TV/DVD: Aspect Ratio

When I watch a DVD here, normally this is not an issue. Sometimes, though, the picture seems compressed horizontally or in some other way out of whack. I’m not talking about PAL or NTSC. I’m assuming this is an aspect ratio problem because it is clear, but just proportionally wrong.

From time to time, I’ve seen an option on the individual DVD’s main menu to choose an aspect ratio. However, that option is not provided on many DVDs. In that case, is there someplace else that I can go to change aspect ratio, such as the DVD player’s configuration menu, or do I just watch overly tall, squished people for two hours and better luck next time?

There will be an option in the DVD player menu to set the aspect ratio of the screen you’re using. That would need to be 4:3 (Letterbox) for a normal TV.

There could be an option on a DVD Player that has scaling, though not frequently on cheaper or older models.

Normally the aspect ratio setting is on the TV, assuming it is LCD, plasma, projector or a reasonably modern CRT.

Could purchase an external scaler or a home theatre receiver with scaling if it is a problem.

Some DVDs allow you to choose the aspect ration on the menu, some have the movie in 2 aspect rations on either side of the DVD, some give you no choice. And how many options are there for DVDs? Plenty:

A good article on project scaling that apples to other TV types:

I think you just solved this or a related mystery for me. I was watching a DVD the other day. On the box, it said that two versions were available for viewing. However, when the DVD’s menu popped up on the screen, it never offered more than one way to view. So, are you saying that I probably just needed to flip the DVD over in the player to get to the other version?

I recommend you set your DVD player to 4:3 letterbox. That way if it’s a square TV you’re using it will letterbox it automatically, if it’s square (4:3) it’ll leave it alone.

Some DVDs come anamorphic, meaning it’s all squeezed up. This is for widescreen telly. The w/s telly will unsqueeze it. You get more pixels in that way. Useless for a 4:3 telly. Although my DVD player magically deals with anamorphic DVDs, but I don’t know how. I guess it dumps the extra vertical resolution.

I’m glad there’s no universal TV standard. Otherwise watching stuff would be really easy and stress free. Stupid gits.

[quote=“ac”]Some DVDs allow you to choose the aspect ration on the menu, some have the movie in 2 aspect rations on either side of the DVD, [/quote]Those are very very few. And if you choose the fullscreen version you are losing about 1/3 of the picture, causing the background to be lost, “talking noses”, pan-and-scan, and basically not seeing what the director intended, which is not what DVD is about.

[quote=“Lord Lucan”]Although my DVD player magically deals with anamorphic DVDs, but I don’t know how.[/quote]Your DVD player is set to 4:3, it knows to throw away the other lines.

Exactly. This is normally only found on “directors cut” or high-end DVDs, as it obviously costs a lot more to manufacture a double sided DVD. You won’t find your average made-for-TV stuff distributed like this.

You will know DVDs that provde this as the aspect ratio will be printed on each side.

A good proportion of my DVD collection has double-sided DVDs, but that is a reflection on the miniscule size of my collection, and my panchant for director’s cuts. :slight_smile:

So true - though I do think a good proportion of people purchase high-end audio/video technology for the pleasure of frigging around with and impressing their friends with the height of their AV stack and the quantity and size of their remote control(s).

One of the reasons I have a backburner project to get a HTPC built - one remote for all audio/video delivery - but the wizardry is looking like even more complex getting this going. XBox 360 was supposed to make it simple, but oh no you need FAT32 encrypted, ahem, formatted drives, no DIVX supported, …

Do miss those TVs with integrated VHS video …