bottom of the picture (if you turn to CNN, you can only see about the top half of the ticker at the bottom of the screen). No big deal if you’re just watching Mythbusters or American Idol or whatnot. For anything in native 16:9 aspect, we switch to the normal mode.

I even did a side-by-side comparison with my old 4:3 television, and the distortion on the widescreen was hardly noticeable. People onscreen didn’t look squished or fat at all.

What is bizarre to me is that you think that you know, based on some experiences you’ve had, exactly what others are seeing using equipment, providers and settings about which you have no facts. Further, as others have said, it is an absolute fact that each of us has things we think are important about which others don’t give a rat’s ass.

Funny, I have a Comcast Digital HD DVR box and a 37" 1080p LCD. Together I get perfect reproduction of standard and HD channels. Occasionally I have to hit the 3 position zoom button on the Cable Box control to size up the picture to the correct ratio to make use of my full screen. I find this most true of Sci-Fi channel.

I am sure that all this said, gazpacho would not believe these simple statements.


Jim, I usually watch HD channels on my new TV, but last night I went home and zipped thru a few dozen of the regular channels on my cable list. All channels appeared in full screen mode, and no channels exhibited any easily noticeable distortion. If I carefully followed some images that moved from the center of the screen to the edges due to panning, I could detect changes in the images, but nothing like a Bert to Ernie stretch.

I can easily adjust my TV from full zoom, full screen mode to 4:3 mode when I’m watching a non-HD channel, but like some others in this thread, I prefer the full screen, full zoom, slightly and intelligently distorted mode so I let the TV do its auto-adjusting thing.


I’ll grant that there are different things we value.

But, as long as the laws of mathematics are immutable, a 4:3 picture stretched to a 16:9 ratio looks the same no matter what equipment you’re using.

Personally, I’ve gotten used to a regular aspect ratio of the human face, so that if one is stretched 33% more than reality, I tend to notice it. . .of course that’s only based on the 12,775 days I’ve spent on Earth looking at people. My brain doesn’t adjust that easily. YMMV.

Trunk, my friend, one problem we’re having is that some people here, including me, have TVs that deliver a rendering of a 4:3 image in full screen mode that is not uniformly 33% distorted. Some televisions contain software that unevenly distributes the distortion, minimizing the distortion in the center area, and eliminating (pushing off-screen) slivers of the top and bottom to render an image that is acceptable to lots of people. I have seen the worst cases, I think, of 4:3 to 16:9 distortion, and it is not the same as the conversion that happens on my TV.

Then there’s the separate “different strokes for different folks” issue, those folks who aren’t bothered by Bert looking like Ernie. I understand that such distortion would be intolerable to you, and it might be to me, but I don’t see any point in decrying the intelligence of someone who can’t be arsed to correct something that is minor to him.

As an aside, this ex-Baltimoron and Springsteen lover thinks you’ve got the best location entry on SDMB.

How else should you describe someone who pays the extra markup for new technology only to voluntarily get a worse picture?