Start Wreck wrote:
And thirdly, screw the pillar-box hat0rz!!
Seriously, I was watching some old academy ratio (4x3) cartoons last night* on my widescreen TV and I did not have an issue with the pillarboxing at all. A couple of tricks: when you bring home a new TV turn the brightness down. A little more. Little more. Keep going. Little bit more. Little more. And... a little bit more. Seriously, TVs come from the manufacturer with the brightness set to "torch" mode, so that if a store pulls one out to be a floor model, it will look good under the harsh flourescent lighting. The lighting in your home is a different beast.
Now, after you've turned down the brightness, leave it down for a week or two of regular watching. Then, and only then, start easing it back up a hair here and there. If you really want to get it right, look for one of those DVDs that will walk you through all the brightness and contrast settings on your TV and surround sound setup. Some DVDs even have a THX calibration function that will move you in the right direction.
Second, adjust the lighting in the room your TV is in. One trick is to have soft lights behind the TV so that the changing brightness of scenes on the TV doesn't let your eyes focus on the black bars. My TV is actually in our basement, and I was watching in total darkness, with the TV's brightness adjusted, and I would have sworn I was watching on a 4x3 screen.
These tweaks will really help your viewing experience, and if not, then you just need to learn to watch the material and not the black bars
Ub Iwerks if anyone cares.