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Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

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Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Old 05-24-18, 11:19 AM
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Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

I'm experiencing a technical problem that has me completely befuddled, and I've searched high and low on the Web for an answer, only to find none. I'm hoping someone here might have some advice on how to fix it.

For years I've owned The Chaplin Collection, Vols. 1 & 2 Warner/MK2 DVD sets and never had an issue with them. Then I didn't play them for a while, and my wife and I bought a new Sony BDP-S5100E multi-region Blu-ray/DVD player and Samsung UN60J6200 1080p TV. Suddenly, these Chaplin discs no longer will play in their 1.33:1 OAR. No matter what settings I change on either the player or TV, the discs show in 1.85:1.

Only these discs. Every single other disc we own shows in its proper aspect ratio. What could possibly be going on?

I've wondered if these Chaplin discs simply have an old encode that's not working properly now, though I have older discs that play just fine.

Eventually, I'll buy the Criterion Blu-rays of these films, but Criterion is taking their time putting them out, and it could be years before they're all finished. In the meantime, I'd like to be able to watch the DVDs I have, but they're unwatchable in the incorrect aspect ratio, which zooms them in, blurs detail, and cuts off information from the sides.

Has anyone else ever encountered a situation like this where discs that previously played just fine suddenly stopped doing so, despite all efforts to correct the settings? I've gone through the menus several times, forward and backward.

Last edited by jfearnside; 05-27-18 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Corrected aspect ratios.
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Old 05-24-18, 04:33 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

I hate to say it but it just really sounds like you missed a setting somewhere. Are they being stretched on the sides to fill the screen? That sounds like an issue with the old "progressive lock to full" error.

Or are the top and bottom chopped off? That would be a zoom setting.

Go back through the settings and keep a list of everything you change, both in the player and the TV.
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Old 05-24-18, 04:53 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Thanks for the response milo bloom (nice user name, BTW--this eighties kid gets it). I've gone through every setting top to bottom several times, so it seems to me unlikely I missed a setting, but I won't claim infallibility. When I get some time to sit down a take a whack at this again, I'll do as you suggest and take notes on everything I do. I'll also note exactly how the picture looks. Thanks again. More later...
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Old 05-25-18, 09:04 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

I haven't noticed this with standard 4:3 encoded DVDs but I have noticed this with 4:3 encoded widescreen presentations where the player seems to "flag" these titles and zooms them in automatically to make them appear anamorphic.

The Abyss is a title that threw me off. The DVD packaging incorrectly stated 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and when I went to play the title on a newer Blu-ray player it looked anamorphic. It wasn't until I checked it on a computer that I noticed it was encoded as 4:3 widescreen.
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Old 05-25-18, 09:32 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Thanks, orangerunner. With these Chaplin discs that shouldn't be an issue, as obviously there would be no reason to encode them in a 4:3 widescreen presentation. Do you know anything about the old "progressive lock to full" error milo bloom mentioned? It does seem there is some coding that is telling these discs to stretch and fill the screen, though I'm not sure why that would be necessary for fullscreen films. These sets came out in 2003 and 2004, which is old now, but not totally ancient.
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Old 05-25-18, 10:10 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by jfearnside View Post
Thanks, orangerunner. With these Chaplin discs that shouldn't be an issue, as obviously there would be no reason to encode them in a 4:3 widescreen presentation. Do you know anything about the old "progressive lock to full" error milo bloom mentioned? It does seem there is some coding that is telling these discs to stretch and fill the screen, though I'm not sure why that would be necessary for fullscreen films. These sets came out in 2003 and 2004, which is old now, but not totally ancient.
Without researching your particular player/TV combo, all I can suggest is the player/TV may have a feature that automatically zooms or spreads the image to 16:9 when it detects a fullscreen signal regardless of whether it's appropriate for the content or not.

Perhaps the player or TV has completely abandoned a standard 4:3 setting?

Any Blu-ray disc featuring a 4:3 film is still encoded as 16:9 making the black pillar bars as part of the picture.
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Old 05-25-18, 10:39 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
Perhaps the player or TV has completely abandoned a standard 4:3 setting?
I don't believe so. My wife and I own more than 1,000 DVDs, many of them fullscreen, and none of the others display this issue. The only other time I experienced something like this was with a couple of very old PAL DVDs. I just replaced those with different editions that displayed properly.

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
Any Blu-ray disc featuring a 4:3 film is still encoded as 16:9 making the black pillar bars as part of the picture.
This makes me wonder something: The Chaplin discs probably aren't pillarboxed like this. That working in conjunction with some kind of code that tells them to fill the screen might be causing the issue. Something seems to be lacking to tell the image where it needs to stop. Yet I have a setting that allows me to choose either a fullscreen or widescreen presentation, and the picture doesn't change at all regardless of which setting I choose.

I think I'm just going to have to do as milo bloom suggested and go through everything one more time, one setting at a time, noting everything, and see if that doesn't lead somewhere.
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Old 05-25-18, 03:17 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

I'm not sure but I have had some bizarre encodings for DVDs.

Some people will take a 4:3 source tape and encode that to 16:9 anamorphic causing it to permanently distort. Although some TVs have a setting which re-configures this to counter-correct it.

A couple of titles that come to mind was "Convoy" from Cheezy Films which, if I remember, was 16:9 anamorphic but looks like it was encoded from a 4:3 widescreen source. There was also a Chuck Norris "Missing in Action" 3-pack where the first "Missing in Action" was 16:9 anamorphic but was encoded from a 4:3 (1.85:1) widescreen source, stretching the picture but also including the black bars across the top. I'm not sure how these passed quality control.

Last edited by orangerunner; 05-25-18 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 05-25-18, 04:20 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

After thinking about this, we have an issue with the TV in our bedroom (which might be a Samsung) and whenever we try to watch 4x3 material on Netflix, it stretches it out on the sides to fill the screen. So, it might definitely be a TV issue.

I'll take another look at my TV settings tonight and see what shows up.
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Old 05-25-18, 09:30 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

It wouldn't surprise me that some TVs and players have abandoned 4:3. Look at the connectivity of Blu-ray players from the last five or six years - no component connections, no S-Video, no Toslink connections etc. Basically, there's no way these players can be connected to a 4:3 TV, at least not without some kind of adapter.

That's a pretty obvious sign the electronics industry wants to put anything standard-def analog in the rearview mirror.
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Old 05-25-18, 09:37 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
I'm not sure but I have had some bizarre encodings for DVDs.

Some people will take a 4:3 source tape and encode that to 16:9 anamorphic causing it to permanently distort. Although some TVs have a setting which re-configures this to counter-correct it.

A couple of titles that come to mind was "Convoy" from Cheezy Films which, if I remember, was 16:9 anamorphic but looks like it was encoded from a 4:3 widescreen source. There was also a Chuck Norris "Missing in Action" 3-pack where the first "Missing in Action" was 16:9 anamorphic but was encoded from a 4:3 (1.85:1) widescreen source, stretching the picture but also including the black bars across the top. I'm not sure how these passed quality control.
Why do film companies do stuff like that?

The good takeaway for me from all this is that my case evidently isn't isolated.
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Old 05-25-18, 09:38 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
After thinking about this, we have an issue with the TV in our bedroom (which might be a Samsung) and whenever we try to watch 4x3 material on Netflix, it stretches it out on the sides to fill the screen. So, it might definitely be a TV issue.

I'll take another look at my TV settings tonight and see what shows up.
Thanks, milo bloom. I look forward to learning what you find.
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Old 05-25-18, 09:43 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
It wouldn't surprise me that some TVs and players have abandoned 4:3. Look at the connectivity of Blu-ray players from the last five or six years - no component connections, no S-Video, no Toslink connections etc. Basically, there's no way these players can be connected to a 4:3 TV, at least not without some kind of adapter.

That's a pretty obvious sign the electronics industry wants to put anything standard-def analog in the rearview mirror.
You may be right, orangerunner. For me as a film buff, however, it's disturbing. Some of my very favorite films are only now coming to Blu-ray. A large portion of my library--a lot of the silents, the arty stuff, foreign films--may never see the light of high-def day. I sure hope the tech will be there to allow me to up-res these discs for the foreseeable future. After all, if the companies aren't upgrading them, then they're not losing any money by allowing me the tech to watch them in my old (and paid for) versions.
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Old 05-27-18, 12:20 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

While I don't own this set, I did notice that one Amazon reviewer also experienced the same problem:

Amazon Amazon

Unfortunately, he doesn't list his a/v setup.

BTW, have you looked for firmware upgrades for your BD player and TV?
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Old 05-27-18, 04:21 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Itís interesting that you mentioned having the same problem with full screen Region 2 discs. Werenít the Ď03/Ď04 Chaplin discs PAL conversions? Itís been (yikes!) 15 years but I vaguely recall some folks being a bit peeved at this because it sped up the frame rate.
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Old 05-27-18, 11:25 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by thetao View Post
While I don't own this set, I did notice that one Amazon reviewer also experienced the same problem:

Unfortunately, he doesn't list his a/v setup.

BTW, have you looked for firmware upgrades for your BD player and TV?
Thanks, thetao. I went and read that review. Yep, it's the same problem, though it sounds like the discs always played incorrectly for that guy. I saw that he posted in 2014. My guess is he had new equipment to begin with that won't properly read these discs.

The only reason I haven't run an update on my Blu-ray player is because I've heard that it can wipe out the multi-region functionality. True?
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Old 05-27-18, 11:32 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by skywalker8 View Post
Itís interesting that you mentioned having the same problem with full screen Region 2 discs. Werenít the Ď03/Ď04 Chaplin discs PAL conversions? Itís been (yikes!) 15 years but I vaguely recall some folks being a bit peeved at this because it sped up the frame rate.
I wondered the same thing, skywalker8. Maybe something in the encoding they used for that conversion is causing this problem now all these years later. I did read (long after I bought the sets, of course) that they were incorrectly converted from PAL.

And yikes indeed on the passage of time. It hardly seems 15 years ago at all! More like five.
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Old 05-27-18, 02:47 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by jfearnside View Post
The only reason I haven't run an update on my Blu-ray player is because I've heard that it can wipe out the multi-region functionality. True?
It's possible. Every player is different. I won't upgrade the firmware on my Insignia BD player for the same reason.
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Old 05-27-18, 04:02 PM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

So, I checked my issue with my Samnsung TV and it's well known on the internet. We've been using the onboard app to play Hulu, and when we play 4x3 material it would stretch it out to fill the 16x9 screen.
But, using the Hulu app on our our Xbox One hooked up to the same TV didn't do it. The problem is apparently the actual app, as it also affects some things like Roku players. Hulu is apparently aware but has made no move to fix it.

Sorry jfearnside, it didn't help your issue.
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Old 05-28-18, 11:58 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by thetao View Post
It's possible. Every player is different. I won't upgrade the firmware on my Insignia BD player for the same reason.
I've also read that there are ways restore the multi-region functionality if this is lost in an upgrade, but I haven't wanted to put it to the test, especially since everything besides these two sets plays fine for me. And it seems unlikely an upgrade would fix this particular issue, as I very much doubt Blu-ray player manufactures are rushing to put out upgrades to fix issues with 15-year-old DVDs.

It looks like I just have to be patient while Criterion finishes putting out all of the films covered in these sets.
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Old 05-28-18, 11:59 AM
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Re: Fullscreen DVDs suddenly playing in widescreen

Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
So, I checked my issue with my Samnsung TV and it's well known on the internet. We've been using the onboard app to play Hulu, and when we play 4x3 material it would stretch it out to fill the 16x9 screen.
But, using the Hulu app on our our Xbox One hooked up to the same TV didn't do it. The problem is apparently the actual app, as it also affects some things like Roku players. Hulu is apparently aware but has made no move to fix it.

Sorry jfearnside, it didn't help your issue.
Thanks very much for looking into it nonetheless!
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