Is Sky holding back widescreen?

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by Garrett, Oct 2, 2001.

  1. Garrett

    Garrett
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    Is Sky trying to hold back widescreen? I had Sky movies and of the 12 movie channels only 1 is for WS!, and that they only show 3 a day during the week, 7 at weekend. That’s just over 3% compared to their other films. Yet some films they show but never in WS, I have seen on BBC1, BBC2, and Channel 4 in this form.<br />I’ve also noticed a lot of American series shown in 4/3 on Sky are being shown on the BBC e.g. X-Files, Buffy, Roswell High in WS.

    <br /> <img src="cool.gif" border="0"> Ruby quartz shades.
     
  2. Doubledoom

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    In backchat, some months back, they said that only 1 in 3 households had a widescreen tv and that was not sufficient for them to move over to widescreen at this time.

    Ch4 are just as guilty with US shows. Stargate, Ally Mcbeal and Angel are all available in widescreen but Ch4 show them in 4:3.
     
  3. alanrob

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    Sky are meant to be a broadcaster at the forefront of TV technology, but we are seeing that even Channel5 are leaving them behind when it comes to Widescreen output.

    Saying that only 1 in 3 homes have the facility to see widescreen is like saying the same when colour arrived. How happy would you be if we still had b&w pictures due to 2 in 3 homes still having b&w TV's ?

    I've said countless times on other forums that Sky need to get a kick up the rear end and sort out their widescreen output. They missed the boat with the relaunch of Sky News - why they didn't even think of putting it out in widescreen is beyond me.

    Just shows you how good the old BBC is. More and more of it's programing is getting the widescreen treatment and it's a joy to watch. The Blue Planet is a fine example of how TV should be done.

    Pat on the back to the Beeb ,Chnl4 & 5 and a "Could do better" for Sky.
     
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    Sky's support of widescreen is abysmal. It's no excuse for them to say there aren't enough widescreen sets. DVDs are selling like hotcakes and nobody complains that they are only in widescreen.

    Sky have never pushed TV technology forward, unless they could see a way to make more money, i.e. Digital pay per view, SKY+.

    Thanks to the BBC, ITV, CH4 and the absolutely excellent FilmFour channels, for having the foresight to invest in widescreen.

    I currently don't subscribe to any SKY film channels because of their lack of widescreen support.
     
  5. Starburst

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    There you have the key.
    If SKY can see they are losing customers or not tempting new ones because of their lack of w/s material then they will act but not before :(
    I've got a 4:3 TV but given the choice I would want a w/s picture everytime.
     
  6. pointon

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    Broadcasting in widescreen would surely pose no problem to customers who want a 4:3 picture, as don't digiboxes have an option to either output video in 16:9, 4:3 letterbox or 4:3 Pan&Scan? So there's no excuse for Sky not to be broadcasting as much as possible in widescreen and let their viewers choose. The only Sky programming you can see in widescreen is the ridiculous pay-per-view football, even though Sky Sports were broadcasting in widescreen last football season. They seem to be moving backwards.
     
  7. mitch316

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    if sky arent broadcasting in widescreen where is the incentive for people to upgrade their current tv.surely if sky did broadcast in widescreen more people would buy widecreen sets to take advantage of the widecreen picture?
     
  8. Paden

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    Hello all!
    Don't Sky actually own the platform they broadcast on?
    If this is the case you'd have thought that they'd be broadcasting everything in widescreen to show people the picture benifits & as a result reel in more subscribers.
    Saying that only 30% of homes have a widescreen set so why bother isn't really an argument.
    Cheers, Paul
     
  9. Duncan Harvey

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    I'm pretty sure that Sky only lease the transponders on the satellite, but I dont see how this is relevant to the discussions.

    Sky are in business to make money - simple as that. A massive percentage of their output is in 4:3, an equal percentage of their subscribers will only have 4:3 sets and are probably not interested in "black bars". Hence sky will not want to alientate their revenue stream.

    I'd be amazed to see any real move to widescreen. It'll be the BBC that leads the way - not an "in it for the money" organisation.
     
  10. Doubledoom

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    That statement isn't valid.

    The digibox allows people to select 4:3, 4:3 letterbox or anamorphic 16:9.

    So, those that don't want letterbox on their 4:3 sets, don't have to have it.
     
  11. pointon

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    That's exactly what I was saying. There is just no excuse. When people are able to make the choice themselves, there's no need for Sky to make it for them.
     
  12. Duncan Harvey

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    er no...

    whilst the technology platform can handle widescreen, Sky have to respond to the wishes of the vast bulk of their audience - which is for 4:3 material.

    Sky want bums on seats and direct debits to their subscribers bank accounts. Therefore they will go for the maximum reach in terms of programming appeal. At the moment this means 4:3.

    It simply does not make financial sense at the moment for them to push widescreen.

    When it does - well the platform can cater for it.

    The BBC to their credit are pushing widescreen - indeed I think nearly all of their output is now originated in 16:9.

    But Sky - forget it - its simply not a priority.
     
  13. Paden

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    Hello all!
    My point in mentioning Sky's ownership of the platform is that when Sky digital was launched the 16:9 format was a major selling point. They've generated the interest, from what I understand sales of widescreen TV's is higher than 4:3 (also fuelled by DVD). It's unlike Sky to take their foot off the pedal when they can generate "more bums on seats" through further "carrots" (eg. Dolby Digital through Sky+).
    Cheers, Paul.
     
  14. Duncan Harvey

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    but was it really a major selling point - surely they were pushing the greater "choice" rather than anything else.

    Its too easy to get blinkered into thinking that widescreen sets are a significant percentage of the installed base of TVs.

    They might now register on the radar but its still too small to really bother with over and above a widescreen film channel.

    It will be interesting to see what Sky do with their US programmes that are made in widescreen - will they show them in 16:9 or in the cropped versions.

    I know that sitcoms are still being made in 4:3 in the US so I suspect Sky will keep nearly everything in 4:3
     
  15. Doubledoom

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    Sky have said that one in three households have a widescreen tv.

    This is hardly a small minority group. They would be foolish to ignore 33% of thier customers.
     
  16. Duncan Harvey

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    If thats the true figure then I'd be astonished.

    I cant think of three people that I know that have a widescreen TV.

    It might be that one in three might buy one, but 33% surely not

    where do they get their figures from?

    All the same, it does mean that 67% dont and therefore must be looked after.
     
  17. johnny

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    there's a petition doing the rounds somewhere, I saw it posted on uk.media.tv.sky and its also on one of the forums at http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/index.php

    I also emailed them about how i was dissapointed at their lack of widescreen suport and also used the argument that all digiboxes give the users the CHOICE of either 4:3 or 16:9, so they would be pleasing all of the people, all of the time.

    Here's the brush-off reply I got:

    Thank you for your email and please accept my apologies for the delay in
    responding.

    Sky One have no plans at present to broadcast in widescreen. However, all
    the points raised in your email have been noted and passed on to Sky One for
    their information.

    Karen Hames
    Viewer Relations
     
  18. johnjackthom

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    With the sky box set up for a 4:3 TV and Letterbox turned OFF, anamorphic 16:9 pictures fill the 4:3 frame and there are no black bars!
    So I just can't see why SKY won't follow the BBC's lead and give us more widescreen stuff.

    Regards,
    John
     
  19. Duncan Harvey

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    the problem with doing this is that the 4:3 picture looks wrong - usually heavily zoomed.

    I was watching the C4 plague fire treason programme last week in 4:3 (forgot to reset my box to 16:9) and it looked really bad - massively zoomed and cramped. At the next ad break I reset the box and it looked great in 16:9.

    I think the basic issue is that as Sky produce so little material of their own, they are reliant on acquisitions. You therefore look to the programme maker/distributor.

    Whereas some US drama is now being made in 16:9 the chances are that the distributor will give the choice of the broadcaster having this or a 4:3 modified version.

    With their lowest common denominator mentality, Sky will almost certainly go for the 4:3 version. That way (for the moment) they'll please the most people for most of the time and get the least complaints.

    I'm not saying they are right, its just that its understandable from a business perspective.

    What would be a bold move, would be a premium rate channel showing their US dramas in 16x9 and 5.1. Who knows, maybe this will happen
     
  20. Doubledoom

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    I'm afraid you are incorrect about how the digibox converts the anamorphic widescreen signal to 4:3.

    16:9 takes the anamorphic widescreen signal and displays it as is.

    4:3 letterbox removed every 4th line from the anamorphic version to show it with black bars on a 4:3 frame.

    4:3 removes every fourth line from the anamorphic version and crops the sides to create a 4:3 image. There are no black bars.
    ----------

    Sky one material available in widescreen:

    Stargate
    Enterprise (its coming)
    Buffy
    Angel
    Dream Team

    [ 23-10-2001: Message edited by: Doubledoom ]
     
  21. Duncan Harvey

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    well I think I was pretty correct in describing how 16:9 material is zoomed when shown converted to 4:3.

    Either way it looks pretty awful.

    With regard to sky and widescreen material, again I refer you to my previous comments. It all depends on what format the ditributors offer the show, eg they may not offer the widescreen versions.

    If they were being really clever, they'd only give the 4:3 versions to broadcasters and then release the 16:9 themselves onto DVD
     
  22. pointon

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    They don't know what clever is. Look at the Buffy and Angel DVDs. All made in widescreen and released in their cropped version. Maybe it's Murdoch, got something against widescreen.

    I'd love to see Farscape in widescreen...
     
  23. Duncan Harvey

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    er sorry - which widescreen Buffy would that be. Certainly nothing from seasons 1-3 was made in widescreen.

    Dont know about the others.

    Can anyone confirm that widescreen buffys/Angels are being released in pan and scan?
     
  24. Doubledoom

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    Buffy Season 4 onwards is widescreen. Angel from season 1 is widescreen.

    The DVDs haven't got as far as season 4 yet so we don't know if it's going to be in widescreen. The menus in season 2 were in anamorphic widescreen.

    Also, the 4:3 versions are not P&S. They are 4:3 protected frame.

    I also forgot X-files on the list.
    --------------------------------------

    There is no zooming.

    [ 23-10-2001: Message edited by: Doubledoom ]
     
  25. Duncan Harvey

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    there may not be any zooming, but it still makes the frame look cramped and closeups look "too" closeup.

    re the 4:3 versions not being pan and scan, how does protected frame work? I imagine that the episodes are shot so that the action generally takes place in the middle of the 16:9 frame so a straight crop would work, but surely it is more flexible to pan and scan the 16:9 down to 4:3

    That said its probably cheaper to simply lop off the sides...
     
  26. pointon

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    OK Angel season 1 is released in the cropped version. My mistake. Not too familiar with Buffy as I hate it.

    dvdtimes.co.uk has been making quite a fuss over the fact that there were no plans to release angel or future releases of buffy in widescreen. It seems now that this may be rectified, except for Angel's first two seasons: take a look
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?page=News&id=2149

    I'd still love to see Farscape in widescreen...
     
  27. Doubledoom

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    My response actually answers both questions.

    The US material is shot in widescreen but the protected frame area is 4:3. So all important action is contained inside the centre of the picture with the additonal width providing extra information.

    UK material is filmed with a 14:9 protected frame. So watching this on a digibox that has cropped the sides of the 16:9 version will mean that, at times, heads will be cut off or the action takes place too much to one side. This is probably where you are getting the impression that there is zooming.
     
  28. delta

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    If there is no demand for widescreen then how come the stores are full of widescreen tv,s? Most manufacturers have stopped producing 4:3 sets larger than 21". The only sales demand now is for widescreen, it is the most logical format to use and I cannot for the life of me understand why Duncan is adamant that it is unpopular and a waste of time. Sky are being their usual bloody-minded selves, but within two years they will have to join the widescreen broadcasters. I am quite sure decisions are not based on the amount of foreign material that is produced in which format, Sky barely meet their committment to home-produced progamming anyway. Is there a member who has regretted purchasing widescreen and gone back to 4:3?
     
  29. Guest

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    Aren't all current adverts now shown in widescreen?
    This applies to whtever platform you view them on.
     
  30. pointon

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    In defence of Duncan, I think he was just explaining Sky's point of view that widescreen is not popular enough amongst its customers to be used. Duncan makes a viable point about the arrogance and stubborn-headedness of Sky TV.
     

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