RE: Widescreen vs. letter-box--trivia

Trent Nicholas (
Thu, 25 Jan 2001 13:49:37 -0800 (PST)

Just for the sake of the enjoyment of these discussions:
I first heard "letterboxed" years ago in sort of a slang connotation by
video store people in reference to the TV screen method of showing wider
movies, as in looking through a mail slot of course. A bit inaccurate
since the letterboxing actually shows more than less of the film frame.
"Widescreen" referred to movies in theatres for which the curtains are
brought out to accommodate the wider aspect ratios. But, yes, the terms
have become interchangeable in TV, though I don't believe "letterbox" is
used to refer to the theatre experience.
So, did some outfit copyright "letterbox"?? Anybody?

Trent Nicholas
Statewide Media Resource Coordinator
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

-----Original Message-----
From: John Holland []
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2001 2:46 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Widescreen vs. letter-box

I seem to recall that "letter-boxed" was originally a trademarked
term that
refered to a specific aspect ratio, and did not generally mean any
widescreen presentation, but I think the two terms have become

John Holland
Chicago Public Library

Mary Dexter wrote:

> I'm sure this has been addressed before, but is it the general
> that widescreen and letter-box refer to the same type of screen
> Thanks ~
> Mary Dexter

John Holland
Media Express
Chicago Public Library
(312) 747-4100