update - this definately seems to be just a case of not being able to find a modern dvd player that can zoom the image of a movie to fill the screen horizontally whilst maintaining aspect ratio, and nothing else. I didnt mind if the screen ended up with anything missing vertically (slightly cropped top and bottom) as a result. I have tried 4 players now, and they cannot do the above, after trying out the tv and player aspect/size settings fully to make sure everything is correct.
If anyone has any dvd player recommendations instead that will do the above, that would be the better solution, as Im finding it hard to get one to do the job. thanks :)