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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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3 Replies
AndyCalling
Level 7

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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FeelingDaft
Level 8

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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