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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being a newbie, I think I have just come to a realization: it is impossible to display 1.85/2.35 AR material without black bars at the top and bottom using today's projectors, even WXGA, without using an HTPC. Is this true?


My logic goes something like this, even WXGA projectors are native 16:9, so the 1.85/2.35 material will be scaled to its widest, thus, leaving bars on the top and the bottom (of course, some PJs will let you move the image so that the bars are all on top, or all on the bottom, but there are still bars).


How does this relate to screens? Well, without an HTPC it would not make sense to buy or build any screen that is not 16:9 since making the screen in a 1.85 or 2.35 AR will still leave bars, or if the image is zoomed to the width of the 1.85 or 2.35 screen, then the top and bottom of the image will be off of the screen!


Is my realization correct? If not, where did I go wrong?


Thanks!
 

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Outside of using a device that allows you the ability to chop/stretch/squish an image, the *only* time the image aspect ratio will match the screen aspect ratio is when they are the same: for example, CSI on CBS OTA HD is 1.78 (16:9), so it will not have any bars on a 1.78 (16:9) screen. The same show on a 1.85 screen will have small bars on the left and right.


Said another way, if you have a 1.78 (16:9) screen, you will have "big" bars on the sides for 1.33 (4:3) content, very small bars on the sides for 1.66 content, no bars anywhere for 1.78 (16:9) content, small bars top/bottom for 1.85 content, "big" bars top/bottom for 2.35 content, etc.


You can use an HTPC and a software player like TheaterTek to artificially "force" an image to "fit" your screen, regardless of the aspect ratio of your screen or the native aspect ratio of the image (within reason). But you have to ask yourself--why would you want to do this? Changing the aspect ratio of the image means that you must either crop, of compress/expand the image horizontally/vertically, leaving you with an image that is missing content (e.g., a 2.35 movie croped to 1.78 will lose 25% off the sides) or has mild-to-serious geometry issues (e.g., a 2.35 movie compressed to 1.78 will make everyone and everything look tall and skinny).


There are lots of people who use 1.33 screens, and a number who use 1.85 and even 2.35 screens. I personally have a 1.78 screen, but it has a masking system to "reshape" itself to any aspect ratio from 1.78 to about 2.70 (I rarely watch any 1.33 or 1.66 stuff). I paid extra for the masking feature not because I hate black bars for the usual reason (i.e., "the picture doesn't fill up my screen") but because masking the bars adds to the perceived contrast onscreen and really draws me further into the movie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I understand about masking. I guess the point I am making is that I do not understand why you would build anything but a 4:3 or 16:9 screen unless you have an HTPC. I guess if you built a 2.35 screen, you could zoom the image with the projector so that the picture is on the screen and the black bars fall on the frame, which should be masked by default. Then you could just zoom out when you move back to 1.85 and 1.77 material.
 
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