Know what drives me nuts? When people buy really expensive widescreen TVs, and then have them set up for the wrong aspect ratio*. Everyone looks fat and squashed, circles look like ovals, etc.
Know what drives me even more nuts? When people on TV, who work in the TV business do this. The Stephen Colbert Report is a prime example of this, his set having at least 2 widescreen TVs on it, all of them incorrectly configured. How come none of his photoshop monkeys complain about their work being streched out?
I've handily taken some screenshots that prove my case, which you will see below.
Here is the Colbert Report's logo, as shown in the opening credits:
Here is the Colbert Report's logo on incorrectly set up TV #1:
Here, I've cropped down the picture on the TV and scaled it to 4:3, where you can clearly see (allowing for the slight downward angle that the TV is being filmed at) that the logo is nearly identical to the one in the opening credits:
It seems that the computers feeding the snazzy animated graphics to the TV are feeding it a 4:3 picture, while the TV itself is set for 16:9.
This problem could easily be solved by two different methods. First -- and easiest -- set up the computer to output 16:9 in the first place. Second, if for some reason The Colbert Report is unable to pay for a computer graphics system that can output 16:9, they could simply create the graphics at 16:9, and then squash them down to 4:3 before outputting them. This way, when it is then stretched to 16:9 by the TV, the picture will display properly.
Now this might seem extremely nitpicky, it is after all just a logo, but this same problem affects the TV he uses to display actual things during the show. Things like:
The United States of America as seen on a map I stole off the internet:
Here's the USA as seen on The Colbert Report's 4:3 TV screen. Looks normal huh?:
Here's the USA as seen on Colbert's incorrectly set up 16:9 TV:
Looks like Colbert is making "from sea to shining sea" last a bit longer here.
For comparison purposes, I've gone ahead and scaled the 4:3 USA to 16:9, and shockingly, it looks just like Colbert's "revised" United States of America:
Something else you might see displayed correctly on Colbert's #2 TV is the band Asia. Watch them here morph from the semi-normal looking body weight presented on Colbert's TV to the actual emaciated version presented on the 4:3 screen (specifically, keep your eye on the Asian on the left):
If you've managed to stay with me this whole time, I will have conclusively proved to you that the tech guys at The Colbert Report have some tweaking to do. Perhaps you should check out the state of your widescreen TV as well, so that you don't look as silly as Stephen Colbert does every night?
*: Sure, not all programming is widescreen, but that's no excuse to just stretch out the 4:3 picture so that everyone looks fat and short. Pretty much every widescreen TV on the market has several options for modes to preserve the aspect ratio while still using up the whole screen. Granted, not all of them are ideal; some zoom in, cutting off the very top and bottom of the screen, others leave the center of the screen at the proper aspect ratio, only stretching the edges. It seems to me that either of these options would be preferred to having everything be all stretched out, but maybe I'm in the minority here.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
(All press inquiries, however, ought be directed towards the author's agent, Alistair Hoel, via email to email@example.com.)