I agree. Broadcasters have multiple options to get HD (16x9) to SD...
A) Just send 16x9 SD. Yes, lower resolution, but still fills the screen.
B) Center cut (4x3 image with "side bars"). You lose content by "chopping off" the left & right sides).
C) Letter box. Shows the entire 16x9 image (no lost content) on a 4x3 screen.
When you combine B & C, you get "postage stamp" which is the absolute worst.