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Non-anamorphic DVD's acting anamorphic?

Old 12-31-02, 11:47 PM
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Non-anamorphic DVD's acting anamorphic?

I just discovered something and was wondering what the deal is.

I have several DVD's that I've always been under the impression were letterbox and non-anamorphic. Something About Mary, Office Space, Event Horizon to name a few. I have a 16x9 TV and recently had to switch my dvd player from 16x9 normal to 16x9 auto (I might have that backwards but you get the idea) to get my Avia dvd to look right. The next time I popped in one of the previously mentioned DVD's, it sure as hell was acting like an anamorphic disk. With the TV in 4:3 standard mode, the movies were stretched vertically like you would expect any anamorphic dvd to be. In 16x9 mode I no longer had bars on the left and right. The movies appear to unsqueeze perfectly to fill my screen now (except Event Horizon which is a wider aspect ratio so there's a bit of black on the top and bottom). In fact they look pretty damn good. The only movie I couldn't get this to work with was the original flipper release of Basic Instinct.

So what's up with that? Anyone else noticed it? Are those movies actually anamorphic but mistakenly not labeled as such?
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Old 01-01-03, 12:24 AM
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I have a question that is related that maybe someone could fill me in on. Some DVD players are capable of "scaling" non-anamorphic widescreen movies for 16X9 TVs. I believe the Panasonic RP82 is very good at this. I would like to know exactly how it does this because I have read many people say non-anamorphic material looks almost as good as anamorphic material when using this feature.
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Old 01-01-03, 01:26 AM
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Hell, maybe that's what this one is doing. It's a JVC s500bk. I can't find the manual to look up exactly what the difference is supposed to be between those two settings.
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Old 01-01-03, 03:34 AM
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The Pany RP82 does NOT do scaling. I think you meant to say RP91 which is probably the best scaling DVD out there! There are others out there (very few though) that can scale non-anamorphic DVD's and you mentioned switching from normal to auto which seems to be what the player is doing. The one thing the RP91 does that other scaling players don't do is it can be made to force the scaling on some of the non-anamorphic DVD;s that are not flagged properly to let the player know to scale it. In those cases the other scaling players will not scale the dvd.
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Old 01-01-03, 04:36 AM
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With the Abyss, the picture is squashed vertically on my widescreen tv. I thought there was a missing aspect ratio setting on my TV to stretch out non-anamorphic dvds (it's a cheap make) but i'm guessing now i should actually be looking to change a setting on my DVD player.
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Old 01-01-03, 05:08 AM
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Originally posted by Mark Carpenter
With the Abyss, the picture is squashed vertically on my widescreen tv. I thought there was a missing aspect ratio setting on my TV to stretch out non-anamorphic dvds (it's a cheap make) but i'm guessing now i should actually be looking to change a setting on my DVD player.
If you have a widescreen TV, set your player to 16:9 and leave it there. If there is a problem when you're watching "The Abyss," it's a setting on your TV. What exactly is it you're seeing?
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Old 01-01-03, 07:35 AM
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It's like it's treating it as an anamorphic DVD and showing the black bars as part of the picture, causing it to look squashed vertically.
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Old 01-01-03, 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by Dammit
Hell, maybe that's what this one is doing. It's a JVC s500bk. I can't find the manual to look up exactly what the difference is supposed to be between those two settings.
IIRC, the JVCs500bk does indeed scale non-anamorphic discs automatically.
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Old 01-01-03, 01:39 PM
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The Pany RP82 does NOT do scaling. I think you meant to say RP91 which is probably the best scaling DVD out there!
Yes, RP91 is what I meant. So, exactly what is happening by scaling? It's just modifying the picture to correct geometry on the screen (depending on the aspect ratio)?
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Old 01-01-03, 03:43 PM
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Most of what you describe is controlled by how the dvd player is supposed to display non anamorphic discs.

if you have a 16x9 set and the dvdplayer is set to display on 16x9, there should be another option showing what to do with 4:3 material. On my toshiba dvd pl i have it set to fill screen (meaning, that it will stretch the material to fill the side bars) or full frame, meaning i will have bars on the sides.

I am assuming that on the jvc, it does this automatically hence the illusion that the disc is "anamorphic", which it really is not.
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Old 01-03-03, 01:25 AM
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If my JVC is actually scaling non-anamorphic disks (I'll assume you guys are right because I can't find that manual anywhere), it's doing a damn fine job of it. Very impressive.

I noticed just yesterday that I have what I always thought was an anamorphic copy of 2010 (packaging says enhanced for widescreen TVs) but for the life of me I can't get it to work like an anamorphic disk. Looks letterboxed to me regardless of what my DVD player or TV is set to. Oh well.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 01-03-03, 01:58 AM
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Originally posted by Dammit

I noticed just yesterday that I have what I always thought was an anamorphic copy of 2010 (packaging says enhanced for widescreen TVs) but for the life of me I can't get it to work like an anamorphic disk. Looks letterboxed to me regardless of what my DVD player or TV is set to. Oh well.

Thanks for the replies.
I believe the 2010 DVD is mis-labeled and in fact is NOT Anamorphic. And it appears it may be a improperly flagged DVD which is a problem for all but a coupld of DVD players that can be made to force the scaling to be done. As I explained in the previous post the RP91 is one that allows for the scaling of improperly flagged non-anamorphic DVD's to the correct aspect ratio, but most others like the JVC go only be how the DVD is flagged and can not be forced to scale in these cases. So for improperly flagged non-anamorphic DVD;s you are going to be SOL!
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Old 01-03-03, 10:21 AM
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Everyone probably already knows this, but just in case, a reminder:

Not all DVD's (anamorphic or non-anamorphic) will fill your screen even if you have a 16x9 television.

The aspect ratio of the original film print determines whether the dvd picture will fill up the display on your 16x9 television. 1.85:1 ratio films will take up all the display space on a 16x9 television (i.e.- no letter-boxing). However, 2.35:1 films will be letter-boxed, even on 16x9 televisions. Only front projection units can display 2.35:1 without letter-boxing since they only display the active picture and don't need to "fill-in" the excess screen space like a rear-projection unit.

Also, remember that some older rear-projection units (like my Mitsubishi 46809) will "lock" into full screen mode if the dvd player is displaying a non-anamorphic disc. That is where the Panasonic RP91 comes in handy. It can zoom on the non-anamorphic letter-boxed picture and display it correctly on a wide screen television.
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Old 01-03-03, 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by mrmurdstone
Only front projection units can display 2.35:1 without letter-boxing since they only display the active picture and don't need to "fill-in" the excess screen space like a rear-projection unit.
Mrmurdstone, yours is a good post except for this one point that needs correcting. Most front projectors, especially digital models, have a fixed panel that will indeed display the entire 4:3 or 16:9 (depending on projector type) frame with black letterbox bars if necessary. You can use masking on your screen to block off the extra black, but you can't prevent the projector from shining that portion of the frame.
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Old 01-06-03, 10:20 PM
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Josh Z, I stand corrected.

Good catch.
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