I received my copy of the new Star Trek: The Next Generation® – The Next Level Blu-ray Disc™ today and have unusual problems with the aspect ratio. I am not sure if this is caused by the player, TV or disk.

The aspect ration of the TNG episodes is in the original 4:3 ratio. As 4:3 format programs are now unusual, especially on Blu Ray disks, I decided to try and expand the image to 16:9 to see how that would look. My Philips Blu Ray player and TV should normally let me expand the width of the video to fill the screen or alternatively zoom the picture in so that the top and bottom are cut off and the sides are enlarged to fill the screen. I wanted to test both modes and was very surprised at what happened.

The equipment I am using is as follows:

Philips 42" Full-HD TV (2011 model) 42PFL7666K/02. FW 000.014.093.000
Philips 3D Blu Ray player (2011 model) BDP3280/12. FW V2.22

The two units are connected via an HDMI Cable as you would expect.

This is what happens with the various picture zoom settings:

Autofill: Shows full 4:3 format image (standard setting)
Autozoom: Same as above
Super zoom: Instead of the picture getting wider, it actually gets slightly narrower and the picture is stretched vertically - NOT horizontally as you would expect.
Movie Expand 16:9: The image width returns to the same size as with the 4:3 image, yet the image is now stretched vertically even more - very strange.
Wide screen: The image size returns to 4:3 format
Unscaled: The image gets a little smaller revealing a bit more image at the top any bottom.

The 4:3 format works fine, but I would like to have at least the option to also expand the video to 16:9 format (either by stretching horizontally or zooming in the image).

I then put my original TNG DVD of the same episode, which is of course also filmed in 4:3 aspect ratio and there I had the opposite problem. The 4:3 video was ALWAYS shown stretched to 16:9. I could not find a setting on TV on Blu Ray player to show this DVD in its original 4:3 format. In my Panasonic DVD recorder, I could view the same DVD normally.

Aspect ratio is pretty important and it is important to get that right. Videos that are originally 16:9 on disk play fine.

Regards

Peter