Is Netflix the "King of Crop"? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 140 Old 07-17-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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An enlightening new Tumblr blog titled "What Netflix Does" compares movies in the cinema-standard 2.39:1 aspect ratio with what Netflix crops out to achieve a 16:9 aspect, and the results are sure to shock some movie buffs. While some degree of cropping is necessary when formatting a movie for 16:9 presentation, it appears that Netflix is taking a heavy-handed approach to "pan and scan."


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"If you were born before, let's say, 2000, you're probably used to seeing the following disclaimer before the start of a movie:

This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen.

Well, as you can surmise, Netflix doesn't give you any such warnings." - source: gizmodo

I have not typically used Netflix for movie watching, out of concerns that too much quality is lost due to compression. With cropping occurs, there is sure to be an additional loss of quality, since most Netflix movies are sourced from 2.39:1 2K masters, so the resulting cropped versions are not true 1080p. Are you willing to watch movies on Netflix, despite the company's disregard for verisimilitude in terms of proper cinematic presentation?

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post #2 of 140 Old 07-17-2013, 09:05 PM
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Personally I'd use them more if they did OAR (I have a CIH system), so they are probably just doing barely enough to satisfy.

They are an ok company and don't really care either way.

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post #3 of 140 Old 07-17-2013, 09:24 PM
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Is this really Netflix specific? About all the movies played on major networks are in 16:9 format. I suspect there is a specific source which crop movies into 16:9.
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post #4 of 140 Old 07-17-2013, 09:59 PM
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If movies were shown in their OAR, those of us with plasma screens would probably worry if we watched too many movies with black Bars on top and bottom. (Uneven pixel wear). Of course those with LCD/LED screens don't have this worry.
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post #5 of 140 Old 07-17-2013, 10:48 PM
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considering this is what passes for 'HD' from my cable provider, i'd still say it's a step up.
1017586_10152944704700032_2063990526_n.jpg

if you can't see, it's a 16:9 format image, made 4:3 resulting in black bars on the top/bottom AND the sides.

imo, Netflix is a cable/satellite replacement, and will never take the place of a BD player(or whatever new fangled technology replaces that)

as for OAR, I do have plasma, and I never worry about it. if I did, i'd use the TV's crop function to make it full screen. if the movies are presented in OAR at least you have the choice.
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post #6 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 12:20 AM
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I haven't payed enough attention to this as most of my NF watching is older movies and TV shows I need to catch up on.

But I do remember some being in their OAR and needing to use my CIH setup.
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post #7 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 02:43 AM
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Foul! Fraud! Some of those movies are not even available to be streamed on Netflix. This is the old HBO formats everything to 16 by 9 vs. Showtime showing OAR argument. It's not new. Another internet time sink pretending to be blog.

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post #8 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post

Foul! Fraud! Some of those movies are not even available to be streamed on Netflix. This is the old HBO formats everything to 16 by 9 vs. Showtime showing OAR argument. It's not new. Another internet time sink pretending to be blog.

The blogger noted that they skipped around different regions. I ran a quick check to verify the movies they list do in fact stream in the countries that were mentioned. I don't see fraud, per se.

Yes, cropping to 16X9 from 2.39:1 will always result in the loss of some film content. But, there's really no "argument" per se. The cropped version is not going to be what the director intended.

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post #9 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 04:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post

If movies were shown in their OAR, those of us with plasma screens would probably worry if we watched too many movies with black Bars on top and bottom. (Uneven pixel wear). Of course those with LCD/LED screens don't have this worry.

It's a real shame—to buy a TV that offers what many experts feel is the best picture quality; then to be nervous about watching movies on it in the proper format. eek.gif
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post #10 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pixelation View Post

Is this really Netflix specific? About all the movies played on major networks are in 16:9 format. I suspect there is a specific source which crop movies into 16:9.

I suspect you are correct. In an interview about its 4K/UHD plans, I remember a rep from Netflix saying it wanted more control of the conversion process. I believe that currently Netflix accepts whatever master the distributor offers, which could be cropped—or not.

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post #11 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 05:00 AM
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Who cares about whether Netflix crops their movies or not? How many of us on here are going to Netflix for our first view of a blockbuster rather than getting our hands on a copy of the blu? Personally I would love it if every BD release was in 1.78:1. It bums me out that I have a 60"panny but only get to watch 50 some inches of it when I'm watching a movie.
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post #12 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post

Who cares about whether Netflix crops their movies or not? How many of us on here are going to Netflix for our first view of a blockbuster rather than getting our hands on a copy of the blu? Personally I would love it if every BD release was in 1.78:1. It bums me out that I have a 60"panny but only get to watch 50 some inches of it when I'm watching a movie.

You prefer your movies cropped? I like viewing them "as the director intended" FYI, a 60" 16:9 screen becomes a 57" screen when watching 2.39:1 content, not a 50" screen.

Blockbusters are not the only movies worth watching in a home theater. It would be very nice if Netflix paid more attention to the back catalog's quality, and not just aspect ratios. Watching a spaghetti western in 16:9 aspect is akin to throwing away one third of the movie.

When I compared "Start Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" via various online distributors, I found the quality of the Netflix version was sorely lacking, when compared to the competition—namely Apple and Amazon. This despite the fact Netflix used the "restored" version of the movie, as did those other two services.

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post #13 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 05:30 AM
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I just seem to enjoy things more that are framed on this disc in 1.78:1, ie the Toy Stories, ZD30, The Kings Speech, etc. I don't use the crop function on my tv when watching 2.4:1 content. I'm just saying that for the amount of movies I watch on Netflix the fact that it automatically crops them doesn't really grind my gears

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post #14 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post

I just seem to enjoy things more that are framed on this disc in 1.78:1, ie the Toy Stories, ZD30, The Kings Speech, etc. I don't use the crop function on my tv when watching 2.4:1 content. I'm just saying that for the amount of movies I watch on Netflix the fact that it automatically crops them doesn't really grind my gears

I agree 100%. The $7.99 question I ask myself is this: Would I use Netflix more often, if the service matched the quality of iTunes movie rentals? Yes. Does Netflix care since I pay them for streaming that I don't actually use? No. In fact, that has me thinking, why am I paying Netflix at this point? I'm off to suspend/cancel my account, right now!

Update: So long, Netflix

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post #15 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 05:58 AM
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I've been a Netflix member for 3+ years and certain things bothered me more than others. The thing that bothers me the most is before you could stream on unlimited devices. Then sometime within the past year I notice I could only stream on 3 then would get an error on the 4th device saying too many devices logged in. About 3 months ago I noticed they now limit you to streaming two devices. Why does this bother me more than any other issues you ask? It's because my Daughters are 4 and 5 years old and use Netflix to watch their kid shows via their iPads. Although I don't watch NETFLIX as much as I used too, at times I want too. Let's say I want to watch it in the living room via the TV or Xbox and my Wife in the bedroom via the HTPC or PS3, we can't when the girls are on. So more times then none we don't even bother. A simple fix one would say would be to purchase a second NETFLIX account. I won't do that. The only reason I don't completely get away from NETFLIX is because my Daughters use it so much and are used to the program. Could they get used to another? Sure, but it's like I'm in a catch 22 and say why bother....

I will say I took the plunge and signed up for a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. I only reason messed with it one over the weekend. I watched a few epsiodes of Under the Dome. Hopefully I will get more time this weekend so I can start comparing the two.

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post #16 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Limp Fox View Post

I've been a Netflix member for 3+ years and certain things bothered me more than others. The thing that bothers me the most is before you could stream on unlimited devices. Then sometime within the past year I notice I could only stream on 3 then would get an error on the 4th device saying too many devices logged in. About 3 months ago I noticed they now limit you to streaming two devices. Why does this bother me more than any other issues you ask? It's because my Daughters are 4 and 5 years old and use Netflix to watch their kid shows via their iPads. Although I don't watch NETFLIX as much as I used too, at times I want too. Let's say I want to watch it in the living room via the TV or Xbox and my Wife in the bedroom via the HTPC or PS3, we can't when the girls are on. So more times then none we don't even bother. A simple fix one would say would be to purchase a second NETFLIX account. I won't do that. The only reason I don't completely get away from NETFLIX is because my Daughters use it so much and are used to the program. Could they get used to another? Sure, but it's like I'm in a catch 22 and say why bother....

I will say I took the plunge and signed up for a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. I only reason messed with it one over the weekend. I watched a few epsiodes of Under the Dome. Hopefully I will get more time this weekend so I can start comparing the two.

I believe Netflix offers a $11.99 "family plan" that re-enables streaming to up to four devices, still an extra cost but not as expensive as having two accounts. I can see how Netflix is worth paying for if you have kids.

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post #17 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post

If movies were shown in their OAR, those of us with plasma screens would probably worry if we watched too many movies with black Bars on top and bottom. (Uneven pixel wear). Of course those with LCD/LED screens don't have this worry.
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It's a real shame—to buy a TV that offers what many experts feel is the best picture quality; then to be nervous about watching movies on it in the proper format. eek.gif
It sure is a shame. It's also completely unnecessary. When a plasma display is brand new, within the first 100 hours, you might worry about watching more than an hour or so of continuous content that doesn't fill the screen. Past that point, as long as you're watching varied content as almost everyone does, you have no need to worry.

Even if your display is brand new or you have extremely odd viewing practices to cause a potential issue, that's no argument for the content to be delivered in a screwed up format. The rare user that is concerned can change his own settings to ease his worry.

I'm not into "thumbs upping" or "liking". Don't take it personally. Just assume that I found your post helpful. Unless it wasn't.
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post #18 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 07:09 AM
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People want this - trust me.

I sold TVs in a big box on the weekends for a while. Any time a 2.35:1 movie was playing on a screen the customer would ask (without fail) "why can't you get rid of these black bars? I'm not spending $2000 on a tv that doesn't show the whole image. isn't this the point of hdtv? to show the whole picture? why are they still cutting part of it off?" No amount of educating them makes them like looking at black bars. We don't notice them but most people do. Actually I guarantee that most consumers would rather watched a stretched image than one with letter or pillarboxing.

I made a demo loop of mkvs on a thumb drive. I paid particular attention to what movies went onto it - Jurassic Park, Avatar, Band of Brothers, Cast Away, Imax scenes from Tron Legacy, stuff like that. Nothing that would leave black bars.
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post #19 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 07:38 AM
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This is also player dependant. My LG TV Netflix player makes almost all content 16:9 my Panasonic 310 Blu-ray player will show 4:3 for the same content. Interestingly enough some of the TV shows that were originally aired as 4:3 but shot with 16:9 film are "remastered" to show 16:9. The first few seasons of Law and Order were this way.
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post #20 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supermr2 View Post

Interestingly enough some of the TV shows that were originally aired as 4:3 but shot with 16:9 film are "remastered" to show 16:9. The first few seasons of Law and Order were this way.

Really? I watched those and thought the crop job was done really well - nothing looked blatantly out of frame. I guess this is why.

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post #21 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

You prefer your movies cropped? I like viewing them "as the director intended" FYI, a 60" 16:9 screen becomes a 57" screen when watching 2.39:1 content, not a 50" screen.

Blockbusters are not the only movies worth watching in a home theater. It would be very nice if Netflix paid more attention to the back catalog's quality, and not just aspect ratios. Watching a spaghetti western in 16:9 aspect is akin to throwing away one third of the movie.

When I compared "Start Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" via various online distributors, I found the quality of the Netflix version was sorely lacking, when compared to the competition—namely Apple and Amazon. This despite the fact Netflix used the "restored" version of the movie, as did those other two services.
I would rather watch a movie in 16:9, but I don't want movies to be cropped, I want movie makers to make their movies that way in the first place. Everyone who makes a movie knows what aspect ratio the secondary market uses, and reducing the original filming to 16:9 wouldn't really affect the original presentation.
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People want this - trust me.

I sold TVs in a big box on the weekends for a while. Any time a 2.35:1 movie was playing on a screen the customer would ask (without fail) "why can't you get rid of these black bars? I'm not spending $2000 on a tv that doesn't show the whole image. isn't this the point of hdtv? to show the whole picture? why are they still cutting part of it off?" No amount of educating them makes them like looking at black bars. We don't notice them but most people do. Actually I guarantee that most consumers would rather watched a stretched image than one with letter or pillarboxing.

I made a demo loop of mkvs on a thumb drive. I paid particular attention to what movies went onto it - Jurassic Park, Avatar, Band of Brothers, Cast Away, Imax scenes from Tron Legacy, stuff like that. Nothing that would leave black bars.

My mother is a prime example of this. She watches a lot of movies on premium channels and just explodes when she has to see those black bars. She had me set the cable box output to zoom and just left it at that. Sure the network programming pq is plain awful, but that's what she wants. She doesn't even use the aspect button on the remote, even though both my sister and I explained it to her. She wants to set the tv and forget about it.

And like others have already said, Netflix isn't alone with this and didn't even start this.
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post #22 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

I would rather watch a movie in 16:9, but I don't want movies to be cropped, I want movie makers to make their movies that way in the first place. Everyone who makes a movie knows what aspect ratio the secondary market uses, and reducing the original filming to 16:9 wouldn't really affect the original presentation.
My mother is a prime example of this. She watches a lot of movies on premium channels and just explodes when she has to see those black bars.
She had me set the cable box output to zoom and just left it at that. Sure the network programming pq is plain awful, but that's what she wants. She doesn't even use the aspect button on the remote, even though both my sister and I explained it to her. She wants to set the tv and forget about it.

And like others have already said, Netflix isn't alone with this and didn't even start this.

I doubt cinematographers are ready to give up the option of shooting with a wide aspect. The original purpose of scope-style presentation was to differentiate movies from TV. AVS Forum is focused on home theater as opposed to casual TV viewing. If someone wishes to simply watch TV full-screen and zoomed in—the option is there.

Netflix would get my business back if I could pay extra for a high quality stream of a new release as well as classic movies, the way I do with Vudu and iTunes. Then I would be indifferent to the quality and presentation of the "all you can eat" back catalog.

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post #23 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 08:51 AM
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IMO very few movies make excellent use of 2.35:1. Lawrence of Arabia is one of the few that comes to mind. Many of the other excellent movies that also happen to be in 2.35:1 I bet I wouldn't mind if the director used 1.85:1 instead. So like mhufnagel is saying, let the directors make the movies 16:9 more often.
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post #24 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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IMO very few movies make excellent use of 2.35:1. Lawrence of Arabia is one of the few that comes to mind. Many of the other excellent movies that also happen to be in 2.35:1 I bet I wouldn't mind if the director used 1.85:1 instead. So like mhufnagel is saying, let the directors make the movies 16:9 more often.

Nobody is stopping them from doing so, and the growing popularity of IMAX presentation is definitely your friend in that regard.

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post #25 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post

If movies were shown in their OAR, those of us with plasma screens would probably worry if we watched too many movies with black Bars on top and bottom. (Uneven pixel wear). Of course those with LCD/LED screens don't have this worry.
No, those of us with plasmas would not be worried about that.
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post #26 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 09:25 AM
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Everyone who makes a movie knows what aspect ratio the secondary market uses, and reducing the original filming to 16:9 wouldn't really affect the original presentation.
...of course it would affect the presentation! Lawrence of Arabia in 1.78:1 would NOT have been the same experience or presentation.
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post #27 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 09:25 AM
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I know that when I watch the Dark Knight the Imax scenes are much more pleasing to the eye than the 2.4:1 scenes
I know the first thought I had was "man I wish the whole movie was done this way".
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post #28 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 09:47 AM
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This thread is just one giant face-palm.
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post #29 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 10:19 AM
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I watched superman ii, the lester cut, on netflix, and its cropped!!! Thankfully I have the richard donner dvd in its original ratio....universal hd often crops classic tv shows to hd the same way that sony does for Seinfeld on channel 11 and tbs. Cropping is the new pan and scan.
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post #30 of 140 Old 07-18-2013, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

People want this - trust me.

... I'm not spending $2000 on a tv that doesn't show the whole image. isn't this the point of hdtv? to show the whole picture? why are they still cutting part of it off?...

This quote kills me.

How can you look at the cropped scene where you can only see 1 person of the conversation talking (or worse, only see 1/2 of both people's face) and not realized that you are not seeing the whole image?

And I know that all of pittsoccer33's customer quotes are 100% accurate.
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