Wile is right in this case. This is almost like 1st year logic where the proof is given and even fine but the wrong conclusions were derived.
Here's an easy exercise:
You have 2 different ratio sized cutouts. In each case, one can be trimmed, stretched/shrinked while the other is completely fixed.
Take a 16"x9" cutout and a 16"x10" cutout. The 16x10 is the fixed one and can't be changed. Lay the 16x9 over the 16x10 centered. You'll find the top and bottom on the 16x10 showing. You can still see the entirety of the 16x9 cutout without altering both. If you have to alter the 16x9 in order to show it on the fixed 16x10 you're doing it wrong because it's completely unnecessary. Unnecessary because the alterations done to the 16x9 cutout will involve trimming and/or stretching resulting in lost pieces and/or a warped cutout. This wrong way of doing it is the example in Tavix's ss.
Now do the opposite and lay the 16x10 over 16x9, the 16x9 being fixed. It covers it entirely. The only way to fit it is with cropping or stretching which either way results in lost pieces or warped result. There is no right way of fitting the entire 16x10 within a 16x9 space without trimming or warping the 16:10 aspect. This is illustrated by East's ss. Ideally you want the 16x10 cutout to maintain the same aspect but that is physically impossible here. There is no wrong way because there is no right way of doing it.
Now I haven't brought up widescreenfixer for good reason. It can only fix something if it was broken in the first place and by broken I mean the cropping/zooming. In case 1 (with the fixed 16x10) it can certainly help because it merely undo what the dev's did. It doesn't change the fact that it was mucked up by the devs in the first place. But how can widescreenfixer help in case 2? To put it succinctly, nothing really. It may help in cases were there's over cropping or over warping but there'll still be lost detail or wrong aspect as a result.
On the issue of black bars I can understand Mussel's position in wanting as few black bars as possible. He at least realizes that no matter what you're going to have black bars. A 2:35:1 movie on a 1:78 screen will have very pronounced black bars, more-so with 2:35:1 on 1:6 screens but the point is it's still bad on both cases. Even if one gets one of those super wide TVs to watch blurays, there'll still be black bars on the side when watching 1:85 movies, sports or cable TV. Watching Entourage or Dexter with thick black bars on either side? no thanks. Or invest in a hi-end projection system.
My attitude towards black bars has always been such that if I'm going to be bothered by black bars I certainly am going to be bothered enough to want to watch it on my 52" in a comfy chair and not on my desk on the piddly 24" monitor before I get bothered by some black bars.
But there are those who are vehemently opposed to black bars whatsoever. I even know people I've met that will zoom and stretch their TVs in order to eliminate the black bar monster. The fact that they're actually seeing less matters not to them as long as they can feel
like they are watching more. I feel somehow game makers are catering to this crowd. Economics are involved too. So they'll crop, zoom, anything to beat back those dreaded black bars. Even cable networks are doing it by taking an OAR (original aspect ratio) movie in 2:35:1 or 2:40:1 and showing it in non-OAR or people will complain about the black bars. "There's black bars on my brand new 52" widescreen tv..wtf!!". Unfortunate really.
edit: I wanted to edit my post to include a link to Newegg that explains about why widescreen is better than non widecreen!!!! That should sway the masses!!
But I can't seem to find it anymore.