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Davidjb1,510 posts since 23 Mar 2001
At the moment the Sky EPG and Digital Text / Interactive Services on Sky Digital are only available as a 4:3 format. When watching on a widescreen tv, it stretches to fit unless you re-adjust the picture format on the tv. I know it's not a major issue as it can still be read without looking as squashed as a tv programme. I was wondering if anyone new of any plans to make a more widescreen friendly service available? For example when you set your digibox to 16:9 format it could re-adjust all the above services to suit. I dont know if may be there is a cost issue of having 2 versions of the above which currently prevents or wheather it's just a case of not enough people have widescreen tv's yet. Any info would be appreciated.
AJ1,710 posts since 4 Jan 2003
from what I know - its more of a technical issue as the software that has currently been released does not allow for 16:9 interactive services unfortunately

I think it'll be some time until 16:9 services are released, and when they are, they probably won't have 'safe areas' - instead opting for using the full screen for info.
noggin14,368 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Part of the problem is that Sky boxes, like most broadcast kit, run at the same "resolution" for 4:3 and 16:9 broadcasts - 720x576. In neither case are the "pixels" square.

When you run in 16:9 the 720 pixels are much wider than when you run in 4:3 - so you'd have to run in a lower quality typeface in 16:9 if you wanted the characters to stay the same height and shape on-screen as in 4:3.

It is quite difficult to run digital services with two different typefaces etc. that lay out well in 4:3 and 16:9 - hence most services run in a single ratio (4:3 in many cases) - but avoid photos and circles... It is possible to run more complicated HTML type systems in multiple aspect ratios and resolutions - but you lose the ability to dictate the absolute screen layout (which I think for some applications the broadcasters don't want to do)

AIUI the BBC broadcast some of their multi-screens half-way between 4:3 and 16:9 - so they are wrong on both - but also less wrong on both...
juice229 posts since 8 Feb 2004
as far as i was aware from people i know, the sky digi-boxes, and freeview boxes are only able to display (mheg in freeview terms, not sure about the format for sky) ina standard computer monitor ratio, as the last poster said, 720x576 or 600x800. This would explain the fact that the digital on-screen displays are in 4:3. Nothing to do with the broadcast aspect ratio, just the software outputing the progam code.