Friday, December 19, 2014

Technical difficulties

Last month, I mentioned how the TCM high definition feed is now apparerently the default one. For those of us haven't gone through the rigmarole of converting all our equipment to HD -- I'd have to get a new dish, install it on the roof and aim it properly -- there's still the SD feed. Sometimes, though, things get a little wonky.

Cary Grant is on at least his third go-round as TCM's Star of the Month, and instead of finding a new celebrity to do a new Star of the Month piece on him, TCM has been re-running thw pieces from the previous two times, by Tony Curtis and Michael Caine. The Caine piece looks to have been cropped on top and bottom to go from 4:3 to 16:9, with the result that in many of the clips Cary Grant's head is cut off somewhere in his forehead, while at the bottom, half of the movie titles are cut off. I don't think I noticed anything wrong with the Tony Curtis piece, however.

A bit more distressingly was yesterday's showing of Never on Sunday. The movie was apparently filmed in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, while the 16:9 aspect ratio for HD TV is 1.78:1. As with the Michael Caine piece, it looked as though the bottom and top must have been cropped, albeit not quite as much. But it was obvious because the bottom line of the subtitles when people were speaking Greek was partially cut off. This suddenly changed about 40 minutes into the movie when the showing switched to the proper aspect ratio and you could see the subtitles in their entirety.

I imagine it must be a pain for cable channels to have to worry about all those old TVs and cablt/satellite boxes out there. And at least TCM's problems haven't been anywhere near as bad as when FMC/FXM ran A High Wind in Jamaica. Still, it's a shame.

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