commercials are low quality. fine. but so many commercials are actually movie trailers which are 16:9 anyway.... so you get black bars on the top and bottom. the TV does the left and right sides, the top and bottom are in the signal. if the commercial was 16:9 to begin with, it could take up the whole TV, rather than leave a big border.
KATU (local ABC affiliate) was offline last night, so I couldn't watch "The Practice" in HD. So they figure there are only a few people using it, so they can just turn it off for maintenance? *sigh* I guess so.
HD content varies considerably. The demo channel looping Pacific Northwest waterfall fly-bys and stuff is wonderful.... they used digital cameras, and probably good MPEG compressors. CSI is pretty good, but you can tell they scanned the film, because it's a little spotty. Don't get me wrong... it's still beautiful, but not perfect. Malcom in the Middle is kinda poor.... they don't make use of the wider aspect ratio. All the action is right in the middle. "Pan and Scan"? No, more like "Center and Crop". Also, Malcom's MPEG compression doesn't seem great... kinda blurry. CSI is much better.
All these issues will be resolved in time, though.
Random cool thing:
Each network gets multiple frequencies. "002.1", "002.2", etc. But there's a mapping table broadcast so you can enter "49" (local NTSC Fox broadcast channel) and have it mapped to "034.2" or whatever KPDX (local FOX affiliate) chooses. That way affiliates don't lose their "brand-name" numbers/slogans... "KATU channel 2", etc.