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Old 01-24-2006, 10:16 AM   #1  
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Default 16:9 letterbox view in stores

I don't have a 16:9 tv, but in the future I may consider it.
In stores (walmart, sears, etc.) I see widescreen tvs that are playing movies that are "letterboxed" on the screen, leaving a few inches black on top and bottom of the picture. Is this because the store has not changed the output ratio on the device thats sending the media to the tv? Will hdtv sent OTA appear to take up all the screen or will it appear the same as it does on a 4:3 standard size tv?
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Old 01-24-2006, 12:44 PM   #2  
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It could be a variety of things. If they were playing a movie, it may have been a movie that was filmed in 2.35:1 aspect ratio (16:9 TV's are 1.77:1, so there will be letterboxing on a 2.35:1 movie). Or they may have messed up their connections or settings in some way.
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:09 PM   #3  
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Yeah, that kind of surprises a lot of people. You'd expect that if you got a widescreen TV, then all your DVDs would fill up the whole screen, right? Wrong - that only applies to some movies, they usually say "enhanced for widescreen TVs". Most DVDs still show a little black on the top and bottom (though less so than on a regular 4:3 tv of course) , simply because most movies are filmed in a different aspect ratio than widescreen TVs. I don't know why they don't make 2.35:1 screen TVs, and make that the standard for HD, you'd think that would be the smart thing to do. I'm sure there's an answer why not, maybe someone else here knows, I sure don't.
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Old 01-24-2006, 08:28 PM   #4  
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To get a more detailed look at this phenomon check out:
HDTV Pictures
Bars, Bars and More Bars
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Old 01-24-2006, 11:16 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogdor
Yeah, that kind of surprises a lot of people. You'd expect that if you got a widescreen TV, then all your DVDs would fill up the whole screen, right? Wrong - that only applies to some movies, they usually say "enhanced for widescreen TVs". Most DVDs still show a little black on the top and bottom (though less so than on a regular 4:3 tv of course) , simply because most movies are filmed in a different aspect ratio than widescreen TVs. I don't know why they don't make 2.35:1 screen TVs, and make that the standard for HD, you'd think that would be the smart thing to do. I'm sure there's an answer why not, maybe someone else here knows, I sure don't.
"Enhanced for widescreen TV's" does not mean the movies are 16:9. It simply means they are "anamorphic". For movies the actual aspect ratio is usually that of the original theatrical release. I have "Enhanced for widescreen TV's" DVD's of movies with aspect ratio's ranging from 1.85:1 to 2.55:1 with various other aspect ratios between those limits.
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:16 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianO
"Enhanced for widescreen TV's" does not mean the movies are 16:9. It simply means they are "anamorphic". For movies the actual aspect ratio is usually that of the original theatrical release. I have "Enhanced for widescreen TV's" DVD's of movies with aspect ratio's ranging from 1.85:1 to 2.55:1 with various other aspect ratios between those limits.
Hmm, I did not know that. All I know is that all the DVDs I have that say "enhanced for widescreen" actually fill up my entire 16:9 screen.
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Old 01-25-2006, 10:26 AM   #7  
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Thanks for all the good info and the quick replies. For those of you that have widescreens; Do you feel cheated by the part of the screen that's not in use? or. Do you think the widescreen was a good investment and you'll never go back to a standard 4:3 screen?
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:39 PM   #8  
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I don't feel cheated at all. The film maker decided they wanted the image to be in Cinemascope aspect ratio and that's the way it should be shown. Obviously the HDTV will have to display the image in letterbox. Now if they took a slice out of the middle or went to pan scan to fill up my HDTV screen, then I would feel cheated. When the new HD DVDs come out, the detail will make the letterboxing moot in my opinion as there will still be more resolution than the SD DVDs.
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:05 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogdor
I don't know why they don't make 2.35:1 screen TVs, and make that the standard for HD, you'd think that would be the smart thing to do. I'm sure there's an answer why not, maybe someone else here knows, I sure don't.
Because the majority of movies are filmed in 1.85:1, not 2.35:1. 1.85:1 won't fit your 16:9 screen exactly, but you probably won't notice the letterboxing. Some filmmakers use 2.35:1, and that's their choice, but they're not in the majority.

(source: http://www.imdb.com/Sections/DVDs/AspectRatios/)
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Old 01-25-2006, 06:58 PM   #10  
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1.85:1 is 'Academy Standard', 2.35:1 is Cinemascope.
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Old 01-25-2006, 07:35 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbinck
I don't feel cheated at all. The film maker decided they wanted the image to be in Cinemascope aspect ratio and that's the way it should be shown. Obviously the HDTV will have to display the image in letterbox. Now if they took a slice out of the middle or went to pan scan to fill up my HDTV screen, then I would feel cheated. When the new HD DVDs come out, the detail will make the letterboxing moot in my opinion as there will still be more resolution than the SD DVDs.
The only thing is that HBO & Showtime will only accept a 1.78 full frame master so this is one of the reasons we do transfers that are a 1.85 (our whatever the aspect ratio is) letterbox master and a 1.78 full frame master. We will re-size in telecine to make it a full frame. In a 1.85 to 1.78 we just blow up the picture slightly or from a 2.35 or even a 2.55 will do a pan scan.
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Old 01-25-2006, 07:48 PM   #12  
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movies are put on dvd in original theater format. ( not sure of the numbers) and this is why all that are on dvd in widescreen format have the "bars". some 6v's will allow you to increase the size of the picture,that will "lessen" the bars. It never bothered me. It's like going to the theater.
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Old 01-26-2006, 12:43 AM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSawdey
1.85:1 is 'Academy Standard', 2.35:1 is Cinemascope.
While CinemaScope was the first 2.35:1* anamorphic process (in 1953), it was discontinued by 20th Century Fox in 1968 in favour of Panavision which by then had become the most used 2.35:1 anamorphic process.

While 1.85:1 is the de facto Academy Standard today, it was once considered to be widescreen. It originated as the recommended aspect ratio in Paramount's VistaVision (non-anamorphic) process which supported aspect ratios in the range 1.66:1 to 2.1:1



* Early CinemaScope movies came in two forms: A limited release 2.55:1 version (a few were 2.66:1) with a 4 discrete-channel magnetic soundtrack and the general release 2.35:1 version with an industry- standard optical soundtrack.
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:21 PM   #14  
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@rbinck. I like to see films as the director intended. I usually get the widescreen versions of dvd's if possible, and do feel somewhat cheated fi it has been formated to fit my SD screen.
It would annoy me to see black all the way around a picture like in the link rbinck posted. http://www.highdefinitionblog.com/?page_id=92
I saw a commercial for underworld (movie) last night, that was widescreen on my SD tv, and just imagined watching it on a HD tv with black bars around it. But this annoyance will be obsolete in a few years, so I could probably live wiht it for that long.
Thanks for the discussion and this informative forum. I look forward to contributing to this forum in the future.
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Old 01-26-2006, 05:40 PM   #15  
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Welcome Bad.
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