Hey YouTube! Can you say ANAMORPHIC

Would it be all that hard for YouTube to simply have a checkmark that simply said "widescreen" or "anamorphic" video when you upload the video or even just let the user adjust the aspect ratio during playback? Not really and it wouldn't even cost them any more bandwidth since it's just a rendering option. YouTube already offers the ability to scale their video in the X and Y directions, they just don't let you do one at a time.

You can talk and rave about 1920 by 1080 pixel 1080p HD DVD or BlueRay DVD all you like but if it ain't showing anywhere but YouTube, you'll watch it on highly re-compressed artifact-laden 320 by 240 pixel video and you'll like it damn it!  This just goes to show is that everyone "likes" (tolerates is a better term) videos no matter how poor the quality is when you can't get that video anywhere else and YouTube proves this.  People just like free video, any video so long as they get to see it especially if it involves cute little kittens, pretty ladies, ugly men slugging it out in a street fight, and pretty much anything else freaky.  Oh and how can I forget copyrighted video on that list, those are real popular until the copyright holder demands their removal.

Ok maybe I'm speaking techno-babble here when I raise this issue of properly displaying widescreen videos as - dare I say it - widescreen format!  It makes one wonder if YouTube has ever heard of anamorphic video (AKA widescreen) format?  I'll bet most people at least on a subconscious level know that something is wrong when they're watching video and circles look like tall ovals and people look like they're 10 feet tall.  Now I could be wrong here and people really don't care about this issue.  I've been trying in vain to explain this to my wife for years to get her to turn on widescreen mode on my older projection TV whenever something is suppose to be shown in widescreen but she's content to let people and objects get stretched out an extra 33% vertically and she probably more of the norm than the exception.

Of course I pin the blame on poor technology implementation rather than people since I believe technology should serve people and not the other way around.  There is absolutely no reason that this stuff shouldn't just happen automatically.  Heck I have a brand new Samsung up-converting DVD player with HDMI output and I can't get the stupid thing to read DVD+R disks when this kind of nonsense should have been moot years ago.  My Toshiba 72" 1920 by 1280 widescreen1080p DLP seemed to think it's a good idea to decide for me to render all output from the Samsung up-converting DVD in filled-out widescreen format even if the video source is normal 4 by 3 aspect ratio with no manual override.  So what can I do?  Hook up another DVD player that plays DVD + or - R via S-Video to display my normal 4:3 or DVD+R disks correctly.  Isn't that wonderful!

When I needed to put up my first video interview which happened to be widescreen video, the thought did come across my mind to use YouTube because I didn't have the means to upload to our own servers at the time.  But that was out of the question since YouTube simply gives you no way of adjusting the output dimensions to achieve the proper widescreen display.  Since our blog format has to be precisely 400 pixels wide, a proper 16:9 image would have to be precisely 400x225 yet YouTube insists on displaying my video at 400x300 pixels.  Would it be all that hard for YouTube to simply have a checkmark that simply said "widescreen" or "anamorphic" video when you upload the video or even just let the user adjust the aspect ratio during playback?  Not really and it wouldn't even cost them any more bandwidth since it's just a rendering option.  YouTube already offers the ability to scale their video in the X and Y directions, they just don't let you do one at a time.  YouTube isn't alone in this regard and Google Video has the same easy-to-solve but unsolved problem.

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