Netflix has moved quickly to distance itself from reports that it is ignoring the original aspect ratio of movies it streams to customers. In response to accusations made by Tumblr website 'What Netflix Does', which criticizes the company of cutting the sides of wider-screen movies in order to fit them into a squarer image, Netflix has categorically stated "we do not crop," adding that it attempts to offer "the best picture and provide the original aspect ratio of any title" on its service.
"We do not crop... unfortunately our quality controls sometimes fail."
The Tumblr website highlights a number of movies that have been cropped from their original aspect ratio, which include Planet of the Apes, Prometheus, and Passion of the Christ. If a movie was filmed for wider screens, it will display a black 'letterbox' panel on the top and bottom of the screen, ensuring that the movie can be viewed in the manner in which it was filmed. Older DVD movies used 'pan and scan' techniques to fill a viewer's screen, but cut out wider parts of the frame in order to do so.
Netflix admits that while it attempts to offer movies in their original aspect ratio, it may sometimes deliver the wrong version of a title. "When we discover this error, we work to replace that title as soon as possible," the company notes. The author of the Tumblr website notes that he jumped between different Netflix regions to capture the stills, which could suggest the Netflix is supplied with different formats of a movie depending on where it signed its licensing deal.