Broadcasting 16:9 at 480i

NYCLA*

DTVUSA Member
#1
This is possible, correct? So why don't more stations do this on their sub-channels? It seems that every sub-channel that is broadcasting in SD is still stuck in 4:3. They only broadcast 720p and 1080i channels in 16:9. But why? In New York, you have a really weird situation on channel 4.2, on which NBC is broadcasting "NY Nonstop" at 480i but in a 16:9 letterbox stuck in a 4:3 frame. This means that if you are watching this channel on a 16:9 TV, you get the channel letterboxed inside a 4:3 pillarbox, and if the channel airs a program shot in 4:3, you get a 4:3 windowbox inside a 16:9 letterbox inside a 4:3 pillarbox. Or sometimes you get a 16:9 windowbox inside a 16:9 letterbox inside a 4:3 pillarbox. :confused: Why not just broadcast in 16:9 from the get go? They obviously would like the channel to be in 16:9, so why not actually broadcast it in 16:9? IONLife and Universal Sports are two other channels that are stuck in 4:3/480i hell. It's almost like broadcasters don't get that that the aspect ratio is independent of the resolution. Like they think if it's in 480i, then it has to be in 4:3. Or am I unaware of some technical restraint?

Update: So yeah, I guess I have found that apparently aspect ratio is related to resolution. 4:3/480i, 16:9/480p/720p/1080i/1080p
Update: Or maybe not, according to Trip's list....
 
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O-O

DTVUSA Member
#2
I'm definitely not an authority on this subject, but I don't think I've ever seen a broadcast at 480i in 16:9 ratio. I have seen a converter box take a digital 480p 16:9 broadcast and downconvert it to view on my NTSC TV set.
 

NYCLA*

DTVUSA Member
#3
I'm definitely not an authority on this subject, but I don't think I've ever seen a broadcast at 480i in 16:9 ratio. I have seen a converter box take a digital 480p 16:9 broadcast and downconvert it to view on my NTSC TV set.
In the UK, they broadcast 16:9 in SD, so I know it's possible. Does it have to be 480p then? Why would that be? :confused:
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#4
In the US you see letterboxed 16:9 on SD, which is less than 480 vertical lines....but mimics the primary 16:9 HD source without losing the sides, which can be zoomed to fit the screen. I like this manuveur.
 

NYCLA*

DTVUSA Member
#5
So according to the chart I have attached to this post as a JPEG, apparently 480i can't be 16:9, but 480p can. Okay, so why don't they do it? In the case of NBC in New York (and others as well), for example, with NBC on 4.1, NY Nonstop on 4.2 and Universal Sports on 4.4, it's completely doable.

1 x 1080i or 720p HDTV (19 Mbit/s) No additional subchannels, unless HD is transmitted at 15Mbit/s or less.
1 x 1080i or 720p HDTV (15 Mbit/s) + 1 480p or 480i SD subchannel (~3.8 Mbit/s)
1 x 1080i or 720p HDTV (11 Mbit/s) + 1 720p HDTV (8 Mbit/s) subchannel
1 x 1080i or 720p HDTV (11 Mbit/s) + 2 480p or 480i SD subchannels (~3.8 Mbit/s each)
1 x 720p HDTV channel (8 Mbit/s) + 3 480p or 480i SD subchannels (~3.8 Mbit/s each)
2 x 720p HDTV channels (9.6 Mbit/s each) No SD subchannels
2 x 720p HDTV channels (7.8 Mbit/s each) + 1 480p or 480i SD subchannel (~3.8 Mbit/s)
 

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O-O

DTVUSA Member
#6
So according to the chart I have attached to this post as a JPEG, apparently 480i can't be 16:9, but 480p can. Okay, so why don't they do it? In the case of NBC in New York (and others as well), for example, with NBC on 4.1, NY Nonstop on 4.2 and Universal Sports on 4.4, it's completely doable.
Have no idea myself. Found this though,

In the USA, SDTV refers to digital television broadcast in 4:3 aspect ratio, the same aspect ratio as NTSC signals.
There's also a chart on there too which I can't attach because it looks a bit cluttered on here.
 
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NYCLA*

DTVUSA Member
#9
RabbitEars.Info

List of stations doing widescreen 480i.

- Trip
So those stations are actually broadcasting natively in 16:9? Not like WNBC 4.2 NY Nonstop which is 4:3 but with 16:9 letterbox inside the 4:3 frame? The info I found says that in order to be 16:9 it has to be at least 480p (see JPEG chart attachment in my earlier post)? :confused:
 
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NYCLA*

DTVUSA Member
#11
Yes, those stations are doing widescreen 480i.

I don't know what WNBC's problem is.

- Trip
Well, it's not just WNBC (although NBC in general seems really stuck on 4:3 viewing - my complaints over their AFD bull**** is well known elsewhere online :grin:), but ION (WPXN in New York) with IONLife and even QUBO (not that I watch QUBO, I'm just sayin'...). And even WLIW with PBS World and Create (and of course, I, like many others, can't get WLIW anymore - that's another mess), and WNET with their sub-channels (that I never watch anyway, but still...). nyctv on WNYE is yet another example. They ALL have this problem. It's like they can't change, can't get out of the past. Or is it an equipment issue? Trip, do you know about the broadcasting equipment? Can't they just flip a switch or change a setting to broadcast in 16:9 or 480p or both? Or is there some cost involved in getting out of 4:3/480i hell?
 

Trip

Moderator, Webmaster of Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#12
When implemented properly, AFD is great. Unfortunately, NBC doesn't seem to have implemented it properly.

ION Life and qubo will be made available in HD to cable and satellite (and I assume, by extension, widescreen 480i over the air) at some point in the future. Right now, they're SD-only networks.

PBS World airs some 16x9 programming, but also a lot of 4x3 programming. I don't have Create or V-Me, so I can't judge them.

WNYE tested HD a while back and was supposed to launch it, but never did. I'm not sure why.

Most encoders have the setting, but then you'd have an automatic stretch on everything. Just as problematic. To show 480i widescreen properly, you have to squeeze everything together, then tell the box to stretch it, that's basically how it works. So this means if you're showing a 4x3 show, you have to squeeze it and the black bars, then send a signal to stretch the result. I'm not sure what kind of equipment is required to do that.

- Trip
 

NYCLA*

DTVUSA Member
#13
When implemented properly, AFD is great. Unfortunately, NBC doesn't seem to have implemented it properly.
Yeah, here's a couple of recent examples:

IAFF World Athletics Championships: One day zoomed and locked into 4:3, the next day, no AFD and 16:9.

Miss Universe pageant: Zoomed and locked to 4:3 with AFD, even though available in widescreen. Made some on screen text not viewable because it trailed off the right edge of the 4:3 screen.

FINA World Aquatics Championships: Shown in 16:9 on NBC, but when rebroadcast on Universal Sports (4:3), some swimmers in outside lanes were unable to be seen when the pool was shown in overhead shots. Doubly frustrating because commentator Rowdy Gaines would use the telestrator to sometimes circle these swimmers and you just saw half a circle to the side of the screen.

ION Life and qubo will be made available in HD to cable and satellite (and I assume, by extension, widescreen 480i over the air) at some point in the future. Right now, they're SD-only networks.
I look forward to the day, but I hope they opt for 480p over the air as it's doable within the amount of bit rate they have. Or better yet, do ION and IONLife in 720p, Qubo in 480p widescreen, and drop "Worship" :evil: (actually I wouldn't be surprised if ION eventually drops all the religious stuff. Lowell Paxson is gone and I bet they're only carrying it due to contractual obligations that will eventually expire.)

PBS World airs some 16x9 programming, but also a lot of 4x3 programming. I don't have Create or V-Me, so I can't judge them.
WNET 13.1 broadcasts in 1080i with a mix of 16:9 and 4:3 programming, so WLIW could do the same with 21.3 PBS World. I have never seen Create 21.2 because I can't get WLIW for now, but I do get V-Me 13.3 and they do broadcast a mix of 16:9 and 4:3 programming, just like 13.1.

WNYE tested HD a while back and was supposed to launch it, but never did. I'm not sure why.
Interesting. WNYE could do more with sub-channels. 25.2 is "City Drive Live" which is just NYC traffic cameras. Oddly sometimes interesting to look at for a minute or so. But I wish they would carry The Documentary Channel 24/7 on a sub-channel rather than just cutting into their feed for a couple hours on Monday nights.

Most encoders have the setting, but then you'd have an automatic stretch on everything. Just as problematic. To show 480i widescreen properly, you have to squeeze everything together, then tell the box to stretch it, that's basically how it works. So this means if you're showing a 4x3 show, you have to squeeze it and the black bars, then send a signal to stretch the result. I'm not sure what kind of equipment is required to do that.
Eh, broadcasters should drop 480i altogether and broadcast nothing less than 480p, IMO.

Update: Found 16:9 HD Create photos on this very site: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/members/1inxs-albums-hd-create.html
 
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