Mixing ratios on TV


Standard Member
Maybe it's just me, but I get slightly annoyed when a TV show that's been made in widescreen includes older clips that could only be 4:3 and they are cropped and zoomed to fit 16:9.

There was a lot of this in the David Attenborough thing last night where they showed his old broadcasts.

My objections are:

1. By zooming the picture it gets grainy
2. Peoples' heads get chopped
3. Those poor people with 4:3 sets get it cropped twice and probably only see half the original picture

I've seen on a lot of sports broadcasts they add patterned bands to the sides of a 4:3 picture. Those with a 4:3 set won't see them anyway.

No doubt the broadcasters will say that viewers get upset if their whole screen is not used. "I didn't pay all this money for parts of my screen to be empty"

So is it just me or should we start a petition?



Staff member
I agree. Completely. They should broadcast these things with black sides (I think the term is Window-boxed).

BUT: You only have to look at

a) the huge volume of posts that appear here and elsewhere from people who 'have just got a WS TV and watched an anamorphic DVD of a 2.35:1 film and still have those dreadful black bars and I'm very dissatisfied' - you know the ones I mean

b) the huge number of people who watch analogue TV in a Smart/Stretched/Distorted mode which fills their widescreen TV - and the retailers that demo their TVs in this way

to see why broadcasters would probably be barraged with complaints from such (uninformed?) people if they didn't try to fill the screen.

Sad but true.


Standard Member
The BBC behaved themselves for Sport 'Personality' (?) last night. There were lots of times when black bars appeared at the sides for various clips.

I wonder if anyone complained?

I think there needs to be a short educational programme broadcast every so often that tells people about how widescreen works. I bet there's thousands of expensive sets out there that are set up wrongly.

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