State of the DVD, c. 2002

When “Shrek” debuted on DVD in 2001, it came as a two-disc set. Here’s the first disc:

The original Shrek DVD

These days, when you see a two disc set, you assume the second disc is the special edition material. It’s all the behind the scenes stuff you likely won’t ever watch, but loved seeing as bullet points on the back of the DVD packaging. Or, even more recently, one disc is the Blu-ray edition and the other is the DVD.

But back at the turn of the millennium, two discs were for something else. One was the original aspect ratio (O.A.R.) edition for the movie, while the other was the nauseating pan and scan edition. Widescreen television sets were not yet the norm, and lots of people still thought an O.A.R. edition of a movie meant that information was being chopped off the top and bottom of the picture where the black bars were. The earliest days of the DVD format were as much an effort about getting new technology in people’s hands as it was an effort to explain to people that pan and scan sucks and so-called “widescreen” was the one true way to go.

Thankfully, we’re over that now. O.A.R. won. But when my daughter decides she wants to watch “Shrek” again, I need to remember better that I want her to watch Disc 2. Otherwise, I’ll go dizzy from the pan and scan.

Footnote 1: “Original Aspect Ratio” is not to be confused with “Of A Revolution”