Tuesday, January 20, 2009

how to stretch standard definition broadcasts on a charter digital tuner

I recently bought a nice HD tv that was without a QAM tuner. QAM tuners are what allow you to watch the free HD channels while your TV is connect to cable. You can learn more about QAM at wikipedia.

I got a digital tuner box (also known as a set top box) from charter so I could get access to the HD channels. The box worked like a charm but it displayed all standard definition programming as a 16:9 feed with black bars on the side. My TV couldn't zoom or stretch the signal since it was already in 16:9.

There were no options on the remote or in the charter menu that would set the display size. After some poking I found the User Guide for DCH6200 which is the set top box I had.

All the output options for the box are hidden in a secret menu you access by shutting off the box and hitting the menu button in rapid succession. Once the hidden menu is up you can select 480p to send standard definition as a 480p signal that the TV can stretch or display however you'd like.

Its a shame that the menu is hidden and charter didn't send the user manual with the box, but it works pretty well now that I know what I'm doing.