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aspect ratio easteregg
October 5, 2005 11:42 AM   Subscribe

HDTV broadcasts contain an extra couple of inches of screen real estate on either side of the picture that are cropped out of the standard defintion broadcast of the same show. Most shows don't do anything special with that space, since the vast majority of viewers don't receive it, but NBC's My Name Is Earl did last night.
posted by jonson (39 comments total)

 
will my hdtv of the future display more truthful and accurate newscasts?
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:45 AM on October 5, 2005


Cute. I could see this being used in conspiracy shows like Lost to great effect.
posted by gwint at 11:48 AM on October 5, 2005


When Late Night with Conan O'Brien went HD, they decided to use the extra space to show footage of Abe Vigoda playing table tennis against himself.
posted by zsazsa at 11:52 AM on October 5, 2005


I'm liking the show so far, and NBC just announced they've ordered a full 22 episodes.
posted by bobo123 at 11:57 AM on October 5, 2005


nk Pepsi ! ..... Drink Pepsi ! .... Drink Pepsi ! .....Drink Peps

Seems to me you could use those black box spaces too... think of the potential advertising revenue! Maybe two continuous advertising crawls ?

nk Pepsi ! ..... Drink Pepsi ! .... Drink Pepsi ! .....Drink Peps
posted by R. Mutt at 11:59 AM on October 5, 2005


Is this something I'd need a High Definition TV to know about?
posted by Floydd at 12:03 PM on October 5, 2005


This show is awesome.
posted by graventy at 12:03 PM on October 5, 2005


Floydd: No. You can just download the shows in High-Resolution HDTV quality like I do.
posted by lazy-ville at 12:05 PM on October 5, 2005


SWEET!!!
posted by Floydd at 12:07 PM on October 5, 2005


This seems familiar.
posted by OmieWise at 12:08 PM on October 5, 2005


When will the Internet go widescreen? I feel I'm not seeing the whole show.
posted by Peter H at 12:09 PM on October 5, 2005


If you had a high definition monitor you could be seeing what is happening beyond the edges of this comment.
posted by spock at 12:10 PM on October 5, 2005


Actually I'm pretty sure there's unshown margin in all NTSC signals. If you have a TV with a zoom out feature, you can view the edges of a picture which are cropped out by TV's which don't have that feature.

The frame on your HD videocamera captures a larger area and your TV crops it down. Which can be a bummer if you videotape action on the edge of your frame but the TV doesn't show it.
posted by surplus at 12:12 PM on October 5, 2005


Dmn, Omniwise ... you are right. i hereby retract my (above) comment. I aslo wish to state that I did not read this post.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:19 PM on October 5, 2005


Actualy, NBC broadcasts a lot of their HDTV shows letterboxed in regular mode. SNL saturday night was letterboxed, as is Conan.

But, without HDTV, I'm wondering if could even read the note.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on October 5, 2005


by the way, that show looks rediculous.

Telivision is soooooooooooooooooooooooo retarded.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on October 5, 2005


Very cool. And, so far, "Earl" has been a fantastic show.
posted by notmydesk at 12:31 PM on October 5, 2005


If you're not watching in HD, you're not seeing the whole show.

Translation: Pleeeeeeeease click on my ads!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2005


Hilarious easter egg for home theater nerds.
posted by mathowie at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2005


My only antipathy towards Earl is based on its star's name. Other than that it's been pretty fun, and I thought he was fun in Mallrats.

Hint, click my nick for insight into sentence #1.
posted by cavalier at 12:42 PM on October 5, 2005


It's not just your monitor, Peter. It's your whole view of the world. We're missing the edges. I combat this by spinning rapidly in my office chair. Woooooo! Is that Kate Hudson by the water cooler?
posted by bigskyguy at 12:42 PM on October 5, 2005


Unless there's rampant fornication on the sides of the screen (an unlikely prospect, given the crackdown on "indecency"), I'm unlikely to purchase an HDTV anytime soon. Color me unimpressed.
posted by ed at 1:23 PM on October 5, 2005


I am getting tired of waiting for Charter to rollout HD in my town. And now I'm actually missing out on in-jokes and other cool stuff.

Damn you, Charter Communications and you're slow ass HD rollout schedule!
posted by fenriq at 1:27 PM on October 5, 2005


delmoi writes "by the way, that show looks rediculous. "

You should catch it before passing judgement, I think is could be really good. It manages to be uplifting without being sappy and holier than thou.

Besides which the guy who picked out the motor pool is a genius, though I wonder if the Brat was custom painted for the show or was a found item.
posted by Mitheral at 1:30 PM on October 5, 2005


Cute. I could see this being used in conspiracy shows like Lost to great effect.
posted by gwint at 11:48 AM PST on October 5


Lost is already shown in letterbox format on non-HD TVs, so it won't be used there.
posted by schlaager at 1:35 PM on October 5, 2005


It is shit like this that might compel me to break down and by a 16:9 screen teevee. This and shark week in HD.
posted by birdherder at 1:49 PM on October 5, 2005


If someone put jelly beans in a cow pie, would you be thrilled about it?

Watched about ten minutes of the show last night.. poorly written, poorly acted, not interesting, not funny....

That is all.
posted by HuronBob at 2:00 PM on October 5, 2005


If God had meant for us to watch television on a tv set, he wouldn't have created bittorrents.
posted by signal at 2:17 PM on October 5, 2005


WWJBT?
posted by sfslim at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2005


Floydd: No. You can just download the shows in High-Resolution HDTV quality like I do.

It's quite nice how every tv rip nowadays is done from the HDTV feeds. When you run across something that isn't (like South Park), it's surprising.
posted by smackfu at 3:41 PM on October 5, 2005


well there you go, I learnt something.

In Australia we have 16:9 standard definition. So if I was watching that show I would have been able to see a guy put up a sign, but not been able to read the sign!
posted by wilful at 4:53 PM on October 5, 2005


The difference between HD and SD DVB doesn't make that big a difference. You can almost read the sign in the 440x330 image on the linked page.

All you need is a 16:9 widescreen broadcast to see the rest of the image. If you're only getting 4:3 digital, you're missing out on a lot more than just some guy holding up signs.
posted by Lionfire at 6:42 PM on October 5, 2005


When will the Internet go widescreen? I feel I'm not seeing the whole show.

When web designers get their heads out of their asses and stop with the fixed-width pages. Nothing quite like seeing that stupid thin column of text in the middle of my 21" widescreen display.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:14 PM on October 5, 2005


In the early 1950s, when television started eroding movie attendance, Hollywood made movies wider than TV (VistaVision, Cinemascope, et al) to try and lure people back.

Now the wheel has turned around and TVs have become wide to match the movies.

I can't wait for the resurgence in movie theaters showing the new "square" projection format.

I am not opposed to bigger screens and more viewable images for TV shows and home theater, but is wider better than "square"? Would Citizen Kane, Gone With The Wind, or The Wizard Of Oz be better movies if they were wider?
posted by Lord Kinbote at 7:56 AM on October 6, 2005


Lord knows Orson Welles in later days could have used a wider screen.
posted by cavalier at 8:04 AM on October 6, 2005


is wider better than "square"?

For lots of movies, yeah. I dunno anything about the psychological or neurological whys and wherefores, but wider images just seem way more immersive and real than tall images do.

Would Citizen Kane, Gone With The Wind, or The Wizard Of Oz be better movies if they were wider?

Probably. Movies with epic sweep and grand shots like GWTW and TWOO almost certainly would have been better if they'd been composed and shot for 2.35:1, in the same way that Lawrence of Arabia probably wouldn't have been as good if it had been composed and shot in 4:3.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:32 AM on October 6, 2005


Our eyes and brains like wide: it's where most of the action is, when you're but a lowly ape-man trying to survive in the savannah. Ain't much up in the sky that's gonna kill you, but that leopard off to the left is something you might be interested in seeing.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:38 AM on October 6, 2005


I can't wait for the resurgence in movie theaters showing the new "square" projection format.

That's sorta already happening, a lot of IMAX stuff is shot in a ratio similar to television.

I am not opposed to bigger screens and more viewable images for TV shows and home theater, but is wider better than "square"?

It's debatable, some directors (Kubrick, James Cameron) actually prefered something closer to 4:3, when the Shining was shown in theatres the top and bottom were cropped out, same with Terminator 2.
posted by bobo123 at 3:24 PM on October 6, 2005


When web designers get their heads out of their asses and stop with the fixed-width pages. Nothing quite like seeing that stupid thin column of text in the middle of my 21" widescreen display.

Unless it's reading an entire paragraph in a single line 18" long. Yeah, that would be much better!
posted by spock at 4:12 PM on October 6, 2005


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