How Do I Determine an Ultra HD Blu-ray’s Aspect Ratio?

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Q My home theater system is based around a Sony VPL-VW675ES projector and a 2.4:1 aspect ratio screen. (I really like ultra-wide Cinemascope images.) Outside of reading the excellent disc reviews in Sound & Vision, is there a way to determine a film’s aspect ratio before buying it on Ultra HD Blu-ray? — Rod McClaskey

If you’re concerned about a film’s content on disc matching the movie’s original aspect ratio, a good place to start is by checking its Technical Specs on the IMDB website. That information will be linked to under the More pulldown at the top of the movie’s IMDB listing.

Most, but not all, studios cite the aspect ratio of a movie’s Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation on the disc’s outer packaging. For instance, when I pulled out a handful of titles from my collection, I found aspect ratios listed for Logan (2.4:1) and Passengers (2.4:1), but not for Transformers: The Last Knight. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, meanwhile, had its aspect ratio listed as 16:9/variable 2.21 and 1.78:1.

The Transformers: The Last Knight and Dunkirk listings are good examples of how aspect ratio information can get complicated, and where you’ll benefit from some research (and from reading reviews in Sound & Vision). Transformers is listed as 1.90, 2.00, 2.28, and 2.39:1 on IMDB, and the image on disc accordingly ‐ and annoyingly — jumps across that range. The IMDB tech specs for Dunkirk, which was shot using a combination of large-format Panavision and IMAX film cameras, cites an even wider range of aspect ratios, though the variable 2.21 and 1.78:1 data listed on the disc packaging closely reflects how most theatergoers experienced the film.