Meticulously Obscure

Proper Widescreen Telly – Astounding Advert

Due to this being one of the (visually) most amazing adverts you’ll ever see, I very much recommend ignoring the youtube video embedded below, and going here to watch the Ultra High Definition one in fullscreen mode. If you’re lazy though, just watch this:

Isn’t that something? Hugely flipping impressive.

It’s to mark Philips’ launch of their new Cinema 21:9 TV, the world’s first proper widescreen telly. ‘Proper’ widescreen because, as the name suggests, it has a 21:9 (or 2.33:1) aspect ratio, which is much closer to the 2.39:1 used in cinemas than the standard ‘broadcast widescreen’ ratio of 16:9 (or 1.85:1), although just to confuse things, some films use the 16:9 format anyway.

Awesome! Watch DVDs with no letterboxing! Yeah, that is pretty awesome, but there’s a downside too. Quite a major one, if you watch a lot of TV content alongside DVD/Bluray stuff (and are an A/V nerd).

As in the early days of 16:9 widescreen TVs, when most broadcast content was in the old 4:3 aspect ratio, getting a 16:9 image to fit on a 21:9 screen means either cropping it (so you lose parts of the top and bottom of the picture), squashing & stretching it (so everyone looks short and fat), having huge black bars on the sides, or as most 16:9 telly vendors eventually settled on, keeping the centre 1/3 of the image the same and stretching out the sides to fill in the side gaps (which looks dreadful, if you actually pay attention to moving images).

These days most broadcast content is in 16:9 (decided as the best compromise between all the available formats, quite some years ago), so if you’re using a 21:9 for broadcast content you’re back to the old problem of most images being too small for the screen, and some nice warping effects or black bars. 16:9 is such a well established international standard that 21:9 would have to make serious inroads to have a hope of changing that, and as this is going to be expensive and aimed at movie buffs, that’s unlikely to happen.

Far better off just going for a large standard widescreen TV, if you ask me. Which as you’re reading this, you tacitly have done. Stop asking me stuff all the time, guy!

Still, now that the fuss over HD has died down, I guess They needed something else to convince us we needed to buy, eh?!?!

Keep consuming! What you’ve got now is rubbish! You need our new Super Gizmo #37!

Pfft.

Steve • 15th August 2009


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