What is an anamorphic Lens?
The anamorphic lens was first developed in the film industry when they wanted to use standard 35mm film to record images in widescreen format. The way it was done was to fit the film camera with a widescreen format lens that optically compressed the image so that it would fit into a 35mm film frame. When the film was played through a projection system, the projector was fitted with another lens that reversed the distortion. In that way the compressed image that was recorded on the 35mm film was projected onto the screen in natural, uncompressed widescreen format. This process is what the term "Anamorphic" refers to.
When people refer to "Anamorphic Widescreen", they are usually referring to the "CinemaScope" format: 2.35:1 or 2.4:1. When Cinemascope images are displayed on 16:9 widescreen display you will see black bars above and below the image ensuring that the full width of the image is presented. This is because the width is much wider than your standard "Widescreen" TV.
The question becomes: How would you prefer to watch your movies?
Or like this?
As you can see from the movie above, Cinemascope is much wider than your normal TV. In fact, Cinemascope provides 80% more image area than widescreen movies shown on conventional 16:9 screens of the same height.
This means that when an anamorphic lens system is paired with a 2.40:1 screen and a compatible 16:9 HD projector, the full visual impact of what the film director meant for you to experience can be accurately replicated in your home cinema.
While there are a few Cinemascope TV's available, by far the most common way to view the format in your home is with a projector and screen. This means when an anamorphic lens system is paired with a 2.40:1 screen and a compatible 16:9 HD projector, the full visual impact of what the film director meant for you to experience can now be accurately replicated in the home cinema.