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Black Bars on Blu-Ray's

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This might be more of a question for the techie guys out there, but anyway… always wanted to ask. Does anyone else have the black bars on the tops and bottoms of their screens while watching their SW Blu Ray’s? I’m wondering if perhaps it has something to do with the proportions of my 1080p Samsung LED which is kind of old now, from 2010. The aspect ratio’s for all SW blu ray’s of course is 2:35:1. There are no black bars when I watch the film on cable.

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 (Edited)

That’s because when you watch the film on cable, they cut the sides of the image off to fit it on a 1.78:1 TV screen.

The black bars are normal and every movie with an aspect ratio over 1.78:1 will have some level of letterboxing (black bars) on the top and bottom, and every movie with an aspect ratio of less than 1.78:1 will have some level of pillarboxing (black bars) on the sides.

a trolling bantha

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ChainsawAsh said:

That’s because when you watch the film on cable, they cut the sides of the image off to fit it on a 1.78:1 TV screen.

The black bars are normal and every movie with an aspect ratio over 1.78:1 will have some level of letterboxing (black bars) on the top and bottom, and every movie with an aspect ratio of less than 1.78:1 will have some level of pillarboxing (black bars) on the sides.

Thanks. All I know is that I always have and always will find the black bars at the top and bottom distracting. Gotta zoom in slightly.

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Then you’re cutting off picture information. The black bars are there because the image is either wider or narrower than a standard 1.78:1 TV.

Black bars are good. Cutting off picture is bad.

a trolling bantha

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Well what happens when the film is on tv then? Picture gets cut off, right ?

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 (Edited)

Yes. Which is bad. Sometimes even streaming platforms show a cropped version (Simpsons on Disney+ is one example where they cut off the top and bottom so there aren’t any bars on the sides, which ruins many visual jokes throughout the series.)

If you want to zoom in on the picture so you get rid of the black bars, that’s your business, but be aware that the image was composed by the director and cinematographer in a specific way and when you zoom/crop, you aren’t watching it the way it was designed to be watched.

Another example is old VHS tapes that were cropped to 1.33:1 for old “fullscreens” SD TVs - in Star Wars, when Luke is looking for sand people through his binoculars, on the VHS tape I watched growing up, when he says “Wait a second, I can see one of them now,” I never understood what the hell he was talking about. Because the sand person who enters frame on the right is cut out of the picture entirely on the old 1.33:1 tape - in the full widescreen frame, you can see him plain as day.

a trolling bantha

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JediKnight8484 said:

Well what happens when the film is on tv then? Picture gets cut off, right ?

Take a read on the subject of “Open Matte” versions of films, which is the reverse of your question, and when you see “more” image rather than less

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That does happen, but it varies, and often when something is released open matte, effects shots and others are cropped anyway. The original aspect ratio is the way the director and cinematographer designed their images, regardless of whether an open matte version is available, and in my opinion it’s always best to respect the intentions of those who made the movie or show you’re watching.

a trolling bantha