Getting Started - Setup & How-to

Help getting started with Roku devices, including setup, connecting your device to your TV, linking a Roku device to your account at my.roku.com/link, adding channels, subscribing to services, and more.
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Level 21

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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@Michelle3 wrote:

 

You should be able to get a streaming player that letterboxes both the menus and 16:9 content, but fills 4:3 content in the 4:3 signal.


I don't think you'll find any streaming player that supports analog outputs any longer. None of the major players do anymore. There might be some generic Android boxes online with analog outputs, but you won't find a Roku, Fire TV, Shield or Apple TV with them. Since most analog only TVs are likely 12 years old or older, there really isn't much of a market for them any longer. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 10

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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@atc98092 wrote:

@Michelle3 wrote:

 

You should be able to get a streaming player that letterboxes both the menus and 16:9 content, but fills 4:3 content in the 4:3 signal.


I don't think you'll find any streaming player that supports analog outputs any longer. None of the major players do anymore. There might be some generic Android boxes online with analog outputs, but you won't find a Roku, Fire TV, Shield or Apple TV with them. Since most analog only TVs are likely 12 years old or older, there really isn't much of a market for them any longer. 


Hi, @atc98092.

I even tried a Fire TV stick with an AuviPal branded, Chinese manufactured HDMI to RCA + USB converter connected to my 4:3 CRT TV, but it was not letterboxed horizontally, but stretched vertically from 16:9 signal to fill 4:3 output, and that is, for some reason, a useless and unwatchable way to use Fire TV on a 4:3 CRT TV.

I’m probably better off getting a Fire TV box and a Bleiden branded, Fire TV box compatible HDMI to RCA converter, but I don’t know a different way that it will convert the 16:9 signal to a 4:3 output when set to 480p 60 Hz via Hidden Resolution. I’ve found TigerClaw305’s solution saying to display the Fire TV 16:9 image properly letterboxed, you have to have a Bleiden branded converter, then set the Fire TV to 480p, but I don’t know, I guess I should try it.

~Jordan

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Level 21

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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Unfortunately, using HDMI to analog converters are problematic at best, which is why officially Roku does not support using them. Some report success with them, while others report this sort of issue. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 10

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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 @atc98092 wrote:

Unfortunately, using HDMI to analog converters are problematic at best, which is why officially Roku does not support using them. Some report success with them, while others report this sort of issue. 


They even don’t support 4:3 anymore, due to it being an obsolete aspect ratio nowadays. I tried the Roku Express+ if my equipment besides my 4:3 CRT TV had RCA input but when set to “4:3 standard” via Settings > Display type, most apps properly displayed 4:3 content filled, but there were issues with some apps such as YouTube, Pluto TV, and Third party developed, iOS compatible Screen mirroring apps, and a feature like Play on Roku.

For YouTube,

4:3 videos act like the signal is 16:9 by containing squishing and pillarbox bars vertically at left and right sides, making them crop to a tall square.

For Pluto TV,

4:3 channels act like they were pillarboxed to 16:9 by containing windowbox bars at top, bottom, left, and right sides, which is an issue that should be fixed now, hopefully.

For third party developed, iOS compatible Screen mirroring apps,

iOS screens are stretched vertically.

For Play on Roku,

Some vertical and 4:3 videos are stretched horizontally to 16:9, then letterboxed to 4:3, and a few vertical videos are pillarboxed to 16:9, then stretched vertically to 4:3.

So I decided to put my Roku Express+ on the 16:9 CRT TV in the guest room, and when connected via RCA, I set the aspect ratio via Settings > Display type to 16:9 widescreen, but it still did not fix the issue on Play on Roku.

I hope there is any fix on all of these apps I’m having issues with.

If not, which Roku Express+ model should I try that doesn’t have these issues? Mine is the 3910 series, should I try 3710 if that model doesn’t have these issues?

~Jordan

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Level 21

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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Well, the 3910 is the newest and last model that supports analog output. I doubt you'll find the 3710 any different. It sounds like the channel developers themselves are no longer coding their channel to support 4:3. And if there's the case, it won't look any different on any other Roku player. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 10

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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@atc98092 “It sounds like the channel developers themselves are no longer coding their channel to support 4:3.” is probably why I have issues with some apps for my Roku.

Anyways, that’s weird that the 3710 series probably has the same issues.

Would’ve been nice if Roku communicated these issues to see if they can resupport 4:3.

If they can’t, then I guess they don’t care about having them.

Also, I recently found out that the only Google certified Android TV boxes to have analog RCA outputs are probably the MeCool branded series. Others appear to only have digital HDMI outputs and analog Audio Only outputs for some reason.

But I’m not sure if I should get it. When I was planning to look for it when I texted my dad on iMessage, he said Android is not good, so I think that Android series is more bad than other streaming player brands.

So the Google Chromecast wouldn’t be great either, especially on a 4:3 CRT TV via an HDMI to RCA converter, because not only does it seem to not support resolutions lower than 1080p for 1080p or 4K models, it also stretches the image vertically, and that is a useless and unwatchable way to use the Google Chromecast on a 4:3 CRT TV.

Two of the reviews about the Bleiden branded, Google Chromecast compatible HDMI to RCA converter even said these:

First review as of January 2018:

“Works, but distorts wide screen instead of just reframing the image. So when using a tv that’s 4:3 ratio and a widescreen output. It stretches the image making it look skinny. Looks really goofy and bad.”

Second review as of February 2020:

“This is a great quality piece, and the Instructions are simple and perfectly understandable.
I just wish somewhere there would of been a disclaimer pertaining to the aspect of your tv you intend mating up a chromecast with.
If your old tv does 16x9 aspect this is perfect.
If your old tv is the "old school" 4:3 then don't bother. If you do, chromecast squeezes the image horizontally. Chromecast is not capable of 4:3. I've researched it.”

And that’s why today’s video equipment unfortunately only allows a 16:9 aspect ratio.

I can’t stand stretched images, because for some reason, they are useless and unwatchable ways to use HDMI only devices on analog only TV models, or analog only devices on HDMI only TV models.

~Jordan

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Level 21

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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I can't agree that Android boxes are "bad", but it will absolutely depend on how they are built and configured. The Nvidia Shield is an Android box, and it is outstanding. But it's more difficult to configure for playing media simply because there are so many options for player apps, and then the apps need configuration. Kodi is a great player, but the number of setup and configuration choices might scare off some users. And of course it also depends on what version of Android the box uses. 

But the overall issue you have is you are using what is considered an obsolete format. Yes, there were some fantastic analog displays over the years, but they really can't hold a candle to a modern HDTV. And since the vast majority of the programming is now expecting a 16:9 display, getting a player to display properly on a 4:3 analog display is just going to get harder. I wish I knew of some perfect converter box, but I don't think one really exists. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 10

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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@JuliusHMarx wrote:

I have a Roku Express which I've attached to an analog 4:3 television (via an adapter). 85% of what I watch is also 4:3 ratio.

Everything I try to see via Roku is hideously distorted and unwatchable. 

I understand the earlier models of the device had a 4:3 option, but that was, for some utterly unfathomable reason, removed.

And their website does not even provide a way to contact them.

The Roku device was an utter waste of money, and I am disgusted with it.


Like @atc98092 said, you can’t buy anymore new streaming players with analog outputs any longer.

That’s probably why HDMI only Roku models unfortunately stopped supporting 4:3.

Here is a list of streaming players besides HDMI only Roku models that even only support 16:9:

1. Amazon Fire TV

2. Apple TV (probably)

3. Google Chromecast

4. Nvidia Shield Android TV (probably)

This means that if you have a 4:3 TV and an HDMI converter for either one of those HDMI only devices, the image might be not letterboxed horizontally to display properly, but stretched vertically to fill the screen and be tall and skinny. To display your HDMI only streaming player properly, either your 4:3 TV should have a 16:9 letterboxer option or you should be able to upgrade to a 16:9 TV.

If you don’t, there is no different way to correct the stretched 16:9 image, not even on your HDMI converter.

YouTube user bobexr3 even made a video where he demonstrated how correcting the stretched 16:9 image on a 4:3 TV is possible, but his instructions are based on the Sony PlayStation 3:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bQavZ7zv-6o

Does your 4:3 TV have a 16:9 letterboxer option?

~Jordan

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Level 7

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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No, actually 4:3 Letterbox is a wider view than 16:9. You get the widest screen when you get those black bars above and below the screen with the picture filled out to the ends.

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Level 7

Re: Picture aspect ratio.

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The Roku Express + has analog outputs.

 

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