Most modern theatrical films are created in a shape that is different from the shape of a standard television set. A standard TV is 1.33 times as wide as it is tall; in other words, it has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Movies are much wider, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 or 2.35:1; hence the word widescreen. This leads to problems when attempting to watch a movie on TV. One solution is to use a modified aspect ratio (MAR), changing the shape of the film image to fit the TV screen. Common methods for presenting MAR are pan-and-scan and open-matte. The other solution is sometimes called letterboxing, in which the film is presented in its original aspect ratio (OAR) by shrinking the image so that its width matches the width of the TV screen, leaving extra space above and below.

This category contains sites related to the widescreen format, including explanations, comparisons between OAR and MAR, and advocacy.

Hong Kong Fanatic: Intro to Widescreen
Images showing various aspect ratios, demonstrating letterbox, pan-and-scan, and open-matte formats, explaining anamorphic DVDs, and comparing standard and widescreen TVs.
In 70 mm
Newsletter about 70mm cinemas, films, history and technology.
The Letterbox and Widescreen Advocacy Page
Organization defending the visions and intentions of filmmakers. Aspect ratio explanations, examples comparing images of widescreen and pan-and-scan versions of many films, sound and video clips, and commentary.
Letterbox Format Explanation
Images demonstrating the various formats in which movies are displayed.
Flash animation demonstrating the pan-and-scan and letterbox processes.
Widescreen Advocate
Information resource for those wishing to participate in a grassroots education effort. Flyers, brochures, petitions, and list of DVDs not in original aspect ratio.
Widescreen Information Page
Movie screenshots illustrating the benefits of viewing films in their original aspect ratios.
[French Mozilla]
Last update:
October 8, 2013 at 7:45:10 UTC
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