Customer Review

162 of 180 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad News for Widescreen TV Owners, May 14, 2006
This review is from: House, M.D.: Season 1 (DVD)
Just to make something clear that isn't really obvious in the item description (or on the packaging itself)--the show is presented here in non-anamorphic widescreen. That is, it is NOT formatted for viewing on a widescreen television. Viewing on a 16 X 9 widescreen TV, you will have to choose between a picture that is distorted and stretched horizontally or one that has black bars on all four sides--top, bottom, left and right. Sadly, Universal's unfortunate and outdated decision has caused the quality of this DVD set to suffer.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 28, 2007 8:01:34 PM PDT
Thanks, I was wondering what was up with this set. This is the only TV show I have ever seen presented in this way. All the others are either 1.33:1 full frame (standard) or 1.78:1 anamorphic. As virtually every network show is presented in HD today, this is very odd.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2007 6:17:29 AM PDT
DB says:
i just can't figure out why these studios are butchering their TV-DVD releases. Warner Bros made the same Letterboxed-Widescreen (not enhanced for 16x9) decision on their "The Closer - Season 1" set, Lionsgate made the most horrendous mistake by releasing "Weeds - Season 1" in Pan-and-Scan Fullscreen (they literally cut the original widescreen into fullscreen resulting in characters' face being cut out in many scenes, although, the studio has since released the Blu-Ray widescreen version of the set.)
What kind of market research were they pouring their money in? Stop messing with our favorite TV shows. Oh, and Stop releasing Double-Sided disc!

Posted on Dec 11, 2007 8:58:16 PM PST
Paula says:
Sigh...The aspect ratio on this set is driving me to distraction. I just bought Season One and I spent too much time trying to get the aspect ratio to look correct. I googled the problem..and here I am. I have loads of boxed sets and none have looked the way this set does. Just finished the ENTIRE West Wing Series (which I think went Widescreen from Season 2 or halfway through Season 1 right up the final season) Now that looked great! We have old shows on DVD sets like "Family Ties" etc which are purely 4:3 and that's no problem. We just switch it to that setting. Still enjoyable. But here's the problem.....

When I bought the Season 1 of "House" this week it just didn't look right. It says 1.78:1. Settled down to watch it in widescreen and it looks odd. I fiddled with the aspect ratios on my widescreen TV so much I thought I had done something wrong. Normally it's a case of "you want 16:9 or 4:3 ?"....well of course I want 16:9. but it looks quite wrong when set to that ratio. Funny looks way better in 4:3. At least then it's in proportion. Go figure. The box set says 1.78:1 and I have no reason to disbelieve them. Tried all the widescreen modes on my TV that I could find and finally found a mode, which while not perfect, at least fills my screen enough to enjoy my 50" Plasma. Think it was Zoom 1 or Zoom 2. Whichever, I could watch it in proportion and big enough to fill the screen. So is this 1.78:1 Widescreen "House" really widescreen? Or did I get a 4:3 set that just says widescreen?

Posted on Jan 7, 2008 11:34:30 AM PST
Yea the fact that the box says it is 1.78:1 made me think it was anamorphic and not 4:3 letterboxed. This seems like they have messed up on the packaging. I think they should do a replacement program on this, because this is really unacceptable. The show is in HD on TV and is not even Anamorphic on DVD, what is that?

Posted on Aug 16, 2008 1:37:44 PM PDT
Wayne says:
I was having the same problem and no matter what aspect ratio I used on my TV, this looked wrong. I then went into the setup for my DVD player. It was set correctly to 16:9, but it also had a setting for what to do with 4:3 video format on DVDs. It was set to FULL, which is what the manual said should be used if the TV can adjust the aspect ratio. The other setting was NORMAL, which was not the default, and was supposedly to be used with TVs that are wide screen but don't allow users to adjust the aspect ratio. When I changed to that setting, the zoom setting on the TV started showing episodes on these DVDs without distortion, and without anything cut off.

This may or may not not help depending on the brand of DVD player and TV (mine are both Sony) but if your TV won't do it, you can always check your DVD player's manual to see if anything can be done. In my case, the "wrong" setting was the correct one.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 10:02:08 PM PST
Genji says:
Thanks for the heads up. I won't be purchasing these.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 9:12:01 AM PDT
Is that the reason why Season 1 of House plays on an older, dying DVD player but the discs are not recognized at all by a slighter newer DVD Player?

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 6:08:19 PM PDT
The good news is that Universal has, as of February 10, 2009, re-issued Season One in anamorphic widescreen - Amazon has it listed at House, M.D.: Season 1 (though the older set still seems to come up on most searches).

The bad news is that there's no exchange program for those who bought the non-anamorphic edition: you don't get any sort of price break if you want to replace your discs with proper 16:9-enhanced versions. But at least folks who never purchased Season One because of the video issue can now indulge themselves guilt-free. Personally, I'm happy that Universal corrected their mistake, even at the cost of buying this season twice in four years.

The newer set comprises six single-sided discs rather than three double-sided ones. Since the double-sided discs have a much higher failure rate, I think this is another good correction on Universal's part. The extras and language/subtitle options are exactly the same as on the original set: the upgraded video is the only real change.

If you're buying in a store, check the UPC to distinguish the sets (new set has UPC 025192013263, old set has UPC 025192849121). Additionally, the features grid on the back cover of the new edition correctly notes "Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1" where the old set read "Widescreen 1.78:1".

I hope this information is helpful to the commenters here who've avoided the original release because of the lack of 16:9 enhancement.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2009 9:51:34 PM PST
lostfan4842 says:
Thanks a lot trystero! I was just about to buy the bad version.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2011 9:28:20 AM PST
mealtug2 says:
so, do you know about the set which Amazon has with a release date of 2011? How is it different from the 2009 release? thanks for your time and answer!
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