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How exactly is an original 4:3 clip reformatted to 16:9? Personally I'm not a fan of reformatting old TV shows or videos into wide screen. Watching old Star Trek episodes in 16:9 would feel wrong
What it means is that the black pillarbox bars left and right of the 4:3 picture (as you'd see when e.g. viewing a 4:3 aspect ratio clip on a 16:9 TV/screen) are actually a *part* of the picture on the DVD. So you can't get rid of them (unless you edit and re-encode the source files), and when viewing the DVD on a 4:3 TV, the picture will appear windowboxed/like a postage stamp, unless you have a function that allows you to zoom in on the picture until it is the right size to fill the screen without the pillarbox bars being visible.
This graphic might explain things a little more clearly:
Teh Cyndi lauper current DVD which I was SOOOO excited to get is 4.3 = letterbox with the box around the picture. It's just S H I T !
You mean the image of the videos is 4:3. But the way they have been encoded to disc is in 16:9, with the black pillarbox bars left and right part of the actual picture (and not fill-in bars, as when viewing a 4:3 disc on a 16:9 TV).
Because the whole picture (including the bars added) is 16:9, when you view it on a 4:3 TV, it is letterboxed. It then appears windowboxed (black bars left, right, top, bottom), because of the left & right bars being a part of the picture encoded onto the disc.