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BBC Our Mutual Friend aspect ratio problem

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BBC Our Mutual Friend aspect ratio problem

Old 12-14-06, 12:32 PM
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BBC Our Mutual Friend aspect ratio problem

I purchased the 6-disk Charles Dickens collection earlier this year, and started watching Oliver Twist this morning. After two episodes, I checked the other discs, and imagine my surprise when I put Our Mutual Friend in my player, and found that what is advertised as a 16:9 transfer (it's not more specific than this) is on the disc as 4:3, but *not* pan and scan, making the image squeezed to fill the screen! (A review of the R2/R4 version of this claims the OAR is 1.78:1, even though the R2/R4 is 4:3...)

I have two Philips DVD players. I was watching on my DVP642, which is connected via S-Video to my 32" 4:3 TV via S-Video. Thinking this was some sort of one-off problem, I tried the newer player in the bedroom.

This is a Philips DVP3040, connected to another 4:3 TV with component cables. The same thing happens! Here's the funny bit -- when I choose the on-screen display on this player, it places the image in the top half of the screen, and it's a proper wide-screen image!

Both these players have been hacked to be made all-region. I wonder if this has anything to do with it? I shall be experimenting to see if I can artificially letterbox the image with the various settings available on my players. The Tv connected to the DVP3040 allows an artificial letterbox, but as this TV is in the bedroom I don't want to watch something this new using the tiny TV speakers.

Apart from the aspect ratio problem, the transer looks incredibly dirty, particularly considering that this was made less than a decade ago, with lots of pixellation. Has anyone else noticed this?

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