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non HD channels shrunken

Frequent Visitor

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.

Official Employee

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Hello @slomobile1. I have not heard any news, or received any notifications from our multiple resources, indicating there is an issue with the broadcast. We have not received a mass of reports about this either. Did the field tech who visited your home try with a different box?

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Yes, he did try a new shrinkwrapped box.  The result was the same.

 

The only thing I can think of that may be unique to my situation is frequent, prolonged(7 years now unresolved), but intermittent noise and signal dropouts on the incoming line.  Instances of noise are distinct from signal level dropouts because when low signal level occurs, the red icon displays on TV and all services(TV, phone, internet up and down) are affected.  The noise only affects upload channels.  Signal level icon remains green, internet speed tests show 160Mb/s down and 0.5Mb/s up, people cannot hear me on the phone, new TV channel freezes after a few secunds, guide is very slow, and most remote functions take severaI seconds or do not respond at all.  I have had electricians, in home techs, and line maintenance techs confirm that the noise is not coming from my home.  The noise was seen on an instrument by a line maintenance tech over a year ago at my pole and several poles upstream from me, but I have no way of knowing what further work was done to the line.

 

That signal noise is the reason I have and pay for 2 seperate DVR units each month.  The noise disrupts the moca connection between DVR and slave box so that watching recorded programs on the slave box is very often impossible.  This way, at least I always have some locally recorded content that is watchable.

Official Employee

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Wow that is very interesting! Did the technician mention any RF signal issue when he visited? 

 

I have the tools to check the diagnostics of the X1 main box and also the performance of the node/plant in your area. I can take a look at the readings now, if you'll send me a private message with your full name, service address, and account number, so I can access your account. 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

There have been several technician visits, each new tech is convinced that the problem is something else so they often undo each others work.  I do remember one tech that watched his iPad as I attempted to make a phone call and the result he said was a large number of plant faults.  That was about a year ago.  Each technician checks signal levels when they come.  Sometimes the level is too high, sometimes too low.  So we have had several rounds of adding distribution amp to the attic, then a different tech removing it and using splitters to just the 2 active TVs and gateway.  That is how it is now, no active amps in the home.  The newest addition is a new burried drop that cut the ~450ft run from the pole down to about 100ft.  That worked great for about 2 weeks till there was a storm and we are now back to same old dropouts, especially when there is windy weather, or hot weather after a rain.

We have brief 1-2 second power outages(sometimes longer) about weekly, so I have all TVs, phones(except for cordless extension chargers), and Comcast equipment connected to 1500VA online pure sine UPS units from APC.  I have noticed that during these outages, even though all of our equipment stays on, we loose cable tv, internet and phone.  That is the situation those rather expensive devices were supposed to resolve.  I don't know if that is relavent to the problem at hand, but a phone tech once suggested that that was the root of our issues, so I disconnected them for 2 weeks with no change of symptoms.  I just mention it for completeness and wonder if maybe your plant has been affected by the same outages and accompanying spikes.

Edit:  I just recalled that the line tech(again a year ago now) said that he has had a number of problems in the neighborhood on my specific node, but not surrounding areas.  A different tech more recently, but at least a month ago told me vaguely that there are plans to "redo" this whole area sometime in the future.  I've talked to my neighbors and they were also experiencing several intractable problems, but strangely, they are all different from mine, such as variable audio volume, which I do not have.  Last I've heard from them, their problems have been adequately resolved.

Official Employee

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Thanks for sending the private message over. I've responded. 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Thank you for the diagnostics.  Hopefully we will know soon what is going on.  Here are some example pictures to help describe the problem.  This is the same program "Maze Runner: The Scorch trials" airing at the same time, with the same settings 16:9 1080 60p, zoom: none on channel 1834 CinemaxLA displaying the problem, and 1820 MaxHD displaying properly.  As a control, I watched both channels with the Xfinity stream app and they both looked proper and identical to each other.  Also, on the same TV, selected Restart on the messed up channel so that the same program plays on demand.  It plays in HD and fills the screen properly, so the only issue is with channels currently airing in SD, which makes up the majority of the channel lineup, and many programs that cannot be seen anywhere else.

 right.jpgHDwrong.jpgSD

Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Not that I am trying to defend Comcast but that almost has to be a TV setting issue.

FYI why are you watching SD channels. I have my X1 guide filtered to HD only.

I refuse to watch SD channels as a matter of principle.



slomobile1 wrote:

Thank you for the diagnostics.  Hopefully we will know soon what is going on.  Here are some example pictures to help describe the problem.  This is the same program "Maze Runner: The Scorch trials" airing at the same time, with the same settings 16:9 1080 60p, zoom: none on channel 1834 CinemaxLA displaying the problem, and 1820 MaxHD displaying properly.  As a control, I watched both channels with the Xfinity stream app and they both looked proper and identical to each other.  Also, on the same TV, selected Restart on the messed up channel so that the same program plays on demand.  It plays in HD and fills the screen properly, so the only issue is with channels currently airing in SD, which makes up the majority of the channel lineup, and many programs that cannot be seen anywhere else.

 right.jpgHDwrong.jpgSD


 

Regular Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I started to experience the exact same issue this week on Cape Cod. Tv is fine on hd channels but the X1 DVR and remote box shrink the sd channels. I have made no changes. All worked fine for several years prior. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated. 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Thank you 

 

 

 

 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

It is not a TV settings issue.  The TV settings have not changed, but the X1 software has, and this new behavior showed up at the same time.  I watch SD channels because I paid for them.  I paid for them because Comcast forces us to do so as a prerequisite to paying for the HD channels.  As a matter of principle I refuse to be ripped off.  But that is getting harder to do when the "Gold Problem Solver" solution is to just accept it.

Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Welcome to X1. Comcast is designing X1 exactly the way they see fit for their own business needs and user input means almost nothing to them.

As I have said countless times before, X1 was designed for HD TV and HDTV sets. Comcast has clearly demonstrated that they do not care about SD channels. Personally I agree. SD is stone age and should not be supported by anyone. Let's talk about 4K?

As you spend most time in this forum, you will realize that Comcast is not listening.......

X1 had been available for over four years now.
I have been posting in this forum almost that long. Over those four plus years, Comcast has caved in to pressure twice:

1. Guide font adjustability. However Comcast's solution is a far cry from what users wanted.

2. Reminder feature. Once again, Comcast's solution lacks user control options and flexibility. It is weak at best.

Comcast had not provided any other significant changes that users demanded in this forum.
Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

FYI, as painful as it was, I just toggled over to some SD channels and they are working fine on my LG OLED.

Are you folks sure you are on the correct input on your TV sets?
Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

RickGr4, thanks for checking.  Yes, I am definitely on the correct HDMI input.  The same problem appears using analog RCA jacks and RF modulator.  As I said, the problem cropped up the same time as the X1 software update that introduced the notifications bubble menu option under the Xfinity button.  Perhaps that update has not propagated to your box yet.

FYI, on the About XFINITY TV screen, my box reads;

Release version:                 xappl-XRE.77P5

XRE Server Version: 1.77.05 08/01/2017 16:34

XRE Protocol Version:      2.8.0

Receiver: Native Version: 2.12.0

STB Timestamp:              Sat Aug 5 03:55:03 2017

eCM MAC:                       witheld

STB Version:                   MX011AN_2.12p2s1_PROD_sey

Device ID:                       witheld

Device Name:                 witheld

Environment:                  c5-sd

Made with love in Philadelphia

Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I have the same versions HOWEVER as I have said it many times before in this forum, Comcast can and often does make changes to X1 that are not reflected by version number changes.

Sorry but I still think it is a TV setting issue. Please keep in mind that most TVs remember different settings every time the input or resolution changes.

Users experiencing this problem should probably swap X1 box locations.
Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

My TV briefly displays the input signal format each time it changes.  Prior to this change, selecting a SD channel on the X1 box would display 480p or 480i.  Now, regardless of channel, the signal format doesn't change.  It is always the format selected on the X1 box.  In this case 1920x1080 / 60p into HDMI2 on a Samsung un55d7000lfxza with current firmware made January 2012.  If you can think of any TV setting that would cause the image above, tell me what it is and I will gladly change it.  FYI, SD channels look exactly the same on Sony Bravia, insignia, 2017 model Samsung, and on the TVs at the Comcast store.

Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I went to a brand new Comcast store just yesterday. They were using entry level Samsung 4K sets. As I expected, the picture quality was soft, lacked detail and looked "cartoon like".

My LG OLED and my two Panasonic Plasma sets have vastly better picture quality. Did I mention that I don't like the picture quality on any LED/LCD TV set? Oh wait the brand new Samsung Q series ain't too bad....

Regular Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Thanks for the response. I can confirm this change occurred the same day the update including the notification software was pushed by Comcast. All hdmi settings are correct. As I mentioned everything was working fine 12 hours previous. I am reluctant to waste time with service calls if I can be doing something else. I will keep you appraised if anything changes. 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

No human from Comcast has contacted me since the tech visit yesterday, but there is at least a sign that someone is working on it.  I was watching channel 1862 TMCXe today in its shrunken form when all of my Comcast services went completely out for an hour.  When they came back, the picture filled the entire screen.  However, it appeared that I was only seeing the upper left portion of the picture.  The picture was about 4 times too big and overflowing my screen, but reasonably clear.  That lasted a bit under 10 minutes, cut out again for 3, then back on the way it started, shrunken.  That has been followed by several brief glitches and screen freezes as if someone were reconnecting cables.

 

I don't know what that was, perhaps a fraction of a 4k signal cropped down to 1080p?  It ain't working, but its something.

Regular Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Unfortunately ok am starting the dance after a long chat with a rep who went thru the std checklist even though I tried to provide info to preempt the video display drill and the reset the box again etc. Now I am waiting for a future tech visit. Hate to doubt it but will play along. 

Admin1

Re: non HD channels shrunken

slomobile1 and Pauld99648 -- Does this occur on all of your X1 boxes? 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

As I stated before, yes it happens on all of our boxes including a new box that was swapped in to test.

Admin1

Re: non HD channels shrunken

slomobile1 -- I reviewed your boxes and they were in need of a firmware update. I have pushed this firmware to both boxes. Can you see if that has resolved your issue?

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

No, that did not resolve the issue.  In fact, now some on demand programs are doing it too.

Official Employee

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Hi slomobile1,

 

Are you still having issues with the HD channels? 

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

If I may tag on:

 

I started having the same issues on all four of out TV's. The quality of the SD channels has dropped considerably and it shows a large black bar on the top and bottom of the screen. The picture quailty is poor. Even on SD channels in the past, the entire screen was full. As a matter of fact it is still that way on some SD channels (1426,1412) still fill the entire screen as before, even old black and white shows.

 

Using the HBO channels as an example, the first 1802 is an HD channel and works and looks great as before. Any of the remaing SD HBO channels have the black bars and the poor quality picture.

 

I had a Comcast Tech out here today and he said that is the way it looks on SD which is ridiculous since I have been watching these channels for awhile and I know what it looked like before. Many of the post I am seeing on the forum seem to baer me out. I don't exactly know what is causing this but would like to get it back the way it was. All the reset, refresh, and unpluging has not helped.

 

Any help would be appreciated, this is unacceptable.

 

Thank you

New Poster

Re: non HD channels shrunken

i may be a little late to the party here. nuthin' new on that front, lol

 

anyway....i haven't hooked up my x1 yet. still on the rng150. the problem you're describing sounds like what's happening on my tv(toshiba about 7 or 8 years old) 42". anyway........if you're getting fup picture on hd channel, tune ot non-hd channel, then grab the tv's remote. go to picture size. it'll probably say "natural" for the picture size. change thatg to a "theaterwide" setting.

 

 hopefully that helps. it's what works on my old tv anyway.

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

The problem remains unresolved despite numerous calls, chats, service visits, and this forum post.

Silver Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken


slomobile1 wrote:

The problem remains unresolved despite numerous calls, chats, service visits, and this forum post.


Some TV's have a setting for screen size.


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Every time I get the same unhelpful advice I get more angry at Comcast.  I took the time to write a very detailed description of the problem with pictures.  The least you could do as a Comcast employee is to read it.  If you had read it, you would see that I tried every combination of screen size adjustment and none would fix the problem.  The problem is with Comcast equipment.  FIX IT!

Silver Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken


slomobile1 wrote:

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.


I have two HD TV's; 60" and 40".  My SD premium channels are displayed with black bars on the top and bottom.  I don't watch SD channels from non-premium channels.  Both TV's can display 1080p but they upconvert the 720p picture received from the X1 DVR's.  Which X1 box do you have and what is its screen resolution and what is your TV's screen resolution?


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

As you quoted in your question, they are XG1-A boxes.  The TVs are all 16:9 physical format with maximum 1080 60P resolution.  I have tried all combinations of resolution available on the cable boxes(480i, 720p, 1080p) and the TVs automatically adjust and indicate they are receiving that selected resolution.  Also tried analog connection with same results.  No available mode displays SD channels correctly.  Black bars on top, bottom, left, and right.

Silver Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken


slomobile1 wrote:

As you quoted in your question, they are XG1-A boxes.  The TVs are all 16:9 physical format with maximum 1080 60P resolution.  I have tried all combinations of resolution available on the cable boxes(480i, 720p, 1080p) and the TVs automatically adjust and indicate they are receiving that selected resolution.  Also tried analog connection with same results.  No available mode displays SD channels correctly.  Black bars on top, bottom, left, and right.


What tier are you subscribed to?

https://www.xfinity.com/learn/channel-lineup


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I don't know how it could possibly matter, but I am subscribed to the premier tier.

Regular Contributor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I recorded a movie off of one of the non-hd starz channels last week and when I went to watch it on my laptop it was a shrunken screen. No big deal, I don't watch much non-hd but it was definitely noticible

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

There has finally been some movement on this issue one channel at a time after escalating at Comcast Business technical support.  They are aware of this thread, so please post any channels that continue to show black bars on all 4 sides all the time.  For example, in the Memphis market channel 200 Disney Junior, which has no HD alternative here, is still shrunken with black bars all 4 sides all the time regardless of the channel displaying 4:3 content or 16:9 content.

 

To recap, almost 5 months out now, this problem has been reported several ways and escalated several times but remains unresolved.

Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

slomobile,

X1 has been around for almost five years. I have had X1 service for over four years. Comcast has MILLIONS of customers with X1 boxes yet you are part of an extremely small group of people complaining about this issue.

It is time for you to face the fact that if this were a Comcast issue, hundreds if not thousands of people would be complaining about it.

Sorry but you are missing something. This cannot be a Comcast issue or many more people would be complaining.

Maybe you should consider hiring an audio/video professional to help you sort this out. Sorry but the problem is on your end.


slomobile1 wrote:

There has finally been some movement on this issue one channel at a time after escalating at Comcast Business technical support.  They are aware of this thread, so please post any channels that continue to show black bars on all 4 sides all the time.  For example, in the Memphis market channel 200 Disney Junior, which has no HD alternative here, is still shrunken with black bars all 4 sides all the time regardless of the channel displaying 4:3 content or 16:9 content.

 

To recap, almost 5 months out now, this problem has been reported several ways and escalated several times but remains unresolved.








Expert

Re: non HD channels shrunken


slomobile1 wrote:

There has finally been some movement on this issue one channel at a time after escalating at Comcast Business technical support.  They are aware of this thread, so please post any channels that continue to show black bars on all 4 sides all the time.  For example, in the Memphis market channel 200 Disney Junior, which has no HD alternative here, is still shrunken with black bars all 4 sides all the time regardless of the channel displaying 4:3 content or 16:9 content.

 

To recap, almost 5 months out now, this problem has been reported several ways and escalated several times but remains unresolved.


use cable TVland network running Rita in 16:9 but in SD it is postage stamp with curtains on all sides. If you notice the TV land image is inside the video not at the edge of the screen itself in the black curtain area. TVgo has same channel in HD in full 16:9 mode.  AFD is not being 'used' / passed through to the TVs so the 16:9 is not displaying in 16:9 with no curtains. the broadcast channels MeTV, Movies!, & AntennaTV are local broadcast channels with the same AFD flag passed through and the channels content is displayed  depending on source (SD is panned and scanned original to be in near 16:9 - usually 14:9) and true 16:9 magically fills your TV screen. The iOS devices interpret the AFD properly during rendering while the android devices make the 14:9 look like a left-to-right squashed 1:1 window. I haven't read why the AFD is not being passed on to our devices (like TVland's Rita not being full screen). 


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.

If you'd like information about the Expert program, you can find it here.
Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

It may seem like a small group because every time we report it we get **** like you with no hands on knowledge assuming the problem is something else and dissmissing it as user error.  That is unacceptable.   

I did hire audio/video professionals many times, Comcast technicians.  They have confirmed multiple times, after being in my home for hours, contacting supervisors and peers, that the problem is NOT a TV configuration issue.  For what its worth, I was a Best Buy repair technician for 5 years prior to Herf college of engineering for engineering technology degree.  I have actually written image scaling firmware in the past.  If none of us could get it to work with the equipment in our hands, what makes you qualified to presume you know better?

That is rhetorical.  I've read your profile, I know you THINK you know what you are talking about, but that illustrates the problem.  Repair efforts just stop there and no one actually does anything about it.

 

In case anyone wonders why this matters to me, I have a young child and a spinal injury that limits the kinds of things I can do with him.  Watching TV is one of the things we can do together.  He loves watching Disney Junior with me.  For me to watch that "postage stamp" in the center of a largely unused screen, knowing it isn't right, it was fine before, having my knowledge of the cause of the problem, but relying on people that don't understand to fix it is frustrating.  Watching TV should be relaxing, this is frustrating, bottom line.

Frequent Visitor

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Thank you, that was helpful. 

What I believe you are saying is that AFD information is being ignored by our X1 boxes on SD channels which are not local. 

I concur.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windowbox_(filmmaking)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_Format_Description

AFD for the ATSC DTV transition

A concerted effort on the part of US broadcasters to broadcast AFD began in 2008 in preparation for the US DTV transition which occurred on June 12, 2009.

After the DTV transition, 4:3 versions of programming are not available directly from a large percentage of US broadcasters. Cable and satellite providers down-convert 16:9 HD feeds from these broadcasters to generate the 4:3 SD versions for their SD viewers. The most common forms of down-conversion are letterbox or center-cut (cropping off the left and right sides of the 16:9 image to fit into the 4:3 raster).

Some US broadcasters transmit AFD with their HD DTV signals in order to maintain control over how SD viewers will receive their programming. With AFD included in these signals, cable and satellite providers are able to dynamically control whether HD content is to be either letterbox or center-cut for their SD viewers. However, there are cases where pay-TV providers completely disregard AFD instructions and for instance, present a 4:3 picture with widescreen elements cut off to assuage user complaints about letterboxing, on standard 4:3 sets (for instance for a secondary-market station available only in standard definition on a provider on the claim that an HD signal exists for the provider's 'primary' station for a network), to the displeasure of broadcasters.

Without AFD, either a fixed letterbox or center-cut will be required on a station-by-station basis. A fixed letterbox will result in an undesirable windowbox (i.e., a combination of letterbox and pillarbox, also called "postage stamp") effect on SD originated programming. A fixed center-cut will result in loss of important picture content on certain HD content (e.g., an HD sports broadcast containing score graphics formatted for 16:9 display).

 

This is a guide for broadcasters and providers, how to fix the problem.  https://www.nab.org/documents/resources/slidesMiller.pdf

Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I did not reread this thread in its intirety but I did glance at. I just played an SD episode of Outlander and it behaved as pictured above. Full stretches to fill the screen side to side. Off leaves a smaller 16 x 9 image. It should be noted that the picture quality was horrible.

YES a change is AFD could account for this. But it goes back to something I said earlier in this thread. I sincerely think that Comcast does not care about SD programming on X1. It's highly secondary.

There is an easy (but probably unpopular) solution here. Don't watch SD. I refuse to watch SD as a matter of principle. The guides in my X1 boxes are filtered to HD channels only.
Silver Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken


RickGr4 wrote:

There is an easy (but probably unpopular) solution here. Don't watch SD. I refuse to watch SD as a matter of principle. The guides in my X1 boxes are filtered to HD channels only.

 


....Except some content is ONLY available in SD, so some of us will continue to watch it.


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
Gold Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Speaking for our household and our TV watching habits, on the once a year occasion that we would watch SD, the "full" mode that X1 currently offers is acceptable. I always prefer to watch the entire image than have the sides chopped off.
New Poster

Re: non HD channels shrunken

Our problem is that my wife is Hispanic. Almost ALL the channels in the Spanish package are SD. We only WISH they were all HD, but they're not. So all these channels are messed up by this X1 bug. What's more, we just switched from DirecTV. The same TVs and the same SD Spanish channels DID NOT suffer from this bug on our DirecTV VTR. I've had the technician out and called customer service and they all act like "Gee I dunno." This is clearly a bug. Please fix it!!!

Silver Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken


@JeffPaloAlto wrote:

Our problem is that my wife is Hispanic. Almost ALL the channels in the Spanish package are SD. We only WISH they were all HD, but they're not. So all these channels are messed up by this X1 bug. What's more, we just switched from DirecTV. The same TVs and the same SD Spanish channels DID NOT suffer from this bug on our DirecTV VTR. I've had the technician out and called customer service and they all act like "Gee I dunno." This is clearly a bug. Please fix it!!!


What is the make and model of your TV?  Which X1 STB do you have?


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
New Poster

Re: non HD channels shrunken

I know this was posted last year but about a month ago when i got a DVR in my room as well as the main tv this started happening to me as well. Any resolution as of yet???
Silver Problem Solver

Re: non HD channels shrunken


@MichiY wrote:
I know this was posted last year but about a month ago when i got a DVR in my room as well as the main tv this started happening to me as well. Any resolution as of yet???

Is it ALL SD channels, or just some?  You haven't made any changes to your TV's settings, or maybe someone else?


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
Expert

Re: non HD channels shrunken

adding.. i have my zoom set to on for the X1 boxes and it only affects SD channels

settings (gear) >> device settings >> video Display >> zoom change to full


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New Poster

Re: non HD channels shrunken

So stumbled across this thread after finding the same issue with SD channels displaying "postage-stamped" off of a new X1 4K-capable cable box. Tried to fix through the gear Setting of the cable box. Dismayed to see only 2 options, Full and Zoom (I think), which just stretched picture Horizontally. Unlike RickGr4, I find this an unacceptable aspect ratio to watch movies in.

 

This is absolutely a Comcast orgination issue, regardless of region is seems (Colorado here). I believe this comes down to an AFD issue that the X1 cable box, after the update slomobile1 has done very well in describing the results of, now does not recognize properly. There are basically 4 different AFD codes used, depending on the source (4:3, 16:9, 4:3 Letterbox, Anamorphic) This is data embedded from the Origination site (TBS, HBO, AMC, etc.), that your TV/AVR/CABLE BOX should AUTOMATICALLY sense and adjust for. That is the biggest fault here, that either Comcast has stripped the codes that the Orgination sites actually embedded (and believe me, they are embedding them), or have replaced them with incorrect ones that causes this "postage stamp" effect. This is years-old spec, so really dissapointed if Comcast is truly not treating SD signals properly.

 

I'll continue to look into this, if I do find a legitimate answer I'll be sure to post back here.

 

 

Expert

Re: non HD channels shrunken


@JankyMcBlango wrote:

So stumbled across this thread after finding the same issue with SD channels displaying "postage-stamped" off of a new X1 4K-capable cable box. Tried to fix through the gear Setting of the cable box. Dismayed to see only 2 options, Full and Zoom (I think), which just stretched picture Horizontally. Unlike RickGr4, I find this an unacceptable aspect ratio to watch movies in.

 

This is absolutely a Comcast orgination issue, regardless of region is seems (Colorado here). I believe this comes down to an AFD issue that the X1 cable box, after the update slomobile1 has done very well in describing the results of, now does not recognize properly. There are basically 4 different AFD codes used, depending on the source (4:3, 16:9, 4:3 Letterbox, Anamorphic) This is data embedded from the Origination site (TBS, HBO, AMC, etc.), that your TV/AVR/CABLE BOX should AUTOMATICALLY sense and adjust for. That is the biggest fault here, that either Comcast has stripped the codes that the Orgination sites actually embedded (and believe me, they are embedding them), or have replaced them with incorrect ones that causes this "postage stamp" effect. This is years-old spec, so really dissapointed if Comcast is truly not treating SD signals properly.

 

I'll continue to look into this, if I do find a legitimate answer I'll be sure to post back here.


so far only local channels are using the AFD code (ex: MeTV, Movies! AntennaTV). There is a lot of formatting of the 'original' programming that is similar to pan and scan of the DVD days with SD. Once the P/S is complete then the AFD is entered so that the image is shown in 9:14 or 9:12 format if 4:3 original and the broadcaster honors the boundaries and puts their station logo and any popup advertising in the correct spot. for original 16:9 the AFD is easier as just the 'bounds' have to be put in the AFD descriptor stream so again the icons will be in the correct place from the broadcaster. I've not yet found one mention of a cable channel sending AFD on a program. have you noticed that TVgo TVland is in HD now?  


I am not a Comcast employee; I am just a customer, volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.

If you'd like information about the Expert program, you can find it here.