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How to win the format war (YES this is a software post!)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
2 scenes play out in average Joe America's living room:

#1:Hey Bob come here I want to show you something

Sure Joe, what is it?

You know that plasma tv I bought last year?

Sure,

Well I hooked it up to my kids PS3XBOX360 and put in one of those
new bluhd dvd's. Check it out.

WOW, picture looks great, but why doesnt it fill the screen?

I don't know, some do, some don't. It's kinda frustrating. My wife
likes the full screen ones, so those are the ones I going to rent from
now on....

#2: Hey Bob come here I want to show you something

Sure Joe, what is it?

You know that plasma tv I bought last year?

Sure,

Well I hooked it up to my kids PS3XBOX360 and put in one of those
new bluhd dvd's. Check it out.

WOW, picture looks great, thats fantastic, gotta get one for myself!


See what happens when average America sees an HD movie for the first
time? If it doesn't fill the screen, they immediately notice it and it becomes
an issue. Even if it is explained that this is the directors intent blah blah, it
becomes a negative right out of the gate.

My OPINION is that whom ever starts doing their movies in 16:9, all their movies,
will win the format war. Given the choice, I would rent/buy a 16:9 over a wider
format any day of the week. I paid alot of money for my tv and I want to use the
screen that I have, and I believe that average Joe America feels the same way.
post #2 of 24
Well read this and see if you still feel the same way after.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
I agree with what that site says.

But people still like it when the picture fills the screen.
A 2.35:1 move panned down to 4:3 is very bad, but a
2.35:1 movie panned down to 16:9 is not. And a 1.85:1
barely has'd to be touched at all.

Most of the people who post here are audio and video
enthusiast. We understand why things work and why
they should. On a good day there are 3-4 thousand people
looking at AVS forum. In America there are 300 million people!

What we do here makes no difference in the grand scheme of
things. It is average Joe America who will decide what we are
watching on our tv's. And average Joe America likes a full screen!
post #4 of 24
That's what a tv's zoom button is for.
post #5 of 24
I disagree. I really doubt most people will want part of the image discarded. In my opinion, it is better to have a somewhat smaller picture and see everything, than have a larger image that is only part of what you were intended to see. On both Laserdisc and DVD, the vast majority of consumers have rejected losing any part of the intended image. Widescreen DVDs outsell pan & scan DVDs by a wide margin. I don't see this changing much on HD disc. Although DVD dynamics do not directly contradict your view on 16:9 vs wider images, I pulled a few Amazon widescreen vs pan and scan examples:

Superman Returns. The widescreen version is ranked #102, the pan & scan version is #521.

Over The Hedge. The widescreen version is ranked #93, the pan & scan version is #389

Ice Age - The Meltdown. The widescreen version is ranked #41, the pan & scan version is #320

X-Men The Last Stand. The widescreen version is ranked #125, the pan & scan version is #1223
post #6 of 24
Players should have an OAR/FS button. The FS may look bad but who cares?
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fa8362 View Post

I disagree. I really doubt most people will want part of the image discarded. In my opinion, it is better to have a somewhat smaller picture and see everything, than have a larger image that is only part of what you were intended to see. On both Laserdisc and DVD, the vast majority of consumers have rejected losing any part of the intended image. Widescreen DVDs outsell pan & scan DVDs by a wide margin. I don't see this changing much on HD disc. Although DVD dynamics do not directly contradict your view on 16:9 vs wider images, I pulled a few Amazon widescreen vs pan and scan examples:

Superman Returns. The widescreen version is ranked #102, the pan & scan version is #521.

Over The Hedge. The widescreen version is ranked #93, the pan & scan version is #389

Ice Age - The Meltdown. The widescreen version is ranked #41, the pan & scan version is #320

X-Men The Last Stand. The widescreen version is ranked #125, the pan & scan version is #1223

Thats really interesting, thanks. I do wonder what the aspect ratio of these
were. Are the 2:35-1 or 1:85-1?
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneL View Post

Players should have an OAR/FS button. The FS may look bad but who cares?

Read ToddUGA's post above yours
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by swgiust View Post

Thats really interesting, thanks. I do wonder what the aspect ratio of these
were. Are the 2:35-1 or 1:85-1?

I didn't check the aspect ratios, but guessing, I would say Superman Returns and X-Men The Last Stand are very wide and the two animated titles are less wide.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by fa8362 View Post

Superman Returns. The widescreen version is ranked #102, the pan & scan version is #521.

Over The Hedge. The widescreen version is ranked #93, the pan & scan version is #389

Ice Age - The Meltdown. The widescreen version is ranked #41, the pan & scan version is #320

X-Men The Last Stand. The widescreen version is ranked #125, the pan & scan version is #1223

Unfortunately there's an explanation for these numbers that may not hold true for HD releases.
People prefer buying the widescreen versions because almost everybody has 16:9 TV sets nowadays, so they don't want to buy the 4:3 versions. If the Pan & Scan versions were not 4:3 but instead 1.78:1 for all movies, people would be all over them.

When it comes to HD, this is the exact scenario. People would have to choose between a version that fills the HD screen and one that doesn't. I'm afraid, a whole lot of people would prefer their screen filled, as sad as it is.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_TC View Post

Unfortunately there's an explanation for these numbers that may not hold true for HD releases.
People prefer buying the widescreen versions because almost everybody has 16:9 TV sets nowadays, so they don't want to buy the 4:3 versions. If the Pan & Scan versions were not 4:3 but instead 1.78:1 for all movies, people would be all over them.

When it comes to HD, this is the exact scenario. People would have to choose between a version that fills the HD screen and one that doesn't. I'm afraid, a whole lot of people would prefer their screen filled, as sad as it is.

When the majority of people had 4:3 TVs, they still rejected pan and scan. Widescreen versions have always outsold pan & scan on both Laserdisc and DVD.
post #12 of 24
Just because the average Joe likes everything to fill his screen, that doesn't mean we all have to put up with it. Wanting a movie to fill a screen is nothing new, and I don't have a problem with accomodating those people who want a "fullscreen" 16x9 version, as long as an OAR version is available. They would lose me as a customer if they only released 16x9 versions of 2.40:1 films.

BTW, I don't think that most people (if you're including all people with TVs, not just enthusiasts with with theater systems) have 16x9 sets these days. More and more people are buying them, but I'd bet the majority is still 4:3.

I were showing an HD movie to someone for the first time, I would be inclined to make it 1.85:1/1.78:1 just so the person can have a potentially better first impression, but I would then follow it up with a 2.40:1 film to demonstrate that not everything will fill the screen.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDrexl View Post

Just because the average Joe likes everything to fill his screen, that doesn't mean we all have to put up with it. Wanting a movie to fill a screen is nothing new, and I don't have a problem with accomodating those people who want a "fullscreen" 16x9 version, as long as an OAR version is available. They would lose me as a customer if they only released 16x9 versions of 2.40:1 films.

BTW, I don't think that most people (if you're including all people with TVs, not just enthusiasts with with theater systems) have 16x9 sets these days. More and more people are buying them, but I'd bet the majority is still 4:3.

I were showing an HD movie to someone for the first time, I would be inclined to make it 1.85:1/1.78:1 just so the person can have a potentially better first impression, but I would then follow it up with a 2.40:1 film to demonstrate that not everything will fill the screen.

The "Average," joe prefers widescreen over pan & scan. This has been proven not just by sales in a 4:3 majority market but in group studies. If a person is educated to understand the difference (and I know this can be difficult) about 90% will say they'd prefer the OAR. The 10% just want their screen filled, period.

The others who buy full screen do so by mistake or out of not understanding the difference. I believe most who buy full screen think someone is putting black bars over part of the picture to give it a widescreen look. They don't understand that part of the picture is getting cut off.
post #14 of 24
I hope the HD format doesn't get dumbed down like the DVD format (and nearly ruined at times) by creating OAR and 'fullscreen' versions. This is the time for the Studios to do it right, OAR all the time, every time. Don't give them a choice. Since the formats are still infants, this is also the time to start educating. They tried with DVD, but since the FS option was already out there it was too late for most J6Ps.

I think film grain will probably be a bigger issue as the formats mature.
post #15 of 24
Per the other comments if you want the screen filled learn to use the zoom function in your TV. But leave the discs as OAR for the rest of us.
post #16 of 24
ironic, as 2.35 and wider aspect films are the ones that can really benefit from the increased resolution- which becomes all the more apparent when you project them large (especially with a constant height set-up).

I agree though, there should be a dumbed down format for the black bar/grain/directors original intent haters out there.
It would make everything so much easier too as I could just concentrate on the 'other' format and not have to deal with that nonsense.

Anyone else think it would be great if HD remains a niche/laserdic-like format for a good few years?
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by swgiust View Post

My OPINION is that whom ever starts doing their movies in 16:9, all their movies,
will win the format war. Given the choice, I would rent/buy a 16:9 over a wider
format any day of the week. I paid alot of money for my tv and I want to use the
screen that I have, and I believe that average Joe America feels the same way.

You and all your kind should be hunted down and burned at the stake.

And for all the people who say you can't have a wrong opinion; case in point.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by fa8362 View Post

When the majority of people had 4:3 TVs, they still rejected pan and scan. Widescreen versions have always outsold pan & scan on both Laserdisc and DVD.

Well, then I guess there's hope for mankind

I wouldn't know because over here in Germany we don't get any Pan & Scan releases. Everything is released in widescreen only.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
I would imagine as HDTV gets more popular more and more things will actually
be filmed in 16:9. Many movies today make far more money in their DVD release
than in the theaters. If the majority of your customers are watching them on
16:9 tv's, why not start filming them in 16:9 ?
post #20 of 24
Maybe we should all chip in and buy swgiust a nice front-projection setup just so he'll stop with all these "OAR is bad" posts.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by swgiust View Post

I would imagine as HDTV gets more popular more and more things will actually
be filmed in 16:9. Many movies today make far more money in their DVD release
than in the theaters. If the majority of your customers are watching them on
16:9 tv's, why not start filming them in 16:9 ?


Confusion++

In the, say, 80s and 90s, when most TVs were 4x3 - why weren't most movies filmed in this ratio? I mean, ALL of the VHS and Beta tapes out there were being played on 4x3 sets...

Tell you what - why don't we let the film-makers, you know, make films - they way they want to.

And we could let the content providers provide content in the same way it was created.

And the masses can consume it in the fashion the creator intended.

It's almost Utopian in its simplicity, really.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by swgiust View Post

See what happens when average America sees an HD movie for the first time? If it doesn't fill the screen, they immediately notice it and it becomes an issue. Even if it is explained that this is the directors intent blah blah, it becomes a negative right out of the gate.

How is this an issue with "HD movies"? Isn't this scenario exactly the same for standard DVD? Joe and Bob are going to have some films "fill up" their plasma screen -- and some not -- on DVD as well. Anything 2.35:1 or 1.33:1 on standard DVD has to have bars somewhere.


The aspect ratio issue (with people hating 'black bars') didn't stop DVD from becoming the most successful consumer electronics product in history, with the vast majority of titles in OAR. I don't see how it now becomes an 'issue' with HD. Especially when most HD sets include zoom/stretch options to let people customize the picture to their particular biases.



If studios have to "win" a format war by providing content in something other than the original aspect ratio (i.e. - cropping films to 1.78:1), I'd rather lose the war.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nugget View Post

Maybe we should all chip in and buy swgiust a nice front-projection setup just so he'll stop with all these "OAR is bad" posts.

Maybe something in a Runco??

Opinions always get slammed..

I have no problem with movies in wider formats, I am just relaying
what my "non videophile" friends say.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by swgiust View Post

I have no problem with movies in wider formats, I am just relaying
what my "non videophile" friends say.

Again, do these "non videophile" friends have DVD players? I assume they do, so I assume that "black bars" are not a unique issue to them. Frankly, I don't understand why anyone would comment about bars in this day and age.

Love 'em or hate 'em, they've been pretty standard for a decade now.


If your friends buy a 16x9 set and want to watch standard DVDs, they need to deal with this too.
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