Have a composite video TV. Was offered a Roku Ultra. Got an HDMI to composite video adapter.
Letterboxing seems to be gone.
Is there some way to get the desired aspect ratio short of buying a new TV or going back to an old generation ROKU?
I think you're out of luck. It's been a long time since Roku had any units supporting anything other than wide screen 720, 1080, and now 4K, or even gave you the option of setting their output to 480 resolution. It's unlikely that a really old TV made before wide screening was available would have provisions for down-converting signals to display on a 480 set with letterboxing.
Sure, if the old Roku was one that supported down-converting an HD 16:9 ratio wide screen signal to a SD (480) 4:3 letterboxed signal. The last Roku capable of outputting a signal in SD resolution was Roku Express + model 3910 released in 2017. You might possibly find an HDMI to component adaptor that can also down-res and letterbox the signal, but it would probably cost as much as a new low end tv that can display the Ruku Ultra's wide screen HD output directly.
It will no longer work with the older Roku units. I hooked my older box to a 480i tv and the first thing it did was update itself. It worked at first but not after the update.
I have the same problem as aas. I use a 4:3 aspect ratio CRT TV because flat screens give my wife a migraine. We just bought a Roku Ultra along with a HDMI to composite A/V adapter. Set up was fine, Roku home screen looks good but there's no setting for 4:3 aspect ratio so there's no letterboxing and everyone looks tall and skinny, which will also give my wife a migraine and make ME angry and want to throw things at the TV. Supposedly there used to be a 4:3 setting, but that was removed. Also, supposedly, there was a 4:3 setting in the secret menu, but that was also removed. I would like to be able to set my new Roku to 4:3 aspect ratio so we can watch Amazon Prime in comfort.
No one needs to tell me how cheap new TV's are. Some of us have REASONS for needing old tech.
The cheaper converters like the "HDMI2AV Mini" don't letterbox, unfortunately. There are a couple of expensive ones that do letterboxing. Here are two I know of:
Gefen GTV-HDMI-2-COMPSVIDSN (about $270)
Hall Research VHD-HD2CV (about $210)
Unfortunately, both of those are really pricey. (It makes one wonder how it was previously possible to include this technology in a $100 Roku device ... or for that matter, in a $30 Express model.)
I have found one other device that claims to be able to adjust the output aspect ratio, and is much cheaper. But it's only available a few places, and I have not tried it myself. If you are interested, search for this:
AM-960 "HDMI to AV Converter" (as low as $40 on AliExpress, about $60 on Amazon)
None of these adapters fixed the aspect ratio problem. My solution was to ditch the Roku and buy a Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-ray player.
The Sony allows you to set aspect ratio to 16:9 or 4:3, and the 4:3 setting is respected by both Netflix and Prime apps, which were the only two I tried or care about.
The S3700 model has the 4:3 setting but does not support Prime video. Netflix works fine.
There are a number of HDMI to RCA adapters that will work with an ancient CRT like mine, just make sure it supports HDCP.
Now we can stream Prime in glorious letterboxing and my wife doesn't get a migraine.
Done with you, Roku...