Some DVDs are labeled “Fullscreen”, some say “Letterboxed” and others say “Anamorphic”, “Widescreen” or “Enhanced”. What is the difference?

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Some DVDs are labeled “Fullscreen”, some say “Letterboxed” and others say “Anamorphic”, “Widescreen” or “Enhanced”. What is the difference?

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Short answer, always choose “Anamorphic” or “Enhanced (for widescreen or 16:9)” or “Widescreen”. In most cases, all three are the same thing and they offer the best resolution and will best fit your screen, even an old 4:3 analog TV. These take the original film image and place it onto the DVD. Your DVD player and TV work to make it fit the screen in the best possible way. It maintains the highest possible resolution. “Fullscreen” DVDs are designed to fill the 4:3 screen of your old style TV. But in so doing, you loose some of the picture, usually from “pan and scan” or image compression. “Letterboxed” keeps the original aspect of the film image but it places black bars above and below the image, even on a 16:9 TV. To do this, it also drops some of the vertical image resolution, resulting in a picture that can be 33% less detailed than on an “Anamorphic” DVD.

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