Why do wide-screen viewers insist on using fat-face mode?

I don’t have a wide-screen TV, but other friends and family do, andeven though most TV content is 4:3, they all watch it in 16:9 format, which stretches the image horizontally. This is blatantly unnatural to me, but nobody else seems to notice. Either that, or they think they’re no getting full use of the wide-screen real-estate they paid for.

What’s wrong with these people?!!

:: leaves room, barely able to contain the urge to bitch-slap the guy with the remote ::

I used to think this until I got my wide screen TV. After awhile, you don’t really notice the stretch.

Of course, now, I almost never watch anything that isn’t HD/widescreen.

Move fom The BBQ Pit to Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share.

Pit Moderator

As John said, you get used to it after about a week. Also, there are different ways to stretch things. I know at least one of the settings will stretch the image more as it get’s closer to the edge to help eliminate a some of what your talking about.

That’s stupid, and I am sure they are the same people who would cut off the sides of movies by watching them full-screen instead of letterbox back when all TVs were 4:3.

It drives me crazy, but on my 26" LCD, if I don’t, I’ll have black lines burned in that won’t go away until a few days of watching 16:9 material. On my DLP projector, I only use OAR content, I don’t even think it can stretch it.

I have a friend whose dad hates black bars. His tv can not only stretch things lengthwise, but also height-wise, so the proportions are correct, but information is removed from the top and bottom. He was griping one day about how races no longer show the running order, laps, or any other information. I then showed him that he had it stretched to the point that he was losing info. He still keeps it stretched.

The other day I was watching a MST3K episode on YouTube, and the screen was stretched, and it was driving me so crazy I missed most of what was happening. I don’t remember the other MST3K clips being elongated like that. I hope the next one I see isn’t.

The person I know who does this says it’s because she doesn’t like to see the “gray bars showing”. I absolutely hate watching anything on her TV. Roger Ebert has the same problem with people doing this and has written about it.

I can’t understand why anyone would do that. I once stayed in a hotel in which all the TVs were that way, and nobody could figure out how to change them (there was nothing relevant on the remote or on the set). The only solution was to watch TV at an angle.

When my dad first got his LCD I tried to explain to him about ratios. We went around and around, for weeks. He just didn’t understand the difference between “some stuff is only available in squares, and some in rectangles, and if you stretch a square to fit a rectangle it looks wonky.” He kept calling me to tell me that the box was broken because there were black bars on the sides of pictures. 90% of the stuff he watches is old stuff and it’s all 4:3.

Then we discovered that he had some problem with HD and his cable company, and needed a tech to come out. When the tech came out, he asked the tech to make it so that every show was wide screen. There’s a setting on the box for that, actually.

The tech did this for him and not too much later dad called to ask me to put it back. He realized how much stretching sucked by then. He also has figured out how cropping sucks too, as I introduced him to the zoom button.

It’s difficult for me to believe that anyone would actually want to watch things all stretched out. I’ve noticed this phenomenon at several friends’ houses, but couldn’t work the conversation over to, “why does your TV look retarded?” I’ve always assumed that this is what people put up with when they don’t read the manual.

I figure it wouldn’t be that bad for cartoons and stuff. I did it all the time on my Game Boy Advance when playing regular Game Boy games, to the point where the regular Game Boy seemed too skinny.

I am the type who likes to watch DVDs zoomed in on my SD screens, though. If I owned an HD TV, I’d probably use the zoom feature.

I just figured it all out on my dad’s HD Widescreen. Since he doesn’t have HD service through DirecTV, the TV can’t seem to automatically figure out the aspect ratio, so you have to manually set it every time you change the channel. Everything on SD is 4:3, so you end up with the black lines on the sides.

However, I figured out that with a length of cable attached to the antenna input, I can get some of the local stations on the air in HD. When I switched over to antenna, it picked up the 1080i HD signal and automatically set the ratio to widescreen. In HD mode, it won’t let you select any other ratio except for the correct one, which I guess it gets through the TV signal. I also noticed it adjusted the ratio automatically when non-widescreen commercials came on.

Back to SD DirecTV and the TV has no idea how to set the ratio again.

I can’t stand it stretched. One of the guys I used to work with at the video store couldn’t tell the difference, and ever time I came in I had to “fix” it. He remained convinced that I was full of shit.

I’ve found that the easiest way to explain it to people who don’t understand it (usually old people) is to remind them that movies come in all shapes, but their screen is only one shape. They won’t all fit exactly. That usually gets the old lightbulb over the head to at least give out a halfhearted glow.

I still had one customer though who would only rent “full frame” discs and then zoom them up an notch to fill the screen. This means that the image was cropped on all four sides. He was unable to grasp the concept. He also smelled like pee and asked me exactly the same questions every time he came in. Very, very old.

But if it’s easy to get used to distorted images–which is simply wrong–it’s just as easy to get used to black bars–which at least respects the image integrity.

It’s not our fault for stretching out faces, it’s the broadcaster’s fault for not broadcasting proper HD content in the first place.

And I’m gonna boot it over to Cafe Society.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

I’m not one of those people the OP describes.
Mrs. Wheelz could tell you that I’m absolutely anal about watching everything in the proper ratio, and it drives me crazy when we’re in a hotel room and I can’t change it.

I also can’t stand it when bars pay lots of money for HD TV’s, and then show sports on non-HD channels with the picture stretched out. I actually point this out to the bartender or manager when I see it, and I’ve gotten everything from “Oh, I didn’t know there was a difference” to “The owner doesn’t want to pay extra for HD cable” to “You try running a bar and see if you have time to worry about that.”

Some HD channels (such as History Channel HD) broadcast non-HD content in stretch mode. It is not in my control to unstretch it. When that happens, I change to the non-HD channel, as it is preferable to stretch-mode.

I think it’s related to the way some people have their color adjusted on TVs, which is often super-saturated, but not natural. If you ask, they say, “but it’s color!” as if having the most color is the most desirable.

Or like having several TV sets going at once in a bar, with no sound on any. You can’t really watch the program(s), but the ambience created is the goal.

Likewise, a wider image – filling the impressive widescreen – is the goal, not realism.

Because they’re your dad, that’s why, and they paid good money for that WHOLE TV, not just the middle of it.