The background on this...
The Wire is shot entirely with Panavision cameras. David Insley let us know that, "These later episodes of the show are shot Super 35, 3-perf, and that saves a lot of money because that means we're shooting about three quarters of the film we used to. But we're only using the 4 x 3 part, so we're losing the edges of the 16x 9, but it's less than we were using when it was 4-perf, so (the image is) somewhere between a Super 16 image and a standard 35 (mm) image."
Some dialog looping (ADR) is done in Baltimore, but more often in New York. Foley and final audio mix are also done in New York.
"4x3 feels more like real life and real television and not like a movie."
And perhaps the final contrast to the rest of high-end episodic television, The Wire for each of its five seasons has been produced in good old fashioned 4 x 3 standard definition. DP Dave Insley recalled, "The reason the show has stayed 4x3 is because David Simon thinks that 4x3 feels more like real life and real television and not like a movie. The show's never been HD, even 4x3 HD and that (SD) is how it is on the DVDs. There is no 16x9 version anywhere." As a viewer with an HD set I will point out that like much of SD television that makes its way to HD channels, it appears that HBO utilizes state-of-the-art line doubling technology. It may still be standard definition, but line doubled it looks considerably better on a high definition set than it would on a standard definition set.