I have a technical question about watching DVDs with a 1.33 aspect ratio on a 16:9 HDTV. I picked up my first HDTV last night; it's the Panasonic 42" 720p plasma (TH-42PX80U). Trying out various DVDs from my collection, I've noticed that those that were originally shot at a 1.33 aspect ratio (old movies and some television shows) appear to look fine when I select the "Full" aspect ratio mode of my TV, but when I select the 4:3 mode, I actually lose some of the image! The Full mode is the only one that displays all the picture, even though the original film or television series was shot at 1.33 (or 1.37 Academy ratio). Is this standard for all anamorphic DVD releases of 4:3 material? The picture doesn't appear too distorted when I watch it in Full mode, but I'm also worried that I'm not viewing it at the "correct" 1.33 aspect ratio. Movies that I've tested so far include Casablanca and Carnival of Souls.
Basically, I'm just not sure if I've calibrated my TV properly to view films with a 1.33 aspect ratio. I tried using the Lucasfilm THX optimizer (included on several of my DVDs) and indeed, when the test image came up for a 4:3 display, the edges were cut off. However, by returning my TV to Full mode, the edges were restored. All of this is with a standard HDMI cable, by the way. My DVD player is a Sony DVP-NS75H, which upconverts to 1080i/720p if connected via HDMI. I've set the "4:3 Output" setting in the Screen Settings menu to "Full," which the manual says to do "if you can change the aspect ratio on your TV," which of course my Panasonic can.
I've emailed Panasonic and asked them if there may be a problem, but thought some of you may have the technical expertise to offer some insight. I found plenty of information online about fitting 2.35 and 1.85 aspect ratios onto both 4:3 and 16:9 TVs, but nothing about the proper transfer of 1.33 aspect ratios to a 16:9 screen. Are there that few people interested in watching old movies in their proper aspect ratio? Anyway, any insight or advice you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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