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Discussion Starter #1
I have some exposure with different aspect ratios dealing with my digital cameras. But I find myself kind of baffled with the newer flat screen TV's.

I replaced our behemouth 32" CRT type TV with an LCD (LED?) flat screen TV. I hve found the native format for this TV's is 16:9 aspect ratio. The only problem is that my cable TV feed is at 4:3. So to try to get the picure to fill the screen I have to use the zoom feature in the TV. This is OK but doing this I loose a little bit of the top and bottom of the image. This is mostly noticable with a closeup of a person and the top of their head will ve cut off. Or text on the bottom of the screen won't all be visable.

So why......are the TV's sold now have a different aspect ration than what is broadcast over the cable network? This makes no sense to me.
 

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Are you sure you cannot adjust the ratio coming out of the cable box? I can with mine.:unknown: Check your setup menu on your box.
 

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I have no cable box.


If you have no cable box then you have an analog Cable TV system. You've connected a digital TV to that system. I'd contact you cable provider and see if they have a digital alternative to your current setup that doesn't break the bank.

In most places it's pretty much impossible to get analog cable any more. Those systems are all being phased out.
 

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I should also mention that you can set your TV to display in 4:3 aspect ratio. You'll get bars to fill in the screen on both sides but at least the image won't be distorted or chopped off.
 

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What you receive over the traditional wire without a converter box is different from provider-to-provider and sometimes different within regions that a particular provider services.

When everything was converted to pure digital transmission of all TV channels, the cable companies became the "conversion" point from that digital signal to an analog one. Many of them pare down the signal to that of 4:3 because that's predominantly the capability of the sets that are directly connected.

If you want to take advantage of the aspect ratio of your set, you will need to feed it a signal that contains a picture in that format. You may be able to accomplish this with OTA (over the air) equipment and pick up signals yourself, or you may need a digital converter box from the cable company.

About a year before the conversion (in mid-2008 ish), the cable companies joined together in a marketing scam letting everyone know that the changeover would not impact anyone, and that no additional equipment would be necessary because of the changeover. They claimed that they were our allies and would do all of the converting for us and continue to feed the signal directly into our televisions just like always. To a very small extent, this was true.

Then, the TV manufacturers started to include QAM tuners in their televisions that were of excellent quality and could tune in all of the digital channels that were being broadcast right along-side the analog ones over that cable wire. Once the cable companies realized that consumers were able to get HD and widescreen channel formats without having to pay anything additional, they modified the channel lineups and moved ALL of the "better" channels to digital channels that could not be tuned by the sets directly and forced everyone to start renting their equipment to get these channels.
 

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About a year before the conversion (in mid-2008 ish), the cable companies joined together in a marketing scam letting everyone know that the changeover would not impact anyone, and that no additional equipment would be necessary because of the changeover. They claimed that they were our allies and would do all of the converting for us and continue to feed the signal directly into our televisions just like always. To a very small extent, this was true.

Then, the TV manufacturers started to include QAM tuners in their televisions that were of excellent quality and could tune in all of the digital channels that were being broadcast right along-side the analog ones over that cable wire. Once the cable companies realized that consumers were able to get HD and widescreen channel formats without having to pay anything additional, they modified the channel lineups and moved ALL of the "better" channels to digital channels that could not be tuned by the sets directly and forced everyone to start renting their equipment to get these channels.
That's a lotta tinfoil hat stuff there....
 

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That's a lotta tinfoil hat stuff there....
No. It's factual. That is exactly how it progressed. You can label it "conspiracy theory" stuff all you want, but it's real. It took some cable companies longer than others to make the final switches, but all systems out there now absolutely require consumers to have a box for the better quality channels. It was all done very much on purpose so that the cable providers wouldn't lose revenue.

Comcast "gave away" converter boxes here a few years ago and then decided that they were going to add a service charge onto the bill last year for using what was essentially your own equipment to access the programming. It's quite the racket.
 

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No. It's factual. That is exactly how it progressed. You can label it "conspiracy theory" stuff all you want, but it's real. It took some cable companies longer than others to make the final switches, but all systems out there now absolutely require consumers to have a box for the better quality channels. It was all done very much on purpose so that the cable providers wouldn't lose revenue.

Comcast "gave away" converter boxes here a few years ago and then decided that they were going to add a service charge onto the bill last year for using what was essentially your own equipment to access the programming. It's quite the racket.
No, it isn't factual. It's paranoia.

About a year before the conversion (in mid-2008 ish), the cable companies joined together in a marketing scam letting everyone know that the changeover would not impact anyone, and that no additional equipment would be necessary because of the changeover. They claimed that they were our allies and would do all of the converting for us and continue to feed the signal directly into our televisions just like always. To a very small extent, this was true.
There was no "marketing scam" with this. The FCC was warning people that they needed to buy a digital converter box and reminding them that there were limited numbers of the $30 rebate coupons available on those boxes. The day those boxes became available people were running down to Best Buy and buying 4 or 5 of them at a time. Then they'd bring them home and connect them to their TV and connect their cable feed to the box. After 30 minutes of playing with them they'd call their cable company complaining that they didn't work.

The cable companies, as well as the FCC. put out ads telling people (correctly) that the ATSC tuner boxes were only needed for OTA programming and that *IF* they had cable service, they didn't need the boxes because the cable companies were already doing the conversions.

I'd challenge you to find one single ad from ANY cable company telling people that the changeover wouldn't affect anyone. That never happened. What they *DID* say was that the change-over to digital TV wouldn't affect THEIR cable customers that had analog TVs - and they were 100% right.

Then, the TV manufacturers started to include QAM tuners in their televisions that were of excellent quality and could tune in all of the digital channels that were being broadcast right along-side the analog ones over that cable wire.
Again, more nonsense. And you're mixing terms here that don't work together. Try as you might, you can't send digital channels on the same wire as analog channels. No cable company has even tried to do this. Perhaps you are confusing HD with SD?

Once the cable companies realized that consumers were able to get HD and widescreen channel formats without having to pay anything additional, they modified the channel lineups and moved ALL of the "better" channels to digital channels that could not be tuned by the sets directly and forced everyone to start renting their equipment to get these channels.
A "channel" has a specific meaning. Each and every channel is assigned to specific carrier frequencies - by the FCC for OTA broadcasts and by each cable company for their systems. Each channel can only contain "X" number of broadcasts. Typically that'd be "1" for analog channels, "2" for Digital HD broadcasts and "4" for digital SD broadcasts.

Cable companies didn't put "better" channels on "digital channels". Digital channels created the ability to HAVE higher channels. If we were all still on analog cable system we would't have the ability to get 900+ channels. You can't shove that much data down an analog line. Most of the HD channels as well as "new" channels were put farther up in the channel count because they could do that without having to interrupt every single subscribers channel line up every time they added a broadcast.

As a part of the original FCC mandated conversion to digital, the Cable companies were mandated to provide unencrypted digital channels (aka "Clear-QAM) for a 4-year period. (That only applied to cable carriers - it didn't apply to FIOS or Sat. systems). That mandate required that they provide digital versions of the basic broadcast channels, (i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS) and local public-access channels. The mandate expired in 2013 and the FCC chose not to renew it. Most cable companies chose to start encrypting all their digital broadcasts and THAT is why your Clear-QAM tuner no longer works.

So there was no great cable-TV conspiracy. All of that was known the day the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 was passed into law.
 

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The FCC never told "everyone" that they needed a box. They correctly stated that boxes would be necessary for those customers using antennas to receive their programming. As usual, the overly technical discussion presented to the public caused widespread confusion about what was really needed. The cable companies stepped in and ran ads as a group telling THEIR CUSTOMERS (because the ads were NOT run OTA) that 'everyone' would not be impacted.

I have had a number of televisions with QAM tuners in them that can tune a digital station (101.6 as a generic example). I would suggest that YOU learn more about QAM, digital channels, and their ability to be sent down a standard cable wire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAM_(television)

Everything that the digital converter boxes do is based on receiving a digital signal from the cable company over - guess what? - the standard cable wire. HD and widescreen format stations are not broadcast over the wire in an analog format. If they were, you'd have pixelation and similar issue with both the audio and video signals all the time.

-I- call it all a scam because the cable companies came out and made a promise to the public and then broke that promise, installed fees, and hiked rates because too many consumers found ways to NOT have to pay the cable companies for things that they wanted.
 

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my granddad got free tv for a wile. he hooked a wire to a nearby fence and enjoyed!! maybe you should ry that?:lol:
 

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I have had a number of televisions with QAM tuners in them that can tune a digital station (101.6 as a generic example). I would suggest that YOU learn more about QAM, digital channels, and their ability to be sent down a standard cable wire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAM_(television)
I was director of network operations for Priority Telecom (aka "The Comcast of Europe") for several years. I am intimately familiar with what QAM is.

Everything that the digital converter boxes do is based on receiving a digital signal from the cable company over - guess what? - the standard cable wire. HD and widescreen format stations are not broadcast over the wire in an analog format. If they were, you'd have pixelation and similar issue with both the audio and video signals all the time.
What is your repeated use of "standard cable wire" supposed to allude to? You seem to think that the underlying hardware infrastructure is somehow relevant to all of this. It isn't. Everyone in the industry has known for decades that you could push more data down the existing coax cables with a digital system than you can with an analog system.
 

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Well fellas, Mburdick is right. The converter box that was needed was digital to analog for over the air sets that had Analog tuners, just like YEARS ago when TVs only had VHF and UHF came along. You needed to convert from UHF (Ultra High Frequency) to VHF Very High Frequency) to watch the TV. My cable company required EVERYONE to have these PITA boxes, not to convert from digital to analog (D to A converter) but to unscramble the signal. I have a high quality QAM tunner in my XBR Sony, that worked beautifully in getting all my stations that I was supposed to get, but I got FOX news and a few others I should not have gotten (Called to complain, as I really did not know I should not have had them once I put the PITA box on). This is TOTAL BS and is a conspiracy, not a theory. I CANNOT hook my TV up to the damned cable without the box. It is ridiculous. I have a useless high quality tuner built in with high quality functionality and I have to have a $h!t box piece of KRAP and an extra remote. Both digital as well as analog can be sent over the same RG6 wire. Hell they can even read a meter digitally over an AC power lines. Did I forget to mention that my QAM tuner also has an Analog tuner in it and I also had digital AND analog stations at the same time from the same RG6 cable???????? :nunu: I am an electrical engineer by the way.

I have an antenna with a rotor on my roof. If I did not have to have their cable for the internet, (another thing that was around prior to digital TV that mixed the two on that same RG6 cable) I would go back to the antenna. Beautiful picture and the same garbage as on the cable I have. Netflix gets more use than the TV. Cable companies are BS. I could do without TV anyway. Judge Judy is better comedy than the KRAP that is on these days in prime time. Nobody could think up that stuff.:lol:
 

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Well fellas, Mburdick is right. The converter box that was needed was digital to analog for over the air sets that had Analog tuners, just like YEARS ago when TVs only had VHF and UHF came along. You needed to convert from UHF (Ultra High Frequency) to VHF Very High Frequency) to watch the TV. My cable company required EVERYONE to have these PITA boxes, not to convert from digital to analog (D to A converter) but to unscramble the signal. I have a high quality QAM tunner in my XBR Sony, that worked beautifully in getting all my stations that I was supposed to get, but I got FOX news and a few others I should not have gotten (Called to complain, as I really did not know I should not have had them once I put the PITA box on).
You are talking about a completely different box. Mburdick specifically spoke of the OTA analog-to-digital transition. Those boxes were ATSC-8VSB tuners and have no decryption capability.

The box you are talking about is for your local cable company's transition from analog cable to digital cable. That box has an ATSC-256QAM tuner in it with decryption capability.

Apples/oranges. They are both digital-to-analog converters but serve completely different purposes. One works only on OTA signals. The other is designed specifically for cable systems.

As far as the inability to view without decryption part of your post goes, I addressed that in my prior post.
 

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You are talking about a completely different box. Mburdick specifically spoke of the OTA analog-to-digital transition. Those boxes were ATSC-8VSB tuners and have no decryption capability.

The box you are talking about is for your local cable company's transition from analog cable to digital cable. That box has an ATSC-256QAM tuner in it with decryption capability.

Apples/oranges. They are both digital-to-analog converters but serve completely different purposes. One works only on OTA signals. The other is designed specifically for cable systems.

As far as the inability to view without decryption part of your post goes, I addressed that in my prior post.
Yep Jim, I understand the differences between the two. Did not know our wonderful gov't screwed us yet again. I just think it is BS that I have basic cable and have to have a PITA box. They could broadcast the basic in Clear QAM. Could not give a hoot about the rest of it. I do not like the fact I have to have another wall wart, crap remote that I cannot get my good remote to mimic and that stupid PITA BOX. Does not need to be this way. It is all about control, nothing else. Does not have to be this way. That is the conspiracy.
 

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Yep Jim, I understand the differences between the two. Did not know our wonderful gov't screwed us yet again. I just think it is BS that I have basic cable and have to have a PITA box. They could broadcast the basic in Clear QAM. Could not give a hoot about the rest of it. I do not like the fact I have to have another wall wart, crap remote that I cannot get my good remote to mimic and that stupid PITA BOX. Does not need to be this way. It is all about control, nothing else. Does not have to be this way. That is the conspiracy.
Have you looked into a CableCARD? They do the same thing that your box does (the decryption) but don't have the wall wart, remote, etc.. You still have to pay for each TV that uses one but it might eliminate some of your other problems. You're TV has to be CableCARD compatible of course...

In one respect, it is about control. Previously, the cable company ran a line into your house and you only needed their box if you wanted premium channels. If you were good with basic channels you could hook up 30 TVs to that one line and have at it. When they started encrypting everything, you get a monthly charge for each and every TV. In my case, I pay one monthly fee for Basic Cable + HBO/Showtime and then additional fees for a DVR and 2 non-DVR boxes. I pay $30/month more than I paid before the digital transition to get the same services because of those 2 non-DVR boxes.
 

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Have you looked into a CableCARD? They do the same thing that your box does (the decryption) but don't have the wall wart, remote, etc.. You still have to pay for each TV that uses one but it might eliminate some of your other problems. You're TV has to be CableCARD compatible of course...
There's more to it that just having a CableCARD compatible television - the provider has to support it as well. And, most DON'T and WON'T. It's largely thought of as dead technology because it never took off even though there are a few areas of the country where its use was adopted.

I pay $30/month more than I paid before the digital transition to get the same services because of those 2 non-DVR boxes.
Good thing none of what i said about the cable companies -lying- to the public then adding equipment, services, and fees isn't true.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you have no cable box then you have an analog Cable TV system. You've connected a digital TV to that system. I'd contact you cable provider and see if they have a digital alternative to your current setup that doesn't break the bank.

In most places it's pretty much impossible to get analog cable any more. Those systems are all being phased out.
Yes, it is analog cable. I refuse to pay the price for digital cable - why should I pay them (or a satellite company) $70 or more for them to have the right to send all those brain numbing commercials to me.

I should also mention that you can set your TV to display in 4:3 aspect ratio. You'll get bars to fill in the screen on both sides but at least the image won't be distorted or chopped off.
I found that setting but can't stand the black bars. All I want is to see the full screen of the TV I bought.

my granddad got free tv for a wile. he hooked a wire to a nearby fence and enjoyed!! maybe you should ry that?:lol:
Won't work around here - no OTA signal (or even radio). Years ago a group of homeowners in the little burg down the road got together and put an antenna on top of the nearest mountain and ran a cable down through the woods (just laying on the ground). The cable run was 2 miles.

So I guess if I don't want to pay the exorbitant price to the cable or satellite company for digital TV I will just have to live with what I have. It was just confusing to me that the TV aspect ratio wasn't the same as the cable feed ratio.
 

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I found that setting but can't stand the black bars. All I want is to see the full screen of the TV I bought.
I can understand where you're coming from. The reality is that trying to watch a 4:3 picture on a 16:9 screen is basically the "square peg/round hole" problem. In the past, I have used the setting where the TV both stretches AND zooms the image. Yes, you lose a little off of the top and bottom, but nowhere near as much as pure zoom. Yes, it makes people and things look a little wider, but not as bad as the pure stretch. Some sets even have a progressive stretch setting where the image is distorted less the close to center you get.

At the end of the day, the reality is this: That plain old cable wire that's been bringing programming to your house for decades is absolutely capable bringing you your standard cable programming as well, and in a digital signal format that your TV can natively understand to boot. But that cuts into the revenue of the providers, so they've gone out of their way to ensure that you absolutely can't access anything but the worst quality pictures without "renting" their equipment.

I dumped cable three years ago and moved to satellite. I get 5 times the channels, 5 times the flexibility, and 5 times the number of sets connected for less that what I was paying to the cable company. First year of the contract was super-cheap. Second year was about the same as cable (one TV's worth, anyhow). At the end of the second year, I called them up and told them to apply every discount they had available to keep me as a customer (no new contract), or I was going to back to cable. Working out just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I can understand where you're coming from. The reality is that trying to watch a 4:3 picture on a 16:9 screen is basically the "square peg/round hole" problem. In the past, I have used the setting where the TV both stretches AND zooms the image. Yes, you lose a little off of the top and bottom, but nowhere near as much as pure zoom. Yes, it makes people and things look a little wider, but not as bad as the pure stretch. Some sets even have a progressive stretch setting where the image is distorted less the close to center you get.

At the end of the day, the reality is this: That plain old cable wire that's been bringing programming to your house for decades is absolutely capable bringing you your standard cable programming as well, and in a digital signal format that your TV can natively understand to boot. But that cuts into the revenue of the providers, so they've gone out of their way to ensure that you absolutely can't access anything but the worst quality pictures without "renting" their equipment.

I dumped cable three years ago and moved to satellite. I get 5 times the channels, 5 times the flexibility, and 5 times the number of sets connected for less that what I was paying to the cable company. First year of the contract was super-cheap. Second year was about the same as cable (one TV's worth, anyhow). At the end of the second year, I called them up and told them to apply every discount they had available to keep me as a customer (no new contract), or I was going to back to cable. Working out just fine.
I kind of figure that the analog cable I am receiving isn't going to last forever. The only reason I have the cable in the first place is for the internet. I am thankful for that as I am at the end of a 9 mile run that probably only has ~30 customers on it - still can't believe they ran the cable to me here in the boonies a few years ago. I jumped on it when they installed it as all I had before that was satellite internet (Hughes). At the time I also had them give me the most basic TV package just because it was there. At the time I had DirecTV but the price kept going up to the point it was ~$80 per month.

If I were to change - which I may have to since I know the analog signal won't be there forever - I will likely just use my Roko unit and continue with Netflix plus maybe add Hulu Plus, SlingTV, or whatever else might be available. I just went to the DirecTV site and priced out the minimum package including a DVR. After the promotional period the cost is $79.99 per month plus all their silly taxes. I just refuse to pay $80+ per month to watch all those mind numbing commercials. It just doesn't seem right to me. I could see having to watch commercials if the TV feed were free like OTA but to me it just isn't right to pay to watch advertisements.

I do however have a Tivo unit. I record all the shows I like and watch them at a later time so I can fast forward through the commercials. I guess the same would apply to a DirecTV subscription but still have a very hard time choking down the cost. Of course my time with my Tivo unit is also limited as I have the last unit available from them that will work with analog cable.
 
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