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Aspect Ratio (again)

Hi everyone.

Perhaps someone else has experienced this recently, and maybe knows something.

Since UK Gold went HD, old programmes originally filmed in 4/3 (such as OFAH) have been shown in their original 'native' format (4/3). However, the SD 'plus one' Gold channel stretches the picture to 16/9, the same dimensions as my (and nearly everyone else's) screen.

Some people like old 4/3 programmes stretched to fill the screen, while some prefer to see the original aspect with bars at the side. My preference will always be the former. For this reason if I watch an old episode of OFAH or Dad's Army, I will always choose the plus one channel. For those who prefer 4/3, they can watch the HD channel. Everyone is catered for.

Unfortunately, someone somewhere has decided that old shows on the Gold plus one channel will also be in 4/3. Has anyone else noticed this? Strangely, the Drama channel (another part of the UKTV stable) has maintained the status quo - the channel shows old progs in 4/3, but stretches them on the plus one channel

Please note:-

I cannot stretch the picture using the settings on my V6 box as it does not have a TV Aspect Ratio option (like the previous Tivo box had).

I cannot stretch the picture using the television functions.

I am not going to buy a new TV.

I prefer the programme to fill the screen - it is my choice, so please don't come out with any of this "it should be shown as the director intended" nonsense.

 

I just want to know why someone at either UKTV or Virgin is rocking the boat for no logical reason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Aa you know if you're looking to stretch 4:3 on HD channels then you can't do that by any V6 setting.

For context HD is 16:9 by design so the channels insert the bars at the sides to ensure the picture is as originally intended when broadcast within the 16:9 picture frame. 

This is the same as when the movie channels insert the top and bottom bars to maintain the picture as originally shown.

My understanding is that as Gold doesn't now have an SD version, Gold+1 is a downscaled version of the HD channel. With all the same restrictions as above in that it's a native 16:9 picture. 

Drama on the other hand does have an SD version still, so the +1 is a delayed version of that instead of the HD channel. So the picture stretch option still works. 

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Many thanks for your response Ben.

While I appreciate the information you supplied, I remain baffled as to why things have been changed by either Virgin or UKTV.

All the best.

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Gold on Virgin Media was SD only until 2018 when the HD channel replaced the SD one on Virgin Media. This was part of the new UKTV content agreement after the temporary removal all the UKTV channels.

As Gold HD was in the same TV pack as Gold SD and all TV boxes with SD outputs could downscale HD there was no reason to carry the SD version again.

So at that point Virgin Media didn't carry an SD version to source the +1 from.

All SD channels are actually broadcast in 4:3 with widescreen being an anamorphic picture of 16:9 and a widescreen flag to tell TVs and STBs what is being broadcast. That's why you can alter the format of the SD channel on both 16:9 (stretch 4:3) and 4:3 TVs (don't stretch 16:9) to make the picture fit the screen.

HD doesn't have that. All broadcast formats are 16:9 for output as 16:9. So there is nothing the box or TV can alter without removing some of what is being broadcast.

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Its called progress.

As stated above, broadcast standards did not change with the introduction of Widescreen, which is broadcast "letterboxed" in 4:3 & the TV then expands it when a trigger signal is received. A system called PALplus was developed to transmit true Widescreen in 16:9 but it was never adopted in many countries due to upgrade costs. HD is true 16:9.

Plasma screens, that could be wrecked by displaying a 4:3 picture for any length of time due to screenburn made the option to stretch the picture even more important.

Screenburn is no longer a problem now with LED technology & 4:3 material is consigned to just a few channels, so no real use for it anymore.

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Thanks Ben, but the change I have highlighted only happened a week or so ago, so can have nothing to do with Gold becoming an HD channel in 2018.

I have just looked at my deleted recordings, and an episode of Hi De Hi shown on Gold plus one on 30th October was shown in 16/9, as were all the previous episodes (they have repeated the whole lot recently). By the 6th November at the latest, they were being shown in 4/3. Today's episode was in 4/3.

My question remains, why the change, as all tastes were being catered for, but they aren't now.

 

 

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Hmm OK. My understanding about where Gold +1 is coming from must be wrong then and I apologise for that.

So I've been checking Gold's Twitter feed they have replied that they have made a change recently to Gold SD to match the HD behaviour

https://twitter.com/goldchannel/status/1326220422350827521?s=21

Hi Mike - to avoid stretching and cropping, some older shows made in a 4x3 ratio are shown with black "curtains" to fit a modern 16x9 display. This has been the case on Gold HD for a while, but Gold SD has only recently made this change on some Sky boxes. Hope this helps!

So seems that it's that change which you're seeing on Gold+1 on Virgin Media.

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)

Ben. Many thanks for your help with this issue. Looks like it is a change by Gold (and not Virgin).

I still fail to see why they did it, and I note that the person that the Gold 'tweet' was in answer to was not exactly impressed.

Hopefully, if enough people complain to Gold/UKTV they may reverse their decision.

Thank you again for your help.

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Re: Aspect Ratio (again)


@JSDK wrote:

Ben. Many thanks for your help with this issue. Looks like it is a change by Gold (and not Virgin).

I still fail to see why they did it, and I note that the person that the Gold 'tweet' was in answer to was not exactly impressed.

Hopefully, if enough people complain to Gold/UKTV they may reverse their decision.

Thank you again for your help.


I think it highly unlikely, as this is no doubt a cost cutting measure. UKTV will want to utilise the full transponder bandwidth they are leasing from SES. Transmitting 2/3rds of a picture 100% of the time is a waste of that bandwidth with the amount of 4:3 now being transmitted.

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