CNET GLOSSARY: Terms for the techie
Adopted from the film technique of shooting a wide-screen image on a square 35mm frame, it's the process of compressing wide-screen images to fit into the squarer standard 4:3 television signal. The images are then expanded for viewing in their original format on a wide-screen display device. Wide-screen or letterboxed DVDs that are not anamorphic have less detail when projected on a wide-screen monitor. In other words, a nonanamorphic wide-screen DVD is designed to be shown letterboxed on a standard "square" TV but appears with a black box all around the image when shown on a larger 16:9 wide-screen TV. To fill a 16:9 screen, a nonanamorphic DVD has to be blown up, resulting in loss of resolution and detail. Conversely, a DVD that is anamorphic, enhanced for 16:9, or enhanced for wide-screen delivers 33 percent more resolution than regular letterboxed transfers, is designed to be shown on a 16:9 TV, and does not need to be blown up. When one of these DVDs is shown on a "square" TV, it is often subject to anamorphic downconversion artifacts unless the TV has a vertical compression feature.
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