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FAQ - Anamorphic, Enhanced for Widescreen DVDs. (Historical FAQ)

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Updated Late 2017. 3,659 previous views.

The defacto FAQ for the answers to what an "Anamorphic" / "Enhanced for Widescreen TVs" DVD. Some expired links have been removed:

The telecine process for transferring film into video:

People are often confused about Anamorphic DVDs. Let me clarify.

There is no "squishing" on a DVD, although it does look like it. (Remember there are only "bits" on the DVD, not actual pictures).

The anamorphic DVD contains "more information" than a non-anamorphic one. If you set your DVD player to 16:9, all of the information is utilized. If you set your DVD player to 4:3, some of the information (vertical resolution - every 4th line or so) is "discarded" for 4:3 TVs.

This is why you need to use only a horizontal stretch for anamorphic DVDs and need to use the "zoom" for non-anamorphic. The difference is a factor of 1.33. The actual aspect ratio of the film has nothing to do with whether it's anamorphic or not, although a lot of 4:3 DVDs are not anamorphic.

Do not confuse the aspect ratio (widescreen - which can be 1.85:1, 2.35:1, etc.), with the process - Anamorphic, also called enhanced for widescreen.

See also the FAQs on Black Bars and Widescreen Stretch Modes.

Please PM 57 if you have comments or suggestions for this FAQ.
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