The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern needs you to know that you’re watching your HDTV wrong. Next generation televisions are built for a 16:9 aspect ratio, he explains, so normal TV’s 4:3-formatted programming only looks right when bordered by black boxes. But TV owners who paid a premium for the big sets are stretching images beyond reason.
The resulting distortion is infuriating to Morgenstern, who wonders if America’s disregard for proportion degrades the art of television. “It is odd when people don't notice that actors, or even basketball players, seem to have put on 30 pounds,” says one director Morgenstern goes to for comfort. “But all sorts of things in modern society bother me.”