TOO MANY "WINDOW BOX" FORMAT MOVIES ON-DEMAND!
Not "widescreen" or "Letterbox" but tiny "Window-Box" format with broad vertical and horizontal black spaces above, below and to each side of a very tiny distorted picture that is too often squashed, flattened and widened, miss-shaping the picture that remains.
Ordinarily I wouldn't comment about such an occurrence on TCM as in the past they generally (to my observation) rarely occurred (i.e. maybe once every three or four months), and have often been corrected in succeeding airings of the same movie.
However this month there have been several such "Window-Boxed" movies ON-DEMAND, which is quite an alarming trend.
NOTE that when I viewed parts of these movies during their live broadcast they were NOT in "Window-Box" format, this ONLY appeared during ON-DEMAND repeat viewing.
Because this has been a past rare occurrence, and because these recent movies have been shown ON-DEMAND before in their "normal" widescreen, "Letter-Box" or even 4x3 ratio format (All without distortion) I do believe that such "Window-Box" occurrences are due to an uncorrected error by TCM staff.
My point of this thread is to both confirm to fellow viewers that this is happening with others as themselves, AND bring this "problem" to the attention of one of our "helpful" Moderators, so that he (or she) can forward this evidently "overlooked" concern to whomever might care at TCM Central, so that someone there will hopefully take measures to either correct the current problem/s, or at least insure that it stops repeating itself. (At least in such an unusually frequent manner.)
A short list of titles that I have noticed that are currently in the unacceptably distorted "Window-Box" format, are: THE HORSE SOLDIERS (1959), THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS (1959), HELL DRIVERS (1957), and THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE (1974) which very recently prior to this (in the last month or two) was available ON-DEMAND in "normal" (un "Window-Box") format.
NOTE: these are only the afflicted titles that I have discovered just this last week or so... there are likely others that I have not personally "caught". If anyone reading this has witnessed "Window-Boxing" in additional titles, please comment in this thread!
*Addendum: Add *THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1960) to the above list of now FIVE movies presented in WINDOW-BOX format by WATCH TCM ON-DEMAND during this one month!
Again, TCM ON-DEMAND would benefit its viewers if someone were charged with the duty of following up their ON-DEMAND product in the role of Quality Assurance.
Another unrelated concern that I have recently observed (mostly since last Sunday) is that several movies that I have tried to watch ON-DEMAND have displayed a great deal of repetitive "buffering" (picture intermittently freezes with the little spinning circle). When this occurs I have checked my download speeds (with speedtest.net) and they have always been more than adequate and yes, everything (i.e. browser, flash-player, etc.) is up-to-date, and unchanged (both before and after these problems) happened.
A short list of ON-DEMAND titles that suffered this were: ARIZONA (1940), TAMPOPO (1986), BIG JACK (1949), and HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER (1935).
NOTE: this problem only occurred with TCM ON-DEMAND, and NOT with any other streaming service.
After several attempts I have finally been able to watch most of these movies all-the-way through without buffering, but only after up to 4 repeat attempts (either subsequently, or on different days, at different times).
And again, these are only the movies that I have noticed doing this. I suspect that there have been (or are) others...
If anyone reading this has had similar experience, please post about it in this thread.
Again, another good reason for TCM to invest in a dedicated QA person or rotational staff.
And while I'm griping, I might as well get this off my chest as well...
TCM has shown the loose and fanciful George M. Cohen musical bio classic YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) "live" at least once each year for a number of years. But the last time that this Michael Curtiz, James Cagney hit was broadcast ON-DEMAND was in late 2015... NOT since then. Same with some other movies that I have noticed...
Why TCM is not allowing us to watch this oft aired movie ON-DEMAND is beyond me... (surely it can't be a "rights" issue, can it?)
Anyone care to offer a solid explanation for this mystery?