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Response from District Manager of BlockBuster on OAR!

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#41 of 106 OFFLINE   Graeme Clark

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:37 AM

This is pretty sad. Next their going to be telling us that P&S is better because it allows the viewer to focus on the most important part of the picture, and not be bothered by all that wasted space. Oddly enough, the Blockbuster near me has only Widescreen Mummy Returns, and I have yet to even see the Fullscreen version anywhere (even the pawn shop I was in yesterday had 2 used copies of the WS version).

#42 of 106 OFFLINE   Ray R

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:47 AM

Where are the studios? Shouldn't they be educating the retailers?

#43 of 106 OFFLINE   Gavin K

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:57 AM

After politely registering my dismay over MR fullscreen only to no avail on the local level, I e-mailed corporate and was told that a field representative would contact me in 3-5 days. It has now been two weeks, and still no reply. They just don't care. I would like to boycott BB, but they have such a large consumer base that by letting them pawn fullscreen crap on the public just creates a bigger excuse for studios to head down the FF path.
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#44 of 106 ONLINE   DaveF



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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:02 AM


You'd think that someone that high up the ladder at Blockbuster (and Best Buy) would know how great widescreen is and why DVD enthusiasts and movie fans prefer widescreen over pan & scan.

[quote]I see this sentiment expressed a lot, and I don't think it's correct: One would not necessarily expect a manager to know/love movies.

The managers are, essentially (I guess), bean counters. It's their jobs to make sure their stores meet sales & rental goals, ensure inventory is managed properly, worry about marketing issues, etc. This requires financial, managerial, business, etc skills -- it doesn't necessarily require any love or knowledge about movies.

This is often seen in the news when Widget Company A recruits a new CEO from Gadget Company Z, to help re-invigorate the company. The CEO doesn't know jack about widgets (being a gadget guy), but he knows business and management.

Put yet another, this is the difference between a first generation technology company, where everyone from peon to president is an engineer, and a third generation tech company where only the peons are engineers and everyone else is an accountant.

#45 of 106 OFFLINE   Ryan Spaight

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:13 AM


Where are the studios? Shouldn't they be educating the retailers?


I would think that for the most part the studios don't care whether a WS or P&S/FF copy gets sold, as long as a copy gets sold.


#46 of 106 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:18 AM

When I suggested they get both versions he said that was too confusing to the customer.[/quote]
Soon I expect that grocery stores will follow suit:
This just in--
"Albertson's food stores will no longer carry both chunky and creamy peanut butter. Because of fears that customers who desire creamy will accidentally purchase chunky, Albertson's has elected to only offer creamy peanut butter from this point forward."


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[Edited last by Mark Bendiksen on October 19, 2001 at 02:18 PM]

#47 of 106 OFFLINE   Trace Downing

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:32 AM

Ick, Chunky Peanut Butter.

Why pay full price for PB that's only half done? Posted Image

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#48 of 106 OFFLINE   LarryDavenport



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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:37 AM

I interviewed for the position of Manager at Blockbuster about 8 years ago. The person interviewing me, in confidence, told me that I was unhireable because I had a degree in film. They don't want employees talking film with the customers (I guess it's okay to recommend something but you are forbidden from discouraging a customer from renting a piece of shit).

#49 of 106 OFFLINE   Rolando



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Posted October 19 2001 - 12:42 PM

Have you posted the e-mail address for this Ballbuster dude? I think these guys need a MASSIVE influx of OAR concerned customer e-mail. I checked Peter's posts but did not see it. I would really like to give my 2 cents as well as a little education to this dude. Hope we all follow suit. What do you say? ------------------ Rolando Avendano
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#50 of 106 OFFLINE   Andy Kim

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Posted October 19 2001 - 12:57 PM

What he's saying about DVD players having the ability to show Pan and Scan and OAR is for the most part correct. But the factor depends not on the player but on the disc. IF the DVD is not encoded with on-the-fly pan and scan flags, then it won't be shown in Pan and Scan. That's where he's getting his facts wrong. Like the other posters have been saying, only a hnadful of titles have this.

#51 of 106 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted October 19 2001 - 02:32 PM

Well, if it's any small consolation. . .

My cousin is a Blockbuster district manager in Connecticut. You can be sure that he is a true movie buff and understands the difference between P&S and OAR!

Unfortunately, I don't live in CT. I haven't noticed the stocking at my local BB 'cause I don't go there too often. But I may take advantage of their new Shrek deal to check out their selection. I have noticed that they have some anime titles that I was VERY surprised to see there! And they keep expanding the DVD section of the store- I remember back when they told me that they'd NEVER have a DVD section, because the store wasn't big enough to support it! Posted Image
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#52 of 106 OFFLINE   Seth Paxton

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Posted October 19 2001 - 04:23 PM

Andy, Trust me when I say that if you tried to explain what the DVD settings for 4x3 P&S, 4x3 LBX, and 16x9 really mean, this guy's head would spin. I guarantee he doesn't even know about "on the fly P&S". Keep in mind that he also thought that widescreen VHS was made for 16x9 TVs. There is a MASSIVE public misunderstanding between anamorphic enhancement and widescreen/OAR. And I can sadly say that I have seen this quite a bit within a major TV manufacturer as well. It's the general public, and they are everywhere including these companies. But Dilbert is all about how people running the show know much less than the people who are told what to do. It happens in lots of other industries as well.

#53 of 106 OFFLINE   Steve Owen

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Posted October 19 2001 - 05:25 PM

Ugh... this is all VERY discouraging. I have some suggestions...

1) Educate your friends and family. World of mouth about why OAR is good, even for those with 4x3 TVs, is the most important thing. I wouldn't get into the nuances of anamorphic vs. non-anamorphic with the ignorant masses... just OAR. I think saying "original aspect ratio" is better than "widescreen". We want OAR, right? Most of the time that's widescreen, but not always. I think J6P's will understand the "concept" of OAR.

2) Write letters, call, and send faxes to movie studios (WB, Fox, etc), rental places (Blockbuster, etc), and retail stores (Walmart, Best Buy, etc.). Addresses are generally very easy to get. Here's a few (these took all of 5 minutes to find on the web... there's ZERO excuse for not contacting these folks. I know I have. Right now media companies might be a bit panicky about letters, so probably best to contact them by email and/or fax. Be nice when you contact them. Don't complain. Offer constructive suggestions.

Blockbuster - McKinney Headquarters
Customer Service
3000 Redbud Boulevard
McKinney, Texas 75069
mailto:Customercare@shop.blockbuster.com Home Theater Gear
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#54 of 106 OFFLINE   Mike~C



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Posted October 19 2001 - 07:14 PM

So correct me if Ime wrong, my normal setting in the dvd menu is 16*9, but my tv is 4*3 so on dvd movies with both i dont see true 16*9(true meaning 16*9 by 4*3 standards)?

#55 of 106 OFFLINE   Steve Owen

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Posted October 19 2001 - 07:41 PM

Mike, the only time you'd want to use the 16x9 setting on your DVD player with a 4x3 TV is if that TV is capable of "anamorphic squeeze". Otherwise what you'll see is a stretched out picture when viewing anamorphic DVDs. -Steve
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#56 of 106 OFFLINE   BrandonG



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Posted October 19 2001 - 09:03 PM

I don't get all this talk about Best Buy and not suppporting OAR. I am not a spokesman for the company, but I can say that we greatly support DVD and OAR. I can't give out specific sales data on Mummy Returns, but I can tell you with great certainty that the OAR version massively out sold the fullscreen version. Willy Wonka hasn't sold well( at least in my area) I think because of the lack of OAR. I can't remember exactly all the titles that came in 2 separate versions, but OAR has always sold more than full screen. The reason some stores might only have the full screen version out on display is because they may not know there are 2 versions. It's unfortunate, but it can happen. If this is the case in your area Best Buy, kindly talk to someone in the media department, preferrably the supervisor, and educate them. As of today, we still do not have a listing for the OAR Cats & Dogs, but I am positive we will sell it.

#57 of 106 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Forner

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Posted October 20 2001 - 03:53 AM

Does anyone else think this is not really a threat?[/quote] Scott; I wouldn't say that it isn't a threat, period, but I am very concerned about what's happening with widescreen on DVD. I think film/home theater enthusiasts need to be on guard and keep an eye on how things develop on this front, but I agree that everyone here is panicking when there is no need to... yet. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying that we shouldn’t worry about this! I’m just saying that things aren’t as bad as everyone here is making them out to be! Let’s think about this for a minute: Most every film that has been released on DVD thus far (more than four years into the format’s life) has been released in its proper aspect ratio. Near as I can tell, almost every title on the release slate for every major studio will see a widescreen release (where appropriate of course). In addition, P&S-only titles like Willy Wonka haven't sold very well, and the widescreen releases of films like The Mummy Returns still outsell the P&S, despite the fact that many places won't even carry the widescreen version. Quite frankly, widescreen is kicking P&S's pathetic ass in this battle. Yes, we are seeing more dual P&S and widescreen releases. Yes, some retailers are choosing to not order any widescreen copies at all. But you know what? The studios are not abandoning widescreen completely. In fact, they’re supporting it as much as they ever have. Not only that, but we now have popular television shows being presented in widescreen, in spite of how much everyone out there supposedly hates the black bars. Sure, there was that close call with the Warner Family Division, but at least we were able to convince them to continue to support OAR, if only on a title-by-title basis. When this topic comes up, I always remind myself that even the lowly VHS format saw a substantial number of widescreen releases, readily available at many stores, including Target. I mean, if the studios could release widescreen films on VHS, the format of the non-enthusiast, then that must mean the studios recognize that a demand for widescreen exists. This is why I do not believe that we will see widescreen wiped out completely. We may have to fight for it more often, but I’m confident that film enthusiasts will still be able to see movies the way we want to see them, which just so happens to be the right way to see them. ------------------ -J.Fo "Why do I always get a warped one?" [Edited last by Jeffrey Forner on October 20, 2001 at 06:56 AM]

#58 of 106 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted October 20 2001 - 05:18 AM


I don't get all this talk about Best Buy and not suppporting OAR. I am not a spokesman for the company, but I can say that we greatly support DVD and OAR.


Brandon, you obviously work for Best Buy at a store somewhere. But let me tell you something about your statement. "Your chain only supports Original Aspect Ratio (OAR) if your people do".

I buy most of my stuff at the local Best Buy (south part of Memphis, TN). Checking the records in the database I keep, I've spent exactly $4277.23 on 279 DVD discs I've bought from there, in the 25.3 months since I bought my DVD player from there. Okay, some of that was at the north Memphis location, but I rarely get up there. It's almost all at the south location.

Why? Not only are the prices usually good (if not ALWAYS the "best buy"; I CAN find many things cheaper), but I get Great! service from most of the folks in that media department there. Special call-outs to Ashley, Maureen, and Kimberly, who presently work in that area. They always go out of their way to help me or my family. They seem to know their stuff, and when they don't happen to know what the true deal is, they aren't spouting off nonsense they make up on the spot as others do. They're willing to listen to me when I give them info they might not have. They are willing to look up as many titles as I want them to in order to check for stock. They get stuff out of the back for me. They simply say "hi" to me when I enter their department. I can't ask for anything more. And I was a retail store manager for 13 years in a highly successful operation, so I think I know what I'm saying. I would offer them high-level, high-$ jobs if I still had my old position; they are VERY impressive salespeople, day-in and day-out.

Then, yesterday, I dealt with a different girl. I didn't catch her name. She's been there a while, but I've never talked much to her before. But, as Ashley went to lunch just after I was walking in, and Maureen was helping a customer and then stocking the shelves, and Kimberly was I suppose off for the day, I asked this other girl if there was an update yet on widescreen Cats & Dogs. She looked it up and said one wasn't listed yet. I said it was; it had to be...the Best Buy website showed a separate entry for it. She pretty much didn't believe me, though she was nice about how she put that (it was acceptably put, in my opinion). So we used the in-store connection to their site and I showed her the entry. It said "Available in 10-15 days". I asked about a raincheck, since the sale price ended tomorrow. She called someone and was told they couldn't do it, because it's not in the system. I said that surely someone could write a raincheck based on the website entry? Answer was no, "Because if it's not in our store's inventory system, we don't know when we'll get it". "But rainchecks don't really expire, do they?". "But what if it never comes in?". "You said you'd be getting it, and its on the website". "They (the studio? the chain's buyers?) might change their mind". "Why would they?". "Well, you don't really need a widescreen version, right? I mean, there's no such thing as a widescreen TV".

In disbelief, I pointed her across the floor, to her store's TV Dept., where a widescreen TV was plainly visible on a high shelf. Sigh.

She talked about how widescreen wasn't really necessary, and how her own DVD player had a zoom feature and all. I pointed out that you can't add back the 30% of the picture that was missing on a Pan&Scanned film; that's why WS releases are needed. I was getting a bit hot by then.

I then tried explaining OAR to her better. I even waited while she helped someone else, so I could point her toward the Star Trek IV and Die Hard - Ultimate Edition DVD's that each have supplements explaining how P&S cuts off the images. She seemed bemused and was full of "uh-huh's". She "tolerated" me for a few minutes, until I had to leave to go pick up my wife. She was nice enough, but just not OAR-knowledgable. Sigh.

How does she represent the idea that Best Buy supports DVD and OAR? To the customer-of-the-moment, she IS Best Buy!

She doesn't need to be fired or reprimanded or anything; she was as nice as could be. She just needs education.

But then, that describes everyone in their TV dept...but that's a different rant.

A place on the opposite end of town - a music store! - is ACTIVELY working to get a Widescreen copy of Cats & Dogs for me. I will go the distance and pay the extra money to buy it there.

I'll be back to Best Buy, no doubt. It's my candy store, my toy store. And that trio of great salesladies make the trip worthwhile (I'll probably be there today for a backstock title they have that I want). But my C&D sale is lost to the music store; sorry.


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#59 of 106 OFFLINE   Ernest


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Posted October 20 2001 - 07:20 AM

The guy is correct when it comes to anamorphic DVD's. All DVD's players have aspect ratio settings so the player knows what type of display it is transferring the signal to, 4 x 3 or 16 x 9. By setting the player to 16 x 9 the signal sent to a 4 x 3 TV will result in the picture filling the screen or small black bars. This is a great solution for those that hate black letterbox bars. Players with a "Zoom" feature can be used to eliminate the bars on letterbox DVD's. Neither solution is perfect, but both are better than pan'n scan. I think there is more to this than J6P problem. I would think deep down the studios like pan'n scan because eventually when J6P buys a 16 x 9 TV they have to re-buy their DVD's. The studios like releasing DVD's that leave something to be desired so they can re-visit them at a later date. The studios are under pressure to release titles in anamorphic, electroinic industry as an incentive to buy 16 x 9 TV's, and pan'n scan from the discount stores. We are caught in the middle and only money talks. Our power only comes if we refuse to by titles that are not anamorphic / letterbox. As a result of this business practice many of us early adopters are faced with the prospect of re-buying Goodfellas, Robin Hood,Tombstone and other letterbox, flipper titles. This becomes expensive and I for one have no intention of re-buying titles that are already in the anamorphic format. I am not interested in "super-bits".

#60 of 106 OFFLINE   Matt_P


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Posted October 20 2001 - 07:38 AM

This is truly discouraging and appalling. My jaw dropped when the Best Buy rep claimed that full screen versions "preserve the original" version of the film..........huh!??? How could they be this misinformed. There must be conspiracy at work here. I think we need to mount a massive web and flyer campaign for OAR (drop flyers from a plane over area Best Buys, or something ;-)). PEOPLE NEED TO BE EDUCATED. This could signal the beginning of the end for widely available widescreen DVD. I don't think studios will stop producing them at this point, but they will surely become more scarce (as widescreen VHS became) if this continues. BOTTOM LINE, RETAILERS: NO WIDESCREEN = NO SALE!!!!!!!!!! P.S. If anyone shows examples of widescreen vs. p&s, don't show a Super 35 film.....it may give the pro-full screen folks some level of justification for butchering the OAR! ------------------ 9/11/01 -- IN MEMORIUM "We will previal." -- President George W. Bush

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