There are several reasons why you may want to change the aspect ratio of your TV, and yet it is not always obvious how it is done. That’s especially true on modern TVs where the TV seems to decide the aspect ratio for itself. If your TV is not auto-correcting to the most desirable aspect ratio, this article will explain how to do it manually.
What Is an Aspect Ratio and How to Work It Out
The aspect ratio on your TV is all about image height and width. It consists of two numbers separated by a colon. Working it out is easy. For example, if the aspect ratio is 4:3, then you would divide the horizontal length of the image by four, and then multiply that number by three to come up with the height of the picture.
If the image were twenty inches wide, then you divide that by four, which is five. Then it is five multiplied by three to get the height. In this case, it’s fifteen inches.
An aspect ratio doesn’t tell you the size of an image; it only gives you the relationship between the horizontal and vertical lengths. For example, your 4:3 aspect ratio could be in cm, inches, or even in meters if needs be.
Why Would You Want to Change the Aspect Ratio on a Modern TV?
There are more reasons than are first apparent. For example, if you have been downloading digital versions of The Simpsons, some seasons look better in the 4:3 aspect ratio rather than a widescreen 16:9. The Disney+ channel have started broadcasting in 4:3 for the Simpsons rather than the regular 16:9 because of people complaining that 16:9 ratio was breaking The Simpsons jokes.
There are also other movies and TV shows that utilize a taller image. For example, the first Jurassic Park movie utilized 4:3 to create shots where dinosaurs were panned from foot to face. Every pixel of the 4:3 screen was used vertically, and they did a great job of creating a scale. When watching the film in 16:9, it looks a lot less impressive.
How to Change Your Aspect Ratio
If the picture doesn’t look right, if some parts of the image seem cropped, or if some parts look stretched, you can try changing the aspect ratio using this method.
- Press the “Menu” button that is usually near the top of your VIZIO remote.
- Navigate to the setting called “System” and press “OK.”
- Find the setting called “Aspect Ratio” and press “OK” on it.
- Choose an option to try it out.
The options at your disposal will differ depending upon the type of TV you have. Some of the VIZIO TVs have a zoom function. It cycles through the aspect ratios over and over again until you settle on one.
Some VIZIO TVs have a setting that says “Normal.” That means that the TV is playing the video in its original format. There may also be the “Wide” option, where the TV changes your picture to a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The Source Device May Have an Impact
Let’s assume that the picture you are getting on your TV is at the correct aspect ratio. In other words, let’s say the raw source is accurate, but the picture looks funky. So, you go into your VIZIO settings and see that the TV is playing the movie or TV show as “Normal,” which means that it doesn’t apply any additional aspect ratio settings. What could be the cause?
There are two other possibilities, and the first is that the raw source is wrong. For example, if you have a video that you altered and you put it on a hard drive to watch on your TV, you may have accidentally set its aspect ratio to 1.85:1, and now it looks a bit weird. Or, it may be that the streaming service is sending the source material at the wrong aspect ratio.
The device or app sending the source material may be at fault. The TV may be OK, and the source material may be at the right aspect ratio, but the thing sending the source material to your TV may be wrong. In some cases, it may be that the app you are using needs aspect-ratio adjustments. Or, maybe your Blu Ray player needs them.
In short, there are times when it is not your TV’s fault; it could be the source material’s fault. Sometimes, it could be the fault of whatever device/software/stream is sending the image.
Bars, Cutting or Stretching
Your TV will stretch the image, will add bars, or cut parts of it. With the Disney+ Simpsons example from earlier, the picture was being cut at the top. It means that the TV adjusted the image to fit the width of the screen.
The TV could have added bars instead. It sometimes happens when you change the aspect ratio. Sometimes, instead of cutting, it adds bars to take up the extra space on the sides.
Stretching is simple. You take the corners of the image and place them in the corners of the screen.
If you were to play 4:3 source material on a 16:9 widescreen TV, then the image would look warped.
Final Thought – Sometimes Changing the Aspect Ratio Is Not Possible
The Disney+ problem is a perfect example of how there are times when you cannot change the aspect ratio because your TV is not to blame. People watching the Simpsons on Disney+ in the past were changing their aspect ratios on their TVs and were still seeing a clipped image.
Remember that if you change your TV’s aspect ratio and the problem persists, then look at the source material or the device/app that is sending the material.
Can you change your aspect ratio? Do you know any other shows spoiled by incorrect aspect ratios? Let us know in the comments.