Which resolution to choose?

Hi. I have a .wmv file which is 1280x720. I’m going to convert it to a different format (mpeg probably, maybe avi) so that I can burn it to a DVD disc, play it on my DVD player and watch it on my 16:9 TV. Thanks to Kerry56 in a previous thread I started, I know that the converted file must be within 720x576. The conversion choices I have are 480x272, 640x480, 720x480 or 720x576. The only one which is the same ratio as the original file is 480x272 but my gut is telling me that’s a fairly small file which could spoil picture quality. The alternative ratios are more akin to 4:3 but the original file (and my TV) is 16:9. Which ratio should I convert to for the best results? Grateful thanks for any suggestions.

You should read up on anamorphic widescreen encoding. Here is a start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_widescreen

You might also want to read up on PAR: pixel aspect ratio
SAR: storage aspect ratio and DAR: display aspect ratio

If you go to dvd video, using something like AVStoDVD, it will set the DAR to 16:9 for you and you will get a PAL dvd with a frame size of 720 x 576, but your player will correctly read the 16:9 flag and display it as widescreen, with black bars on top and bottom.

If you are going to xvid avi, you’ll probably want to use a resolution of 640 x 360 (assuming you want it to play on the tv, not just the computer).

Take a look at this discussion over at videohelp.com: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/283886-XviD-Resolutions-PAR-DAR

By the way, jagabo and Baldrick over at videohelp know aspect ratios much better than me and you’ll find quite a lot of information there about this subject.

Thanks a lot, Kerry56. Don’t be so modest, it looks like you know a helluva lot about this stuff. I’ll go now and train myself up as best I can. Thanks again.