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PVR problem

Old 01-07-13, 02:11 PM
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PVR problem

I watched Downton Abbey on PBS last night and everything looked fine. My PVR recorded it at a later time and the picture is surrounded by a black "frame" ... not letterboxed with bars on the side but completely surrounded.

What on earth is causing this? I've recorded numerous shows on other channels and have never seen this before.
Old 01-07-13, 05:27 PM
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Re: PVR problem

Sounds like it was recorded on an SD channel, or your PBS station ran the later version in SD. If an SD show is shown in widescreen (letterboxed, which are the bars on the top and bottom), you'd get the side bars for an SD channel, and the top and bottom bars as well.
Old 01-07-13, 09:57 PM
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Re: PVR problem

Originally Posted by TheKing View Post
Sounds like it was recorded on an SD channel, or your PBS station ran the later version in SD. If an SD show is shown in widescreen (letterboxed, which are the bars on the top and bottom), you'd get the side bars for an SD channel, and the top and bottom bars as well.
Yep, that's what it sounds like. The term for this is windowboxing, which is a combination of letterboxing (top and bottom) and pillarboxing (sides).

I'd definitely check to make sure you didn't set it to record the SD channel.

The (somewhat) good news is that typically the zoom option on the TV or PVR will crop the picture perfectly. It just won't be HD quality.
Old 01-08-13, 11:47 AM
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Re: PVR problem

My PBS station does this all the time. It normally broadcasts HD Shows in HD (1080i) without windowboxing, but every once in a while they will do it wrong. 2 shows that are always windowboxed are "Travels with Rudy Maxa" and "McLaughlin Group". I have to use the zoom feature of my TV to get something approximating the correct OAR, but it's not HD. It's annoying as hell. I tried to explain it to them in an email but I got a form-letter reply about the black bars being normal. I think it's just that they don't fully understand how to use their own equipment.
Old 01-08-13, 01:12 PM
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Re: PVR problem

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Yep, that's what it sounds like. The term for this is windowboxing, which is a combination of letterboxing (top and bottom) and pillarboxing (sides).

I'd definitely check to make sure you didn't set it to record the SD channel.

The (somewhat) good news is that typically the zoom option on the TV or PVR will crop the picture perfectly. It just won't be HD quality.
I can't say for sure, but after comparing what it set to record next week and the local PBS schedule, it appears that the PVR guide has incorrectly identified the HD broadcast. I should be recording on 21.1 but am set to record 21.2. In other words, the PVR functioned perfectly but acted on incorrect guide information.

It would have taken a lot longer to figure that out without the "windowboxing" explanation. Thanks.

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