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OAR vs Pan and Scan in Region 2 (1 Viewer)


Stunt Coordinator
Feb 27, 2001
Can anyone tell me if the studios are bringing out DVD titles in full screen in the UK and Europe, like that in the United States, due to the demands made to them by people complaining about letterboxing? All the titles I own are OAR and I rarely hear anyone here complain about the black bars on DVD titles like to the same level of what is happening in the States. This might be because many people have Sky Digital and 4x3 TV sets, so since many programs are broadcasted in 16:9, people have got use to the black bars. What I am basically asking is, is it happening here as well, but I am not seeing it or the impact isn't as great? I never had any trouble getting a title I want in OAR. In saying that though, Digital Satelite channels like Channel 4 stopped broadcasting some shows like Smallville in OAR and returned to P&S, which was a step back.

John J Nelson

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 21, 2001
To my knowledge, the first title that has been given a simultaneous OAR/MAR release in the UK is Harry Potter.

This came out yesterday (Saturday). I took a walk round our local WHSmith today (this is a major nationwide retailer of books, stationery, music & video). They appear not to be stocking the P&S version at all. Neither was an independent music store just down the road.

WHS have been taking pre-orders for HP for a couple of months at least, and I assume that they've been ordering the WS version by default.

I think that the concept of widescreen has reached 'critical mass' in the UK, driven by widescreen TV sales and the WS digital broadcasting. DVD is perceived as a WS medium (a common question from consumers apparently is "will DVDs work on my non-WS TV?")

In the public mind,

VHS = standard-frame 4:3 = old-fashioned

DVD = widescreen = latest technology

-- J.

Douglas R

Senior HTF Member
Dec 30, 2000
London, United Kingdom
Real Name
I noticed that in Adsa (now owned by Walmart) they had about 4 widescreen copies to every P&S copy. The past few years has seen a significant shift in public acceptance of widescreen in the UK helped by reasonably priced widescreen sets, digital widescreen TV programmes and the advent of DVD. On the other hand Disney seem to think the kiddie mass market still favours P&S as indicated by their UK releases of Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp.

Michael Dueppen

Stunt Coordinator
Sep 19, 2000
Usually everything is WS here on DVD. I also rented Harry Potter a couple of days ago and they only had the ws version (don't know if there even is a p&s version out in Germany).

But Disney really pisses me off. The 1 disc edition of Atlantis is P&S only (the 2 disc SE will be WS). This means that you can only rent the P&S version. I already heard quite a few people complaining about this. A lot of people have WS TV sets and a lot of people just got the concept by now. I don't think there was a lot of demand for this and I have a feeling that this decision was made by the US headquaters (and the European distributors (in Germany Buena Vista themselves) didn't get a say in this at all).

Richard Smith

Stunt Coordinator
May 26, 2000
While I do agree that there is a much wider acceptance of widescreen in Europe I think we're going to start seeing more dual aspect ratio releases. My brother works in the local Dixons(an electronics store over here) and he says by 9:30am on Saturday the Pan and Scan version of Harry Potter had completely sold out and its the only version people are asking for! Although I don't think the situation is anywhere near as bad as Region 1, the continued growth of DVD does mean we will see more releases like this.



Stunt Coordinator
Feb 8, 2001
On the other hand Disney seem to think the kiddie mass market still favours P&S as indicated by their UK releases of Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp
Agreed, and it annoys me too. Some of Disney's earlier live action releases (such as the first edition of 101 Dalmations and the remake of The Parent Trap) were also 4:3, whereas the US versions were widescreen.

Ironically, though, the superb France 2-Disc SE of Sleeping Beauty includes a WS/P&S comparison which is quite the best argument for widescreen releases that I've ever seen (yes, much more convincing than the one on Die Hard).

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