Originally Posted by chirpie
Someone debunked this earlier but I'll say it again.
There IS HD resolution 4:3 material. (The Larry King example was incorrect though) It's all from film though.
Movies like Casablanca on HD-DVD and HD presentations on TV of the Wizard of OZ have the resolution to be converted to HD presentations and look great. (Particularly Casablanca and The Adventures of Robin-Hood)
If the aspect ratio of 4:3 is what's got you hung up, then I guess my Blu-Ray of Ratatouille isn't HD either because it's 1:2.35 and has black bars at the top and bottom.
If you're limiting 4:3 to the world of TV then it gets tricky. Shows like Seinfeld and Friends were shot on film and could potentially be rescanned and remastered for HD where other shows may have been shot on plain old SD video and will never look better.
Explain to me then how the Casablanca HD-DVD is able to produce 1080 vertical lines of resolution while still maintaining it's 1.33:1 aspect ratio. For one thing, no display is capable or displaying more than 1080 progressive lines vertically, so how are they able to squeeze all 1080 of those lines into the center of the screen?
It's really not very different than standard DVD's that have 4:3 or Fullscreen movies. They are still on DVD but it is impossible for them to have the same resolution of a Widescreen version of the same film. The max they could do would be 640 x 480, DVD resolution is capable of 720 x 480 under NTSC.
The difference with Casablanca is, it was shot in 1.33:1, so there was no need to crop it, no resolution was lost by doing that, so it looks great. My guess is they did a very high quality transfer, enhanced the image, made it progressive scan (something DVD can't do), and encoded the side bars so that the HDTV won't attempt to upconvert the 4:3 image. If you were to compare it side by side to the same DVD version, the HDTV would upconvert the image to the native resolution and look like crap.
When you display a 4:3 image on a Widescreen TV, it's still scanning the side bars and this is why you can get burn-in. If it just totally shut off the pixels in that area, you would have no burn-in danger. Those lines of resolution are wasted on a blank image. Again, if you can prove to me how they are squeezing those lines into the middle of the screen and completely bypassing the pixels on the outer edges of the screen, I will eat crow. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.
Ratatouille is 2.40:1 so like many widescreen films, you will still see black bars on a 16:9 TV, but it's still HD resolution because it has more than 720 vertical lines of resolution.