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Anytime the aspect ratio of 4:3(full)is converted to 16:9 (wide) or vice versa, resolution is almost always lost. You do notlose quality by stretching, but stretched videos look strange. Cropping removes part of the picture which does create a drawback. On standard TVs, a widescreen image is shrunk until it does not extend past the width of the screen. Quality is lost due to the fact that the TVs are always 320×240.
I do not have much experience with HDTVs, but I know that most are widescreen. Converted aspect ratios on HDTVs will probably not involve loss in resolution. Answering your question, it depends on the average audience. If most are using HDTVs, you probably don’t have to worry about losing image quality.