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Got the Non-Anamorphic Widescreen Blues

Old 07-18-05, 05:12 PM
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Got the Non-Anamorphic Widescreen Blues

Had to get the harmonica out on this one. On one hand I'm happy because I finally got a 16X9 TV, but on the other hand I'm bummed at all the DVDs I have that are non anamorphic. I knew about some of the Criterions, but I have found a lot more I didn't realize were made this way. Random titles from Warner, MGM and others that for some reason didn't get an anamorphic transfer.

The question is do I keep these and watch them zoomed or sell them? I'm going to try and slowly replace the ones I can. I just ordered the new version of Charade and put the original up for sale. I also sold my current copy of To Kill a Mockingbird since a new version is coming.

How do most of you with 16X9 TVs deal with these DVDs. Sometimes there is just no other option than non anamorphic, but why own something I don't want to watch.
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Old 07-18-05, 05:14 PM
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I've never gone out of my way to avoid non-anamorphic releases -- with some of my favorite films (like The Abyss) only available that way, I can't! But I honestly don't think I own all that many... they're a pretty small % of the collection.

And, yes, my Toshiba has a specific zoom setting to deal with these little beasties, so I use that when I view.
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Old 07-18-05, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by darkside
How do most of you with 16X9 TVs deal with these DVDs.

I've only kept the few absolute, must have, non-anamorphic DVDs (Psycho, Vertigo, Kubrick, etc) and dumped the rest. I also have a few non-anamorphic music DVDs that will never be released again. And, generally, those folks over at MGM (and WB) that pull that 1.66:1 non-anamorphic bullshit... I still have a few of those but I watch em' on my standard 4X3. I have a Panny player in my main gear rack that does a decent job of scaling so I tend to do that on my 16X9.

But yeah, for the most part I've "upgraded" whenever possible and dumped the majority of the non-anamorphic discs... Re-releases are coming, eventually. Films with non-anamorphic transfers that I'm STILL waiting on... The Bruce Lee Fox titles, The Wild Bunch, High Plains Drifter, Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, etc.

(Right about here is where somebody will have the uncontrollable urge to chime in about being region free, yada yada yada, blah blah blah)
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Old 07-18-05, 05:54 PM
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I keep the essential ones and upgrade the rest. I also own many laserdiscs so I occasionally do the zoom thing with these and non-anamorphic dvds. It also depends on the aspect ratio of the movie.

1.33:1 - Obviously no problem
1.66:1 - I leave these alone, since zooming would crop some of the image
1.85:1 - depends on the quality of the transfer. If it is good, I zoom, otherwise not
2.35:1 - always zoom. The image is way to small otherwise.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:33 PM
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My TV has two zoom options, the first is perfect for 1.85 non-anamorphic titles and the second is good for 2.35.
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Old 07-19-05, 01:15 AM
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Mostly I avoid non-anamorphic WS titles. Some of my favorite films are currently only available this way in region 1 - Raising Arizona, Big, 48 Hrs., The Poseidon Adventure, etc. - so I've held-off in anticipation of an eventual re-release. There are a few I went ahead and picked up since they aren't big name titles and probably aren't worth holding my breath for such as Slumber Party Massacre. Then there are a handful that I broke down and purchased anyway despite my better judgement, and usually because they were great DVD's despite being non-anamorphic, or were on sale at an extraordinary discount, such as The Abyss, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Phantasm, etc. I tallied them all up in the other thread and determined that I currently have 17 non-anamorphic WS titles (out of 600+).
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Old 07-19-05, 01:31 AM
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I buy or get the anamorphic whenever possible but to "get rid of" a DVD movie just because its letterboxed 4:3 format is absurd in my opinion. I'd rather have the non-anamorphic DVD of a movie I like than nothing at all of it anyday.
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Old 07-19-05, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by hifisapien
I buy or get the anamorphic whenever possible but to "get rid of" a DVD movie just because its letterboxed 4:3 format is absurd in my opinion. I'd rather have the non-anamorphic DVD of a movie I like than nothing at all of it anyday.
Yup, me too sapien. There are a few movies that I will almost NEVER watch because the transfer looks horrible, but if it's a movie I love, I won't get rid of it till there's a better release. I'm betting many will NEVER see a new, anamorphic release.

If the OP is one who started buying DVDs early after their introduction that has alot to do with having a number of non-anamorphic discs....and yeah, lots of them have been replaced with anamorphic ones. I've been picking and choosing replacement discs since buying my 16x9 set, some I'll buy again if the old version looks like crap, but if its non-anamorphic with pretty good PQ I live with it and zoom in. My Hitcahi set does a great job in that regard. I have a pal who's 65 inch Mitsubishi doesn't zoom in enough to get fill the screen entirely so he bought a Samsung player- I have one hooked to my 27 inch flatscreen in my computer room and it also does a great job zooming in, their trade name for it is EZ view.

Last edited by nightmaster; 07-19-05 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 07-19-05, 03:36 AM
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I was about to make a thread about this, but to prevent redundancy, I'll make my list here. Overall, most of my non-anamorphic DVDs were bargain bin releases.


My list:

1. Batman (1989)

2. Blade Runner: Director’s Cut

3. The Boondock Saints

4. Dark City

5. The Doors (SE) ?? Box says it's "Enhanced for 16x9 tvs", but sites say it isn't

6. The Edge

7. From Dusk Til Dawn (CE)

8. Godzilla (1998)

9. The Great Escape (Original Release)

10. Instinct

11. Kelly’s Heroes

12. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

13. Platoon (Original Release) ?? Box says it's "Enhanced for 16x9 tvs", but sites say it isn't

14. Private Parts

15. The Real Cancun

16. Super Mario Bros.

17. Super Size Me
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Old 07-19-05, 08:51 AM
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Batman (1989), Blade Runner, Dark City (1998), Godzilla (1998), Kelly's Heroes, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and The Real Cancun are all anamorphic. IMDb claims Super Mario Bros. is too, though I'm not positive on that one.

Both MGM releases of Platoon are also anamorphic, only the Artisan version is non-anamorphic. Btw, you can usually get the Platoon: SE for well under $10 (I think I've even come across it in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart) so there's really no excuse for not upgrading that one.
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Old 07-19-05, 09:34 AM
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I feel the OP's pain, a large part of my collection was bought when a lot of DVDs weren't being put out as anamorphic.

My DVD player is an Oppo though, and has several zoom options, including a 1.5x zoom that will zoom a non-anamorphic title to the proper aspect ratio. It also has a sweet scaler, so it doesn't look bad at all when I do this.
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Old 07-19-05, 09:39 AM
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This just shows that those of us complaining about non-anamorphic titles being released as far back as 5 years ago were not crazy (I had a MITS 55in WS tv back then). Alot of people would tell us to quit whining about it and that it wasnt important.

Alot of people then (and even now) did not understand the issue. But, with the emerging HDTV market, more and more are seeing the light.

I have a few non-anamorphic titles now (like Young Frankenstein, Mission Impossible, From Dusk til Dawn, Giant and so on). Normally, I rebuy them if a new version is released or an international 16x9 version is available.

Luckily, my momitsu DVD player has a pretty good zoom function that doesnt degrade the picture as much as most zooms. But, I use it sparingly.
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Old 07-19-05, 09:55 AM
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It sucks when you don't want to watch a DVD strictly because it's non-anamorphic, but I'm the same way sometimes. Even worse, sometimes I fall for bad movies just because of the pretty anamorphic transfer.
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Old 07-19-05, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Randy Miller III
It sucks when you don't want to watch a DVD strictly because it's non-anamorphic, but I'm the same way sometimes. Even worse, sometimes I fall for bad movies just because of the pretty anamorphic transfer.
Yeah, Ive bought alot of movies that I normally wouldnt have just based on the spectacular transfer.

I,Robot was a decent movie, but after renting it, I LOVED the transfer. Reference quality. I bought it the next day.
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Old 07-19-05, 10:24 AM
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Go multi-region. A large proportion of the non-anamorphic R1 releases are available anamorphic in other regions.
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Old 07-19-05, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Grubert
Go multi-region. A large proportion of the non-anamorphic R1 releases are available anamorphic in other regions.
Yep, I did that....it was great to get Con-Air, Armageddon, Home Alone, The Game, True Lies and more. All good 16x9 transfers.
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Old 07-19-05, 11:01 AM
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This has been a big concern of mine as well. I have thought that when I do take the HD tv plunge I might build a HTPC with some of the spare parts I have laying around. I have read alot about the wide range of things that can be done with them including upscaling, custom zooming, etc. Regardless, the non-anamorphic problem will always exist until a new (hopefully unified) format emerges that is specifically designed for the HD widescreen tv's.
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Old 07-19-05, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by cajun_junky
Regardless, the non-anamorphic problem will always exist until a new (hopefully unified) format emerges that is specifically designed for the HD widescreen tv's.
Not necessarily true. For the most part, the issue is non-existent for new releases. Almost all titles that are released now are anamorphic.

We do not need a unified format for this issue. Its either anamorphic or its not.

Luckily, studios have made the change and are releasing anamorphic titles now. And, they are going back in their catalogs and re-releasing some with new transfers.
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Old 07-19-05, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by joliom
Batman (1989), Blade Runner, Dark City (1998), Godzilla (1998), Kelly's Heroes, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and The Real Cancun are all anamorphic. IMDb claims Super Mario Bros. is too, though I'm not positive on that one.

Okay, I've found where Batman, Blade Runner, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (which I forgot to remove from my list previously) are in fact anamorphic. However, Dark City, Godzilla (1998), Kelly's Heroes, The Real Cancun, and Super Mario Bros. appear to be non-anamorphic. Where did you find your info, and do you have an IMDb Pro account? I got this info from dvdtown.com, which is the only site I'm aware of that states it specifically in the details for every DVD...of course, they could be wrong!

Thanks!
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Old 07-19-05, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tool_army
Okay, I've found where Batman, Blade Runner, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (which I forgot to remove from my list previously) are in fact anamorphic. However, Dark City, Godzilla (1998), Kelly's Heroes, The Real Cancun, and Super Mario Bros. appear to be non-anamorphic. Where did you find your info, and do you have an IMDb Pro account? I got this info from dvdtown.com, which is the only site I'm aware of that states it specifically in the details for every DVD...of course, they could be wrong!

Thanks!
Dark City is anamorphic. I know that.

I thought that Godzilla and The Real Cancun were too.
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Old 07-19-05, 01:56 PM
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Could be worse. They could be full screen only
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Old 07-19-05, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Could be worse. They could be full screen only
Yeah, like Three Amigos.
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Old 07-19-05, 02:07 PM
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The Edge
Ghost and the Darkness
Phenomenon
Instinct
Yellow Submarine

*sigh* I quickly noticed that these were non-anamorphic when i got my first widescreen tv. I find myself skipping over them and watching something else just because they are non-anamorphic.
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Old 07-19-05, 02:50 PM
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Yeah, darkside, I got the "blues" too.

As a huge HK movie fan, I'm finding a large percentage of my 2-shelf Hong Kong collection virtually unwatchable on my Infocus 4805. When I blow 'em up, not only does the picture go to shit... the subtitles become distractingly huge.

By the way, I watched Godzilla '98 a few weekends ago and it IS anamorphic. For my own peace of mnind, I think I'll watch Kelly's Heroes this weekend.
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Old 07-19-05, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RockStrongo
Not necessarily true. For the most part, the issue is non-existent for new releases. Almost all titles that are released now are anamorphic.

We do not need a unified format for this issue. Its either anamorphic or its not.

Luckily, studios have made the change and are releasing anamorphic titles now. And, they are going back in their catalogs and re-releasing some with new transfers.
I was just thinking about the numerous older titles that are non-anamorphic and probably will not ever get released that way. However, I can see the studios re-releasing these older movies on HD-DVD/BR (or whatever we end up with). For newer titles, I agree it is not an issue.
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