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Why do studios release pan and scan DVDs in 2007?

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#1 of 77 OFFLINE   PaulKTF


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Posted August 10 2007 - 06:26 AM

I mean really, it's 2007. What on earth is the excuse for studios putting out pan and scan versions of their movies on DVDs? I can sort of understand why they did it in 1997 and 1998 when the format was new and most people were used to their pan and scan VHS tapes, but now it's just inexcusable.

How are we supposed to advocate for the widescreen presentation of movies to the masses when studios keep churning out the pan and scan editions of movies that Joe Average consumer snaps up without realizing what they're missing?

It particularly bothers me when they release a movie on DVD in pan and scan that's never had a proper widescreen home video release before- they have a chance to finally release it in the proper aspect ratio, and they don't do it! Posted Image

#2 of 77 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted August 10 2007 - 06:39 AM

It's rather annoying. Especially when fullscreen editions are released for films whose audience would never think to purchase the movie in fullscreen in the first place. If movies were released exclusively in widescreen, I don't think it would cause much of an uproar. Take a look at Disney's releases of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. They're arguable the most popular movies of the past five years and they haven't ever been available in pan & scan. Doesn't seem to have hurt sales, now has it?
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#3 of 77 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted August 10 2007 - 06:44 AM

Because they sell to people that don't care or know better.

#4 of 77 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted August 10 2007 - 06:47 AM

Then they don't deserve to be DVD owners! WIDESCREEN ONLY!!!!
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#5 of 77 OFFLINE   PaulKTF


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Posted August 10 2007 - 06:53 AM

Amen! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. Posted Image

#6 of 77 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted August 10 2007 - 06:59 AM

As long as they release the OAR version, I don't care if they release P&S discs. When there's a sudden proliferation of P&S only releases, I'll get angry but until then they can keep releasing anything they want because I'm only going to buy the OAR version. Fortunately, they'll never release P&S only versions because the studios want to sell the widescreen version too.

#7 of 77 OFFLINE   RickER



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Posted August 10 2007 - 07:00 AM

I wish i could own Colossus: The Forbin Project in widescreen. But Universal put out a P&S DVD even though they had a WS laser disc! So, of course i do NOT own it.

#8 of 77 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted August 10 2007 - 07:13 AM

Simple. Wal-Mart still needs them for the J6P market. Even my dad still owns a 36" standard TV and likes his screen filled. Until it dies, he's not prepared to invest in a 16:9 unit.
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#9 of 77 OFFLINE   PaulKTF


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Posted August 10 2007 - 07:14 AM

I have a 30 inch standard TV and I wouldn't dream of watching anything but widescreen on it. But that's just me. Posted Image

#10 of 77 OFFLINE   Andrew Radke

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Posted August 10 2007 - 07:28 AM

What's worse is when studios (like Sony) DROP a widescreen transfer in favor of the full screen. "High School High", "Mixed Nuts" and "Last Action Hero" are a few examples. I've been going through hell and back trying to find the original DVD of "Mixed Nuts" which contained both versions. Not an easy task.
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#11 of 77 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted August 10 2007 - 08:08 AM

Paul, good thread. I've often wondered about this one. I had to go to an R4 PAL release to get a movie because it's only been released in the states as P&S. I also own a std width 36" TV but for movies, I only buy WS versions. Since I'm primarily a TV/DVD collector I haven't bought a 16:9 set yet but it's just a matter of time until I do. I don't know much about the 16:9 hardware so I need to catch up a little on it. I assume that, when watching P&S TV/DVD's on a 16:9 set, that the black bars will be present on the 2 sides of the screen, right? That won't bother me at all since that's what I see with my WS movie DVD's.

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#12 of 77 OFFLINE   SilverWook



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Posted August 10 2007 - 08:14 AM

Was the capability for DVD players to pan and scan a widescreen movie "on the fly" ever actually used? That could have made everyone happy...

#13 of 77 OFFLINE   PaulKTF


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Posted August 10 2007 - 08:16 AM

How could a DVD player properly pan and scan a movie? Wouldn't that require a human to decide which part of the screen is most important for the viewer to see?

#14 of 77 OFFLINE   Pete York

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Posted August 10 2007 - 08:43 AM

The thing I don't understand is, if the big movie channels had committed to showing movies in their OAR, 10 or even 5 years ago, we wouldn't be having this conversation today.

#15 of 77 OFFLINE   cafink



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Posted August 10 2007 - 08:55 AM

Yes, and the DVD specification allows this information to be encoded onto the disc. That's why your DVD player's set-up menu includes options for both "4:3 pan and scan" and "4:3 letterbox" in addition to "16:9." For some reason, this feature simply never took off.


#16 of 77 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted August 10 2007 - 09:02 AM

At another website this morning, I was reading a post by a man who had just bought his first HDTV, and he was complaining that even with this new TV (that he spent BIG BUCKS for), he was still seeing black bars when he watched '300,' and he wanted to know if the TV was broken or if the disc was defective. Another person chimed in that there must be something wrong with the disc, just like there was something wrong with his DVD of KUNDUN because he still sees black bars on his HDTV when he plays that movie, too. After all this time, folks still aren't aware there are different aspect ratios for films. Thankfully, someone enlightened them and sent them to a Wikipedia link that explained widescreen aspect ratios.

#17 of 77 OFFLINE   ErichH



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Posted August 10 2007 - 09:28 AM

This reminds me of a time not long ago - approaching a counter at a local CC, I overheard a customer talking to a salesman. As the salesman handed a DVD to this person, I could hear the question `This is not widescreen is it? I Hate those black bars!'

It was all I could do not to add some comment, but how rude would I be? Funny, I hate this person instantly Posted Image

Even better - In this forum and the others, I see the Black Bar question pop up all the time - as in, what can I do about it?

#18 of 77 OFFLINE   SilverWook



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Posted August 10 2007 - 10:11 AM

Back in the Laserdisc era, there were these free booklets with lots of photos explaining all the major widescreen processes and ratios. It also showed how much pan and scan can chop off. I often used that to explain to friends what the deal was with the black bars.
That TCM short about letterboxing is also pretty darn educational. Posted Image

#19 of 77 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted August 10 2007 - 11:02 AM

Like about 1/2 the people in this thread you're confusing cause and effect.

Why are there still P&S DVDs in 2007?

Because there's a market for them! (Duh!)

Why didn't the big movie channels switch to OAR 5 or 10 years ago?

Because too many of their subscribers don't want OAR. Most of the time when they run something in OAR the movie channels, the cable companies and the satellite outfits get calls from people wanting to know what went wrong.

I'm sorry that those evil "Wal-Mart shoppers" and the great unwashed that the vastly more intelligent (and virtuous Posted Image) membership of the HTF mocks as "Joe & Jane 6-pack" still outnumber the video elite, but that's the reality. Personally, as long as 99% of films are at least released in both versions, I don't lose any sleep over somebody else being happy with a product I wouldn't want to own. Happens all the time with clothes, music and cars. Posted Image



#20 of 77 OFFLINE   ted:r


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Posted August 10 2007 - 12:29 PM

Yes. Didn't P.T. Barnum say something to the effect that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American People? No one ever said Democracy was perfect.
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My 25 most wanted DVDs: Chilly Scenes Of Winter (1979); The Dead (1987); The African Queen (1951); Johnny Guitar (1954); The Sterile Cuckoo (1969); The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (1973); The Rain People (196...

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