Most likely they are simply cropping the sides of the picture off- which usually doesn't contain anything important so people watching on regular TVs don't know they're missing anything. This has been done for years when wide-screen movies are shown on TV so it's nothing new.
I actually find the wide screens distracting. Like you see one person siting there and all this empty space on each side. Rarely does the extra width add anything important while it tends to distract one's focus from what is.