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Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Regular Contributor

Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Almost a month ago, Comcast in Denver starting to air most of the HBO SD channels using a squished HD-feed picture instead of in letterbox, like they were before and are supposed to be aired. There is no HD equivalent for most of these channels, so there is no way to watch them on many TVs. I ahve emailed HBO a few times over the weeks, and they say it is Comcast's fault. I know it is Comcast's fault, but Comcast will say that this is what HBO is providing them (which is not true).

This happened a few months ago with Freeform (suddenly everything was squished and not letterbox on the SD channel), and Comcast was able to fix this error after a weekend. Please, Comcast, fix this already. It has been too long, and I want to be able to watch all the HBO channels I pay for on all of my TVs and not just my widescreen one. SD channels should be in letterbox.

 

Update: Most of the Cinemax SD are now doing this too. They were not a week ago. Some of the HBOs are ok this morning and some are not (and the ones that are not do not have an HD channel alterntive).

Problem Solver

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Do you have a HD television? If so, change the picture setting using the tv remote. Try Auto or Standard to see which works best. Sometimes another choice might work better for a specific show or movie.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Thanks, but I am not writing about problems with widescreen TVs. I am writing about 4:3 pictures on CRT TVs (I have these too), so changing the resolution is not an option. Regardless, even on a widescreen TV, the 4:3 setting should show a letterbox picture for SD channels. This wouldn't be a problem if they had HD channel versions for all of these channels since HD channels show in Full on a widescreen TV and in letterbox on a CRT. This is just Comcast screwing up once again by forcing an HD format onto an SD channel - that never works corerctly on any TV.

Problem Solver

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Analog signals for tv are dead and gone. They were a hugh waste of space. All signals from any source are now digital. Analog tv's are a white elephant and will cost you money to recycle them.

 

A digital tv can be had for less than $100.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Thanks, but you are missing the point completely. If they are going to air SD channels, then they need to air them correctly, and right now, they are not.

And it isn't better on a widescreen TV. I do not want to constantly be changing the aspect ratio. Right now, HD channels are set to show in Fullscreen, and SD in Zoom (to cut off the top and bottom bars). If they start pushing HD code onto SD channels (which isn't even consistent), then every time I change channels, I also have to change the apect. (Again watching SD since there are no HD channels for 85% of the pay channels). Total BS.

 

If you want to make a statement about analog being dead, then talk to CBS who has actually stated that they will only air their SD channel cropped instead of in letterbox, cutting off almost 50% of the total picture. That is shameful.

Official Employee

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

sbwinter2, thank you for reaching out to us regarding this concern. We have notified HBO and MAX of this issue to have them correct the feed, you can also reach out to them and request that the channels content be converted from the letterbox format. 




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Problem Solver

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

sbwinter2:

 

I noticed on your other post covering the same problem you were not happy they marked your post "best answer" / solved.

 

Since you were the original poster on that post you can go to the best answer post and remove the solved. Just click on the 3 verticle dots on the upper right corner of the post. Choose to remove the solved. That would leave that post as unsolved. At that point you could choose a better choice later on.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Actually this was the one that had been marked as Solved. And then they locked me out so I couldn't reply or change that status. The rep has since unlocked it and removed the Solved status. That is why you could post here, adn I could reply.

 

Thanks for the instructions for future questions I might have.

Frequent Visitor

HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

This started in Denver. Now there is a problem in Albuquerque. On some of the HBO channels, they are no longer in letter box format (black bars on top and bottom of screen on a 4:3 aspect ratio TV). The picture is being sent in full screen mode cropping the sides and stretching the image vertically. It look stupid, it is stupid. I’ve made six calls and had a tech at the house. COMCAST please fix this. Why are you sending distorted video???

Frequent Visitor

HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Please have them fix the feed in Albuquerque NM too. 

Regular Contributor

Re: HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Nothing has changed here, in the Denver area, since the Comcast rep's post. I don't think they understand that this doesn't just affect 4:3 TVs. I don't want to have to keep changing the aspect ratio on my 16:9 TVs either. The Zoom setting is the best aspect for 95% of SD channels.

 

The problem is so simple - stop sending an HD signal to an SD channel. If the HD signal was sent to an HD channel, the picture would be fine on both a 16:9 and 4:3 TV, but SD channels cannot display HD signal properly. They could also just give us the HD channels for these SD ones.

 

We pay for these channels - give us something watachble.

Frequent Visitor

Re: HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Well they are doing the same ignorant thing in NM. They think the solution is to change the set top box. That does nothing. The service tech actually told me “Comcast said to change the box, I’m changing the box.... but it won’t fix the problem.... you should call Comcast”. Worse yet he treated me and my as home like it was a major inconvenience for him to be here. Left me with a buggered screen. Remote not set up properly and wrenched the cable on so tight I can’t get it off the set top box now. Comcast solution has been to send multiple reset signals and to tell me to change the batteries in my remote. REALLY. Change the batteries in my remote???? I can’t stand taking to them on the phone anymore and the on-site service suppport is on the verge of customer abuse. I literally told the tech not to touch a piece of art in my house and he moved it. Always in a rush to leave and rude. Comcast do you understand your customers pay you, recognize that. Stop hiring contractors.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

We have the exact same problem in Albuquerque NM. I had tech support out here and they say to contact Comcast. Do you have a phone number for HBO so I can call them and do your job for you? I happy to call HBO and tell them, “ yeah, Comcast online support told me to call you”.  Clearly Comcast just doesn’t care that the signal is incorrect. Online, phone and physical tech support is incapable of understand that you are pushing an HD signal to an SD channel..... all that does is distort the picture. Problem is is on HBO, Etc. Just fix it, don’t make us call dozens of times to complain.

Regular Contributor

Re: HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

The box is definitely not the problem. I have six Comcast boxes in my house - some HD and some SD-only (I don't do X1). They all show the same problem at the same time.

 

I don't know many people in other areas of the country who have pay channels, so I cannot do the test I want to do, which is this: At the same time I am viewing a squished picture on a specific channel, see if another person on Comcast is seeing the same thing I am, and also to check with someone not on Comcast. That would instantly indiciate whether the problem is with the HBO/MAX or with Comcast. Others wouldn't even need a 4:3 TV since the picture is squished in 'normal' mode for the SD channel on any TV.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

I had been emailing HBO about HBO and later MAX. They responded a couple of time saying to call Comcast, but no ignore me. I tried Facebook, but they ignore me too. I plead with them to get Comcast to fix it.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Hello Comcast!!

 

Nothing has changed. What is the status of fixing this problem. It is a pain even on a widescreen TV. Please make sure all SD channels show all widescreen programs in letterbox - LIKE BEFORE.

 

Thanks.

Problem Solver

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!


sbwinter2 wrote:

Thanks, but you are missing the point completely. If they are going to air SD channels, then they need to air them correctly, and right now, they are not.

And it isn't better on a widescreen TV. I do not want to constantly be changing the aspect ratio. Right now, HD channels are set to show in Fullscreen, and SD in Zoom (to cut off the top and bottom bars). If they start pushing HD code onto SD channels (which isn't even consistent), then every time I change channels, I also have to change the apect. (Again watching SD since there are no HD channels for 85% of the pay channels). Total BS.

 

If you want to make a statement about analog being dead, then talk to CBS who has actually stated that they will only air their SD channel cropped instead of in letterbox, cutting off almost 50% of the total picture. That is shameful.


I choose this post to reply this time since it describes the current situation.

 

My television can show source signals from whatever type of box it is connected to: Cable, Satellite, Blu-Ray player, etc.

 

When looking at channels such as: 4 (cbs), 5 (abc), 9 (fox), in the lowest tier, I find the picture you describe. horizontal bars with wide short squat picture. The actual signal sent is: 720 x 480 / 60i. For channel 2 (pbs) the signal sent is also 720 x 480 / 60i but the station controls the final picture which we see, and that is Full screen picture (no distortion).

 

As for the remotes; using the Comcast remote: "normal" shows H. bars (wide short squat picture). changing aspect creates pictures to large to fit screen. Using the tv remote can create a better picture: Normal (small with 4 bars), or Enlarged to fit screen.

 

The only options are:

1. Watch HD version on proper HD channel(cbs on channel 804). We happen to get about 50 channels OTA which eliminates using Comcast for locals.

2. If you have to watch a channel in the lower tiers use the tv remote for best aspect ratio. And as you already stated for an analog tv you are stuck with what they supply.

 

The current situation is coming from both cable company and the local channel provider (or network signal provided to them). It's hard to tell who gives in first here. The premium channels like HBO are in the same situation for some of their channels.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

The agony continues. As I was watching a movie on Lifetime SD last night, which was in letterbox, as their programming has been for years, the picture switched to the HD squished picture right as I was watching - in the middle of the movie! Lifetime SD is still showing a squished picture today, so they probably have no intention of changing it, which is a shame. Thank goodness there is an HD equivalent because that one displays the picture correctly on all TVs. My gripe isn't that they are changing the SD channels to HD signal (which I still think makes no sense). It is that there are HD versions for many of these SD channels, such as the more expensive premium channels. That means that it is hard to watch those channels on any TV.

 

Comcast - what are you doing??

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

Thanks for your response. We must be getting different feeds because we are in different areas. I wish my TV showed source.

 

I actually do not have any channels with horizontal bars and short squat picture. My channels show as either letterbox (horizontal bars, correct 16:9 aspect picture), 4:3 with correct aspect, or the newest: squished picture on 4:3/correct aspect using Full on widescreen. Where the channels are in the lineup/tiers has no bearing on the aspect ratio.

 

A comment about CBS - they have stated publically that on their SD feed, they crop the sides of the HD picture, and they refuse to change that (as in go letterbox like the other local netwroks).

 

My Comcast remotes Zoom button really does nothing on any type of TV - it is worthless. I can change the aspect ratio in the HD box setup window, and do use the one that will give me the best picture, but this is no longer effective on a 4:3 TV, though, since it does not convert the squished picture to passthrough as 4:3 (as it should). The TV remote aspect button works for widescreen TVs, of course, but, again, now it is inconvenient as I have to keep changing the aspect as I scroll through channels instead of just leaving it on Zoom for the SD ones.

 

I blame Comcast for this since I have been told by enough networks that they all provide the HD signal, and it is Comcast's job to convert it to the correct format for SD and HD. HBO won't even answer my emails any longer since I have asked them for help so many times.

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

I just went through all of the cable channels to see which have changed to air SD squished (after I stumbled on another channel doing it). It looks the channels are those in the A&E Networks and Disney: A&E, History, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, Disney channel. I will be writing them. What a shame since there are still channels that even have the picture programmed to change to full 4:3 (vs. postage stamp) if that is what the show is framed as and switch to letterbox for a 16:9 show. Since it is so easy to do it right, why must any stations air incorrectly?

Problem Solver

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!


sbwinter2 wrote:

I just went through all of the cable channels to see which have changed to air SD squished (after I stumbled on another channel doing it). It looks the channels are those in the A&E Networks and Disney: A&E, History, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, Disney channel. I will be writing them. What a shame since there are still channels that even have the picture programmed to change to full 4:3 (vs. postage stamp) if that is what the show is framed as and switch to letterbox for a 16:9 show. Since it is so easy to do it right, why must any stations air incorrectly?


 

I have seen a few channels squished in from the sides with people looking elongated as you mentioned. I have my older 40" Sony Bravia 1080p tv set up next to my 65" Samsung 3D UHD Curved tv. The Sony tv is on our antenna for 50+ local channels and set to "Full screen" all channels. The Samsung tv is on Comcast cable and also antenna. Using PIP mode I can compare both the cable video and the OTA version at the same time on that tv to see the difference (same station both modes).

 

It is really too bad that those of you, not in range of OTA channels, are put in this situation by Comcast. I should point out that the Comcast conversion from MPEG 2 to MPEG 4 is on different time tables dependent are where we live. We are farther along than your area so we might not see what you see right now.

 

I should point out that I have no need to watch any channels not found in the HD tiers. So until your first posts I had no reason to even see what was going on there. 

Regular Contributor

Re: Comcast Denver HBO & MAX SD channels not letterbox - please fix this now!

You are lucky to have all your channels offered in HD. Most of our premium movie ones are not and neither are some of the locals that I like. The locals aren't a big deal, but the premiums are because I pay extra to have them.