Center Cut Safe and Why It Still Creates Headaches [Part 3 of 3]

TV stations weigh in on the HD vs SD picture issue


Taking in to consideration the 4:3 TV screens in homes, who determines if a 16:9 picture is broadcast in letterbox viewing mode or if the sides are ‘cut off’

from the frame, which is known as center cutting?  Ultimately it is the TV stations/network.  Some display your content exactly as it is provided to them

and some will automatically center cut OR letterbox your HD content for their SD feed.


Straight from one horse’s mouth:


{This station] can only accept 16×9 HD material with a 4×3 safe title area. This is due to the fact that many of our viewers still watch our stations

and your advertisements on Standard Definition 4×3 aspect ratio television sets. Our cable and satellite Distribution partners as well as all “Set Top Boxes”,

by default, center cut the 16×9 HD material during the down conversion process. Therefore any important information outside this area will not be seen on

4×3 televisions.


Some advertisers have tried to outsmart the station by delivering a black box around a 16:9 image, thus knowing that even if the station cuts off the sides,

they are only cutting off black and the image would show up as letterboxed, but stations soon started rejecting such content because some will actually letterbox

the image and in such cases would add MORE black to the edges and make the actually video image even smaller.


So the battle wages on, for now.  Until the world is all viewing in 16×9 HD.  And then something new will come along!



A 16:9 image “postage stamped” on a 16:9 TV screen.

Read : Part 1 | Part 2


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