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History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

Problem Solver

History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

I just had a pleasant visit from a local Maryland Comcast rep who fixed a signal strength problem when I split the cable across several “small tuners” that are the Comcast-supplied digital-to-analog converters for SD customers. I say this by way of introduction to my other problem, since the rep told me I was not rare in using these small tuners instead of the larger cable box. I suspect this other problem has to do with these small tuners (converters).

OK, thru these tuner/converters, The History Channel (51) and A&E (50) now display everything distorted. The aspect ratio is that of way old school TV (very square, no letterboxing as most channels appear), with squishing in the horizontal. E.g, heads and bodies are squished and skinny.

When I visit my Mom in the Midwest and view these same channels (well, the channel numbers differ) on the larger cable box, there is no distortion.

So, is the problem at:
A) provider level?
Local Comcast branch level ?
C) Comcast level not unique to the local Comcast provider ?

If A), can Comcast discuss with the providers?

Also note that the problem here is worse than other channels that do not letterbox. E.g., local Channel 22 (PBS Annapolis MD) appears squarish, but at least heads and bodies are in proper proportion.

Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

The small tuners I’m referring to are called “DTA” according to the Xfinity My Account app. To clarify.
Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

Your problem here seems very similar to the "Comcast Denver ...." post from sbwinter2.

 

I think it may have something to do with Comcast moving along with phase 2 in MPEG4 project. You might read their post found farther down on page 1 of this forum.

 

This is just my opinion. I have not heard anything on this subject.

Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

As of yesterday (Wed Dec 6) perhaps this problem has been solved. Both History and A&E are appearing letterboxed and non-distorted via my DTA tuners, at the moment anyway. Vikings and Knightfall looked OK on History last night.

Does Comcast know who changed what? (My local provider is Comcast Montgomery County MD.) Or is it a huge mystery?
Silver Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

This has been an on and off issue for nearly a year now. It is anamorphic (stretched) for a few days, then goes back to letterbox, then back to anamorphic, etc... It's not just History and A&E, but also several other networks.

 

It's not a DTA issue, but an SD channel issue. You can see it even with a normal cable box.

Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

And sure enough, today (Fri Dec 8) History and A&E are back to the horrid zoomed and stretched vertical look with all the skinny heads. I just noticed Lifetime has the problem too.

What is Comcast’s official word on this SD zaniness? E.g., does Comcast believe such off-and-on weirdness is the fault of the network providers? If so, why hasn’t dialog between Comcast and providers causes providers to avoid these problems? If not, why hasn’t Comcast fixed things? Why such a long- running problem and/or mystery?
Silver Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

I think the SD copies are just Comcast downconverting the HD feed at their master site where they pack everything together for national distribution. For some reason, whatever box is doing the conversion for those channels switches itself to anamorphic instead of letterbox.

Silver Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

Problem Solver

Re: History and A&E show distorted on “small” tuners

As for your belief that *COMCAST* is the entity performing the HD-to-SD conversions...maybe...but several times in the On Demand forum section, there are threads complaining about new shows being available only in HD. Several times, Comcast reps have said this was the fault of the network providers in failing to provide an SD version. I.e., not a problem in Comcast down-sampling the SD version.

Surely it would be better quality control if it worked as you said, assuming Comcast did it correctly. (No longer at the mercy of more mistakes by numerous providers.)