Are Extra-Widescreen 2.35:1 TVs the Future?

Illustration for article titled Are Extra-Widescreen 2.35:1 TVs the Future?

Over at Sound and Vision Mag they're asking exactly this question, and there's a lot of logic behind it. Current flat-screen TV tech favors the 16:9 (or 1.78:1) dimension ratio, but many movies are shot in Cinemascope 2.35:1, around 32% wider. That's why you still see letterboxing on your HDTV, or the frames are cropped to fit. High-end home theater projectors already cater for Cinemascope dimensions by using anamorphic lenses and some fancy processing to correct the image. So will next-gen home TVs end up wider too?

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The experts Sound and Vision asked tended to think not, with both Toshiba and Sony confirming they had no plans in this direction. Partly it's a question of manufacturing: the tooling is set up for production of TVs in 16:9, which mainly concerns the production of LCD panels (or OLED panels that're in the pipeline), and changing that would be pretty expensive. As a Samsung expert points out this even affects things like the glass used for the panels: manufactures are used to particular dimensions and achieving a particular yield from a "mother" sheet of glass... changing the screen dimensions would involve adjusting all this production too. And of course there's all the tech involved in getting 2.35:1 images onto the screen in the first place: DVDs and BDs aren't that ratio, though you could achieve it by throwing away pixels.

But all of these problems are not insurmountable. And I, for one, would welcome the idea of a "full" widescreen TV sitting in my living room in four or five years time: maybe because I mainly watch movies rather than TV shows. What's your take on the idea, guys?

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[Sound and Vision Mag]

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DISCUSSION

2.35 was the old CinemaScope/Panavision standard. It's changed since the 1970's to 2.39, just so you know.

I've thought about this in the past and even measured out what a smaller (about 35 in.) TV would look like with a 2.39:1 ratio. The difference isn't nearly as jarring as it would seem to be, so I don't think it'll be an issue of it looking odd on your walls.

Now, it's true that you'll run into issues when dealing with other aspect ratios, but the letter boxing shouldn't be a big deal. Really, though 16:9 is a good middle ground between the SD 4:3 ratio and the wider film ratio of 2.39:1.

@Franssu:

Now if that can be implemented with LCD/Plasma/OLED/Laser TVs in the future, at least in terms of turning off unused screenspace more efficiently to improve contrast.