How come HDTVs aren’t smart enough to auto crop themselves to the right size? Nearly every TV I see has problems with adjusting to the correct screen resolution to fit the current program or commercial.
Obviously the problem comes from the fact that some programming is in 4:3 (standard) and some is in 16:9 (widescreen). Old programming will always be 4:3 even if everybody gets widescreens, but as long as the height is the same this isn’t a problem there will just be black on the left and right of the image like vertical letterboxing. The problem is when widescreen programming is converted to 4:3 then played on a 16:9 screen; usually some local station is still doing this to appease people who don’t have widescreen TVs yet. Now you have letterboxing all around.
These days TVs should be able to recognize that 40% of the screen is black and zoom into the screen at the center.
Instead they have the option to “zoom” on the remote. This is nice but the cropping always happens in the same place so even the simplest software would recognize it. It seems that it should do this on the fly for you and the zoom button should just be the option to turn it off if it’s malfunctioning.
Some TVs have this auto crop feature but the dang thing never works so you’re always left to zoom anyway. This is probably because the black regions have slightly different levels of contrast but why not put a slider where you can adjust the sensitivity of black detection. Again even the simplest software can tell the difference between pixels that stay the same level of 95% black for the whole program and moving active color pixels.