non HD channels shrunken
In early July 2017, apparently our 2 XG1-A boxes received an update because I noticed a new "notifications" menu item. At that time, the way SD content was displayed changed.
Most channels below 650 and a few above, had large black borders on all 4 sides. The picture(in correct aspect ratio) was shrunken to the center ~60% of the screen. No combination of changing X1 zoom, X1 resolution, TV zoom, TV resolution, TV input type, swapping in a different TV(3 models from 2 different mfrs), swapping X1 box for new, would result in simultaneous display of both the correct aspect ratio and fewer than 4 black borders. If full zoom was applied, on both TV and X1, the picture would stretch horizontally eliminating the vertical borders but the aspect ratio was now off making everyone look short and fat, plus the guide and all HD channels were stretched off screen. Phone support couldn't do anything but follow their script and send out an in home tech. The Tech tried all the same things I did, proper signal levels, verified correct display of HD channels and correct display of a very few SD channels with fullscreen 4:3 content which the box actually output in 480i, which my TVs recognized and scaled properly. The majority of problem channels without HD in their name were sent to the TV in whatever resolution was selected in the X1 box. That means the black bars were encoded in the content sent to the TV, not created by the TV. He concurred with my opinion that the content was being broadcast incorrectly. In the past week the problem has spread to even more channels, including premium channels wich previously had HD versions such as HBO extreme.
My working theory is that the original content was widescreen format. During the update, something went wrong and fullscreen formatted letterbox feeds were broadcast instead of the native widescreen. This added horizontal bars at a loss of effective picture resolution.
The content, originally widescreen, now converted to fullscreen letterbox, must now be sent to a widescreen TV, so the new box firmware "fixes" the apparent missmatch by adding pillarbox bars, resulting in 4 black borders and horrible picture quality.
If that is actually the case, the problem must be widespread. It cannot just be my house.
So the tech could not fix it. He said call back in a few weeks if it still isn't working. It got worse, I called, got disconnected 4 times, suffered through the same scripts and same refresh/reset with each operator before they finally scheduled a supervisor visit for Sunday. So before he comes, I wanted to gather some information and see if we can find a solution now so we can both be with our families on sunday instead of banging our heads against a wall. Has anyone else experienced this, has anyone found a solution? The Xfinity troubleshooting flowchart addresses about 4 common problems and doesn't work at all if your issue is "other". We pay too much for this programming to get a fuzzy 32" picture on a 55" screen. If we cannot get it fixed soon, our next stop is each one of the networks who's content is being mangled. Perhaps they can get to the bottom of it.