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Why are HBO movies in letterbox format instead of filling the screen?

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Frequent Visitor

Why are HBO movies in letterbox format instead of filling the screen?

It just seems like a lot of screen size is being wasted.

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Problem Solver

Re: Why are HBO movies in letterbox format instead of filling the screen?

Because a movie screen has a width to height ratio of 1.85:1,  while a TV screen has a ratio of about 1.78:1.

 

There are three options: show the black bars, cut off the sides of the film, or stretch the film's picture vertically (but if you do that, the images are stretched).

Silver Problem Solver

Re: Why are HBO movies in letterbox format instead of filling the screen?

Many movies are in 2.35:1, leaving very large letterboxing. 1.85:1 will leave small bars. Some older movies from the early widescreen years (50's) are even wider.