Anamorphic vs widescreen - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
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What is the difference between "Anamorphic Widescreen" dvd and "Widescreen" dvd? Can anyone provide a straightforward answer?
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rexx2k View Post

What is the difference between "Anamorphic Widescreen" dvd and "Widescreen" dvd? Can anyone provide a straightforward answer?

For a standard definition DVD, if it's encoded anamorphic widescreen the picture is squashed when it's encoded and then unsquashed when it gets played back - this way more of the pixels are used to store the picture from the movie or whatever instead of for storing black bars. Standard def DVDs that aren't anamorphic aren't squashed like this (though actually SD DVDs don't use square pixels) so DVDs that aren't anamorphic but are widescreen are encoded with bigger black bars (ie. I think encoded within a 4:3 sort of frame) so the picture on a widescreen DVD that isn't anamorphic won't be as good when played on a widescreen TV. Though even anamorphic widescreen SD DVDs will have some black bars encoded into the picture if the aspect ratio of the content is wider than 1.78:1.

All Blu-ray discs released in high definition are not anamorphic widescreen for the high def content, even though they sometimes write on that it is. This is because all (or nearly all) high def discs are encoded as 1920x1080 (16:9 aspect ratio) with square pixels and not squashed. If what is on the Blu-ray is a wider or narrower than 16:9 (1.78:1) then black bars are encoded at the top and bottom or at the sides.

anamorphic widescreen DVD = better picture than widescreen DVD that isn't anamorphic when played on a widescreen TV.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 03:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a widescreen hdtv and when i play a dvd through my ps3 which is not anamorphic, i get black bars on the sides. If the dvd is anamorphic widescreen there is no such problem. Why is that?
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by rexx2k View Post

I have a widescreen hdtv and when i play a dvd through my ps3 which is not anamorphic, i get black bars on the sides. If the dvd is anamorphic widescreen there is no such problem. Why is that?

Because a widescreen DVD that isn't anamorphic is encoded in a 4:3 frame with bigger black bars (it's like showing 4:3 content on your TV, but within that 4:3 content are black bars to make it widescreen). So less of the pixels are used to store the picture than an anamorphic DVD.

Maybe there is a zoom option on your TV to zoom it to 16:9 (not to totally get rid of the black bars if the title is wider than 16:9, but to zoom enough to get rid of the bars on the side). The picture quality won't be as good as with an anamorphic DVD.
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 04:10 AM - Thread Starter
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^ For the hdtv, i just leave the picture format to unscaled (which some hdtv's call just scan). There's an option on ps3 -scaling full or normal. I can set it to full when watching 'non-anamorphic' widescreen dvd and that eliminates the bars on the sides but the picture gets fuzzy as it appears the image is stretched to the sides.
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post #6 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 04:13 AM
 
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure i actually comprehend that wiki article, i have been through it already. If someone could define 'anamorphic' in clearer terms, i'd appreciate it.
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexx2k View Post

^ For the hdtv, i just leave the picture format to unscaled (which some hdtv's call just scan). There's an option on ps3 -scaling full or normal. I can set it to full when watching 'non-anamorphic' widescreen dvd and that eliminates the bars on the sides but the picture gets fuzzy as it appears the image is stretched to the sides.

If it looks stretched width-wise only, I'd look for another setting that scales both the width and the height by the same amount. ie. if the setting you are using makes circles look like ovals and everything in the picture too wide, look for another setting that gets rid of the bars on the side but keeps circles as circles and everything in the picture at the correct aspect ratio.

The picture will still look a bit fuzzier and not as good as with an anamorphic DVD though.
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexx2k View Post

I'm not sure i actually comprehend that wiki article, i have been through it already. If someone could define 'anamorphic' in clearer terms, i'd appreciate it.

anamorphic = squashed picture, designed to be unsquashed later when played black.

Anamorphic lenses let film makers squash a very wide screen image onto a film frame that is about 4:3 in shape, using as much of the 4:3 frame as possible. Another lens in a cinema will unsquash it so it looks the right aspect ratio.

Anamorphic widescreen DVDs encode the picture squashed a lot (eg. it is encoded so that everything would look much thinner than normal if it wasn't unsquashed back to normal, which a TV/player will do automatically) so they use more of the 720x480 or 720x576 DVD pixels than they would if they were to encode it without squashing. Anamorphic widescreen DVDs will be unsquashed when played back so they play at the correct aspect ratio and in higher quality than a widescreen DVD that isn't anamorphic, when played on a widescreen TV.
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexx2k View Post

I'm not sure i actually comprehend that wiki article, i have been through it already. If someone could define 'anamorphic' in clearer terms, i'd appreciate it.

I have an old article on the difference between anamorphic widescreen and 4:3 letterboxed here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post13685744

As was said, the distinction applies only to DVD, not Blu-ray.

-Bill
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-27-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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Anamorphic widescreen DVDs record a vertically stretched image that fills an entire 4x3 frame. When played back on a 4x3 television, the DVD player restores the correct aspect ratio and generates black bars at the top and bottom of the frame. This looks much like a letterboxed DVD. However, on a widescreen (16x9) television, the difference is obvious. The television, much like an anamorphic projection lens, restores the anamorphic widescreen image to its original proportions and, depending on the aspect ratio of the film, displays smaller or no black bars because both the television screen and movie are widescreen. Non-anamorphic video played on the same television has not only the black bars at the top and bottom, but gray bars on the left and right because the video signal is more square than the television screen.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-anam...widescreen.htm
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-29-2009, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexx2k View Post

I'm not sure i actually comprehend that wiki article, i have been through it already. If someone could define 'anamorphic' in clearer terms, i'd appreciate it.

I wrote an article on the subject years ago.

Essentially, the raw DVD image was intended to be displayed on a 4:3 display. It is stored in a 720 x 480 grid (if NTSC). By interpreting that grid with non-square pixels, it will fill an old-fashioned 4:3 screen perfectly, However, send that same image to a widescreen display and it will be "stretched" horizontally and will appear distorted.

Anamorphic encoding deals with this by storing an image designed to fill a 16x9 screen in a horizontally "squeezed" fashion; when the image is received by the widescreen display, it is stretched horizontally, restoring its correct proportions. However, to be displayed on a 4:3 device, an anamorphic image must be squeezed vertically if it is to have its correct proportions. Since 4:3 sets dominated back in the old days and some studio executives wanted their offerings to appear their best on common equipment, they encoded widescreen material in 4:3 letterboxed format. That way, it would suffer from scaling artifacts associated with "anamorphic downconversion," a fancy term for vertical scaling of anamorphic images to fit 4:3 screens.

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post #13 of 20 Old 11-30-2009, 02:20 PM
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To add to even more confusion, there was a variant to the PAL system that was called PALPlus, which used normal 4:3 frame with letterboxed 16:9 picture with black bars top and bottom that could be shown normally on any ole standard 4:3 set without any widescreen-handling capability..however there was additional anamorphic picture information for the missing horizontal lines "hidden" in the black bar portion of the picture that could only be decoded and reconstructed by a PALPlus compatible TV, and if you had one, you would get full resolution 16:9 frame...imagine that...
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post #14 of 20 Old 12-01-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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Personally, I didn't understand this until I put my DVD copy of Guys and Dolls in my PS3 about two years ago. I saw the black bars on all four sides. I was confused...and now I know all about anamorphic vs non-anamorphic.
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post #15 of 20 Old 02-02-2010, 09:38 AM
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So hmm sorry for bumping this but I seem to have an issue when playing DVDs on my PS3.

I recently watched Raging Bull and Platoon (both old films admittedly) and both looked like they were stretch vertically as if the movie was meant to have black bars on top and bottom.

I played around with the video setting but it didn't change anything. The MGM logo looks oval.

I've been looking around but people keep mentioning horizontal stretch and fullscreen but my problem is precisely that it seems to be in fullscreen when it shouldn't be.

By the way I have a 1080i EDTV and it's al connected through my Denon 4810CI.

Does anyone know what my problem is?
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post #16 of 20 Old 02-02-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Drakul View Post

So hmm sorry for bumping this but I seem to have an issue when playing DVDs on my PS3.

I recently watched Raging Bull and Platoon (both old films admittedly) and both looked like they were stretch vertically as if the movie was meant to have black bars on top and bottom.

I played around with the video setting but it didn't change anything. The MGM logo looks oval.

I've been looking around but people keep mentioning horizontal stretch and fullscreen but my problem is precisely that it seems to be in fullscreen when it shouldn't be.

By the way I have a 1080i EDTV and it's al connected through my Denon 4810CI.

Does anyone know what my problem is?

Both of those movies have an aspect ratio of 1.85:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081398/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091763/

If you have a 16x9 (1.78) AR TV, then you should see either the slightest sliver of a black bar on the top and bottom or no black bars at all depending on how your overscan is set.
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post #17 of 20 Old 02-02-2010, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakul View Post

So hmm sorry for bumping this but I seem to have an issue when playing DVDs on my PS3.

I recently watched Raging Bull and Platoon (both old films admittedly) and both looked like they were stretch vertically as if the movie was meant to have black bars on top and bottom.

I played around with the video setting but it didn't change anything. The MGM logo looks oval.

The first DVD editions of both of these movies were non-anamorphic letterbox. See earlier posts in this thread.

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My opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers.

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post #18 of 20 Old 02-03-2010, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

Both of those movies have an aspect ratio of 1.85:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081398/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091763/

If you have a 16x9 (1.78) AR TV, then you should see either the slightest sliver of a black bar on the top and bottom or no black bars at all depending on how your overscan is set.

See the thing is I see no bars and i fell like I should have at least a little bar at top and bottom.
I don't have this vertical stretch issue on my DVD player but I do on my PS3 so I've been playing around with settings but I can't seem to fix it.
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-03-2010, 07:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakul View Post

See the thing is I see no bars and i fell like I should have at least a little bar at top and bottom.
I don't have this vertical stretch issue on my DVD player but I do on my PS3 so I've been playing around with settings but I can't seem to fix it.

Could be your Overscan is set higher than 0%. If it's set at 5% then the skinny black bars will not be seen.
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post #20 of 20 Old 02-04-2010, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

Could be your Overscan is set higher than 0%. If it's set at 5% then the skinny black bars will not be seen.

That's interesting, I'm going to have to look into that. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks a lot for the help.
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