MPEG encoders from Motorola have a cool new feature that we're excited about as HD fans. As much as we love HD, we accept the fact that most of the world is still living in SD, and sure, for the most part that's there problem. But where is our problem is that many of the programs we watch are produced with SD viewers in mind. The biggest example of this is when sports are framed for the 4x3 aspect ratio of SDTVs. This is really obvious on a football game when we're waiting for the ball to be hiked, and the camera is aimed to ensure there's nothing to see on the sides. While this ensure SDTV fans aren't missing any of the action, those with a wider perspective usually get to see grass in that extra realestate we paid for. Well, these new encoders feature Active Format Description (AFD) which can automatically decide if the content should be letterboxed or cropped. This way the producer can rest easy when directing his camera operators to frame for 16x9, without worrying about all the SD fans at home complaining cause they can't see the action. Of course this means they'll just complain about the black bars, but that's for another discussion.
[Via Media Experiences 2 Go]