I watch The Big Picture on DirecTV with a HD DVR on a HD tv set. All of my other channels look fine. No black bars on top or bottom, no black bars on the sides. RT is now broadcasting in high def as of 12/16. Since Monday The Big Picture which RT broadcasts but is seen on DirecTV through Free Speech TV, has appeared with black bars on top and bottom. The DVR is not saying this is an HD program when I look at the mini guide (the blue line at the bottom of the scren that has info about the channel you're watching) or when I get the program info full-screen. So, while RT may be broadcasting the show in HD, it appears that what we're seeing on Free Speech TV is not HD.
Not only is this presentation not looking like any other HD program, it does appear to be at least a non-SD aspect ratio. I don't know what aspect ratio it is. It looks like it supposed to HD, it's longer than it is tall, filling the screen from left to right. Smaller text in the lower thirds. (I wish they were larger so I could read them... I can read other lower thirds on other channels.)
When RT goes off and Free Speech resumes their programming, the black bars go away.
So, what's going on. Is RT implementing some weird HD arrangement? Is Free Speech TV just not able to handle it? (I do notice that when Free Speech TV switches over to RT for The Big Picture we see color bars for a fraction of a second. No other network on tv handles those kinds of transitions so poorly, which I attribute to Free Speech TV not having better equipment. Understanable since they are on much lower a budget than most networks.)
Thanks for any help on this.