Can an ATV be made to work with older TVs that lack widescreen simulation mode?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by motulist, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Can an ATV be made to work with older TVs with no widescreen simulation mode? Will the ATV even send a signal and start up with an older TV? If most of what I want to watch is in 4:3 ratio, does it even matter if my tv isn't wide screen simulated and would it just cut off the edges of the menus? Is there a converter box you can buy to send a letter boxed wide screen signal to a 4:3 regular tv? Etc. etc.

    i.e. exactly how much can you get an ATV to function on an older tv?
  2. pickerin macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2007
    Yes. The AppleTV has support for 480i (which is standard def, 4:3 TV). However, the trick is getting it connected, since older TVs probably don't have component video inputs. See the thread here on AppleTV connections.

  3. sandman42 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    Although the :apple:TV supports 480i resolution, it doesn't support 4:3 aspect ratio. With the right converter/adaptor it would absolutely be possible to send the signal to an older TV (via composite or even RF), but the image will appear compressed (squished) horizontally. Widescreen content will be appear compressed on the narrower screen, and the :apple:TV will add black bars (pillar boxing) to the sides of 4:3 content, because it is formatting the content to look correct on a 16:9 TV, so it will still look compressed.

    The bottom line is it's not just a matter of getting the signal into an older TV. That's possible, but the :apple:TV formats its output to look correct on widescreen TVs only. Some 4:3 TVs will detect a widescreen signal and compensate for it, but it does that by letterboxing -- you end up with black bars on all sides of 4:3 content.
  4. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    Another way, if you are willing/able to re-encode all your movies and TV shows, is to encode files with the wrong aspect ratio.

    Blade Runner, as an example, is 720x320 for the source. When encoded at 720x240 (vertically compressed), then played back through my 4:3 TV via the :apple:TV, it will have the correct aspect ratio. You can do something similar to get full-screen 4:3 content.
  5. Cult Follower macrumors 6502a

    Cult Follower

    Feb 20, 2007
    North Dakota
    It may be hard to read some of the onscreen text.

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