DVD Aspect Ratio !

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by technojunkie, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. technojunkie

    technojunkie
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    I have recently finally bought a 42" Plasma (PX60) and looked forward to watching DVD's in all there glory on a large screen.

    However, the last three films I have watched, are all in letter box (black lines on the top and bottom) and do not fill the complete screen. However, the menu's within the DVD are full screen but not the film.

    Is there something that I'm doing wrong ?
     
  2. LV426

    LV426
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    Probably not.

    Many films are made for cinemas in a shape that is wider than a widescreen TV (in relation to its height). And for such films, there is only one true way to make it all fit.

    The DVD itself outputs a video signal which is the right shape for the TV but that signal itself contains some plain black areas above and below the theatrical image.

    Here are a couple of pointers, though:

    1: The height of a wider-than widescreen film is never less than about 75-80% of the height of a widescreen TV. So, if your presentation is less than this (measure it if you like) then something is wrong.

    2: Objects in the film should be the right shape across the full width of the film. All circles should be round, not oval. People should be in true proportion, not too short and fat nor too tall and thin. Etc. If shapes are wrong, then something is wrong.

    The most common "mistake" is not setting the DVD player (or set top box etc) to output to a 16x9 screen. But note that they can and will ONLY do this if the source material contains a 16x9 video signal (aka "enhanced for widescreen TVs", aka "anamorphic"). And note also that DVD packaging is often either confusing or downright wrong.
     
  3. technojunkie

    technojunkie
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    Thankyou for the post and informative response LV426 :smashin:

    I'll get my tape measure out and post the results.
     
  4. trailer

    trailer
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    "Normal" widescreen is 16x9, 1.8ish to 1.

    Anamorphic, which was mentioned above and is more common for DVD movies is 2.35 to 1. Hence a wider picture. So, you lose the height to fit in the width, hence the letterbox effect. It's even worse on a 4:3 display :suicide:

    The next question would be "Well why don't they make 2.35:1 TV's?"

    The probable answer to that is that most of your content is from the TV. TV is normally transmitted as 16:9 unless you are unfortunate to be watching an ITV Champions League match played in Europe. Then it's 4:3. And a CRT would be ideal.
     
  5. technojunkie

    technojunkie
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    Thankyou for the post Trailer.

    I did as as LV426 suggested and measured the percentage of the screen taken up by the letterbox picture and it was 77% exactly so obviously nothing wrong with my settings.

    I guess (like everybody else) I'll just have to live with it :rolleyes:

    Thanks again.
     
  6. LV426

    LV426
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    I need to correct you here, I'm afraid.

    Anamorphic, as it refers to DVDs most emphatically does NOT mean 2.35:1.

    A 16x9 (1.77:1) film or video transfer to DVD can be (and often is) anamorphic. Recent TV shows on DVD (such as the new Dr Who, Torchwood, Smack The Pony, just three examples) are anamorphic, 16x9. So is the film "Starship Troopers" and heaps of others.

    In the context of DVDs (and digital TV in fact) "anamorphic" (which is also referred to by some as "enhanced for widescreen TVs") simply means that the video signal format contained on the disc (or in the broadcast) is intended for display on a 16x9 screen in its native state. It has nothing at all to do with the shape of the film.
     
  7. trailer

    trailer
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    Well OK the terminology may have been wrong but I was trying to explain away the letterbox issues etc etc.
     

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