I have a 16x9 set and have been trying to figure out a good way to watch my 1.66:1 AR movies without window boxing completely or losing a chunk of the top and bottom in a zoom mode. Is there a preferred way that anyone has found?
I think it probably depends on the brand of TV you have. Unfortunately my Toshiba doesn't have a zoom that handles 1.66:1 well. I used to have a DVD player that actually zoomed out a little. Maybe using a zoom out on a player in conjunction with the proportinal zoom meant for non-anamorphic 1.85:1 could do it.
Or studios could just release all their 1.66:1 material in anamorphic.
A few DVD players offer variable zoom/scaling that would allow you to properly size the picture. Unfortunately, my Panasonic RP-91 has a single, fixed scaling/zoom size that works fine for 1.85:1 and wider aspect ratios, but crops 1.66:1.
This is one reason I will not purchase a 4x3 encoded 1.66:1 transfer from any main-line studio (who should know better...and that includes the folks at WB and MGM).
Besides the problematic framing issue when "zooming" on your typical 16x9 set or DVD player, there is no reason why we should have to watch an image that has so needlessly sacrificed the increase in resolution that 16x9 encoding would have provided (I think about a 25% increase for 1.66:1 titles).
I'm now on my fifth player in a six month period (Pioneer DV-563A-s) and I just can't justify switching again (especially after I've been upgrading display and cabling plus purchasing DVDs quite a bit all in the past two months)! Looks like I'll be researching HTPCs for possible future purchase but until then this is going to drive me nuts.
I have no idea how many 1.66:1 non-anamorphic titles I own right now but I have a feeling when I catalog everything this summer I will be even more upset than I was after trying 2-3 of these titles this week.
Yeah, same here -- every time I hear zooming complaints I just shrug. The Malata N996 is a treasure of a DVD player... The other great thing about it is that you can zoom out slightly to conteract TV overscan.