As much as my inner dictator would like to slip into every home, Santa Claus-style, and adjust the settings on people’s TV sets, they have the right to watch things however they like. In hotels across America right now, people are watching stretchy analog signals on HD sets and even cable outlets are broadcasting old TV shows like Seinfeld at 16:9, lest they field complaints about the dreaded black bars that would frame the show as it was actually photographed. It’s not just that people are watching TV wrong—it’s that they’re being encouraged to watch TV wrong. Funhouse distortion has become the norm.
Depressing. True, but depressing. As a filmmaker, I want my images to be seen the way they were intended to be seen. I wish I had a way to disable playback of “motion smoothing” was turned on for a television. Please, please, please, if you have a newer TV, check to make sure that ll the gimmicks like motion smoothing are turned off. They only distort the image.