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"Premium" movie channels - any letterbox?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted January 10 2004 - 03:40 AM

I'm getting ready to sign up for cable at my new house, and it looks like the best package that they have with Biography is one that includes two "Premium" channels. I was planning on getting HBO because my wife and I like their original programming.

My question is this: do any of the "premium" movie channels ever show movies in letterbox? I'm uninterested in 4x3 pan & scan movies. Should I opt for Starz, Cinemax, or Showtime or does it matter?
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#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Brad Porter

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Posted January 10 2004 - 03:50 AM

Starz has on occasion shown films OAR, but it is not a regular occurrence. HBO has opted for a widescreen presentation of The Sopranos for the past few seasons, but their movies are all pan and scan.

The only regular premium channels that really respect aspect ratio are The Sundance Channel and IFC, although IFC still shows the bulk of it's films P&S (for example, The Minus Man is on right now in 4:3). Also, TCM is very good about OAR, but they aren't a premium channel.

I also seem to recall that Fox Movie Classics had some OAR showings, but I don't receive it now so I can't really confirm that.

I don't think I've ever seen an OAR presentation of a film on Cinemax or Showtime. As far as the "does it matter" question, that's entirely up to you.

I'd recommend both HBO and Showtime for their original programming, but you should continue to get your film watching entertainment from DVD rentals and purchases.

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#3 of 7 OFFLINE   JohnAP


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Posted January 10 2004 - 10:09 AM

I've always found it strange that they would broadcast their tv shows in widescreen, but not their movies.

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted January 10 2004 - 10:16 AM

I also seem to recall that Fox Movie Classics had some OAR showings, but I don't receive it now so I can't really confirm that.

Most, but not all, of the broadcasts on FMC are OAR. They get confused at times, though. Recently I watched High Anxiety, which was preceded by the familiar "This film has been modified from its original format" disclaimer. The broadcast, however, was 1.85:1, and the framing looked correct.

I've always found it strange that they would broadcast their tv shows in widescreen, but not their movies.

Even the original programming is usually broadcast in a 4:3 alternative, in repeats and on some of the sister channels (e.g., HBO2). After all, this is HBO, the channel that's so committed to the "no black bars" crowd that it prepares specially cropped 16:9 versions of 2.35:1 films for its hi-def broadcasts.

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#5 of 7 OFFLINE   TonyD


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Posted January 10 2004 - 10:36 AM

turner's movie channel shows in oar for many movies.
if youhave access to directv you can get hdnet movies they are all in hd and oar.

also hbo-hd shows allmost all wide but very few are oar.

showtime hd is almost all oar.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Michael Silla

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Posted January 10 2004 - 01:13 PM

Not sure if this veers of topic but....

I have been very impresssed so far with Starz!-HD even though the majority of it's offerings have not in fact been OAR. They had a mess of a time getting LOTR;FOTR right last month (they finally did show it OAR) as well as two towers (which they showed 1.78 cropped).

But then they made me happy by showing Top Gun this afternoon. Excellent HD transfer - the movie looked and sounded brilliant.

Well worth the money IMHO.


#7 of 7 OFFLINE   John Kilduff

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Posted January 10 2004 - 01:54 PM

Flix shows a few letterbox movies every month, but that network's a rather rare commodity.

I third the mention of TCM as well.


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