SD Television Shows Not Widescreen?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BigPete7978, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. BigPete7978 macrumors newbie


    Apr 11, 2010
    Not sure if this has been posted yet but I figured I'd ask anyways. I have several TV Shows that I purchased a while back that aren't in HD. Shows such as Futurama, Saved By The Bell, etc. and on my Apple TV (which I just got last night and love btw) they don't fill up my widescreen. They are in the 4:3 aspect ratio and not 16:9. Is there any way to make it fill up my screen that I am not seeing? I know it is possible because I do it on my PS3, but idk if Apple has it in the AppleTV settings.
  2. LurchNC macrumors regular

    May 1, 2008
    If you get it to fill the screen, either the top and bottom will be cut off, or they will be stretched. I think you will get used to it if you try not to think about it too much. lol

    Sorry I don't know if you can get aTV to stretch 4:3 content. I haven't found a way at least.
  3. CrAkD macrumors 68040


    Feb 15, 2010
    Boston, MA
    my samsung plasma has a stretch mode that I use for apple tv and SD content. Its not perfect cause after im done watching it I have to go back to normal mode cause then some of the ATV menus are cut off when I go back to the menu.
  4. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Why would you want to either stretch or zoom in (and therefore cut-off) portions of the picture?

    The OP can indeed stretch or zoom on the 4:3 imagery to fill the entire 16:9 HDTV on most HDTVs...but it is not a function built in to the ATV since that would alter (cut-off or stretch) the original. Look at you TV remote or instructions to see how to do this. Often, it's called 'aspect' or something similar.

    Is it really that much of an annoyance to have black on the sides of the screen?
  5. viggen61 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    In the USA, by definition, "Standard Definition" has a 4:3 aspect ratio, just like the old, analog, NTSC broadcast.

    Standard-definition Television on Wikipedia.

    "Stretching" will display the same number of lines, but each line will be stretched out, making circles in the original image look like ovals on your screen, and squares like rectangles. Faces and people in general will look completely out of proportion.

    "Zooming" will act like a zoom lens of a camera. The image will fill the screen, the proportions will remain the same (circles remain circles, etc.), but you will lose image content off the top and bottom of the screen.

    I don't think the Apple TV has a control for this, as it was designed from the start to use HDTVs.

    4:3 content will be around for a VERY long time. As others said, with stretching and zooming, you are always losing something from the original image, be it proper proportions, or image.

  6. tallyho macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2004
    Why would you want to? Just because it's nice to have the option to fill the screen. Most TVs have a "smart" aspect ratio mode, where they do a combination of zooming and stretching - often only stretching the left and right edges of the 4:3 image combined with a slight zoom (so cropping a small amount from the top and bottom).

    Some people get very snooty about doing this and make sarcastic comments, but this is NOT the same as cropping a widescreen movie to a 4:3 image, like you occasionally get on so-called full-frame DVDs. It's just nice to use more of your widescreen when watching something like The Simpsons - and it doesn't look like the image is distorted massively - circles do not look like ovals!

    However, (un)fortunately (depending on your point of view), some TVs will not let you use this smart mode with HDMI inputs - my Sony won't for instance. So it's a small image with wide black bars at the side for me. And it's actually not unreasonable to expect the AppleTV to at least support this as an option - my Sony DVD player (HDMI connection) converts 4:3 to "smart" 16:9 ratio, so the TVs lack of ability to do it doesn't matter. And I believe there is an option in Plex to do some sort of smart zoom.

    Anyway, that's how I understand it. To be honest, I would probably choose 4:3 anyway for material originally shot in 4:3, but I can understand why people would like the option of smart zoom.

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