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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a 46" Mitsubishi HDTV. Now, I'm looking through my DVD's and only now realizing how many different image formats there are. I thought there was pretty much just two, 2.35 and 1.85. I'm seeing a whole lot of other various formats as well now, and I also discovered that 16:9 is not the same size as 1.85. Bummer.


Anyway, my question is what's up with the DVD's that say "anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16X9 TV's"? 1) I don't see any difference in the image size, and 2) what exactly are these enhancements? I know how anamorphic images are created, the original ratio is squashed down to 4:3, presumably to conserve space on the media being used. Then it's blown back up for playback. I would assume that "enhanced for 16X9" would mean that there is some other image option that will allow it to display full screen, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I can get 1.85 DVD's to full screen with expand mode, but that distorts the picture somewhat. Nothing I can't live with, I just thought there was going to be some movies that would fit this screen natively.
 

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Anamorphic or "enhanced" means that it has more horizontal resolution than a letterboxed version.


Very few movies movies are shot in 1.77:1 (16:9). 16:9 was a compromise between 1.33:1 (4:3) and 1.85:1 (somewhat of a standard aspect ratio for films).


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Wally,

Someone much better versed in tis stuff will chime in soon but here's my take: Enhanced for widescreen simply means anamorphic. There are not a bunch of enhancements as your question seems to intimate. The purpose of the anamorhic treatment is to get better resolution. A scaler or an optical system will bring the original aspect ratio,(maybe "desired" is a better word.)


I do wish that there was one vocabulary and even one standard form for the presentation of a disk's features.


Art
 

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If you're watching an anamorphic disc, you should have your TV in "standard" mode. No need to expand, or stretch. If the image you're getting is 4:3, then perhaps you need to change the settings on your DVD player so it will recognize your 16:9 TV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmmm, maybe I do have a configuration issue. When I view 1.85 DVD's, anamorphic or not I get small black bars. The image is almost full screen, but not quite.


But you're saying that if I set the DVD player differently that it should play anamorphic 1.85 at full screen even when the TV is in standard mode? Without distorting the picture geometry?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by WallyWest:
Anyway, my question is what's up with the DVD's that say "anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16X9 TV's"? 1) I don't see any difference in the image size, and 2) what exactly are these enhancements?
"Anamorphic" means all 480 lines of DVD resolution are used to capture the scene's vertical info. Your player handles any line reduction and padding with black bars calculations instead of it already being stored as data on the media, as with letterbox.


"Enhanced for 16x9 displays" does not necessarily equal "anamorphic", as I once assumed. Letterboxed to 1.78 instead of 1.33 aspect, also passes as "enhanced for 16x9 displays" on DVD labels. Caveat emptor.




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>"Anamorphic" means all 480 lines of DVD resolution are used to capture the scene's vertical info.


(all 480 scan lines, not to be confused with DVD horizontal resolution specs; "anamorphic" improves VERTICAL resolution)

True for 1.78:1 movies or close to that size which are often cropped to 1.78:1. Not true for wider movies, 2.35:1 being common. In this case there are still black bars and some scan lines are wasted. But in either case an enhanced for 16:9 transfer will use 1/3 more scan lines in comparison to a non-16:9 transfer, providing better resolution.


>Your player handles any line reduction and padding with black bars calculations instead of it already being stored


Only if player is set to "4:3" mode. In that case it does indeed display 3 lines for every 4 stored and adds the letterboxing bars. But Wally should use "16:9" mode in which there is no reduction, the 16:9 TV in the "standard" mode on current Mits ("full" for most other makes) will display this properly with no distortion on such discs. He should notice better picture with this combination, than he would using "4:3" mode on the player and "expand" on the Mits. Better resolution and no downconversion artifacts.


>"Enhanced for 16x9 displays" does not necessarily equal "anamorphic", as I once assumed.


Yes it does, when referring to DVD, "anamorphic" unfortunately having become synonymous with "enhanced for 16:9". "Anamorphic" however is also a term for certain types of films which were shot with aspherical lenses, including most older 2.35:1 and wider ratio films. This "anamorphic" bears no relationship to the "anamorphic" aka "16:9 enhanced" on DVDs, which has confused many people. A film shot anamorphically can have a non-16:9-enhanced aka non-anamorphic DVD. A film shot "flat", not anamorphic, can have a 16:9-enhanced "anamorphic" DVD. 16:9 enhanced is more desirable for people with 16:9 sets or 4:3 sets with a 16:9 mode, for either type of film.


>Letterboxed to 1.78 instead of 1.33 aspect, also passes as "enhanced for 16x9 displays" on DVD labels.


Example? Certainly there are quite a few discs mislabeled as "16:9 enhanced". The only way to be sure is to set the DVD player to 16:9 mode and look for distortion on a 4:3 set or 16:9 set in 4:3 mode. But there aren't too many Academy ratio films that have been cropped to 1.78:1 for DVD release, can you name a few?


Or are you saying that letterbox vs. a pan&scanned to 1.33:1 transfer are being passed off as "enhanced for 16:9"?


[This message has been edited by Stephen Tu (edited 06-13-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by WallyWest:
Hmmm, maybe I do have a configuration issue. When I view 1.85 DVD's, anamorphic or not I get small black bars. The image is almost full screen, but not quite.


But you're saying that if I set the DVD player differently that it should play anamorphic 1.85 at full screen even when the TV is in standard mode? Without distorting the picture geometry?
Correct. Make sure your DVD player is configured for a 16x9 display and then it will display anamorphic 1.85 at full screen in Standard mode with no geometry distortion. 2.35 films will still have small bars.


/Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks a lot for the info. guys. I did not realize that the DVD player itself had a setting for the screen size. I'd never even seen the configuration menus on my DVD player. What I was seeing was double black bars, one from the TV's ratio and one that was being displayed from the player. Now everything looks like it should, and I think the image quality in general improved as well.


I take it non-animorphic DVD's will be sized as if the player was set to 4:3. That stinks.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by WallyWest:


I take it non-animorphic DVD's will be sized as if the player was set to 4:3. That stinks.
When you watch a non-anamorphic disc in Standard mode, the picture will fill the whole screen from left to right, but will be squished vertically. You will want to use the Expand mode to view these, and you will undoubtedly notice the picture is much grainier.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Tu:
>"Enhanced for 16x9 displays" does not necessarily equal "anamorphic", as I once assumed.


Yes it does, when referring to DVD, "anamorphic" unfortunately having become synonymous with "enhanced for 16:9".
I have learned the error of my ways thanks to another parallel thread running here also. You get the same amount of black bars in the source material, regardless of whether they call it "anamorphic", "widescreen letterbox", "16x9 widescreen", "enhanced for 16x9 displays", "16:9 letterbox" etc.

Quote:
"Anamorphic" however is also a term for certain types of films which were shot with aspherical lenses, including most older 2.35:1 and wider ratio films. This "anamorphic" bears no relationship to the "anamorphic" aka "16:9 enhanced" on DVDs, which has confused many people.
While I understand the different types of squeeze going on with camera/projector optics vs DVD, I assumed that the objective was the same: to maximize the capture of a scene with aspect ratio x onto a given piece of storage medium with aspect ratio y and to translate y back to x during playback. Mea culpa...not with "anamorphic" DVD.

Quote:
The only way to be sure is to set the DVD player to 16:9 mode and look for distortion on a 4:3 set or 16:9 set in 4:3 mode.
I found that running a bunch of 2.35 material through my PC player instead of the HT, was a much more efficient way of proving myself wrong. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif My software player fits the frame to the data rather than fitting the data to the frame. It jumps around in shape with the aspect of the source as the menu loads, previews autoplay, THX/DTS/Studio logos come and go, etc. It is also easy to tell when the black bars are in the source, since the player never adds any unless you switch to full-screen.


While I was expecting 2.35 shaped frames without any bars inside, what I got was 1.78 shaped frames with black bars inside...regardless of which verbage was specified on the jacket. Oh well, this isn't the first time I got less than I was expecting in HT-land, and probably won't be the last. The only thing "anamorphic" about the DVD is the difference between the 720x480 (1.5) aspect and the 1.78 displayed aspect. There's about the same amount of stretch the other way from 1.5 to 1.33, so I guess the 1.33 and 4:3 letterboxed stuff is equally "anamorphic", by that definition.


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.\\\\ike


[This message has been edited by Mike Tripp (edited 06-14-2001).]
 

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Quote:
You get the same amount of black bars in the source material, regardless of whether they call it "anamorphic", "widescreen letterbox", "16x9 widescreen", "enhanced for 16x9 displays", "16:9 letterbox" etc.
No, that's not exactly true. The size of the black bars on your final display will always be the same, because that is determined by the aspect ratio of the movie itself, not how it is stored on the DVD. The combination of settings on your DVD player and TV will insure that, otherwise the picture would look distorted or cropped.


However, the size of the black bars stored on the disc itself will not be the same. They will be much smaller or non-existent on the DVDs correctly labeled "anamorphic widescreen" or "enhanced for 16:9" as opposed to the ones just labeled "widescreen letterbox". 1/3 more scan lines will be used for picture, which will provide better vertical resolution on 16:9 capable sets.

Quote:
While I understand the different types of squeeze going on with camera/projector optics vs DVD, I assumed that the objective was the same: to maximize the capture of a scene with aspect ratio x onto a given piece of storage medium with aspect ratio y and to translate y back to x during playback. Mea culpa...not with "anamorphic" DVD.
No, the objective is the same. You just seem to have erred in thinking that DVD is capable of more aspect ratios than it actually is. DVD has only 2 aspect ratios, 4:3 and 16:9. Within those 2 aspect ratios, black letterboxing bars are added to achieve the other wider aspect ratios. The "non-anamorphic", "letterbox" DVDs are using the 4:3 ratio, and have much larger black bars than the DVDs using the 16:9 ratio, which are labeled "16:9 enhanced" or "anamorphic widescreen".

Quote:
While I was expecting 2.35 shaped frames without any bars inside, what I got was 1.78 shaped frames with black bars inside...regardless of which verbage was specified on the jacket.
This depends on your software and settings. If you asked for 1.78:1 output then on the 4:3 discs probably the software is doing some scaling for you. If you set everything for native output, on the "anamorphic" 2.35:1 films you'd see a 2.35:1 picture inside a 1.78:1 frame, small black bars. The "letterbox" 2.35:1 would show a 2.35:1 picture inside a 1.33:1 frame, much larger black bars.


[This message has been edited by Stephen Tu (edited 06-14-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Tu:
No, the objective is the same. You just seem to have erred in thinking that DVD is capable of more aspect ratios than it actually is. DVD has only 2 aspect ratios, 4:3 and 16:9.
720x480(1.5) is neither 4:3(1.33) nor 16:9(1.78). The player owns getting it there...which is why it's done differently depending on the player's configuration.

Quote:


Within those 2 aspect ratios, black letterboxing bars are added to achieve the other wider aspect ratios. The "non-anamorphic", "letterbox" DVDs are using the 4:3 ratio, and have much larger black bars than the DVDs using the 16:9 ratio, which are labeled "16:9 enhanced" or "anamorphic widescreen".
On 4:3 vs 16:9 letterboxing, I was clear. I can grab a calculator and determine how many black lines get embedded for either case for source material of whichever aspect ratio you choose. Ex: 2.70 material would be 237 lines video and 243 lines black at 1.33 and 316 lines video and 164 lines black at 1.78.


I was expecting that anamorphically encoded meant 480 vertical samples of what was =between= the bars, not 480 samples including samples =of= the bars. The player could still scale the output and supply calculated bars without any need for them to have been digitized into the MPEG stream written on the disk, just as it is scaling the current data. Using calculated bars instead of captured bars would also enable one data set to support correct display to both 4:3 and 16:9 sets...or even 2.35(64:27?) sets if they occur in the future. You want pan&scan support for the folks who can't stand any bars? Embed an x,y coordinate for the center focal point in each frame in the single version of the movie and let the player calculate the display for each recorded ratio/playback ratio scenario.


Sorry, I just thought the format was smarter than it is. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif

No big whoop...I'll take what I can get while they figure it out. It'll probably end up taking software and computers. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif




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.\\\\ike
 

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There are two common misconceptions that need addressing:

Quote:
I also discovered that 16:9 is not the same size as 1.85. Bummer.
In the real world, this is not true, since the very, very small difference between 16:9 (1.78) and 1.85 is completely hidden by the overscan in any TV. They will both fill the screen of a 16:9 set.

Quote:
You get the same amount of black bars in the source material, regardless of whether they call it "anamorphic", "widescreen letterbox", "16x9 widescreen", "enhanced for 16x9 displays", "16:9 letterbox" etc.
Only DVDs marked "Anamorphic" or "Enhanced for 16x9 Displays" are anamorphic. These are the only DVDs you should buy or rent as they have the full resolution of the format. DVDs marked "widescreen letterbox" or "16x9 letterbox" are usually NOT anamorphic and will have 33% less resolution, and will be displayed as a small image with black bars on the top, bottom, and sides on a 16x9 display. Avoid these DVDs at all costs. Fortunately, the studios have seen the light and almost all DVDs now are anamorphic.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by WallyWest:
Hmmm, maybe I do have a configuration issue. When I view 1.85 DVD's, anamorphic or not I get small black bars. The image is almost full screen, but not quite.


But you're saying that if I set the DVD player differently that it should play anamorphic 1.85 at full screen even when the TV is in standard mode? Without distorting the picture geometry?
That is normal. 16x9 *is not* the same ratio as 1.85. The only way to fill the 16x9 screen is if the source is 16x9.


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Jeff


Sony SVR-2000

"Let the Tivolution be televised"
 

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jsmeeker,

Quote:
That is normal. 16x9 *is not* the same ratio as 1.85. The only way to fill the 16x9 screen is if the source is 16x9.
Perhaps you didn't see my reply above. This is a very common misconception. A true 16x9 (1.78:1) image, say from an HD broadcast will fill the screen on a 16x9 TV. But, so will a 1.85:1 image, say from a DVD.


The reason is that there is only a 4% total difference between 1.78 and 1.85 - the 1.85 image has 2% less on the top and 2% less on the bottom than the 16x9 image. But, the average TV has at least 5% overscan on all sides which completely hides the difference. In the 16x9 case the overscan is cropping off 5% of the picture top and bottom. In the 1.85 case the overscan is cropping off 3% of the picture plus another 2% black bar top and bottom. so the result is that both 16x9 and 1.85 fill the entire screen with no visible black bars.


If anyone is seeing black bars with a DVD of a 1.85:1 film, then there is almost certainly something wrong in the setup. You will only see black bars on 2.35:1 films, not on 1.85:1 films.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, not going to get in the middle of all that. Just have another observation. Now that I have my DVD player set properly I get full screen on most 1.85 material. However, DVD's that are not animorphic (presumably) have rather large black bars. Not just 2.35 stuff either.


Now, I assume this is because I am seeing both the black bars that should be there (for 2.35) as well as the black bars that are actually part of the source picture. Hmmm, I think I just answered my own question.


In standard (full) mode my Mitsubishi will take a 4:3 TV picture and stretch it to fit the full screen. So, when I look at non-animorphic DVD's the same thing is happening isn't it? I'm seeing a 4:3 letterboxed image being stretched horizontally to fill the screen. Expand mode will fit it properly but then you really see the lousy image quality. D'[email protected]!* Ok, I now see how bad non animorphic DVD's suck.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rick_R:
I am very frustrated with DVD players. I just returned a Pioneer 434 progressive scan DVD player. I set it to letterbox, pan and scan, and 16x9 modes in both progressive scan and interlaced and no matter what I did I only got double letterboxed on my Toshiba TW65X81 16x9 TV
This is probably the way the set processes the input, rather than the way the player produces output. I see the same result as you describe with a Denon DVD-2800 and the 38" RCA HDTV using progressive component only. Many sets lock into 16:9 mode and disable the stretch modes when fed progressive component. On my gear, the stretch modes work fine over component once the player output is toggled to interlaced and also behaves the same over s-video connects.


Have you tried an s-video cable? Your set may lock 16:9 with any component input.




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.\\\\ike
 

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I can zoom the picture on the television set to have it exactly fill the screen. However the picture is coming to the TV double letterboxed with 325 verticle lines in the actual picture when it is my understanding that an anamorphic DVD has 480 verticle lines stored on the DVD. I do not understand, but this does not make sense that it would work this way.


Rick
 
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