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If you are complaining about 4:3 you don't know what you're talking about.
on May 3, 2013
After reading some of the other reviews and comments I too am tired of the ignorant "complaints" about the TNG BRD releases being somehow "inferior" or inherently "bad" because they are in 4:3 aspect ratio with the "pillar bars" present on 16:9 TV/Monitors. Although I appreciate that the vast public has largely been educated as to the crime that was "Pan and Scan" which was applied to theatrical movies which were shot in wide formats to make them fill 4:3 TVs for home video in the past, as the title states if you think this is a problem with ST:TNG (or ST:TOS for that matter) you don't know what you're talking about. If you have the Season 1 BRD set there is a short but very concise featurette that explains all the reasons why the show cannot be presented in 16:9 format. I highly recommend that you watch this featurette, it's freely available on youtube here: [...] (if the link is broken or isn't displayed just search "Why TNG BluRay is 4:3" on YouTube and you'll find it).
In any case:
1) In 1987 nobody knew that 16:9 would become the preferred format for high-definition television broadcasts in less than 15 years; nor that 16:9 would become the dominant format for home televisions. TVs in 1987 were all 4:3 aspect and had a lower effective resolution than your smartphone today probably does.
2) Although the show is shot on 16:9 film all the shots were composed for a 4:3 matte, at the time the producers had no reasonable requirement or expectation that it should ever be composed for 16:9 (see point 1). Therefore crew and equipment is often visible in many shots outside the 4:3 matte. The film itself in these areas was not handled as carefully as the composed shot and often has excessive grain and scratches from handling because again, there was never the assumption that those parts of the film would ever be used in the final broadcast.
3) From point #2 the only other viable option would have been to "push in" or "zoom into" the clean 4:3 shots and loose visual information at the top and bottom of the shot; effectively re-imagining the visual composition of each episode. CBS refused to do this as it violated one of their prime directives that this was a restoration and not anything else. Also many Blu-Ray players and HDTV monitors have zoom functions that allow you to do this yourself. I know on my Oppo BDP-83 Blu-Ray player I can set it to "full" zoom operation where it will take a 4:3 image with pillars and push into it so that the pillars are eliminated and the upper and lower portions of the 4:3 image are cropped. Also some TVs allow you to stretch a 4:3 image out to 16:9 with a kind of "fish bowl" type of effect (which I personally find generally horrible). Thus, seeing as how I can ruin the shot myself there was no reason for CBS to force it onto us by doing it permanently. Again they chose to give us a restored version for which they should have all our gratitude for preserving this program as it was originally conceived (unlike other science fiction producers that may or may not make movies about wars in the stars and refuse to provide proper restorations of their original products).
4) Furthermore many of the composite shots which used models were cropped to a 4:3 composition. This is dramatically demonstrated in the aforementioned featurette where a CBS technician shows us footage for the season 1 episode "10101001" where the Enterprise D is shown docking at a federation Space Dock, the film elements for the Space Dock were reused from the Star Trek III motion picture. Although they had full 16:9 shots for those scenes since ST:III was shot for a wide aspect, the composites of the Enterprise D model were cropped to 4:3 (this is visually demonstrated by playing the 4:3 composite over the 16:9 background shot). Meaning that they would have either had to recreate the Big-D in full CGI and rebuild the scene or use the original model shot and leave it as a 4:3 scene (or push into the scene as described in point #3). The point is moot however when the rest of the episode could not have been "made into" 16:9 anyway because of 1, 2, & 3. This was apparently endemic to most if not all of the composite scenes.
Now having said all this, the fact that ALL of the TNG HD restorations will be carefully preserved in their original format, meaning among other things a 4:3 aspect ratio, should not dissuade you in the least from your purchase of the feature cut of Best of Both Worlds or any of the TNG BluRay products. In fact it should enhance your buying decision knowing you are getting the best possible version of the show in this generation of technology, at least where the film scan restoration is concerned.
Possibly the only reason not get this BoBW BRD is if you plan to get both the complete seasons 3 and 4 and cannot see "double dipping" to have it twice (effectively). However if you're not interested in buying the full seasons, but are a fan of this particular episode and really want to own it, then CBS has made it easy for you to save money and buy just this outside the season sets if that makes you all warm and fuzzy. Besides BoBW as a "feature" is arguably "better than" a couple of the TNG theatrical features...but that is a debate for another place and time.