Question : What is Windowboxing? And why can’t I use my widescreen TV to watch the full aspect?

As a person who watches too many movies, and has a powerful addiction to netflix, I have noticed recently that when I got a Roku player to watch my instant movies on my TV, there has been some aspect ratio surprises.

Surprises, I was not expecting in this day and age of digital, HD, wifi, easy instant wide screen, 3D world we now live in.

I noticed that some movies, even though they report widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio, appear on my widescreen TV in fullscreen (4:3) format. My jaw drops!

What? How could this be? How could any movie be translated today with fullscreen aspect ratio?

But it’s true. Not all of the movies on instant demand were translated in 16:9. Some were translated as the original DVD packaging aspect ratio. So if the movie was old and not popular, it got minimally translated.

Then I noticed something else. I put a DVD into the DVD player and played the movie on my laptop. The movie showed up automatically in a very small aspect ratio. A very thin small aspect ratio.

I said, what’s going on here? Why are all these movies going into different aspect ratios when the world has now conformed to “Widescreen”?

Then I found out about an annoying thing called Windowboxing. This actually has nothing to do with the Windows Operating Systems, so don’t jump to that conclussion.

occurs when the aspect ratio of the media is such that the letterbox effect and pillarbox effect occur simultaneously

I thought maybe hollywood was working on some new resolution and needed to changed the aspect ratio. Or maybe there was a new aspect ratio going on that I was unaware of. I mean, what was going on here.

But alas, these things happen when we get complicated.

Here’s a better explaination of it:

Trouble with it is, there is no way fix this on a laptop. So for the moment it seems, this is how it is.

Just to say I’m not insane, and the world isn’t totally against me, this is an explaination of what’s going on when you can’t really see the movie, even though you have a widescreen HD TV or monitor. Thank you hollywood.

Explore posts in the same categories: Q & A

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