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I don't really know about TCM, but many cable companies won't show what they think of as "lesser" channels in full HD even if it's provided with an HD signal.  When I say lesser, I don't mean that as a slam to TCM or any other channel, or a judgement of the quality of programming,  just that those are the ones that the cable outfits have little interest in because can't make a lot of money off them.. 

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Likely so.  Have you tried it?  (I haven't)

TCMHD originates as 1080i/30 format, or 1920x1080.  I used to get it in full resolution on Spectrum Cable 5-6 years ago before I switched to Directv which now does the same. 

Depending on carrier, it may be reduced in some cases to preserve bandwidth.  For instance, in the distant past this has been the case for Directv, and also more recently for Dish - which delivered an "HD-lite" for all their programming. 

For Internet streaming to work on a large scale, it generally needs to be scaled down some.  So far I think I have only seen 1280x720 or 720p30 (30FPS) for HD streaming (cases other than Youtube where I have actually gone to the effort to verify).  This seems to be a compromise to maximize use of finite server bandwidth and still "technically" deliver an HD picture.  There may be other exceptions to this on higher end services, I definitely haven't seen everything that is out there, but since a lot of what they show is still upscaled SD - I wouldn't expect it.

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5 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Likely so.  Have you tried it?  (I haven't)

TCMHD originates as 1080i/30 format, or 1920x1080.  I used to get it in full resolution on Spectrum Cable 5-6 years ago before I switched to Directv which now does the same. 

Depending on carrier, it may be reduced in some cases to preserve bandwidth.  For instance, in the distant past this has been the case for Directv, and also more recently for Dish - which delivered an "HD-lite" for all their programming. 

For Internet streaming to work on a large scale, it generally needs to be scaled down some.  So far I think I have only seen 1280x720 or 720p30 (30FPS) for HD streaming (cases other than Youtube where I have actually gone to the effort to verify).  This seems to be a compromise to maximize use of finite server bandwidth and still "technically" deliver an HD picture.  There may be other exceptions to this on higher end services, I definitely haven't seen everything that is out there, but since a lot of what they show is still upscaled SD - I wouldn't expect it.

When I stream TCM via YouTubeTV on either my desktop or TVs, it claims it is 1080p60, which I doubt because I don't believe the source feed from TCM is 60 fps.  I have no hardware diagnostic equipment so I can't verify independently.  I have to trust the software stats:

https://ibb.co/0ZpDg7n

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2 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

When I stream TCM via YouTubeTV on either my desktop or TVs, it claims it is 1080p60, which I doubt because I don't believe the source feed from TCM is 60 fps.  I have no hardware diagnostic equipment so I can't verify independently.  I have to trust the software stats:

https://ibb.co/0ZpDg7n

That's interesting.  Was that reading taken during an actual movie? 

Consider that all they would need for film would be 1080p/24 (or maybe 720p/24).  That would give you a 1:1 frame rate with an actual film transfer.  It would also take up less space and use much less bandwidth than any of the other options.  I believe 1080p/24 is also the format for movies on Blu-Ray.

1080p/60 is essentially only needed for direct-to-video applications where a higher frame rate is desirable.  Big networks that do sports have mostly been airing at 720p/60 to better capture the motion (incidentally that is very similar in bandwidth requirements to 1080i/30, by design, so those two have been easily substituted for TV broadcast use the past 10-15 years or so).

Now I don't have any reason to not believe the 1080p/60 reading that you see, that could go towards justifying some of the technical glitches so many people have been having.  Just overkill on the shared bandwidth requirements and end-to-end equipment performance needs.  It would really only be able to get fully realized for their bumpers and wine club commercials.

P.S. In retrospect, maybe Youtube TV just formats everything that way, regardless of whatever TCM might be sending.  (I was approaching this exclusively from the theoretical standpoint of using TCM's website to watch it.  So many things to consider!)

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It was taken just a minute or two before that post, when TCM was showing Entre Nous.

It's interesting that on those OTA networks that broadcast in 720p (ABC, for example), YouTubeTV retains the 720p60 formatting.   

YouTubeTV allows you to select the resolution to lower your bandwidth needs, but the HD choices are only 1080p60 and 720p60.

 

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1 hour ago, txfilmfan said:

It was taken just a minute or two before that post, when TCM was showing Entre Nous.

It's interesting that on those OTA networks that broadcast in 720p (ABC, for example), YouTubeTV retains the 720p60 formatting.   

YouTubeTV allows you to select the resolution to lower your bandwidth needs, but the HD choices are only 1080p60 and 720p60.

 

It really wouldn't surprise me, since YT has enough resources to blow, that they could afford to be lazy and screw everyone else over downstream from them with their payload, and just use those two choices as a "catch all" for everything HD... 

P.S. Or maybe it doesn't matter as much as I think.  It's been a while since I have looked at the MPEG spec, but 1080p/30 >> 1080p/60 may just add a placeholder (potentially a "B" video frame or "P" video frame that doesn't do anything) for every preexisting frame.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_compression_picture_types

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I am extremely annoyed with channels that stream old TV shows in "letterbox" format due to the screen resolution. I watch on a Sony TV and will change my viewing format to suit whatever I'm watching, for example B&W movies I set the TV to "theater mode" which softens the contrast using a sepiatone.

When I watch broadcast TV, there are 4 format choices offered: normal/full/zoom & full zoom. When I watch streaming the "normal" option is not offered, so unless the show was uploaded in correct (square TV) format, it's stretched to fit. Unwatchable.

For example: I was binging CYBILL on TUBI-TV and loving seasons 1,2 & 3. Then all of a sudden Season 4 was stretched out. I may have to endure Netflix's bad editing to see the rest of the series.

So now that we have a la carte viewing, our choices are between how we view, not what we view.

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On 9/12/2020 at 8:41 AM, TikiSoo said:

I am extremely annoyed with channels that stream old TV shows in "letterbox" format due to the screen resolution. I watch on a Sony TV and will change my viewing format to suit whatever I'm watching, for example B&W movies I set the TV to "theater mode" which softens the contrast using a sepiatone.

When I watch broadcast TV, there are 4 format choices offered: normal/full/zoom & full zoom. When I watch streaming the "normal" option is not offered, so unless the show was uploaded in correct (square TV) format, it's stretched to fit. Unwatchable.

For example: I was binging CYBILL on TUBI-TV and loving seasons 1,2 & 3. Then all of a sudden Season 4 was stretched out. I may have to endure Netflix's bad editing to see the rest of the series.

So now that we have a la carte viewing, our choices are between how we view, not what we view.

Here's my pet peeve, sounds like the same as yours.   I drew this up out of boredom just to make the point.  These are (updated - now four) different examples I come across.  The first is obviously the worst case scenario, the only one that really irks me.

(all aspect ratios drawn to scale)

 

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/letterbox-evolutions-sd.jpg

 

 

 

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/letterbox-evolutions-hd.jpg

 

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There are 2 other tricks I can think of that are used these days to show old material.

Figure 1 below is similar to the last row in MovieCollectorOH’s diagram.  A 4:3 classic film is fit within the 16:9 HD TV frame, with black bars on the left and right.  TCM does this for the vast majority of their classic films on their HD feed.

Figure 2 shows the “zoom” effect which some channels use to try to remove the black bars on the sides.  Information is lost on the top and bottom of the original image because of the zoom.

Figure 3 shows the “stretch” approach where the image is stretched wide to remove the black bars.  The image is distorted by the stretch.

It looks to me like some channels are also using a combination of 2 and 3 to fill up the frame, with both a stretch and a zoom.  With this approach not as much information is lost on the top and bottom, and the stretch isn’t as bad.  But it’s still a distorted picture.

After years of watching TCM I don’t mind the black bars, and I greatly prefer to see the film shown with the original aspect ratio.

ap2xtNK.jpg

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@cmovieviewer  In addition, there is an AR distortion scenario which happens often enough on certain movie channels during their free weekends, that I saved it as an alternate recoding preset on my video editor.  This alternate preset takes 16:9 (full screen HD TV) and crushes it down to 2.40:1.  The corrected outcome looks just like the end result in the second to last row of my diagram.  It's a subtle difference that messes with my head.

I don't remember if I have recorded anything on other channels that matches your scenario of a 4:3 movie zoomed or stretched to fit 16:9, but that may just be because I probably already recorded it when it was properly aligned on TCM.

The scenario on the first two rows of my diagram happens on TCM, and there is sometimes no point in "zooming" it to correct it, as the original SD resolution is low to begin with, and then it has been compressed on top of that just to fit the widescreen movie into the SD frame, so there is often not much image left to work with in the HD space.  This happens in varying degrees though, based on original film AR, so sometimes it is fixable.  The less change required, the more pixels you have to work with and the better the outcome.  I sometimes just ignore it and imagine I am sitting way far back in a projection booth. 😁

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11 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

There are 2 other tricks I can think of that are used these days to show old material.

Figure 1 below is similar to the last row in MovieCollectorOH’s diagram.  A 4:3 classic film is fit within the 16:9 HD TV frame, with black bars on the left and right.  TCM does this for the vast majority of their classic films on their HD feed.

Figure 2 shows the “zoom” effect which some channels use to try to remove the black bars on the sides.  Information is lost on the top and bottom of the original image because of the zoom.

Figure 3 shows the “stretch” approach where the image is stretched wide to remove the black bars.  The image is distorted by the stretch.

It looks to me like some channels are also using a combination of 2 and 3 to fill up the frame, with both a stretch and a zoom.  With this approach not as much information is lost on the top and bottom, and the stretch isn’t as bad.  But it’s still a distorted picture.

After years of watching TCM I don’t mind the black bars, and I greatly prefer to see the film shown with the original aspect ratio.

ap2xtNK.jpg

Some broadcasters in the U.S. use a 14:9 aspect ratio for material originally shot in 4:3.  As an example the Weigel Broadcasting networks (MeTV, Decades, etc.) use it, especially for filmed (as opposed to videotaped) 4:3 content.    I think this is what you're seeing in your second example.  There should be no stretching, but the top and bottom of the 4:3 source are cropped to give a wider appearing aspect ratio.  I've noticed it on reruns of M*A*S*H and The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV, where the source material has been remastered.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14:9_aspect_ratio

I've never noticed that TCM uses it.

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1 hour ago, txfilmfan said:

Some broadcasters in the U.S. use a 14:9 aspect ratio for material originally shot in 4:3.  As an example the Weigel Broadcasting networks (MeTV, Decades, etc.) use it, especially for filmed (as opposed to videotaped) 4:3 content.    I think this is what you're seeing in your second example.  There should be no stretching, but the top and bottom of the 4:3 source are cropped to give a wider appearing aspect ratio.  I've noticed it on reruns of M*A*S*H and The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV, where the source material has been remastered.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14:9_aspect_ratio

I've never noticed that TCM uses it.

Hmm...  I think I've seen this somewhere before too, I just can't place it.  Maybe a movie somewhere.  Not TCM.

I saw the image on wikipedia, this is to scale too, just easier to look at.

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/letterbox-evolution-Weigel.jpg

I can't say I'd be a fan.  Most people who want to see it that way can already do things like that with their smart TVs, so what's the point.  Broadcast that way it's irreversible.

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31 minutes ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

 

Hmm...  I think I've seen this somewhere before too, I just can't place it.  Maybe a movie somewhere.  Not TCM.

I saw the image on wikipedia, this is to scale too, just easier to look at.

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/letterbox-evolution-Weigel.jpg

I can't say I'd be a fan.  Most people who want to see it that way can already do things like that with their smart TVs, so what's the point.  Broadcast that way it's irreversible.

I think Weigel does it because they run networks of independently-run television stations, each of which operates differently, and it's a compromise to accommodate various broadcasters, cable companies and television sets.  There are still folks using their old analog CRTs (especially when you consider their networks' demographics)!   

When I had cable, Verizon (and later, Frontier) FiOS would only distribute TCM in 4:3 SD.  For widescreen movies that TCM transmitted in letterbox format, that meant on my 16:9 televisions, I ended up with a picture surrounded by both letterbox banding and pillarbox banding (film's image completely surrounded by black bars).   Typically, I had to set my TV to stretch the picture, which results in distortion.  When you viewed it on an old 4:3 CRT set, though, it appeared as just a letterboxed film.  

 

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19 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

I think Weigel does it because they run networks of independently-run television stations, each of which operates differently, and it's a compromise to accommodate various broadcasters, cable companies and television sets.  There are still folks using their old analog CRTs (especially when you consider their networks' demographics)!   

When I had cable, Verizon (and later, Frontier) FiOS would only distribute TCM in 4:3 SD.  For widescreen movies that TCM transmitted in letterbox format, that meant on my 16:9 televisions, I ended up with a picture surrounded by both letterbox banding and pillarbox banding (film's image completely surrounded by black bars).   Typically, I had to set my TV to stretch the picture, which results in distortion.  When you viewed it on an old 4:3 CRT set, though, it appeared as just a letterboxed film.  

 

Gee, that second paragraph sounds just like what I diagrammed above...  😁

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Just posting to mention that I have updated my diagram a bit, as time permits.  Perhaps only a matter of semantics, but I added "#2" to fill it out a bit more.  There is no difference in aspect ratio or screen size between #2 and #4 - just resolution.  So #1 remains the "ugly duckling" of AR.

(all aspect ratios drawn to scale)

 

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/letterbox-evolutions-sd.jpg

 

 

 

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/letterbox-evolutions-hd.jpg

 

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