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Black bars and High Definition


Black bars and High Definition

Hi everyone! Right now, I have a standard receiver with the Family package. About a week ago, 27 or more of my 55 channels quit showing full screen. I have contacted Directv several times and they have told me it is a network problem and there is nothing they can do but notify the network. There are several in this area that I know of that is having the same problem. I know I can go into my TV settings and change some of them, but when I do, the channels that are working correctly explode. You can't read anything that is in the bottom of the screen and if it's people you are watching, the tops of their heads are chopped off.  And who wants to change their settings each time you change a channel. My family is telling me to upgrade to high definition but before I do so, will the channels that are not offered in high definition have black bars also or do they still show in full screen even though they are in standard definition? If I'm going to have those bars but just in different channels, I won't be any better off. I just want to be sure I'm not going to do it and still have the same problem. Thank you for you time and information.

Message 1 of 7

Re: Black bars and High Definition

From what I have seen, this is because many of the standard def channels have switched to a smaller picture in the center of the screen. This picture will usually be in 16:9 ratioi. If you are watching on a wide screen TV and put the Directv format to Chop, the picture will just fit the screen. If you have standard 4:3 TV and do this, the picture will be ok but of course it will be missing the sides. If the show being shown is in a 4:3 format, they usually do not do anything and if you leave the format at Chop, the picture will be to big for your screen. This happens even with wide screen because not all stations may do this. If I watch SD (heaven forbid) and leave the format so nothing is done, I can see what is going on. Some shows just leave the full height and chop the sides, others make the smaller picture in the screen center.

To answer your last question, yes. because on SD channels if you set it so the image is Chopped, it will look fine if the channel has done the center screen box thing. If they left the height the same and you chop the picture, their heads will still be cut. I believe this was done to try to give a more "Normal" picture. Until all shows are in standard HD format, you will have problems like this for people who want a FULL SCREEN picture, even though the picture was not done that way. As for me, I do not expand or alter the picture so I se it like it was made. If it does not fill the screen, so what.

Message 2 of 7

Re: Black bars and High Definition

On a properly configured receiver with a wide screen TV, HD should be 16x9 ratio and SD should be 4:3 ratio.  You can manipulate somewhat the SD but not the HD. Upgrading to HD will not make all picture fill your screen as some HD channels broadcast SD sometimes

Employee Contributor*
*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
Message 3 of 7

Re: Black bars and High Definition

Thank you to both of you for your help. I was afraid that it wouldn't make much difference, if any. It sounds like I'm just going to have to get used to it. It wouldn't be so hard if all the channels were like this or if I didn't go back and forth with the channels so much. As it is, I go from one that is full screen and then to one that isn't and it just jumps out at me. But, I guess in time, I will get used to it. Thanks again!

Message 4 of 7

Re: Black bars and High Definition

It would make a huge difference, but would not eliminate the black bars completely.  A SD program on a HD TV (and HD receiver) can be easily stretched to fill the screen with the touch of the format button.

Message 5 of 7

Re: Black bars and High Definition

Any difference at all would help. One example is, last night I was trying to watch the local news on one of these channels that suddenly went to black bars at top and bottom. On the bottom of their screen, they had a weather alert for my area, but it was so hard to read because it was scrunched up so. Luckily, I switched over to one of the channels that is showing full screen and I was able to read it there. But, on Sundays, the news isn't on until later on any of the other channels but this one that doesn't display properly. Suppose that alert had been on Sunday mornings. I wouldn't be able to read it. Thank you for your help!

Message 6 of 7
ACE - Expert

Re: Black bars and High Definition

This thread at DBSTalk talks more about the issues that broadcasters are facing with trying to both SD and HD feeds of their channels ....

Aspect ratio - DIRECTV General Discussion - DBSTalk

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
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