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I recently bought a Panasonic 36HX41 HDTV, which has the auto-squeeze trick. Since getting this tv, I have some questions about letterbox vs anamorphic. Here's my understanding of the two:

Letterbox:

The smallest picture of the two. Vertical picture height is approximately 2/3 of the height of a 4:3 tv.

Anamorphic

Preferred format. Slightly taller image, but still black bars top and bottom.


With my new tv, I told my DVD player that I had a 16:9 tv. After doing so, I verified the squeeze was working. I have noticed that on my DVDs labeled as anamorphic, the picture size is actually what I'm used to for letterbox. The menus and such, however, conform to the anamorphic picture size. This might not make sense, so here's an example:


TPM DVD. Squeeze trick kicks in immediately, and all menus fill the entire usable screen, leaving probably 2" top and bottom for the black bars. Once the movie starts, the vertical height of the picture shrinks, and the black bars are now about 3"-4" wide.


Is this normal? Shouldn't anamorphic DVDs use the entire screen area available when in "anamorphic squeeze" mode (smaller black bars)? Maybe I'm a little confused on the differences, so if someone could set me straight, I'd appreciate it.


Thanks.
 

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it depends on the movies aspect ratios, there are a several aspect ratios, the most common being 1:85.1 and 2:35.1. anamorphic 1:85.1 fills the whole screen on an 16x9 tv. anamorphic 2:35.1 will produce some black bars on the top and bottom
 

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4:3 Letterbox: Image is a 4:3 shot with black bars at the top and bottom to render a 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Black space = lost resolution.



16:9 (Anamorphic): Image is 16:9 (about 1.85:1) aspect ratio. On a 16:9 set 1.85:1 will fill the majority of the screen.


If you set your DVD player to 16:9 mode and display on a standard 4:3 set you'll notice a stretched look. This is because it takes the wide image and stretches it vertically.


The "squeeze" shrinks the image to the normal size (16:9) without wasting resolution on black bars.


So you get to keep an extra 120 lines of resolution instead of using it on black bars.
 

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To clarify:


If one has a 4:3 digital set that does the squeeze and has 3:2 pulldown and a PS DVD player like the RP91, what settings should the DVD player have?


4:3 P&S,

4:3 letterbox, or

16:9?


Just choose one that automagically sets the correct AR when the disc begins to play?
 
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