Everything posted by swac
Just wondering if anyone else in Canada has had the SD signal for TCM rendered unwatchable by reformatting that now stretches the image to the sides of my 16X9 TV. The change happened at 10 a.m. ET last Thursday, 17 minutes into Calamity Jane (my DVR caught the exact moment the 1953 film went from regular square Academy ratio to a horizontally stretched "windowboxed" picture that squeezes the image from top to bottom. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and my cable provider Eastlink noted the problem when I phoned them, but told me the issue was present in the signal they were receiving by satellite, so (according to them) the issue lies further up the chain. I haven't heard back from them since then, nearly a week later, and the problem remains, although other SD channels look the way they always have. No amount of playing with the settings in my cable box/DVR can change this, and there was no change made to the unit at the time of the format change from regular to squeezed last Thursday. Hope I'm not alone in noticing this! TCM is pretty much the only reason I still have cable, so you'd think it would be in their best interest to fix this...
Unfortunately, the online TCM On-Demand feature isn't available to folks in Canada, but I have lots of DVDs and blu-rays to tide me over. Sadly, I had to just delete any of the TCM programs I had on my DVR from the past week. If I could get Filmstruck in Canada, I'd subscribe to that in a heartbeat. A technician from Eastlink Cable came to my house this afternoon, and was able to tell me (as opposed to the customer support people who bent over backwards to avoid admitting there was a problem) that the signal they are receiving for a number of channels was compromised in this way, and it just happened all of a sudden last Thursday morning (when I was recording Calamity Jane). History Channel and one of the news channels were also affected, and he's had multiple complaints about it. They've been trying to fix it in-house, and currently we've got a compromise situation where at least the films are back to the proper shape, if not the proper size. At least it was good to talk to someone who didn't a) think I was making things up and b) didn't treat me like an annoyance (although I guess I am trying to be a squeaky wheel in trying to get the one channel that I pay them for every month to at least look watchable). I'm sure he's just as annoyed by the company policy that requires a service call for every complaint, even when the problem is back at their end.
Thanks for the reply Stephan! (I'm a Stephen, perhaps we're doppelgangers) I checked out what my cable provider offers for TCM ON-DEMAND, and there was two pages of titles, of which there was one movie I hadn't seen, so not the greatest selection (it was also quite the labyrinth to get to the TCM menu, as it was buried deep in the "TV" sub-menu). I don't think the formatting problem lies in the original video source, since a) it looks fine in HD (which I have at work, but not at home) and b) the problem occurred 17 minutes into a broadcast of Calamity Jane, which filled the screen top to bottom, with black bars on the side to preserve the Academy ratio, until the picture froze for an instant and then continued with an image that was squeezed horizontally. BUT, as of this morning, I turned on TCM SD at work, and they are currently showing Fritz Lang's M in the proper ratio for an early 1930s film, but with black bars on all four sides instead of just on the left and right as before. If I hit the zoom button, the image will fill the screen top to bottom without losing its shape, but now with reduced resolution. So they've "sorta" fixed it, although I'll have to wait for a widescreen film to come on to see how it works for 1.85:1/2.35:1 titles.