This post is started for the purpose of exposing the facts and myths about so-called widescreen formats. It inevitably follows that people will reject the widescreen TV, and perhaps the widescreen DVD. Those in the consumer electronics industry have won the war by losing every battle; which is possible only through the idiocy pf the American public.
The widescreen DVD trend was initially bothersome to me because it means a smaller picture, with black bars on top and bottom. Those of you who have studied know about the ratio known as Phi, aka The Correct Ratio, aka The Golden Ratio, aka the Perfect Ratio, etc. Phi is inherent in all natural things. All living things with eyes are attracted to things in the ratio of Phi and inherently irritated the further from Phi visible ratios are in any given object or being. This applies true to humans viewing television. Notecards (flash cards) are designed to be close to Phi because the inherently pleasant appearance increases the likelihood of remembering what is on them. The same principle applies to commercials, which is why TV was designed to be close to Phi.
The argument is often made that you lose part of the picture with Fullscreen. I have never felt a critical loss from in absence of an extra tree on the side, or the arm of an extra. One day I decided to see if I was really missing anything in Fullscreen, so I cued up a film I had in both formats and watched them side by side. I expected to find that a little bit of picture was lost on each side in the Fullscreen version. I was shocked to find that the widescreen version was in fact the cropped picture, I was missing the top and bottom of the picture. For the record I didn't feel a loss from the missing part of the screen. I later found out that after the advent of Cable and the VCR, movies are in fact often shot in Fullscreen to be prepared for TV exhibition.
Now that the Widescreen TV has become widespread there is a transition in progress from Fullscreen to Widescreen TV. Some commercials are presented in "widescreen". Some programs are presented in "widescreen". Some networks are presented in "widescreen". And of course there is the ultimate in stupidity ESPN-HD which is presented in "widescreen" with bars on the sides because they're actually using a Fullscreen picture, and during the commercials there are often "widescreen" commercials with black bars in the Fullscreen portion between the white bars on the sides.
I've often made the argument that Roger Waters did not intend for "Dark Side of the Moon" to be presented on a stereo 8-Track, that was just the norm of distribution. The same should hold true of movies. So you can take the "it's how it was meant to be seen" argument and shove it up your ass.
Myth: "The following presentation has been changed from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your screen."
Fact: Some movies are shot solely in Anamorphic Widescreen which has a ratio of 2.35:1. Some movies are shot solely in 1.36:1 which is close to Fullscreen 1.33:1 (4:3). Some movies are shot in both. The original theatrical exhibition is 2.35:1; however a 16:9 version and/or a 1.85:1 version is no less changed than a 1.33:1 version.
Myth: Widescreen DVDs are unaltered and how it was originally presented.
Fact: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) is how it was originally presented, however most widescreen DVDs are 1.85:1 or other variations.
Myth: Widescreen TVs fit widescreen DVDs.
Fact: Widescreen TVs are 16:9 (1.77:1). Only 16:9 DVDs will fit the widescreen TV. There will be black bars for 1.85:1 and 2.35:1, unless you stretch the picture or crop it. Therefore there are top and bottom bars on the DVDs the TV (in changed format) is made to fit; and bars on the sides for every TV show, Video Game, Movie, Sports/Surf/Snowboard/Porn Video, and home movie in the history of the universe.
Fact: Many DVDs contain both versions on 1 disc. It's clearly not a problem to put both on one disc.
The simple truth is everything ever in the history of the world is in 1.33:1. Movie's original theatrical presentation is in 2.35:1. Preserving the original theatrical version on DVDs may be desirable to some; however most proponents of widescreen DVDs have zero clue that there is not one widescreen format, let alone that 1.85:1 and 16:9 are just as altered as 1.33:1. Therefore the issue is moot. As for widescreen TVs, the 16:9 format neither fits the standard 1.33:1 nor the anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1. And further it will crop, or worse distort most versions anyway. Therefore the very idea of the widescreen is ludicrous, and anybody with a remotely functioning brain would reject the widescreen TV for the pathetic idiocy that it is.