Difference Between Full Screen DVD & Wide Screen DVD

When movies come to DVD they are often sold in both "full screen" and "wide screen" versions; "full screen" DVDs cut out part of a movie's original visual frame to make the picture fill the space of 4:3 ratio TVs.

  1. Purpose

    • Full screen DVDs are designed for people who have standard non-wide screen TVs with a 4:3 width to height ratio; some people like to have the full space of their TV taken up with the picture rather than having a wide screen video displayed in the center of the screen with black space above and below the picture.


    • Widescreen DVDs, or letterbox style DVDs, contain all of a movie's original framing; full screen DVDs are zoomed in to fit the 4:3 format, which eliminates black space but it cuts off part of the original movie's frames.


    • Widescreen or letterbox style DVDs are considered superior to full screen DVDs since they contain all of the movie's original image; the difference is especially noticeable in moves with wide vistas like epic battle scenes.


    • The term "full screen" often confuses shoppers into thinking the full screen version of a DVD will display a larger or better picture; while the picture will appear larger on a 4:3 TV, you see less overall detail than you would on a wide screen version.


    • With the increasing prevalence of wide screen TV sets that are able to display wide screen DVDs while utilizing most of the screen's space, full screen DVDs may become obsolete.

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  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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