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The Letterbox and Widescreen Advocacy Page


Did you know that when you watch many great movies on TV (including Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lawrence of Arabia, or even Pulp Fiction), you can be missing nearly half the picture? That's because most widely released video editions of movies aren't properly formatted to fit the widescreen ratio the movie was filmed in. When a movie filmed for the big screen is crammed onto a videotape, as much as half the picture is chopped away, and you never get to see what the director wanted you to see. Fortunately, this tragedy is being averted with the slow but steady increase in the number of letterboxed videos, which properly format the video for your TV screen. You may think those black bars at the top and bottom of the screen are something missing, but in fact it's exactly the opposite: for the first time, you're seeing the entire picture. This excellent Web page explains letterboxing in detail for you.