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Old 08-12-2014, 09:47 AM   #1
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The Wire is in HD and Widescreen on Amazon Prime Streaming

Just noticed that The Wire plays in 16:9 when viewed on Amazon's Prime Instant Streaming service.

I assumed that this was Amazon matting the original 4:3 frame, but to be sure I started S01E01 from the DVD on my TV, and the same episode from Amazon on my phone.

Amazon's image isn't cutting off anything from the top and bottom of the image - it's actually a true widescreen frame with more image on the left and right.

Also, Amazon's picture quality is better than the old DVDs (YMMV depending on bandwidth, I guess).

I skipped ahead a few seasons on Amazon and they look to be 16:9 the whole way through. Time for another rewatch!
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:37 PM   #2
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Did a screen cap of S01E02 from the DVD and from Amazon, showing the difference.

DVD:


Amazon:

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Old 08-12-2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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That is awesome!

My wife and I were just talking about going back and binge watching it.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:27 PM   #4
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It's interesting that it's widescreen on Amazon and 4:3 on HBO GO.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoPackGo View Post
I assumed that this was Amazon matting the original 4:3 frame...
This 16:9/HD version aired on DirecTV's Channel 101/Audience Network a couple years ago, so Amazon wasn't responsible for it -- they must have just gotten their hands on the same "remastered" version that DirecTV used.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:37 PM   #6
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The show was probably shot on widescreen film, but framed for 4:3. So, there could be stuff that you see on the sides that you weren't meant to see.

Buffy was like this. I remember a scene where you could see an arm shaking this vine that the actors where trying to get thru. You couldn't see that arm in the 4:3 version because it was outside of the frame.

I've never seen The Wire, but have always meant to. Maybe I'll finally break down and watch it.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainman View Post
This 16:9/HD version aired on DirecTV's Channel 101/Audience Network a couple years ago, so Amazon wasn't responsible for it -- they must have just gotten their hands on the same "remastered" version that DirecTV used.
I remember when that aired, but I thought the consensus was that DirecTV was actually matting the 4:3 frame and you were losing image.

EDIT: Here's the old thread about it. No one really reached a final verdict except for some anecdotal comments saying that heads look chopped off in some shots.

Last edited by GoPackGo : 08-12-2014 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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As someone who was just about to start watching the show for the first time, I'm now confused about which version I should stream. I did a quick Google search, and I came up with this article that gives some insight into the situation:

http://library.creativecow.net/artic...o_the_wire.php

It appears that the show was indeed framed for 16x9, but it was only ever intended to be shown in 4x3.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:55 PM   #9
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NEVERMIND! It's only the first 2 seasons, although I SWEAR I wasn't tired enough this morning to not notice that seasons 3-5 were 4:3 when I checked them, but I must have been.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:10 PM   #10
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It's not in HD, whatever the aspect ratio.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:11 PM   #11
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It's not in HD, whatever the aspect ratio.
It could be, if they have the original film. Which I assume they do...
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Old 08-13-2014, 02:03 AM   #12
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It could be, if they have the original film. Which I assume they do...
While if that were the case it could be, it's not, unless Amazon made a mistake labeling the show. If it were HD, there would be an HD banner across the bottom of the show icon.

And I couldn't find any source, legal or not, that had HD digital copies of the show. But I don't have the most obvious source, HBO Go, so I don't know if they are or not.
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:26 AM   #13
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Some interesting stuff right at the end of this article about HD and aspect ratios from the directory of photography. Not conclusive about whether there could be a real HD version or not but does confirm that the first 3 season were shot in 16:9 and then reframed to 4:3 for broadcast.

http://library.creativecow.net/artic...o_the_wire.php
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:54 AM   #14
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There is no doubt whatsoever that there COULD be an HD version (the series was shot on film; film is higher def than HD); the only question is whether they did the work of going back to the film and rescanning it to HD.

Somebody upthread says they saw an HD version of it. That could have been upconverted from the SD version, or it could be true HD scanned from the original film.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:31 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rob Helmerichs View Post
There is no doubt whatsoever that there COULD be an HD version (the series was shot on film; film is higher def than HD); the only question is whether they did the work of going back to the film and rescanning it to HD.

Somebody upthread says they saw an HD version of it. That could have been upconverted from the SD version, or it could be true HD scanned from the original film.
Articles in this thread seem to indicate that they did some upconverting and it looks better than a typical consumer-TV-driven upconvert.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:45 AM   #16
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All I'm saying is "The Wire" streaming from Amazon is not HD.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:27 PM   #17
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All I'm saying is "The Wire" streaming from Amazon is not HD.
It's not. I just watched the first episode last night. It did look good, though. It will be weird if it suddenly switches to 4:3 for the last two seasons.
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:24 PM   #18
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NEVERMIND! It's only the first 2 seasons, although I SWEAR I wasn't tired enough this morning to not notice that seasons 3-5 were 4:3 when I checked them, but I must have been.
They stopped framing for 16x9 after the first three seasons once they decided to keep the show 4x3 for the entire run. They framed the initial seasons to future proof just in case. The producers intention is for the show to be in 4x3.

Last edited by xuxa : 08-13-2014 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gweempose View Post
As someone who was just about to start watching the show for the first time, I'm now confused about which version I should stream. I did a quick Google search, and I came up with this article that gives some insight into the situation:

http://library.creativecow.net/artic...o_the_wire.php

It appears that the show was indeed framed for 16x9, but it was only ever intended to be shown in 4x3.
Fascinating article. Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-02-2014, 04:32 PM   #20
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So, GoPackGo, you got an image credit in the Verge today: http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/2/609...re-hd-marathon
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:45 PM   #21
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HBO is remastering "The Wire!"
http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/09/02/hb...bd2ed1b3e71908
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:00 PM   #22
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Great news, but now I'm asking myself if I should wait to watch it for the first time HD?
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:33 PM   #23
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So, GoPackGo, you got an image credit in the Verge today: http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/2/609...re-hd-marathon
OMG!
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:37 PM   #24
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I never watched this show, so if this remaster does indeed come to fruition I'll finally give it a try.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:17 PM   #25
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Great news, but now I'm asking myself if I should wait to watch it for the first time HD?
I have been threatening to watch this show for years. I might as well hold off until it is available in HD.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:46 PM   #26
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Here's how Slate thinks the digital enhancement might go. Spoiler death of a major character.

Spoiler:

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Old 09-06-2014, 06:14 PM   #27
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Here's how Slate thinks the digital enhancement might go. Spoiler death of a major character.

Spoiler:
I realize that is spoiler tagged, but if you have never seen The Wire, DO NOT CLICK ON THAT SPOILER. Seriously. No, really seriously. I'm not kidding. Do. Not. Click.

If you have seen The Wire, click it.
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:07 PM   #28
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From HBOWatch and TVLine:

"UPDATE: HBO has finally given us a premiere date for The Wire HD! THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS 2014! December 26th, that is. Here’s the info straight from HBO:"

http://hbowatch.com/the-wire-being-r...-in-hd-by-hbo/

http://tvline.com/2014/12/02/the-wir...2014-marathon/

Quote:
The Wire: The Complete Series in HD will be available for the first time as a full series purchase at iTunes, Google Play, X-Box Video and Vudu on January 5. Individual episodes and seasons will be available through all of HBO’s Digital HD retailers.

To celebrate the HD launch, HBO Signature will air the entire series consecutively, one season per day starting with season 1 on Friday, December 26 at noon. The marathon will wrap with season 5 on Tuesday, December 30.

This will be the first time The Wire has aired on a linear HBO channel since Season 5 wrapped in 2008, as well as the first time that all five seasons of the entire series have aired consecutively on the network.

All 60 episodes will also be available in HD on HBO GO starting December 26.
Quote:
According to the cabler, all 60 episodes of The Wire have been remastered for “a tighter fit on widescreen TVs and computer/tablet screens. The original negatives were scanned, edited, dust-busted and color-corrected with great care and attention taken to stay true to the look and feel of the original Standard-Definition 4×3 version.”

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Old 12-02-2014, 06:14 PM   #29
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A little more info from Alan Sepinwall:

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-wat...creen-makeover
Quote:
"The Wire" is finally entering the world of high-definition — even if it's not the way the series was originally meant to look.

HBO announced today that they had completed the high-definition re-mastering of all five seasons of "The Wire," which will debut in December on HBO Signature and HBO Go, be sold in digital HD (through iTunes, Google Play, etc.) starting January 5, and on Blu-ray starting next summer. As the press release notes, "The entire series has been beautifully re-mastered in 16x9 Full-Frame HD from more than 8,000 reels of original 35mm camera negative, allowing for a tighter fit on widescreen TVs and computer/tablet screens. The original negatives were scanned, edited, dust-busted and color-corrected with great care and attention taken to stay true to the look and feel of the original Standard-Definition 4x3 version."

This was a more complicated process than most re-masterings from that period. "The Wire" debuted in 2002, at a time when the TV business was starting to push hard into both high-def imagery and a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Many series that weren't yet broadcast in HD were still being shot 16:9 (leading to a letterboxed look on old projection TV sets, which I got a lot of complaints about from Star-Ledger readers back in the day), and even the ones that weren't were often being framed in such a way that the image could easily work as either 4:3 or 16:9 without any of the important imagery being lost. (If you watch a lot of TV dramas from the early part of the century, you'll notice almost all of the relevant action happens in the center of the frame for that reason. Directors were trying to serve two masters at all times.)

"The Wire," though, wasn't shot that way. David Simon and company had requested that "The Wire" be shot in 16:9, but HBO executives instead insisted on 4:3 and standard-def (possibly as a cost-controlling measure). Simon, the late Robert Colesberry and the show's directors quickly learned to make that frame and the lower-quality image work for the series, giving it a rawer immediacy than might have been possible at the time in a widescreen, high-def image. Where other series were framing for both aspect ratios at once, "Wire" directors weren't even worrying about 16:9, and instead sought to create the best 4:3 image they could. By the time HBO offered to let them do a changeover to 16:9 and high-def after the third season, the show's producers declined, with Simon preferring to stick with one visual template the whole way through.

Because of that, and because of other creative and technical decisions made over the course of those five seasons, "The Wire" proved an especially tricky beast to tame for this new format. HBO has been teasing this re-mastering for months now, with an HBO Signature marathon of the altered episodes listed in various programming schedules in late summer/early fall. At a certain point, Simon himself got involved, along with some other "Wire" alums, to be sure it was done right. If he wasn't happy with the finished product, HBO wouldn't have made the announcement today.
David Simon writes about "The Wire in HD":

http://davidsimon.com/the-wire-in-hd/
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:59 PM   #30
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That's awesome that Simon took over the process.
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