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November 24th, 2009

HGTV: HD, Sorta

Sometimes I like to relive the halcyon days of 2003-2006, when individuals would turn $300,000 California homes into $2,000,000 California homes. This means that I like to tune in to HGTV on the weekends. But since we got HD I noticed something odd about the video on HGTV and Food Network, too: it’s not quite HD.

Let me explain. The center 2/3rds or so of the image? Perfect proportion. In focus. Looks sharp as a tack. The outer third on either side? Horrible. Fuzzy. But worse… it’s stretched out. It’s most evident when there’s text on the screen, as letter sizes aren’t consistent at the edge versus the middle. These networks are cheating. It’s not the same as stretching SD into HD, because watching one of these shows in 4:3 mode doesn’t quite get it right.

It turns out that this isn’t new behavior, but it’s weird: this is almost-HD content that’s being stretched anyway. What gives?

It’s really too bad. It’s painful.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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