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full screen vs. wide screen

Old 01-04-06, 11:48 AM
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full screen vs. wide screen

I am starting a DVD collection and I was wondering if I should be buying the wide screen editions or the full screen editions. As far as I know the only difference is that when watching a wide screen DVD I see a 2 inch black space on top and bottom of the image. What is the purpose of that and is that the only difference?
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Old 01-04-06, 11:53 AM
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Assuming you're being serious and before you get blasted, it's really pretty simple.

When you watch something fullscreen, they are cutting out part of the image from the left and right.

Widescreen shows the entire image. Nothing is cropped.
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Old 01-04-06, 11:53 AM
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Wow, where to start. Do you have a widescreen TV? Full screen will do you no good; the widescreen versions are enhanced for those TVs. Do you care about the film's original aspect ratio?
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Old 01-04-06, 11:53 AM
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I don't see this thread ending well... I guess the shorthand answer, before the thread is locked, is that the widescreen edition enables you to see the movie as the director intended; it's known as the Original Aspect Ratio (OAR).

There are many (many many) threads on this subject here. Searching for widescreen and fullscreen will net you many topics where this has been discussed to death.
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Old 01-04-06, 11:56 AM
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Fullscreen is always better.
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Old 01-04-06, 11:56 AM
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Welcome to DVDTalk.

For all the information you could ever want on this and other topics, see this thread: http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=160736
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Old 01-04-06, 12:00 PM
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Stick to Original Aspect Ration. Both widescreen and fullscreen are for suckers if the film wasn't suppose to be that way.
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Old 01-04-06, 12:04 PM
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* waits for Kubrick tangent *

IP Check on aisle 5, please.
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Old 01-04-06, 12:10 PM
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Ok, dvdtalkers, here is a perfect opportunity to "educate" a person who has asked THE question. First off, the term "fullscreen" is a misnomer because screen shapes vary. For example if you own a 16:9 television, a "fullscreen" DVD will leave space on the sides. Not *full* screen in that case. Like Jackskeleton said, you need to stick with "Original Aspect Ratio". This is defined as the shape the movie was viewed in during its theater release. This is the shape the movie was intended to be seen. To create "fullscreen" DVDs, the original picture is (in general) cut off on both sides to produce an almost-square shape to fit the standard 4:3 televisions. I'm certain I have not explained this well, but there are many websites that explain it. People here will chime in I'm sure.
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Old 01-04-06, 12:56 PM
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Hi. Welcome aboard. You can find a lot of information on this and other common topics by reading the DVD and Home Audio FAQ
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Old 01-04-06, 12:59 PM
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Without getting into some of the complexities and tangents...

When it comes to movies, what you will want to buy is what is commonly labeled "widescreen." This will allow you to see the movie at home the way it was seen in the theater. You will see the complete image without losing anything. DVDs that are "anamorphic" or "enhanced for widescreen TVs" are better.

There are different aspect ratios for widescreen, so some movies will have thicker "black bars" than others. But still, you aren't losing anything. It's with full screen that you lose.

A full screen conversion of a movie takes the rectangular image and reformats it to fit the more square-like shape of a standard TV. That means it has to be zoomed. It may fill your TV screen, but the image is distorted and you won't see the full image. Stuff to the left and right will be cut off. Some movies employ what's called "pan and scan," which means the camera will move unnaturally to try to keep important things on the screen. It's a terrible thing to do to a movie.

The only things you should buy in full screen are things that were originally presented in full screen, such as TV shows. Some newer shows are presented in widescreen, but most of the old stuff is full screen, and that's OK.

P.S. Some people buy full frame movies just to fill their TV screen. They say they are "annoyed" by the "black bars." Here's the problem - if you ever buy a widescreen TV, as many probably eventually will, you'll find your full screen DVDs were a waste of money. A full screen DVD on a widescreen TV will have those "bars" on the sides.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 01-04-06 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 01-04-06, 01:02 PM
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I go by the original aspect ratio of the film, whatever ratio that shows the entire picture of the film.
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Old 01-04-06, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DaTimster
Assuming you're being serious and before you get blasted,
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Old 01-04-06, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Fullscreen is always better.
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Old 01-04-06, 01:09 PM
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Locking since this is a FAQ and several links have already been given.
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