I have a Sony beta sp tape that is labeled 16:9 letterboxed. when I ingest/encode the content as a 16:9 digital file it is stretched horizontally when viewed in after effects or various media players. When I encode the content as 4:3 it appears to be correct. Does Beta SP decks only output at 4:3 leaving me to re-size/scale in my software?
Beta SP is a 4x3 format. If the tape is labeled 16x9 letterboxed, this is a misnomer. It is likely that this tape was made from a 16x9 source, and if it is letterboxed, it should have been labeled 4x3 letterbox, or just 'letterbox' to avoid confusion and redundancy. To your question, yes, Beta SP only outputs as 4x3, so either a hardware upconvert or a software resize would be your next best option.