|I have set up this page for DVD fans who love movies and want to see the absolute finest video presentations possible.|
Why do wide screen DVDs need the anamorphic enhancement?
Digital high definition television was introduced in America in 1998. Unlike current NTSC televisions, these new digital televisions will be wide screen and feature an aspect ratio of 16:9. DVDs that feature the anamorphic enhancement are geared towards the future of home theater and are the only current play back medium designed to take advantage of the wider aspect ratios of the newer televisions. These 16:9 enhanced DVDs offer more resolution than their unenhanced counterparts, so they actually fill the full width of the new wide screen televisions. There are also non-high definition 16:9 aspect ratio televisions on the market, which cost significantly less than the new hi-def sets. These 16:9 aspect ratio televisions also benefit from anamorphic enhanced DVDs.
After having spent several months of watching a Mitsubishi WS-65809 rear projection television (which is both wide screen and high definition ready) that is being fed a 480P signal from a progressive scan DVD player I have become even more impressed with with the current DVD format. Watching 16:9 enhanced DVDs are truly a revelation, since many of these discs produce images of startling clarity and depth- I can only imagine how good high definition DVDs will look when they finally arrive. Unenhanced wide screen DVDs, on the other hand, pale in comparison because the lack the extra resolution of 16:9 enhanced DVDs, which necessitates blowing up the image for fill the wide screen dimensions of the new high definition television format. Blowing up the unenhanced DVD produces a softer, less detailed and noisy image that is only barely watchable on wide screen televisions.
As you might have guessed, I have seen the future and it is definitely wide screen!!! The square television picture that we have all grown to know and love is a thing of the past. Wide screen televisions are far more dramatic and home theater buffs are certain to see 16:9 aspect ratio televisions as far more cinematic. If you haven't seen wide screen televisions in action, don't deny yourself. In fact, the prices of wide screen high definition televisions are plummeting- making affordable to a much larger group of home theater consumers. Also, many manufacturers are offering deferred payment options that allow one to live with their wide screen television for a year or more- before they actually have to pay for them. For those of you who have a wide screen television in your future, you are going want to have as much wide screen software as possible. That is why the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement is so important to DVD consumers. Right now, the DVD format is the only affordable home format that is capable reproducing true wide screen programming.
||Of course, there are those unenlightened individuals who don't see the need for the anamorphic enhancement. Unfortunately, some of them reside in positions of power within the home video industry. They will be the first to proclaim that it will be possible to digitally manipulate a plain Letterboxed DVDs to fill out the width of a wide screen television. However, as I stated above, viewers will then be subjected to an inferior picture because blowing up the 4:3 Letterboxed image to fill a larger area (see illustration to the left) doesn't compensate for resolution that isn't present in the software. There are fewer pixels of information in a standard Letterboxed image, than there are on an anamorphic wide screen image. So, digitally manipulating the standard Letterboxed image to fill a wide screen television is akin to taking an 8mm home movie and blowing it up to 35mm for theatrical exhibition. It just isn't going to look very appealing. Digitally stretching the standard wide screen image to the 16:9 aspect ratio of a high definition television will generate a soft looking image and is certain to create noticeable artifacts. You just can't take a low-resolution source and expect it to look good at high resolution. Of course, DVDs that contain the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions contain more resolution than their plain Letterboxed counterparts, so they do not have to be digitally manipulated to fill the 16:9 aspect ratio of a wide screen monitor. DVDs that contain the anamorphic enhancement really offer the best of both worlds. They can be played back today on a standard NTSC television with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and they are ready to give you a 16:9 image the day you purchase your first wide screen monitor.|
DVD collectors already
recognize the importance of the anamorphic enhancement and have begun
to demand that it be
incorporated into every Letterboxed release. After my experience with
television I concur wholeheartedly. A survey at the now
defunct DVD Resource Page
over 90% of DVD collectors want the anamorphic enhancement applied to
wide screen releases
. Other places on the Internet, many DVD collectors have
expressed the sentiment that they refuse to purchase any Letterboxed
DVD that does not
contain the enhancement. After living with the wonder of a wide screen
television for a number of months, I can
DISNEY STRIKES AGAIN-- THE MUPPETS GO PAN AND SCAN
In some rather disappointing news, it seems that Walt Disney Home Video has extended its policy of full screen only DVD releases to MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND and MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. These full screen only announcements come in addition to those of SNOW DOGS and MAX KEEBLE'S BIG MOVE, making family oriented programming the obvious target for Disney’s new and unwelcome DVD policy. If you would like to see 16:9 enhanced wide screen versions of MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND and MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, I strongly recommend that you contact Disney by telephone and e-mail and tell them that you will NOT be purchasing any full screen only releases. Be polite, but also make sure that you cite MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND and MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL by name. Contact Walt Disney Home Video at the following telephone number: 1-800-72-DISNEY and e-mail: email@example.com.
A Muppet Wide Screen petition has also been set up at the following: http://www.petitiononline.com/muppetws/petition.html
THE WORST HAS HAPPENED- MAJOR STUDIOS BEGIN ISSUING FULL SCREEN ONLY VERSIONS OF WIDE SCREEN MOVIES
It seems as though the phenomenal success of the DVD format has come back to bite movie buffs in the a**! With DVD now finding its way to the masses, those individuals who can’t live with every single bit of their TV screen filled have been complaining to the mass merchants, who in turn have been putting pressure on the home video companies to release movies in full screen on DVD.
While I have no problems with full screen versions of movies being offered on DVD to supplement wide screen presentations. Full screen only releases are not to be tolerated and signal that the home video companies could be abandoning the early adopters- the group who made DVD a success to begin with. As for the individuals complaining about black bars now, I can only image how loud they will be shouting when they get a wide screen television and discover their full screen DVDs offer them black bars on the sides of the image.
Back to the heart of the matter, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Home Video are the two companies that are now issuing the most noticeable full screen only releases. With regards to Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, a number of second tier titles such as RACE THE SUN, TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY and 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD are being issued as full screen only. Walt Disney Home Video has taken the same approach with family oriented titles such as SNOW DOGS and MAX KEEBLE'S BIG MOVE. Even Warner Home Video had planned on full screen only versions of such family fare as WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and CATS & DOGS until a huge public outcry changed Warner’s mind and brought about separate 16:9 enhanced wide screen releases of both films.
If you are amongst the many DVD fans upset or outraged by the notion of full screen only releases, I say- DON’T ACCEPT COMPROMISES… DEMAND ORIGINAL ASPECT RATIOS ON DVD! Take the time to let your feelings be known.
Below you find a list of DVD producers and their current policies towards the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 aspect ratio televisions. It is critical that you take the time to contact those companies who do not support the anamorphic enhancement to give them your viewpoint on the matter. Of course, courtesy is recommended, but be firm in expressing your desire for the anamorphic enhancement.
|DVD Company and Contact Information||Anamorphic Enhancement Support Policy and Notes|
1699 Stultz Dr.
Troy, MI 48084
Web Site: http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/
|Anchor Bay now offers almost
full support of the 16:9 enhancement. Some older titles are
being re-issued with the enhancement.
2700 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Web Site: http://www.artisanent.com/
The majority of titles of titles feature the anamorphic enhancement. However, there are still some titles being released full frame (i.e. cropped) and unenhanced by Artisan.
Vista Home Video
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Web Site: http://www.disney.com
The last major studio to offer support of the anamorphic enhancement. ARMAGEDDON, SCREAM, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, HALLOWEEN: H20 and MIMIC are amongst the most disappointing entries in Buena Vista's series of unenhanced DVDs. Buena Vista is offering greater support of the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement. All new titles seem to be enhanced, while (tragically) catalog titles remain unenhanced. Making matters worse the company is now issuing full screen only versions of wide screen movies, which are worthless.
10202 West Washington Boulevard SPP-8606
Culver City, CA 90232
Web Site: http://www.cthv.com/
Most wide screen titles features the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement. Columbia TriStar used to see the big picture, with every wide screen title being mastered to high definition for future use. From the high definition masters, superior 16:9 anamorphic enhanced DVDs were being created. Unfortunately, the company has begun issuing full screen only versions of wide screen movies, which are worthless.
578 Broadway Suite 1106
New York, NY 10012
Web Site: http://www.criterionco.com/
Support of the anamorphic enhancement has begun in earnest with just about every new wide screen title featuring the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement.
SKG / Amblin Entertainment
100 Universal City Plaza, Bungalow 477
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
|Full support of the anamorphic enhancement.
PO BOX 1177
Scarborough, ME 04070
|There is now support of the anamorphic enhancement.
1100 Avenue Of The Americas
New York, NY 10036-6740
E-Mail Page: http://www.hbohomevideo.com/cmp/hotline.html
Web Site: http://www.hbodvd.com/
Web Site: http://www.hbohomevideo.com/index.html
There is some support of the anamorphic enhancement, but many titles are issued without it. Also, a number of titles are issued in the cropped format.
9333 Oso Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Web Site: http://www.image-entertainment.com
Image Entertainment offers only limited support for the anamorphic enhancement because they license titles and have to rely on transfers that other companies provide.
Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
E-Mail Page: http://www.mgmhomevideo.com/cgi-bin/cgi/email.html
Web Site: http://www.mgmhomevideo.com
Web Site: http://www.mgmhomevideo.com/mgmhv/dvd
|Support of the anamorphic
enhancement is good, but there are still problems. 1.66:1 wide
screen titles go unenhanced. Plus there are many catalog
titles still suffering from recycled Laserdisc transfers.
Additionally, there are a number of pan and scan atrocities on the
comes immediately to mind.
Line Home Video
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Web Site: http://www.newline.com/
Web Site: http://www.newline.com/dvd/index.htm
|New Line produces some of the
best DVDs on the market. Other than initial titles, full
support of the anamorphic enhancement has become the norm for New Line
5555 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Web Site: http://www.paramount.com/
DVD Consumer Hotline: 323-956-8070
|Initial support of the
enhancement was dropped for several months worth of titles.
Support of the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement has resumed with all wide
screen titles being properly issued. Please note that for
some illogical and unexplainable reason, TITANIC is one
of the titles that is not enhanced. Other titles that need 16:9
remastering include EVENT
Century Fox Home Entertainment
2121 Avenue Of The Stars 25th Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Web Site: http://www.tcfhe.com
Although many early titles lacked it, Fox now offers full support of the anamorphic enhancement. Many of the early unenhanced titles are also being reissued with the 16:9 enhancement, and in many cases, with special edition features.
Studios Home Video
70 Universal City Plaza Suite 435
Universal City, CA 91608
Web Site: http://www.universalstudios.com/dvd/
Support of the anamorphic enhancement is featured primarily on new titles and special editions of older titles. Many catalog titles have been issued without the enhancement- THE THING, PSYCHO and VERTIGO are at the very top of the list for 16:9 re-mastering. Even worse are the number of cropped titles that Universal has dumped on consumers, FIERCE CREATURES immediately comes to mind.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-1543
E-Mail Page: http://whv1.warnerbros.com/cgi-bin/tame/store/email.tam
Web Site: http://www.dvdwb.com
The majority of titles of titles feature the anamorphic enhancement. While I applaud Warner's efforts to take DVD mainstream as quickly as possible, their cropped $14.95 titles will do nothing for anyone planning to purchase a wide screen television. Hopefully a policy will be adopted to re-issue at least some of the titles collectors would like to own in the enhanced format. BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, GRUMPY (and GRUMPIER) OLD MEN and JOE'S APARTMENT are certainly on the long list of cropped titles that should be re-issued in the 16:9 enhanced format.
Other 16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen Resources
Want to know even more about anamorphic
Check out Anamorphic DVD Video Explained for another take on the format.
Go to: The DVD File and read Peter M.