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Report: HBO's Going to Ruin The Wire With the Wrong Aspect Ratio

Kottke reports HBO is embarking on a rebroadcast marathon of The Wire. We should be pumped that The Wire is getting remastered in HD, right? Not so fast. HBO is about to ruin a classic.


The original video promo posted by HBO Watch bills the rebroadcast marathon as "The Wire Remastered," with the claim that the show is "Remastered for the first time in high definition." That sounds pretty spiffy and awesome, but unfortunately, broadcasting the show in HD requires cropping the original picture to make it fit the wider HD dimensions.

Since the show was shot on film, the first four seasons were actually edited for the older 4:3 broadcast standard. You cannot make a 16:9 HD frame out of a 4:3 picture without cutting some of the original goodness out. We haven't been able to confirm that the show is being destroyed for HD, but a Kottke reader claims it's happening. Let's hope not?


We've seen this done before and it never ends well. Why can't HBO just broadcast it as the series creators and editors intended? We'll take the little black bars on the side over losing any inch of Snoop. [HBO Watch via Kottke]

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Well, it's possible it was shot in a wider aspect ratio and then cropped for TV. If that's the case, and they're going all the way back to the original film, we'd be gaining material rather than losing it in the remastered version.