[opendtv] Re: (No Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 10:30:37 -0400

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV (E-mail)" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 19:44:29 -0400

Tom Barry wrote:

> On the aspect ratio convergence issue there may be
> a couple of opposing factors at work.  On the one
> hand, Hollywood has tended to try to
> distance/distinguish itself from TV by using wider
> ratios.
> OTOH, Hollywood makes an ever increasing percentage
> of revenue from DVD and TV sales.  And those are
> all of course targeted at home displays. This will
> tend to pull TV's wider and possibly even make
> Hollywood slightly more favor the existing 1.85:1
> ratio that so well matches 16:9.

I have a slightly different interpretation of
historic events, but essentially I agree with your
points, Tom.

I think that wide screen, introduced in the mid
1950s, came about because it was *nicer*, not just
because TV tubes were mostly square (round tube,
squarish viewing hole).

And I think that the advent and popularity of the
new "stadium seating" theaters, that have become
almost mandatory in newly constructed movie
theaters, will encourage 1.85:1 rather than 2.35:1.
Simply because the front wall of movie theaters
has suddenly become rather tall for its width. In
typical non-IMAX stadium seating theaters, 1.85:1
works out just about perfectly. IMAX theaters
are an extreme of steep seating arrangement.
Given how people see, if one wanted to increase
the area of an IMAX screen, the best way to
stretch it would be to the sides.

This is all a matter of filling up the available
screen area, in spite of Craig's constant
objections. Any regular long-time movie goer would
know this implicitly.

In the '50s, when movies became very popular,
movie houses had seating on a flat surface, so
the front walls were much wider than high. Often
they were theater halls, for example.

So it was a real bonus when the screen could fill
up the entire front wall with movie content.
That's what made Cinerama and Cinemascope so

It makes sense for TV to try to catch up with
this aesthetic, especially because the walls
in most rooms nowadays are also wider than they
are tall.

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