DVD was designed to make movies look as good as possible on TV. Since most movies are wider than standard TVs, letterboxing preserves the format of the theatrical presentation. DVD is ready for widescreen TV’s. For these and other reasons, many movies on DVD are only available in widescreen format.
The black bars are part of the letterbox process, and in many cases you can't get rid of them, even if you have a widescreen TV. If you set the display option in your player to 4:3 pan & scan instead of letterbox, it won't do you much good since almost no DVD movies have been released with this feature enabled. If you set the player to 16:9 widescreen output it will make the bars smaller, but this is intended for use with widescreen TVs only — you will get a tall, stretched picture on a standard TV.
In some cases, there may be both a fullscreen and a letterbox version of the movie on the same disc, check the other side of the disc (if it's two-sided)
Ensure the aspect ratio on the DVD Player matched your TV type:
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