HDTV for regular television programs...

I've been watching recently regular public channels on HDTV in the local italian restaurant during dinner and realized that the faces are too wide and everything is spreaded along the screen.
Is wide HDTV only for movies or it can be adjusted for square screen?
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If what you're seeing looks as if the people need to be on a diet then you're not seeing HDTV.

Yes HDTV has a 16:9 aspect ratio but all objects should be correctly displayed with no distortion. With true HDTV (I suspect that you were watching DTV) images are sharp and detailed and colors are bright, vivid, and natural. The HDTV viewing experience should be like looking through a window at the world around you.
Yeah...it should look perfect if it's HDTV. I know that The Tonight Show is broadcast in HDTV, but I don't think there is much programming out there that was actually shot that way...not yet. It's a rather expensive process (special cameras, equipment, and transmition process), so I'd be surprised if the PBS station would be able to afford it.

It sounds like the restaurant may have a wide-screen HDTV ready TV. Maybe they're trying to watch regular TV on the wrong setting?? I don't know...it sounds odd.
I jumped into HDTV ,not knowing much. I had to get a projector because of the size of the widescreen rptv's. (apt balcony walkway corners to narrow) I sure made the right decision;for me.--Way much so called hi def material is in 4.3.(HBO) I HATE watching in anything in a "screen- filling" mode.I hate seeing bars above or beside the picture. Also they WILL cause burn in,over time.-- Fact: a year or so with 60/40 4.3 immages-- and non reversable.

With remote zoom & focus,I just make the picture larger. Things stay with the correct geometry, the bars spill over the sides of the screen--a prefered option for me.
RPTVs don't have this option. Your choices are bars or distorted stretch mode.

This is still a 4.3 world. (Unless one were to only watch widescreen dvds/ or widescreen programing)

Mitsubishi has 4 modes to watch 4:3 expanded to fit a 16:9 screen in the RPTVs:
Expand & Zoom do not stretch the image but place the top and the bottom of the image out of the viewing area.
Standard & Stretch do stretch the image; Standard is an even stretch across the screen; Stretch leaves the center alone and stretches the edges.
Not perfect methods, but I got used to the difference easily -- your mileage may vary.
PBS offers quite a bit of HD programming (and SD widescreen programming). Some of PBS's programs are the most visually spectacular HD out there. The question is whether the local affiliate has the capibility to pass the digital signal. As PhilD mentioned NBC's the tonight show is broadcast in HD (Crossing Jordan as well, but NBC is far behind the other networks). In addition, most of CBS's primetime lineup and alot of ABC's primetime shows are also broadcast in HD. Fox broadcasts a handful of shows in EDTV (480p widescreen -- NOT high definition).

In respose to AVguyGeorge's post --
I have never seen a HD 4X3 program. It is not an ATSC specified resolution. A HD program could be sent as a 4X3 window within a 16X9 frame -- but I have never seen it done in the almost three years I've been watching HDTV (and this would only make sense if the program was derived from a telecined 4X3 film). What you were watching on HBO was most likely an upconverted 480i signal. They still have a fair amount of programming broadcast this way on their HD channel (sex in the city, Boxing, Six Feet Under, movies they feel don't deserve a HD transfer, etc.)

Hope this helps...
does anyone know if Direct TV offers much in HDTV? sailinfla