Written by Staff - March 10th, 1999


With the new DVD era, Widescreen presentations have forced its way into the home of average consumers. At one time, most people only knew of the version of film on VHS called Pan & Scan. Some people have gone so far as to say they are "missing" information when watching a Widescreen presentation of a film.

Pan & Scan is basically the original film "cropped" on the sides to fit your television set. You are actually missing information either to the left or right (or both) of the image that you see.

Basically, Widescreen on a regular television will show black bars at the top and bottom of screen. When watching a movie like this, you either see all or nearly all of the information that you could have seen in a movie theatre. This is helpful to see how a director wanted his/her film to be seen (the way it was filmed).

On some DVD movies, you will see "enhanced for 16x9 televisions" (or an Anamorphic transfer). This is still a Widescreen format, but extra lines of resolution have been put into place so 16x9 televisions (which are wider than normal televisions) can show a sharper image.

People speculate that 16x9 televisions are the next hot thing in the consumer home. If you take the average home/audio enthusiast or "audiophile", they will tell you that they much more prefer a Widescreen version of a film. People, who are used to VHS and cable, will want a Pan & Scan version of the movie.

Most DVD movies contain the Widescreen version of the movie. Few movies are Pan & Scan only. To be fair to all, there are plenty of DVD movies out there that contain both the Widescreen and Pan & Scan versions of the movie (either on the same side of the disc or on the other side).

Benefits of Pan & Scan:

- Fills the entire screen
- Items appear bigger
- The average consumer is used to it

Down Side of Pan & Scan:

- Objects like people, places and things are "cropped" off (meaning deleted from viewer)
- Some movies can make you get motion sickness when the camera goes left to right very fast
- Titles, credits and other letter is usually "squished" together so they fit

Benefits of Widescreen:

- You can see the director's true vision (or close to it) as seen in the original release
- Anamorphic transfers (enhanced for 16x9 televisions)

Down Side of Widescreen:

- The black bars can be very annoying to most viewers until they get used to them
- Items appear smaller to the average viewer

Our suggestion to all of the DVD makers out there: Include both versions on the same disc - on every disc!





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