the output is consistently wider than the 16:9 format when played on a DVD player at 16:9 settings, and loses approx. 1/6 of the frames on either side and is stretched (think 16:9 played on 4:3 settings). When the DVD player is set to 4:3, the frame is proper resolution (ie. not stretched) but still loses the edges of the video. It's almost as if the player can't tell that the video is rendered as wide-screen, but only sees it as 4:3.
The Quicktime output is being rendered throught iDVD into a looped DVD (cheap and quick). Settings are as a 16:9 widescreen output, which has always worked in the past.
Since the file is fine in the QT Player, I'm thinking AE is passing on some faulty pixel aspect ratio to iDVD, but have checked everything I can find, and can't see anything wrong (especially trying so many different formats).
I used this method for two years to do retail videos with no problems. What the heck am I missing to cause this problem? This is happening with outside supplied video in multiple formats included, as well native AE footage from still frame files.
I'm not sure if the problem is with AE in the Quicktime export, or with iDVD, but I've plumped with the former after much trial and trouble-shooting.
Sounds like you are using some odd letterboxing/ pillarboxing in iDVD... Have you made sure the MPEG-II transcodes are properly set to 16:9 and the disc spec is et to pan & scan? It's definitely not AE's fault - if you work strictly based on the presets, the formats are all correct. Perhaps you simply messed up your iDVD prefs or a Quicktime update changed some QT settings?