What’s the Deal with Seinfeld’s Aspect Ratio on Netflix?

What’s the Deal with Seinfeld’s Aspect Ratio on Netflix?
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What’s the Deal with Seinfeld’s Aspect Ratio on Netflix?

What’s the Deal with Seinfeld’s Aspect Ratio on Netflix?

Seinfeld It’s officially gone to stream on Netflix today, with a new 4K upgrade that promises to make the show better than ever. But while Netflix has upgraded the iconic “Show About Nothing” to an even crisper resolution, Netflix is ​​employing the same strategy that Hulu and other HD releases of the show have used: a more modern-looking 16: 9 aspect, instead of offering the original 4:3 aspect ratio in which the show originally aired.

Aspect ratio is not a new problem Seinfeld Fans, dating from the original HD remaster that was produced for TBS HD’s syndicated reruns in 2008, were newly created scans of the original film (hence the ability to add back wider frames that never made it into the initial broadcast). were) better suited for modern television in widescreen.


Image: captainjo201/reddit

But that 16:9 cut is the only one publicly released in HD; The best versions are DVD releases with the original 4:3 aspect ratio, which means that Seinfeld Fans have been forced to choose between visual quality and aspect ratio for years.

When Netflix Announced It Would Get the Rights to It Seinfeld — and in the process upgrading the series to 4K — there was some hope the streaming service would go back to the drawing board and create a truth 4K cut, which re-scanned the film in the highest possible quality. A new 4K scan would also have given the opportunity to restore the 4:3 aspect ratio, which would offer the holy grail Seinfeld Cuts: A high-definition version of the show, cropped as originally intended.

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Netflix hasn’t done that, though—something that admittedly makes some sense, given the fact that such an undertaking would already cost a whopping $500 million on the rights. was spent. But the service didn’t take the opportunity here, at least offering the option to choose between an HD 16:9 cut and a lower-resolution 4:3 aspect ratio, which would have been a helpful compromise.

The 4:3 aspect ratio isn’t just about nostalgia. The wide aspect ratio has a real effect on things like the basic blocking of scenes: in exchange for slightly more footage of the left and right sides of the frame, the top and bottom of the frame are cropped, resulting in the occasional leg amputated or one’s head. above.

and like it a lot simpson (which suffered a similar aspect ratio problem when it first hit streaming), the show’s 16:9 cut also ruins some jokes: as one Twitter user pointed out, the pits of the episode “The Pothole” were actually are no longer visible in the widescreen version, thanks for cropping there.

The good news is there is some precedent for a fix: when simpson At first it began streaming on Disney Plus, also losing an option for its native aspect ratio, but the service eventually added the option to toggle on the 4:3 aspect ratio a few months later. Which means there’s a (definitely unlikely) prospect for Netflix — or whoever ends up with Seinfeld Rights Next – may decide to offer a similar option sometime in the future.

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