Viewing 4:3 as 16:9 easily?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by idunn, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    This may seem an odd question, and if covered before my apologies, but does anyone know of a way to watch 4:3 video as 16:9 on a computer screen?

    I'll explain. For purist out there this may be anathema, but with the Apple DVD player it is simplicity itself to stretch old 4:3 video to fully cover the wide aspect screen, such as a MacBook. The result is a picture obviously somewhat distorted, but otherwise without the vertical bars at either side, and mimicking content filmed at 1:85.1. However, as far as I've discovered, this is only possible if using a DVD, and then of course the DVD player software which allows this to be easily done.

    The problem lies with video from other sources, such as Amazon Video on Demand, or that from iTunes, since not a DVD and using that software adjustment capability. HDTV television sets usually have this capability, in easily being able to adjust the aspect ratio, and to fill the wider screen with video content that originally would not. But what about computers?

    Is there some piece of software or technique which would allow stretching 4:3 video to 16:9 on the fly?

    Thanks for any ideas.
  2. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    I know Quicktime X (Quicktime for SL and Lion) will stretch the content to fill the screen, even if the source is 4:3. However, this will only work with locally saved content that Quicktime can play (I'm fairly certain this includes iTunes content). I'm not sure if the same will work with Amazon Video on Demand, since I'm assuming you just watch it in your web browser.
  3. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2010
    If you go to Displays Preferences and change your resolution to a 4:3 (stretched) option (e.g. 1024 x 768 (stretched) or 800 x 600 (stretched)) then 4:3 video should fill the screen... Though I'm not sure if all graphics cards have these options.
  4. roidy macrumors 65816

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    VLC has a ton of aspect ratio options.

    Sorry, jumped the gun, read the rest of your post and now see you want to stretch copy protected content. My bad:(
  5. idunn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Seemingly simple

    Thank you for the suggestions thus far.

    As far as going to system preferences to change the display to the lower resolution of 1024 x 768 (stretched), yes, I tried that, with unfortunate results. Theoretically it may have worked, but in trying this with Amazon Video on Demand I found it stretched the screen image by kicking everything to the right. Thus I was unable to access the full screen button customarily present at the far lower right corner of that browser window. If opting for full screen in advance, then one cannot access system preferences. Moreover, in returning to the normal (higher) resolution of 1280 x 800 all the open browser windows that I had open had shrunk vertically from the bottom by roughly an inch, with the easiest solution to resize them manually.

    Not sure about Quicktime, but as mentioned it would not answer for streamed content.

    I'm still seeking a solution as simple and elegant as that offered through the DVD player. For those that may not have tried this, with a DVD open moving the cursor will bring up the control panel in center lower of the screen. Aside from controls to play, stop, etc. also those which allow the image to be easily stretched horizontally and/or vertically.

    HDTVs will do this (or similar), the DVD player does, so technically possible. Only I am at a loss for a way beyond this for all wishing 4:3 video to fill the entire computer screen.
  6. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2010
    I just tried Amazon Video on Demand and it worked perfectly for me -- I just had to push the Safari window partly off the left hand side of the screen to bring the Full Screen button back on the right hand side of the screen. From there the Full Screen button works fine. I don't have an answer for the resizing issue -- might just be the price of doing business.

    The Screen Preferences option is exactly the same stretching as an HDTV would do. To do what the DVD Player would probably need changes to the Flash Player as well as each individual site enabling the option. Given how few useful display options there are in Flash video sites, it's hard to see this happening any time soon.
  7. idunn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    As is?

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I hadn't thought of moving the browser window, but an interesting workaround. Although I am not keen on such an inelegant solution when the DVD player does it so much better and simply, with no apparent change in resolution, only the ability to stretch the image.

    Perhaps some app is what I have in mind, that would provide the same functionality, with its controls of course appearing or not at a keystroke.

    Beyond that, I'm not sure if this does or will exist, as most are possibly inclined to do the same adjustment instead with their HDTV as projector and screen, or perhaps content with 4:3 video as is?
  8. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2010
    Actually you don't even have to push the window off the side of the screen -- just click on the green resize button and the window will refit to the new (stretched) aspect ratio and you can press the fullscreen button from there.

    Also if you tick the box in Displays Preference that says "Show displays in Menu Bar" then you can change the display resolution with a single click of the mouse.

    I don't think it's ever going to get any easier or more elegant than that. Most people I think would just put up with the 4:3 rather than trying to stretch it.
  9. idunn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Thank you - it works

    Thank you.

    The suggestion worked, with the green resize button making it possible, and displaying screen preferences in the menu bar helpful. The video image returned of 4:3 content from Amazon Video on Demand, at least on a MacBook, covered the entire screen with no black bars.

    Strangely, all open browser windows that had formerly shortened vertically from such an adjustment before, now the same from the top down rather than bottom. But save iTunes (requiring manual adjustment), all other browser windows of Opera or Firefox resized easily with the green resize button.

    Not as simple or elegant as I would wish. But pleased there is some solution.

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