You don't know anything about us.

TV I saw something absolutely shocking on BBC's Click programme this morning. It was report on Philips's new ultrawidescreen 21:9 television which allows the viewing of "scope" films at home filling the whole screen area. You can watch a video of the piece here.

As you can see the Philips rep was of the opinion that true film fans would much rather that a 16:9 film was stretch to fill the 21:9 area so that they receive 'an emersive experience' rather than have the black bars on either side -- and then and this is really when I began grinding my teeth -- that a picture that is in Academy or a square ratio (4:3) is stretched to 16:9 and has those black bars anyway.

My reaction? You don't know anything about us. We film fans dreamed for years about letterboxed instead of panned and scanned videos and frankly it's nirvana that widesceen is the norm on dvd. Films should be seen in the ratio the director selected in the preproduction process and in any case making all of the actors look fatter is really not the way to go.

There's not much more information at their website, but what this actually sounds like to me is someone trying to justify a weakness in some technology which isn't quite as clever as it could be yet, in other words that Philips haven't worked out how to make a 16:9 image pillar box within their fancy new screen. And 4:3, the ratio of Citizen Kane? Forget about it.

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