If this movie has been formatted to fit my screen, why do I have black bars?


Runco’s CineWide™ with AutoScope™ projectors feature proprietary technology to display the movie image over the total area of a wide screen, eliminating annoying black bars from DVDs.

Union City, CA - June 8, 2006 --  Runco International, the pioneer in video projection systems for home theaters, has consistently engineered projection systems that rival and in many cases, exceed the picture quality of commercial movie theaters. Runco’s only limiting factor to producing a cinema-quality picture in the home was the black bars that are added to DVDs when they are formatted to fit the smaller, 4:3 “squarish” TVs and even “widescreen” 16:9 displays, both of which dominate US households. Runco founder and CEO Sam Runco found it unfair that his customers who invest in a top-notch home theater should be missing the whole picture that the director originally intended them to see, so he set out to engineer a solution.

It’s almost comical to those that invest in a quality projector and large screen to see the announcement on a DVD that “This movie has been formatted to fit your screen”. This statement is usually seen when watching a movie on a 4:3 television; during the transfer of a movie shot in CinemaScope™ (expressed as 2.35:1 aspect ratio) the image is squeezed horizontally in anticipation of being shown on a small 4:3 television. The image is then squeezed further vertically so that the actors don’t all look like basketball players, which is why there are black bars on the top and bottom. But the same is true for those of us with 16:9 displays. While we get more resolution using a 16:9 display, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio- the most common among DVD titles- still causes black bars to be visible on our newer 16:9 displays.

To combat this problem, Runco’s CineWide with AutoScope technology “un-squeezes” the picture and eliminates the black bars through a proprietary combination of software, electronics, and motorized anamorphic optics allowing the full CinemaScope widescreen reproduction of movies on a 2.35:1 screen- without the black bars.

The process of restoring the full CinemaScope image begins with Runco’s proprietary scaling technology that stretches the image vertically, top to bottom, so the black bars are eliminated. At this point, everyone looks like basketball players, but then the Runco’s AutoScope anamorphic lens swings into place on a motorized assembly in front of the projector’s primary lens to optically stretch the image again, horizontally this time, restoring the picture to the geometrically correct, and full, 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio. The end result is a picture that fills an entire 2.35:1 screen with no black bars and increased resolution and brightness.

Since our projectors are almost all natively 16:9, the use of Autoscope permits the maximum resolution of the projector to be used on both 2.35:1 images and 16:9 high-definition images. Simply, when the motorized anamorphic lens swings in front of the projector’s primary lens, a 2.35:1 image is created and no pixels go unused. When the anamorphic lens moves out of the way, the image returns to 16:9, again using all the pixels. The height of the image is always maintained providing the best possible presentation of both aspect ratios, and Runco’s scaling technology ensure perfectly proportioned images regardless of aspect ratio.

Runco’s CineWide video processing combined with the Runco AutoScope lens give CinemaScope 2.35:1 movies a truly cinematic quality never before available on DVD. Regardless of the video source, Runco’s CineWide projectors maximize clarity, color saturation and contrast of all source material. Each projector is also able to fully maintain all high-definition resolution or upgrade pictures to virtual high-definition for widescreen projection. Runco currently offers CineWide in the Reflection Series CL-610, CL-810 and the VX-1000D. Cinewide with Autoscope technology is offered with the Video Xtreme™ series VX-4000D, VX-5000D, VX-2c, VX-2i, VX-2dc, VX-40, VX-50 and SC-1 projectors.


Kimberly Lancaster
Caster Communications

Runco International

Ryan Gray
Planar Systems, Inc.

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