I was looking at the Pinnochio Blu-ray page on Amazon last night and read “Expand Your Viewing Experience Beyond The Original Aspect Ratio Of The Film” in the product description. What does “Original Aspect Ratio” mean? We all used to have (or still do have) 4:3 CRT television sets. I know that Pinnochio was released in the ‘40s before Hollywood was shooting and presenting in CinemaScope or Panavision. So I went to the web and discovered the TCM Movie Database site.

The TCM Movie Database has an illustration for each film that shows how it would have looked in the theatre, on your 4:3 CRT TV, and on your 16:9 Widescreen TV. These illustrations clearly communicate exactly how the picture will be presented on the screen.

Pinnochio Aspect Ratio
Pinnochio (1940)

Lawrence of Arabia Aspect Ratio
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Star Wars Aspect Ratio
Star Wars (1977)

If numbers like 1.33:1 or 2.35:1 confuse you, or if your Dad asks, “Why is Wall-E letterboxed on your widescreen TV?” you can now reference these great illustrations. You can also learn more about theatrical aspect ratios by reading the article entitled Widescreen-O-Rama! at the always excellent Digital Bits site.