Not applicable

Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio

Does anyone know what's going on with Heroes and Icons Channel on Spectrum?

 

They added it in my area on 6/4/18 on Channel 142. It's broadcast over-the-air here on 55.4.

 

On 55.4, it's broadcast in the intended aspect ratio from the Weigel network headquarters in Chicago. However, Spectrum is showing it with a squished aspect ratio. Programming that H&I is broadcasting in 4:3(1.33:1) from their headquarters and properly broadcast by 55.4 in 4:3-is being shown by Spectrum in some horizontally squished ratio like 1.0:1. It reminds me of one of those very thin cell phone videos you see in a news broadcast. Instead of the normal black bars you see in 4:3 on a widescreen TV, these are twice as thick. Yet, you switch back to the antenna feed of the same exact local network that Spectrum is broadcasting, and it's correct.

 

In addition, programming broadcast by Heroes and Icons in their unfortunate 14:9 ratio and correctly rebroadcast by 55.4 in the same 14:9-is shown by Spectrum in a squished 4:3 ratio.

 

I've contacted Spectrum on 6/13 and they acknowledged the issue and did nothing. I contacted the local channel that broadcasts 55.4 H&I and they spotted the problem too.

 

Yet it hasn't been fixed! What's going on Spectrum? 

10 REPLIES
Proven Sharer

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio

It's easier and costs less to have you change the aspect ration of your TV or STB instead of them having to flip the bits in the digital transport stream which set the "essential picture information"  and how it is to be displayed.   This is a problem becuase:

1.  The main content (the show) is in 4:3.

2.  The ads shown during the commercial break are shot in 16:9.  (These ads pay for the show, so....)

3.  The station is broadcasting in 480i, and has elected to show its content in 16:9.

4.  People with 16:9 TV's complain about pillar boxes - they want their whole screen filled.

5.  People with old 4:3 TV's complain about skinny pictures or letterboxed video.

 

So instead of scripting the broadcast day,  and flipping the bits in the stream every time the content changes, they just pick one and go with it.  SInce the cable company also has to make a decision on this, it adds another layer of decision making, which most of the time is only noticed when the picture is not what is expected.

 

This explains it somewhat:

http://www.diamondcase.com/Knowledge/Knowledge_HTML/Aspect_Ratios.HTML

 

There are just too many places in the transport stream where the aspect ratio can be changed that there is no way to satify everyone at a reasonable cost.

Trusted Helper

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio


@dstoffa wrote:

It's easier and costs less to have you change the aspect ration of your TV or STB instead of them having to flip the bits in the digital transport stream which set the "essential picture information"  and how it is to be displayed.   This is a problem becuase:

1.  The main content (the show) is in 4:3.

2.  The ads shown during the commercial break are shot in 16:9.  (These ads pay for the show, so....)

3.  The station is broadcasting in 480i, and has elected to show its content in 16:9.

4.  People with 16:9 TV's complain about pillar boxes - they want their whole screen filled.

5.  People with old 4:3 TV's complain about skinny pictures or letterboxed video.

 

So instead of scripting the broadcast day,  and flipping the bits in the stream every time the content changes, they just pick one and go with it.  SInce the cable company also has to make a decision on this, it adds another layer of decision making, which most of the time is only noticed when the picture is not what is expected.

 

This explains it somewhat:

http://www.diamondcase.com/Knowledge/Knowledge_HTML/Aspect_Ratios.HTML

 

There are just too many places in the transport stream where the aspect ratio can be changed that there is no way to satisfy everyone at a reasonable cost.


Yes,

 

It will take time.  It's not just a matter of flipping a switch.  Guys, what does your Heros and Icons channel transmission look like?  If it is abnormal, post your city, state, and zip code.  I will have to check my channel transmission.  OP, where are you located in Ohio? (City and Zip.)

 

It sounds like instead of traditional SD 4x3, that the OP's Hero's and icons is transmitting in a tiny Window box square format.  Years ago, when TCM converted their signals to all digital and HD, a lot of their movies are really old (1930's-1960's) about 80% of content.  15% 1970's, and 5% 1980's and above.  Because there was no HD version of the really old films, everything was Window Boxed on the HD channel.

 

I remember watching The Odd Couple movie (1968) on my big HD TV years ago, and it looked like something from a postage stamp.  The whole conversion of all of their movies to HD and best aspect ratio took years.  TCM has about the largest collection of films in the world.

 

It seems that most of the films are now preserved in their proper aspect-ratio formats on TCM and have really nice transfer prints most of the time.  I would hope that Heros and Icons conversion to a proper aspect ratio signal doesn't take two years for affected Spectrum markets!  Eventually, the format should be 4:3 not stretched with the vertical sidebars.

 

Satch

Proven Sharer

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio


@Satch wrote:

It will take time.  It's not just a matter of flipping a switch.  Guys, what does your Heros and Icons channel transmission look like?  If it is abnormal, post your city, state, and zip code.  I will have to check my channel transmission.  OP, where are you located in Ohio? (City and Zip.)

 

Satch


I am currently in NYC, and receive H&I over-the-air from WWOR-TV on channel 9.4.   (So this doesn't help those with cable feeds, but explains the issue...)

 

WWOR-TV 9.4 is broadcast in 480i, 16:9 aspect ratio.  (Their other subchannels are also 480i, but 4:3.

 

Last night I was watching an epsisode of Star Trek, the original series, "Obsession" .  It appeared as a postage stamp in the center of an envelope.  I was watching it via a CM-7000 Digital to analog converter on an old tubeTV set.

 

The program's content is 4:3, so to fill a 16:9 screen, pillar boxes are added to the left and right sides of the image.  I have the CM-7000 set to letterbox all content.  The converter box thus adds bars on top and bottom to letterbox the 16:9 image for a 4:3 tv set.  Commercials on H&I do not have the pillar bars on the left and right, becuase they are 16:9 source materials - so I see commericals letterboxed.  The appearance of the show is correct (it's not stretched), but I'd have to tell my CM-7000 to "zoom" to get rid of the pillar bars added by WWOR / H&I to fill the screen of my 4:3 CRT set.    I am not sure what roll-down issues I'd notice, since the stream is actually 16:9 and not 4:3...

 

Very confusing... with no easy, universal solution.

 

 

 

 

Not applicable

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio

Guys, thanks for the replies.

 

However, this has nothing to do with the network or cable company trying to pick a best solution due to the different aspect ratios of the shows they broadcast. This is an error by Spectrum.

 

I certainly shouldn't have to use the cable box stretch function to fix Spectrum's problem. That would make this the only channel out of 400+ that I would have to do that with. Right now, they are broadcasting 4:3 shows in an unwatchably thin and squished ratio like a 1.1:1 or less, like a cell phone video in a news report. I have to hit the stretch function just to get a 4:3 show to become 4:3 with normal side bars as seen with 1.33:1. Shows that H&I broadcasts in their odd 14:9 also show up as narrower than 4:3, though not as squished as 1.1:1. The stretch function then takes it to the proper 14:9.

 

I'm in northeast Ohio, just west of Cleveland. In addition to now picking up this station on Channel 142 on Spectrum, I've had it for two years on the antenna on Channel 55.4 WBNX Cleveland. This is the exact station Spectrum is retransmitting, right down to the WBNX 55.4 commercials on Spectrum. On the antenna feed, their is no aspect ratio problem. The Star Treks are in 4:3 with the proper size black bars for 1.33:1. The other shows are the 14:9 ratio with very thin black bars.

 

-H&I shows their 6  Star Trek shows in 4:3 (1.33:1)

-They show other shows in a full 16:9 (1.78:1)

-They show the majority of their shows in a 14:9 ratio with very thin black bars.

 

If you watch MeTV, Antenna TV, Grit, and Get TV on Spectrum, they all air shows in the above-mentioned aspect ratios. Spectrum has no issue with these 4 channels and the aspect ratios change properly between shows and commercials air as intended. They all match the antenna feeds perfectly.

 

Only the newly added H&I is suffering with this issue.

Highlighted
Proven Sharer

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio


@Dalton007 wrote:

However, this has nothing to do with the network or cable company trying to pick a best solution due to the different aspect ratios of the shows they broadcast. This is an error by Spectrum.

 

I certainly shouldn't have to use the cable box stretch function to fix Spectrum's problem. That would make this the only channel out of 400+ that I would have to do that with. Right now, they are broadcasting 4:3 shows in an unwatchably thin and squished ratio like a 1.1:1 or less, like a cell phone video in a news report. I have to hit the stretch function just to get a 4:3 show to become 4:3 with normal side bars as seen with 1.33:1. Shows that H&I broadcasts in their odd 14:9 also show up as narrower than 4:3, though not as squished as 1.1:1. The stretch function then takes it to the proper 14:9.

 

I'm in northeast Ohio, just west of Cleveland. In addition to now picking up this station on Channel 142 on Spectrum, I've had it for two years on the antenna on Channel 55.4 WBNX Cleveland. This is the exact station Spectrum is retransmitting, right down to the WBNX 55.4 commercials on Spectrum. On the antenna feed, their is no aspect ratio problem. The Star Treks are in 4:3 with the proper size black bars for 1.33:1. The other shows are the 14:9 ratio with very thin black bars.

 

-H&I shows their 6  Star Trek shows in 4:3 (1.33:1)

-They show other shows in a full 16:9 (1.78:1)

-They show the majority of their shows in a 14:9 ratio with very thin black bars.

 

If you watch MeTV, Antenna TV, Grit, and Get TV on Spectrum, they all air shows in the above-mentioned aspect ratios. Spectrum has no issue with these 4 channels and the aspect ratios change properly between shows and commercials air as intended. They all match the antenna feeds perfectly.

 


H&I is the only (sub) station in my market that is broadcast in both 480i and 16:9.  And this is where I think the problem lay.  (The other sub-stations in my market that are 480i are 4:3, such as AntennaTV, This!, movies!, buzzr, etc. - I actually get MeTV in HD on WJLP - it's their main channel..)  With my CM-7000, I can toggle through the aspect ratio settings for H&I (Letterbox, Full, Zoom 1, Zoom 2), but no options are available for me with the other sub-channels (the other ones, which have a 4:3 stream).

 

How is your local station sending H&I?  480i at 16:9?

 

Spectrum may assume that all 480i streams are 4:3, and adjust the aspect ration accordingly.  If this is done to the H&I feed, it explains a great many things.

 

Observer

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio (& Austin, TX)

I'm a Spectrum subscriber in Austin TX, and am seeing H&I's 16x9 content squished (compressed horizontally) into 4x3. Yuck!

 

None of my local stations are carrying this network, so I cannot compare OTA aspect ratios. 

Proven Sharer

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio

I'm sure you realize that Spectrum doesn't just retransmit a recovered OTA broadcast signal of the local Cleveland stations.  This would indicate a wide gap between Spectrum and their H&I programming provider.  The feed could be coming from Weigel directly or from the local station WBNX, so there are three players who need to communicate and resolve  the formatting errors for Spectrum viewers in NE OH.  You can probably start the ball rolling by complaining to WBNX local management and also to Weigle in Chicago. 

Newcomer

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio

Oddly, it looks fine in the preview window when looking at the channel guide.

Not applicable

Re: Aspect Ratio Problem on Heroes and Icons Network in Northeast Ohio

>I'm sure you realize that Spectrum doesn't just retransmit a recovered OTA broadcast signal

I called Spectrum to ask why the local CW channel is 16:9 OTA, but pillarboxed 4:3 on cable.  The girl said that they are delivering what the local station is providing to Spectrum.  I presume they do that for locally available channels to show local commercials.  It's ironic that I'm paying a local channel surcharge, yet I'm getting an inferior picture anyway.  Spectrum should drop my local CW feed and give a national one and quit paying the local broadcast fee.

 

 

There is no local Heroes & Icons channel here in Beaumont TX.  The width is squashed horizontally here too, so I can't blame the local station.  I haven't watched to see if H&I is coming from any other local feed.

 

If it's so complicated to get the aspect ratio right, why does it only take a single press of my cable box remote to fix it?  If it's Spectrum's fault, they ought to fix it.  If it's an upstream provider, Spectrum should lean on them to do it.

 

Does anyone get the right aspect ratio for Heroes & Icons on Spectrum?  I only started looking at this channel when I read that MeTV is dropping Star Trek.  These posts started a few months back, so there seems to be no rush to fix the issue.