TOS-R Goes Widescreen In Japan

As previously reported TOS-R made its debut in Japan (starting July 21st). This is first place to show the remastered Original Series outside the USA and it appears that the Japanese are also the first to see TOS-R in 16×9 widescreen. Here are some comparison images

live action shot USA v Japan 

 effects shot USA v Japan 

A glimpse into the future of TOS? had previously confirmed that CBS were making widescreen masters of the show (at the time these masters were said to be for a possible future use and it appears Japan is the first step into that future). Although all the new effects shots are being made in 16×9, these are cropped to 4×3 for USA syndication and the iTunes downloads (The 4×3 version is also the one on the forthcoming HD-DVDs …more details). The widescreen effects shots were inserted into the Microsoft XBox Live HD version, but those were mixed with 4×3 live action shots (in fact CBS later said that was a mistake). The version being shown in Japan is the one tailored to widescreen – including the cropping of the live action shots. There is no indication yet as to if or when this widescreen version will appear in other foreign markets or back in the USA. The world is transitioning to widescreen TVs and HD and Japan (like with many things technological) is ahead of the curve so it makes sense for it to be the first. According to a source at NHK in Japan they were provided with the HD widescreen masters, but for now they are just showing them in Standard Def. NHK also have a high def channel so it is possible the HD widescreen version may show up there.

VOTE: Want Widescreen?
Do you want to see TOS-R in widescreen or do you prefer the Standard version being shown. Vote in the latest poll to the right


Research and images for this article done by Ateban.


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Wish we could compare these for ourselves on DVD….


I for one welcome our widescreen overlords. I’ll say it again, I would rather my version of the show have 16:9 effects shots and 4:3 live action than 4:3 everything.

Yeah but those old shows weren’t made for 16:9… they were made for 4:3… I mean look at that top shot… poor Scotty’s had his face chopped.

I mean I realize he’s not crutial to that shot, but c’mon.

How much else will get cut out?

Yay, just like star wars, this will be released 16 different ways in 10 different markets and with subsequent releases of the super, uber, and ultimate editions.

I’ve about had it with this project. Does anyone else notice how blurry the widescreen version of the Kirk shot is in the background? Is that just the pic, or an enhancement? I can’t tell….

Nitpicking in New York… dl

I’m afraid that I cannot see the point in this. Widescreen exists to show parts that would otherwise be edited out and later panned and scanned. Star Trek, being originally in full screen, doesn’t seem likely to benefit in any way from a wdiescreen presentation.
Except, of course, that Paramount can put out a $300 boxed set of the first 5 episodes IN WIDESCREEN!!

Bah! Why are they CROPPING? That is so stupid, and if that’s how they’re released on disc (DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-Ray) then I’m not spending one dime.

Someone please tell these morons that widescreen is not automatically better! OAR is what counts!

I just wish they would show widescreen TOSR on HDnet.

This is market logic, not artistic or creative thinking.

I’m enjoying the Remastered episodes, but I’m not going to put out any substantial money to purchase them. I have the original series, in its original form, on DVD now and that’s sufficient.

I’m totally confused. Why do I want anything that’s cropped? If the effects are new why aren’t they made to match the format of the rest of the project, rather than the technology-du-jour? I’m sorry, but there’s no logical evidence to suggest that the 16:9 format is the LAST thing that will be foist upon us.
I want clear, uncut, and pretty. You got that? I’ll watch. Otherwise, this format dance is just obfuscation aimed at sucking money from my wallet.

Why is the color different between US and Japan? Notice the orange/yellow uniform.

I hate it when they stretch a 4:3 image just to fit the new 16:9 screens. in fact, I dislike it everybit as much as I despise 16:9 movies being turned into Pan and scan for old school 4:3 TVs.

Either way, put up the horizontal black bars or verticle “pillars” and let me see the ratio as it was originally intended to be seen.

Another BRILLIANT idea !!!

Two formats : regular 3:4 for only 230 $ a season or 16:9 at 400 $ a season !

CBS-Paramount accepts VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX or/and a kidney donation !

Poor Scotty. That’s just rough.

Cropping IS a lousy way to convert the show to widescreen, unfortunately. if it wasn’t originally intended to be shown in that ratio, then it shouldn’t be.

11- I agree, the ‘stretch’ is not flattering to 4:3 originals. I honestly think 50% of the world’s population should protest in the streets, once they see what it does to their, um…
Does the 16:9 aspect ratio make your butt look big? YES.

#11- My point exactly. This is pan & scan in reverse.

#13- “CBS-Paramount accepts VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX or/and a kidney donation ! “*
* First born also accepted!

Cropping is a travesty, but I think I know why they did it for the Japanese market, Japan is way ahead of us in adopting HDTVs which are of course 16:9 in shape so they are probably pandering to the masses there in Japan.

Is TOS popular in Japan?

While cropping certainly gives the show a more “cinematic” feel, I’m as much against cropping 4:3 to 16:9 as I am against cropping a widescreen movie into a pan & scan full screen feature.

It was filmed in 4:3… maintain the artistic integrity by leaving it so. I’ve heard rumblings that you can milk more picture out of the original film elements (as they were originally cropped to fit 4:3), and if that’s so, then do it. Other than THAT, leave it alone.

Isnt the idea of widescreen to see more of the picture?

This shows less of the picture lol

The majority of Japanese material is 16:9 widescreen. They are selling this in the native format. If you can play the show without rescaling, you get your best picture. If you play 4:3 in native format on the new 16:9 HDtv , you have to have side bars. The one question I have seen released is the resolution of the HD DVD. 1080p does not work well on 4:3.

I am totally opposed to this. The only widescreen trek should be Enterprise and the 10 movies. That’s all. Except to say for future shows and films.

I don’t know… you’re giving up a good portion of the picture by putting this in widescreen format. I don’t think it’s a great idea… unless the dvd’s had both options… but that usually requires two sides of a disc.

This is a travesty and an insult to the show.

The comparison pictures are not accurate. The 4:3 is shown on a 4:3 screen while the 16:9 is showing on a 4:3 screen. HD DVD is intended to be shown on a 16:9 HDtv. There would be no black bars. Most TV’s in Japan are already HD. Eventually we will catch up.

#21, you’re confused. YES, you have to have side bars — so what? It can still be full resolution. And your comment about 1080p doesn’t make any sense at all; it’s no different than 1080i at 4:3 or 720p at 4:3…720p/1080i/1080p are all, per ATSC spec, 16×9 resolutions and need pillarboxing to show 4×3 material.

Which is what we should get.

#25, you are REALLY confused. In order to make the original trek 16:9, IT HAS TO BE CROPPED.

This is not catching up; this is going backwards.

I think Trek should be seen the way it was originally meant to be seen, on my Mom’s 9″ b/w Sony in snowy UHF… with Shatner.

this is crazy, no one in their right mind wants to see live action shots cropped….thats scotty’s head for christs sake not just the edge of the set., and if it were the edge of the set it would upset me as well. If these shots are accurate then clearly the effects shots were made with 16:9 in mind. The effects shots are slowing more in 16:9, and look great. CBSD needs to come clean, they clearly have a preference but dont want to come out and say it. it should be 4:3 it was filmed that way, the new effects should have been designed around that. SO knowing what we seem to know from those shots they only way to get the best of both worlds is swapping aspect ratios, during the show. They botched it. they are making us choose between cropping a show we’ve loved for 40 years, or pan and scanning effects shots.

This is obviously a “clever” marketing ploy to get us to eventually buy two versions: the 4×3 HD-DVDs coming out in November, followed by the 16:9 “special edition” in 2008 (just in time for Star Trek XI, no doubt).


damn the no edit button….clearly ‘slowing’ is supposed to be showing

Really, it doesn’t matter to me which way it goes.

On the one hand, widescreen would give the series a sort of cinematic feel, but on the other hand, TOS wasn’t really cinematic to begin with, so it would seem like it was being forced to be like that.

So, if I had to choose, I’d rather it just stay as standard, like what’s been airing on TV. But really, I don’t care which way it goes. Just as long as I’ll be able to see it in the best quality.

#32, I don’t understand. You want it in the “best quality” but you don’t care if they edit out part of the picture??

I’m not trying to be a jerk. I really don’t understand.

I hate it when they try and make 16:9 out of 4:3 footage. Heads get cut off, and close-ups become frightening. Just leave it as it is.

I also hate it when people watch 4:3 footage on a widescreen tv with the image stretched-out.

I don’t like the idea of chopping the frame to create an artificial 16 x 9 picture. Why would I want to give up part of the episode?

The director and producer wanted you to see it in 4:3, so that is the ONLY way it should be shown!

Would you “crop” the Mona Lisa so it would fit in a square frame?
Would you “crop” a few chapters out of Tale of Two Cities so it fits more easily into a handbag?
Of course not!

Only a philistine with no respect for the material would condone it being “widescreened”. CBS are just money-grabbing.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the episodes in 4×3 with widescreen special effects. Yeah it would look strange with black bars being there sometimes and others not, but I could deal with it knowing I’m seeing all the picture, all the time.

Although I will say the widescreen looks better to me… if only it were originally produced that way.

Actually I think the Mona Lisa was cropped.

Somebody help me on this. For the preview image of bread and circuses they showed kirk and party standing in front of 2 moons. that was the original film shot, right? Or was that a CG beam down party? if is was 35mm film, then the show was simply trimmed for 4X3. We could have exactly what we saw in 4X3 plus the image on the sides.

By all this I mean no zooming required. Of course this would interfere with the director’s vision so, this change should not happen. My philosophy is only add, never take away.

#33: “I don’t understand. You want it in the “best quality” but you don’t care if they edit out part of the picture??”

I meant best quality as far as how clear and sharp the picture looks.


For years and years, we cinemaphiles lobbied for letterbox on home video so as to preserve the integrity of the original vision. That victory was won on some VHS and then most DVD releases. But now we have the reverse insult, as a new generation of savages crop the top and bottom instead of the 2 sides so as to shoehorn a tv image into a cinematic aspect ratio. (Where’s my blood pressure medicine!!!). I remember the horror of seeing 2001 in “pan and scan” … the beautifully crafted tracking shots utterly mangled, the artistry debauched. I wonder if the new generation of savages will tilt the view up and down to reveal the heads that they cut off.

Ugh. I weep for our species.

So we’ve come all this way to get movies released in the correct aspect ratio only to have the standard 4×3 stuff cropped? Ridiculous! CBS Digital could have avoided this issue altogether by simply creating shots in 4×3 and not worrying about the HD aspect ratio.

That’s the problem with HDTV’s. People expect to watch widescreen programming on them and if they watch something with a 4:3 picture, then it looks bad.

Though, I wonder which is worse. A 16:9 picture on a standard TV or a 4:3 picture on an HDTV?

I’d always thought that back in the 50s and 60s they shot with normal film cameras then did a telecene for broadcast which brought it down to 4 x 3.

So, from this thread and I to gather that even though these were shot on film, back in the day the cameras were 4 x 3 instead of 16 x 9 or panavision?

It occurred to me that somewhere, locked in the closet are the real wide aspect ratio negatives, complete with an off camera red shirt touching Rand in her “no no place”, or Spock gleefully giving Chekov the finger, etc.

If they do release a gajillion versions, it will just prove to me that CBS D is being forced to be its own profit center in the huge mess that is now VIACOM/PARAMOUNT.

If they (CBS D) do the movie, and Not ILM, I’m walking. (After I see Nimoy appear, of course…. I’m no Philistine)

#46- You are correct! I did a test a few month back with a real piece of Star Trek film clip. I scanned it in, matched it with a screen grab of the actual show on DVD and there is very little material left, right top and bottom. Not enough to pull out a 16 x 9 image. So cropping is the only way to go.

This is unfortunate for the purists and the HT purists too who prefer OAR.

I am very used to seeing a letterbox image on a 4X3 screen, but it’s not the same looking at 4×3 material on a 16×9 screen. It looks worse to my eye, so I can understand the desire for this.

Cropping the live action is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The alternative ia a middle ground that features the episodes slightly cropped in a 14:9 ratio. Most 16:9 HDTVS have this setting and it allows you to watch 4:3 material zoomed in just a *little* bit without cropping the image too much.

Generally I’d rather have the 4:3 versions of course.

As Anthony’s poll shows, the fan opinions on 4:3 versus widescreen are quite evenly split. So a choice of both formats would be good.

Personally, I want a widescreen version, but (as I’ve said several times before) it doesn’t have to be full 16:9 — it could be around 1.60:1 so that we fill more of the widescreen frame without trimming too much of the original image. This has been done with other older TV series in a transition to HDTV.

The point is that a wider aspect creates more dramatic visuals, which is why the world is switching to widescreen. Sure, it’s not the OAR for Star Trek, but at least some cropping to produce new aspect ratios for different media has been done throughout film history. The OAR should be available, I agree. But it’s not sacred.