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Netflix isn't offering Seinfeld in its original 4:3 fullscreen aspect ratio

  • Seinfeld made its much-anticipated debut on Netflix early this morning with a 4K upgrade with the streamer repeating Disney+'s mistake with The Simpsons. "But while Netflix has upgraded the iconic 'show about nothing' to even crisper resolution, Netflix is hewing to 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," explains The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg. "The aspect ratio isn’t a new problem for Seinfeld fans, dating back to the original HD remaster that was produced in 2008 for TBS HD’s syndicated reruns, which were newly made scans of the original film (hence the ability to add back the wider frames that never made it into the initial broadcast) in widescreen to better suit modern televisions. But that 16:9 cut is the only one that’s been publicly released in HD; the best versions with the original 4:3 aspect ratio format are the DVD releases, meaning that Seinfeld fans have been forced to choose for years between visual quality and aspect ratio. When Netflix announced that it would be getting the rights to Seinfeld — and upgrading the series to 4K in the process — there was some hope that the streaming service would go back to the drawing board and create a true 4K cut, one that rescanned the film in the highest possible quality. A new 4K scan would also have offered the opportunity to restore the 4:3 aspect ratio, offering the holy grail of Seinfeld cuts: a high-definition version of the show, cropped as it was originally intended. Netflix doesn’t seem to have done that, though — something that admittedly makes some sense, given the fact that such an undertaking would cost a huge amount of money on top of the already exorbitant $500 million-plus that it spent on the rights." Still, Gartenberg says Netflix should give viewers the option of watching the original 4:3 format. 


    TOPICS: Seinfeld, Netflix