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HD cable channels not using OAR?

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HD cable channels not using OAR?

Old 07-06-08, 01:57 PM
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HD cable channels not using OAR?

I'm new to HD, and have noticed that many films shown on the HD premium channels (HBO, etc.) fill the entire screen.

I'm pretty sure 16:9 was never an aspect ratio for motion pictures.. so are they using a subtler form of pan and scan to make films of varying aspect ratios fit the 16:9 TV? And if so, why don't they say "This film has been modified" like they do for 4:3.

I admit, moving a film from 1.85 to 16:9 is probably a very slight change, but it would be nice to know if I'm seeing the original aspect ratio of the film.
Old 07-06-08, 02:05 PM
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Unfortunately HBO does this quite often. It was a miracle we got all the Star Wars films in OAR last year. Most of the time I know what ratio a film is so I know right away if it's been modified when I see it on HBO. Otherwise I check IMDB. Case in point - I just recorded Legends Of The Fall from Starz HD. I could have sworn the movie was 2.35 or so, but it turns out it is 1.85. Starz is also known for showing many modified ratios.

You raise a very good point - I don't know why networks like HBO are not required to say the film has been modified.

The best provider for HD films in OAR is hands down HDnet in my experience. 100% OAR, regardless of the film's OAR. That includes 1.37. Unfortunately not all providers have access to HDnet.
Old 07-06-08, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bunkaroo
Unfortunately HBO does this quite often. It was a miracle we got all the Star Wars films in OAR last year. Most of the time I know what ratio a film is so I know right away if it's been modified when I see it on HBO. Otherwise I check IMDB. Case in point - I just recorded Legends Of The Fall from Starz HD. I could have sworn the movie was 2.35 or so, but it turns out it is 1.85. Starz is also known for showing many modified ratios.

You raise a very good point - I don't know why networks like HBO are not required to say the film has been modified.

The best provider for HD films in OAR is hands down HDnet in my experience. 100% OAR, regardless of the film's OAR. That includes 1.37. Unfortunately not all providers have access to HDnet.
I do have HDnet and like it a lot. Usually a great selection of films.. Also MojoHD shows a lot of interesting films from the 70's.

I knew I wasn't crazy. When I said something to my roommate about how the film shouldn't fill the whole screen, he just said "It's widescreen, that's why it fits", and I just couldn't explain it so that he understood. It IS widescreen, but 16:9 is not a film aspect ratio, so there should always be black bars of varying widths.
Old 07-06-08, 02:21 PM
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Here's another example.. I recorded "Live Free or Die Hard" on CinemaxHD last night and it fills the entire 16:9 TV... but I looked up the OAR on imdb.com and it's 2.40:1. That is a huge change, so I'm going to have to rent the disc and scrap the pan and scan version.
Old 07-06-08, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lamphorn
I knew I wasn't crazy. When I said something to my roommate about how the film shouldn't fill the whole screen, he just said "It's widescreen, that's why it fits", and I just couldn't explain it so that he understood.
Direct him here:

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/sh...rs_Go_Away/764

Plenty of pictures to illustrate what's going on.

It IS widescreen, but 16:9 is not a film aspect ratio, so there should always be black bars of varying widths.
16:9 is not a theatrical aspect ratio, but it is nearly identical to 1.85:1. The difference is only a few scan lines, and some studios will open the mattes on 1.85:1 films to 16:9 as a matter of policy. The change is negligible and not worth worrying about. The overscan on your TV is probably more severe.

However, that does not excuse the cable networks from cropping 2.35:1 movies (like Die Hard) to 16:9, which is a much more significant and harmful alteration.
Old 07-06-08, 04:12 PM
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Bear in mind that some studios, such as Warner and Paramount, do their transfers of 1.85:1 films at 1.78:1, and this is also on DVD and BD. This is a very small difference that even an OAR advocate such as myself finds acceptable. (Edit: Josh Z beat me to it.)

What really annoys me is when an HD channel that shows a mixture of SD and HD content will stretch its SD content to fit the screen, or just zoom it some.
Old 07-06-08, 04:54 PM
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HBO HD aired The Last Boy Scout in 4:3...and the OAR is 2.35:1!
Old 07-06-08, 05:11 PM
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This may be slightly OT, but has anyone noticed how the History Channel HD sometimes takes a 4x3 letterboxed image and stretches it across the screen?

I mean come on, the source material is already 1.78:1 inside the letterbox, why not just display it correctly?
Old 07-06-08, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
This may be slightly OT, but has anyone noticed how the History Channel HD sometimes takes a 4x3 letterboxed image and stretches it across the screen?

I mean come on, the source material is already 1.78:1 inside the letterbox, why not just display it correctly?
Oh yeah, that's part of their stretching 4:3 content. Even though it's letterboxed, it's still SD and 4:3 in nature so it gets stretched. I guess they just stretch anything that's SD.

Then again, the usual reason why something is shown letterboxed on television in the first place is because it was produced in HD (or on film meant to be shown widescreen), so you have to wonder why they don't have an HD master to show.
Old 07-06-08, 05:45 PM
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For the most part HBO and Cinemax show 235:1 aspect films cropped to 1:78:1 and it drives me nuts, -it was one of the great realizations/disappointments when I switched to HD. The (recent) exceptions are Paramount catalog titles like "The Untouchables" or "Black Rain". Also, some directors evidently have some pull on how their films are broadcast, like George Lucas or Steven Soderbergh with his "Ocean's Twelve" and "Thirteen". Starz is pretty much the same way. I got in on a promo on Halloween weekend and there was a great line-up of films, -and they were all cropped. I dropped Starz the next day.

Of the big three or four, Showtime is the only one who (mostly) shows films in their OAR (and if you check their online schedule for the HD channel, it'll tell you wether they're TrueHD or just an "up-convert). I've even seen the occasional film on Sho that starts out being broadcast cropped and later in the month in presented OAR (I think this happened with "Crash").

HDNet is also an excellent channel.

Of course, some films just haven't been prepared for HD and they'll be the same old 4:3, just shown on a "cleaner" signal.

The HD cable channels are really frustrating, -channels like AE will mix non-anamrphic episodes of the a show like "CSI:Miami" reruns or "Gene Simmons" back-to-back with HD episodes. AMC movies is one of the worst, with off-kilter enlarged -to-fit 4:3 movies with "cropped to 185:1 movies" and then the occasional OAR movie like the original "Planet of the Apes". Of course, they're still all edited or sped-up.

Last edited by DWilson; 07-06-08 at 05:50 PM.
Old 07-07-08, 02:01 PM
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The thing that impresses me about Showtime is that sometimes they'll start showing a 2.35:1 movie that has been cropped at 1.78...and then by the next time I come around to a repeat screening, they've gotten a proper master. Do they actually respond to complaints and try and get a different version for broadcast?

I noticed this most recently on "Casino Royale." The first time I went to watch that on Showtime, it was full 16X9 and so I turned it off. It has been screening again recently in a 2.35:1 transfer.

HBO is ridiculous. I was floored the other day to see "Ocean's Thirteen" in OAR, but it sure doesn't happen often.
Old 07-09-08, 11:29 AM
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You know they are only doing it to appease Joe 6 Pack who doesnt know anything about aspect ratios and sits around wondering why there are black bars on the tops and bottoms of his screen

It is a shame that it happens, I hate TBS and TNT the worst, sometimes the movies dont even look HD on there

I also want to chime in at the greatness of HDnet movies channel... they are the onll place Ive seen the WS version of Just One of the Guys (a release on dvd that was only in FS) as well as a ton of other great releases every month, the Hitchcock releases were great

Last edited by lewisb73; 07-09-08 at 01:09 PM.

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