I have a hard drive full of rips of my personal DVD collection, stored in somewhat ‘original’ IFO/VOB format. The WD TV Live box plays such rips well, which is why I chose it over (eg) the Roku device.
However, a small number of ripped DVDs don’t play appropriately on my widescreen TV. Most do. I’ve spent a whole day experimenting, and here’s what I’ve found. Some of my older DVDs are ‘letterboxed’ - that is, they are stored as 4:3 images, with ‘bars’ at the top/bottom to give them the correct visual 16:9 aspect ratio. These are NOT anamorphic disks (anamorphic 16:9 play fine).
When I put the original DVD in my DVD player, and play on my widescreen TV, by default, the image is ‘too wide’ - it fills the full width of the screen but is squashed vertically. But my TV has a mode it calls ‘zoom’, which (not really consistent with it’s name) stretches only the vertical plane, to make the image fill the (16:9) screen and looks normal. However, when I play a direct ‘rip’ of this DVD through WD TV Live, on the same TV, same settings, the image plays with both vertical and horizontal bars around the image. I can achieve a reasonable image using the WD TV live by using a separate ‘zoom’ feature on my TV, which stretches both horizontal AND vertical dimensions. So both the original DVD and a rip from it ultimately look OK on the TV, but I have to use different ‘stretch’ techiques in either case, which suggests the WD TV is not quite behaving like my DVD player. Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this and if there is a better way to handle it.