SteveQL

TCM ON DEMAND SD titles are squeezed to postage stamp embedded in middle of letterbox

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Since this  Monday (10/8) TCM  (Turner Classic Movies) SD titles IN ON DEMAND are squeezed to postage stamp embedded in middle of letterbox after intro. Thus, SD movies do not open to full screen. Senseless to watch.
Thus, could not watch “Lady from Shanghai” and other  SD titles on my SD 4:3 only TV!
This occurred a few months ago and was ultimately fixed. THIS IS NOT OCCURRING WITH SD TITLES ON ANY OTHER ON DEMAND CHANNELS. ONLY TCM!

Any others have same problem?

 

Thank you,

SteveQL
 

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I'm seeing the same discouraging letterboxing for TCM on demand movies on my cable system as well - I have Time Warner / Spectrum cable.

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Periodic threads like this have made me leery of even giving TCM On Demand a shot. Sometimes when I report that I missed a movie or am going to miss a movie, someone will point out to me that it's on On Demand, which I appreciate, but I'm sort of a risk-averse personality. If there seems to be even a small chance that trying something new (technology-wise) will only expose me to the kinds of frustrations the above posters are experiencing, I usually don't do it.

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Has anyone else noticed that on WatchTCM the movies are stretched slightly, thus messing up the aspect ratio? This actually keeps me from watching movies on the service, because I want to watch in the original aspect ratio. I can post some comparison images if anyone wants to see what I mean.

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On 10/11/2018 at 7:36 PM, Spritz Nipper said:

Has anyone else noticed that on WatchTCM the movies are stretched slightly, thus messing up the aspect ratio? This actually keeps me from watching movies on the service, because I want to watch in the original aspect ratio. I can post some comparison images if anyone wants to see what I mean.

Here is a set of comparison images from Stamboul Quest to show what I meant.

WatchTCM, wrong Aspect Ratio:

869624275-Wrong-AR.png

Corrected Aspect Ratio:

1542085055-Correct-AR.png

Not a huge difference on first glance, but when watching the films it occurred to me that people's faces looked wider than I remembered. So I measured the resolution, and compared it to the correct aspect ratio listed on the TCMDB, and realized that the they are being presented incorrectly in a stretched resolution.

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I was watching the 1925 PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on ON DEMAND and was so bothered by the "postage stamp" formatting (which is exactly how I described it to myself) that I turned it off.

I simply assumed that, being a silent film, the aspect ratio was smaller (ie when i saw the 1931 DRACULA in the theater, it was presented in a small square section on the larger screen.)

SORRY TO SEE it's a bigger issue than that.

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Looks like the unnecessary letterboxing issue has now been fixed on my cable system.  Hope everyone is seeing the on-demand movies back to normal size.

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12 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

Looks like the unnecessary letterboxing issue has now been fixed on my cable system.  Hope everyone is seeing the on-demand movies back to normal size.

Not yet with my cable provider.  Fingers crossed!

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I apologize - I looked at it again today and it is still letterboxed.  I must have been dreaming last night.  Sorry to get everyone's hopes up.

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48 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

'TCM On Demand'--? :huh:

Difficult to explain to someone who doesn't watch TV.?

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RE: I apologize - I looked at it again today and it is still letterboxed.  I must have been dreaming last night.  Sorry to get everyone's hopes up.

If your cable provider does resolve with TCM please post

Thank you,

SteveQL

 

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 A classic rarity  Old Dark House, The (1932) on TCM now.  If your  cable provider provides SD On Demand version that will open in full screen (not postage stamp from within letter box) please advise.

Thanks,

SteveQL

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10 hours ago, SteveQL said:

 A classic rarity  Old Dark House, The (1932) on TCM now.  If your  cable provider provides SD On Demand version that will open in full screen (not postage stamp from within letter box) please advise.

Thanks,

SteveQL

That's definitely a good one with Boris Karloff as the evil butler.

boris-karloff-old-dark-house.jpg?w=500

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I took a look at some other On Demand channels on my cable system and it appears there is now a common distinction between “HD” and regular versions of items to watch.

The “HD” versions will fill up all of a regular 16x9 HD TV display and look fine, while the regular versions are letterboxed as we’ve discussed in this thread.

I’m guessing but from the cable system perspective, they view non-HD content as video with the old-style 4x3 aspect ratio.  This would make sense if channels were still showing 4x3 content, but nowadays everything is designed for 16x9 TVs.  So when channels then insert their usual 16x9 shows in this container you get the highly letterboxed images we are seeing.  TCM is also providing their usual 16x9 shows in this 4x3 container which gives the postage-stamp views we are seeing now.  It looks especially bad when the 4x3 classic movies are placed in a 16x9 feed which is then letterboxed in a 4x3 container.  One reason TCM does this is because they include 16x9 promos and/or intros with Ben, etc. along with the movie.  It's easy for them to just condense their normal HD feed into the 4x3 box.

Another example of this for me is the Fox Movie channel (or FXM), which has HD and non-HD versions of movies.  The HD versions look fine, but the non-HD versions of their classic films look exactly like the postage-stamp versions of TCM movies that we are seeing.

If I had to guess I would say that the TCM content won’t get any better until this system changes or if/when TCM starts providing an “HD” version of their on-demand movies.  I also suspect that channels may not want to provide HD versions of some shows because of rights issues.  So we are stuck in this limbo where everything “non-HD” looks bad.

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Thank you for your input.  This same SD 4:3 On Demand titles problem occurred in July and was resolved.  I think SD videos were re-encoded.  Very frustrating!  

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Patterns (1956) and The Hunted (1948) both aired Saturday are in On Demand but only HD versions.  No SD versions! I advised TCM of this in its Contact US box. No reply! Even though if both titles were, as is typical for a two full weeks now,  in postage stamp embedded in letterbox ------ as difficult to watch ----- better than nothing.  I won't stream titles on my 15" computer screen----------- I want to watch on my 32" SD 4:3 TV.  

SteveQL

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