As you probably know, the country is converting to digital TV next year. Right now all TV stations are broadcasting in both the old analog and on a different channel- the new digital system. Generally the same program is sent to both transmitters. But this can be a problem because most digital programing is produced in a wide screen format. So stations are presented with a dilemma- how do you fit a wide-screen picture on a squarish 3x4 format analog screen?
There's three options- all with problems- the first is simply crop the sides of the picture so that it looks normal on a analog TV- except that 33% of the picture is missing. The second option is to "letterbox" the picture- shrink it down until the whole picture is visible on the analog screen. This causes everything to appear smaller and with black bars at top and bottom.
One station around here has chosen the third option- to compress the picture horizontally to fit the analog screen. This results in everything appearing 33% thinner than normal- which for some people might be a good thing. Still it's a bit disconcerting.
There are variations on these methods- some stations use a little bit of all three methods as a compromise. Another technique which has been used by some is selective compression- the middle of the picture has normal aspect but as you get towards the side the compression becomes increasingly severe. This is not done much because it can produce some very weird effects.
I just thought I'd mention this so you can look and see what the stations in your area are doing.