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  1. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2002
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    I recently got a bargain bin DVD. Unfortunately it's been so long since I had to check for screen format that I forgot to check this one, and the copy of Secret of NIMH (R1, UPC 027616703729) is in 4:3 format only. It did state on the case and in the video it is formatted to "fit" the screen but I got black bars on the side, which is not "fitting" the screen. I wonder if I can complain to MGM for false advertising?

    My DVD player is connected via component to my 32" LCD and outputs only in 480i, and there are only 3 settings for video format. Apparently the DVD player was programmed to assume only 16:9 TV exists as there is no output as 4:3 for legacy TV. The supported output is preserve format (adds bars on the sides), stretch (makes it wider but for some reason it added 2" black bars on top and bottom, and zoom (blows up, cuts off the top and bottom) Zoom function really screwed up the subtitle as it gets moved so most of the text are off screen. I think it was programmed to process and overlay subtitle to the video first, then zoom video and cut off top and bottom for output.


    Someone at Magnavox is an idiot for not testing this feature with a DVD that has only 4:3 format. Many TV shows and old movies are in this format so they are still around.


    My laptop is no better. I only have Windows Media Player that came with Windows 7, and there seems to be no option to change the video format from 4:3 to my laptop's 16:9 display or via HDMI to my TV. I still get black bars both ways.


    Guess I'll have to look for a different Secret of NIMH DVD that is properly formatted in original format and not hacked to fit obsolete TV format.


    PS yes the DVD also has closed captioning but for some reason it never worked over component, only over composite. And right now it's not hooked up, nor do I have a cable around to temporarily hook up composite video. I hate it when DVD players are inconsistent with closed captioning. I remember an Apex DVD player whose CC output only worked via S-Video, no CC over composite. And a Sony DVD player that worked on ALL output including component (480i only)
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  2. I don't understand your complaint. You're supposed to get black pillarbox bars when watching 4:3 content on a 16:9 display. You expect the player to restore the parts of the 1.85:1 picture that the DVD producer cut off?

    Free Hulu has The Secret of NIMH in 1.85:1. Lower quality than DVD, of course.
    Last edited by jagabo; 11th Dec 2013 at 07:11.
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  3. Member AlanHK's Avatar
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    If the DVD was letterboxed, you could rip it, crop the black letterboxing off and and make a widescreen one, and position the subs as you like. I've done it, not hard, but certainly not HD quality.

    But it sounds like yours is "full screen", it fills the screen vertically and had the left and right cut off to make a 4:3 picture. There is no way to get back to a widescreen image. Unless you can get Kryten to uncrop it.
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  4. There's some mixed information but it looks like the movie was animated at 1.37:1 and cropped (pan/scan) to 1.85:1 for theatrical release. From the sound if it, the 4:3 DVD releases contain the full uncropped 1.37:1 frame.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
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    So basically you bought an old DVD and you're mad that it wasn't prepared like a new DVD? There's a reason it was in the bargain bin. Sounds like your DVD player and computer are both handling the content correctly.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
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    Fullscreen DVDs still exist and some content released on DVD was never shot in widescreen to begin with. LCD TVs generally have a picture control in a menu or on the remote that sets the aspect ratio. Use 4:3 for fullscreen DVD movies like the one you bought and 16:9 for widescreen DVD movies.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 11th Dec 2013 at 09:59.
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  7. Member
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    Not mad about the old DVD, just irate that the player can't get rid of the black bars. And especially irate that when I used zoom function and subtitle, the subtitle gets cut off. It takes really poor programming and lack of testing to not notice that overlaying subtitle on the video then cutting the top and bottom off to make it fit 16:9 TV is bad idea.
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by impmon2 View Post
    Not mad about the old DVD, just irate that the player can't get rid of the black bars. And especially irate that when I used zoom function and subtitle, the subtitle gets cut off. It takes really poor programming and lack of testing to not notice that overlaying subtitle on the video then cutting the top and bottom off to make it fit 16:9 TV is bad idea.
    Your expectations are unrealistic. DVD players are not designed to get rid of black bars. Their only job is to play the movie from the disc as it is and place the subtitles in the location specified during authoring.

    If you use the TV controls to cut off the part of the picture where the subtitles are supposed to be displayed, of course you will cut away some of the subtitle too. DVD subtitles are stored as graphical elements a inside an overlay window the same size as the one that stores the video. Maybe a software player can change where the subtitles are displayed but no DVD player can.

    Many older movies and TV shows made prior to the digital TV era were shot in something close to 4:3. If you want to see everything that is supposed to be there, don't crop and learn to live with black bars.
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  9. Do what they do in a movie theater: buy curtains and cover the black bars with them.
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  10. Member AlanHK's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by impmon2 View Post
    Not mad about the old DVD, just irate that the player can't get rid of the black bars. And especially irate that when I used zoom function and subtitle, the subtitle gets cut off. It takes really poor programming and lack of testing to not notice that overlaying subtitle on the video then cutting the top and bottom off to make it fit 16:9 TV is bad idea.
    It is a bad idea to try to fit a 4:3 into widescreen by cutting bits off it.

    But people insist on doing it, regardless they lose the tops of actor's heads.
    Even worse when classic TV shows are butchered into widescreen when rebroadcast.
    At least if they colourise a b/w classic you can just desaturate it, but when part of the image has been chopped off it's just gone.



    Anyway, I could bitch about my own TV , which can play videos on USB drives.
    But while it handles 16:9 and 4:3 well, anything else is a bit beyond it.
    If I have an old widescreen film that was letterboxed into 4:3, I can only see it undistorted with an additional black bars at the sides; zooming it cuts off even more of the picture.
    Obviously I should get a media player for that kind of thing, and that's what you need too, that can deal with disparate inputs in a more flexible way than the basic hardware players can.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 10:22.
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  12. Member Krispy Kritter's Avatar
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    They all work that way. The Zoom function occurs after all processing, thus the subtitles are already part of the video signal.

    Watch it as it was intended to be viewed.
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  13. Originally Posted by impmon2 View Post
    I recently got a bargain bin DVD. Unfortunately it's been so long since I had to check for screen format that I forgot to check this one, and the copy of Secret of NIMH (R1, UPC 027616703729) is in 4:3 format only. It did state on the case and in the video it is formatted to "fit" the screen but I got black bars on the side, which is not "fitting" the screen. I wonder if I can complain to MGM for false advertising?
    Wasn't that from the 80's? When TVs were 4:3?
    The DVD you bought is 4:3. The labelling states it's formatted to fit the screen, which back then probably meant it'd been cropped or pan and scanned in order to change it's aspect ratio so it'll fill a 4:3 screen.

    Now it's 2013 and you're viewing the same DVD on a 16:9 TV and wondering why it doesn't fill that screen too?
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  14. Member AlanHK's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Krispy Kritter View Post
    They all work that way. The Zoom function occurs after all processing, thus the subtitles are already part of the video signal.
    Depends where you zoom.
    If watching a DVD I zoom with my TV control, yes, it zooms the subs as if they were hard coded.
    But if I use the zoom on the DVD player, it zooms the image but the subtitles remain unchanged.
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