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Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

I have a Roku Express+ that I bought at Walmart about a year ago and I have it hooked up via composite video to a 1983 Zenith 19 inch knob tuner tv and I’ve always had an issue with the aspect ratio on Youtube, widescreen videos display properly letterboxed but for some reason 4:3 videos act like they’re on a widescreen display and they show up squished and pillarboxed, what’s the deal? For some reason it knows it’s on standard old tv when a widescreen video is playing but on a 4:3 video it thinks it’s a widescreen tv? I have my aspect ratio set to 4:3 in the Roku settings menu and i don’t have this problem on Hulu just youtube, any ideas?
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Level 9

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

Now some 4:3 CRT TVs, especially the later models made when 16:9 CRTs were also a thing, could take a 16:9 anamorphic analogue signal and would then display it as 16:9 with letterbox. Assuming yours is doing that, then I guess your Roku could well be putting out an anamorphic 16:9 picture as a matter of course rather than anything else.

Now, going by my Streaming Stick+, Rokus take a 4:3 video and place black bars on the left and right and then put it out at 16:9. Your TV would then see a 16:9 image which it would likely show in a letter box with black bars at the top and bottom. So, you get side bars added by the Roku and top/bottom bars added by the TV resulting in a mess. On top of that, Youtube uploaders and Youtube themselves might well decide to upload a 4:3 as 16:9 and insert their own bars or may just stretch it and upload because people are strange.

I don't think anything much is designed to put out a 4:3 TV signal anymore. Even if it is, I would expect that functionality to be poorly tested and a bit ropey. I know for sure that source material that appears 4:3 will often be 16:9 with black pillars inserted into the encoding anyway, and can be mucked about with in many creative ways by Youtube 'experts'. It's kinda like having a problem with MySpace and posting about it on a forum asking for advice. The advice will be that it may just be time to move on, in this case over to 16:9 before someone comes up with the idea of High Definition or some other modern craziness...
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Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

I know it can’t be an issue with my tv misinterpreting the signal as 16:9 because it’s a 1983 Zenith knob tuner set, in 1983 16:9 was completely nonexistent in tvs and monitors and I’m only having this problem with Youtube, Hulu works absolutely fine
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Level 9

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

 


@Mattsanders0194 wrote:
I have a Roku Express+ that I bought at Walmart about a year ago and I have it hooked up via composite video to a 1983 Zenith 19 inch knob tuner tv and I’ve always had an issue with the aspect ratio on Youtube, widescreen videos display properly letterboxed but for some reason 4:3 videos act like they’re on a widescreen display and they show up squished and pillarboxed, what’s the deal? For some reason it knows it’s on standard old tv when a widescreen video is playing but on a 4:3 video it thinks it’s a widescreen tv? I have my aspect ratio set to 4:3 in the Roku settings menu and i don’t have this problem on Hulu just youtube, any ideas?

I posted here a similar  issue a year ago and got no responses at all. Did you make any progress on the issue?

Just to be clear, I am using a Roku Express+ with a Quasar 4:3 aspect ratio TV. I display 16:9 content correctly (i.e. letter-boxed. However I display 4:3 content incorrectly: it should ideally fill the frame of the TV screen but is instead window-boxed i.e. black bars top, bottom and both sides. The aspect ratio is correct (i.e. NOT squished) but the image size is too small.



 

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Level 8

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

I have the same issue only with YouTube when using 4:3 composite output on an Express+, the YouTube app adds vertical letterbox to 4:3 videos making them crop to a square. Every other app handles 4:3 

Older versions of the YouTube app on Roku did not have this issue, I have an old Roku 1 with an older version of the YouTube app and it works as expected there. too bad we can’t revert to an older version...

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Level 12

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

I am having the same exact issue on my Roku Express+ and a similar issue on my Roku HD. The issues occur only when the Rokus are hooked up to TV's through the composite (red, white, yellow) audio/video wires. This happens on 4:3 CRT Televisions, as well as on 16:9 widescreen TVs with the television input set to "Standard" 4:3, which effectively makes it a 4:3 television on that input until switched back to "wide".

 

The Rokus are set to "4:3 composite" in the settings but youtube displays 4:3 video squished inward at the sides on the Roku Express+ and adds black pillar box bars on the sides of the screen where the left and right edges of the video should be, basically treating the video as if it's on a 16:9 setting forcing sidebars.

 

On the Roku HD I am also getting a similar issue, but instead of black bars on the sides it is putting thin black letterbox bars on the top and bottom of the screen instead. The bottom line is that no Roku models will display 4:3 content correctly filling the screen on youtube in the latest version of their apps with composite connection, not even with the correct 4:3 setting selected on the players.

 

The videos on youtube are definitely uploaded in 4:3 but they simply won't display properly on a 4:3 or 16:9 TV screen with composite hookup. This is a youtube only issue, any other app like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime that plays back 4:3 video fills the screen as it should. Youtube does display correctly 16:9 videos, it's only the 4:3 stuff that is not showing correctly.

 

This appears to be an issue that youtube has created by changing something in the latest versions of their app. Roku needs to communicate this issue with them to see if they can fix it, this is obviously a screw up in the coding for the app that needs to be addressed, and it doesn't matter that most people don't use composite connections or 4:3 settings anymore, this is still completely unacceptable. Especially considering how long this issue has gone unresolved, after multiple complaints over years with no word from Roku about working to correct this problem.

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Level 10

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

I have the same exact issue when I set the roku to 4:3 standard via Settings > Display type, the app squishes and pillarboxes the 4:3 videos vertically at the left and right sides. Every other app I tried properly displays 4:3 content filled over the 4:3 signal, so I don’t know why YouTube displays them squished and pillarboxed at left and right sides, I’m going to hope somebody gets the issue fixed soon.

PS: I recently posted a question to explain probably why else I have same exact issue.

~Jordan


Level 10

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+


@FeelingDaft wrote:

 


@Mattsanders0194 wrote:
I have a Roku Express+ that I bought at Walmart about a year ago and I have it hooked up via composite video to a 1983 Zenith 19 inch knob tuner tv and I’ve always had an issue with the aspect ratio on Youtube, widescreen videos display properly letterboxed but for some reason 4:3 videos act like they’re on a widescreen display and they show up squished and pillarboxed, what’s the deal? For some reason it knows it’s on standard old tv when a widescreen video is playing but on a 4:3 video it thinks it’s a widescreen tv? I have my aspect ratio set to 4:3 in the Roku settings menu and i don’t have this problem on Hulu just youtube, any ideas?

I posted here a similar  issue a year ago and got no responses at all. Did you make any progress on the issue?

Just to be clear, I am using a Roku Express+ with a Quasar 4:3 aspect ratio TV. I display 16:9 content correctly (i.e. letter-boxed. However I display 4:3 content incorrectly: it should ideally fill the frame of the TV screen but is instead window-boxed i.e. black bars top, bottom and both sides. The aspect ratio is correct (i.e. NOT squished) but the image size is too small.




I display 4:3 content incorrectly, too, on the Pluto TV app, it should ideally fill the 4:3 signal, but instead, it is mixed, basically containing windowbox bars at top, bottom, left, and right sides. Aspect ratio is correct instead of squished and pillarboxed, but image size is too small.

The same issue occurs on my Nintendo Wii U when I watch 4:3 content on Netflix, YouTube, and Nintendo Internet Browser, and I knew why: Because most apps on the Nintendo Wii U main menu unfortunately seem to only support 16:9, so the 16:9 signal will probably be letterboxed to a 4:3 output when set to 4:3 instead of 16:9.

This issue shouldn’t happen to the Virtual Console games released in 4:3, because when I played Luigi Bros. which was probably a bonus version of Super Mario 3D World, it supported the 4:3 besides 16:9, so the game almost ideally filled the 4:3 output instead of acting like it is pillarboxed to 16:9, then letterboxed to 4:3.

Please make 4:3 Pluto TV channels and 4:3 YouTube videos fill the screen ideally, Roku!

~Jordan

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Level 12

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+

Seems like this issue is continuing to be ignored by Roku. Most likely they would just blame it on youtube saying that they write the Roku app and are responsible for fixing the issue so they can wash their hands of the problem. But even if that is the case and youtube is responsible Roku could still put pressure on them to do something about this since it's gone on for so long, but it doesn't look like Roku cares. Nobody cares anymore if it's a 4:3 setting or composite connection because most people are using HDMI. But it shouldn't matter, this still deserves a resolution.

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Level 10

Re: Youtube aspect ratio issue on Roku Express+


@Emissary35 wrote:

Seems like this issue is continuing to be ignored by Roku. Most likely they would just blame it on youtube saying that they write the Roku app and are responsible for fixing the issue so they can wash their hands of the problem. But even if that is the case and youtube is responsible Roku could still put pressure on them to do something about this since it's gone on for so long, but it doesn't look like Roku cares. Nobody cares anymore if it's a 4:3 setting or composite connection because most people are using HDMI. But it shouldn't matter, this still deserves a resolution.


You’re right, i don’t care if it is caused by a 4:3 setting, it is actually caused by the Roku Express+ itself.

An upgrade to both an HDMI only Roku model and a Bleiden branded, HDMI only Roku compatible HDMI to RCA converter would’ve been a solution if the Platform Secret Screen feature resupported the ability to fix the vertically stretched picture to avoid the vertical compression of distortion for 4:3 screens, and that ability is probably called “Select all resolutions”.

Fix 4:3 YouTube videos, Roku!

~Jordan