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Change Aspect Ratio on Cisco-Scientific Atlanta DVR Cable Boxes

Last Updated: Fri, 18 Nov 2016 > Related Articles


Eliminate black bars and pinched or stretched images! Just follow these steps.


Symptoms of Aspect Ratio problems: 

  • Black bars on either side of the picture are caused when a TV show is broadcast in standard definition 4x3 format but displayed on a widescreen 16x9 HDTV. 
  • Black bars on the top and bottom of the picture are caused when the content provider, such as Showtime or HBO, transmits a 16x9 widescreen theater movie to a standard definition 4x3 TV so that the entire width of the picture is visible. 
  • In either case, you can stretch and zoom the picture to fill the entire screen. Note that stretching and zooming will cut off some of the picture or make actors suddenly look stretched sideways.

Verify the Output Format setting

Verify the Video Output setting matches your TV, which is either standard or high definition. 

  1. Press the SETTINGS button then the A button.
  2. Use the arrow buttons to highlight the Audio/Video preference.
  3. Press SELECT.
  4. Scroll to Video Output Formats and press SELECT.
  5. Highlight and SELECT the standard or high-definition option that matches your TV resolution (refer to the TV manual):
    • 1080i
    • 720p
    • 480p
    • 480i
  6. A Warning message displays. Press SELECT.
  7. A Message box displays. It says to press the A button within 15 seconds to confirm The Output Format is being set to: xxxx.

    If the newly selected format is not supported by your TV, then the Message box may not be visible on your TV. (You've selected a standard or high-def format that is not supported by your television.) In this case, press the C button to Cancel and then try another Output Format.
  8. Press the A button.



Select the Aspect Ratio

  1. After pressing the A button in step 8 above, scroll to the Video Aspect Ratio preference and press SELECT.
  2. Highlight either Standard or Widescreen to match the type of TV connected to the cable box.
  3. Press SELECT.
  4. Highlight the way you want your TV to handle black bars. 
    • If you chose Standard 4x3 TV in step 2, the options for displaying 16x9 programs are:
      • Squeeze - no black bars; makes actors look slightly squeezed thin
      • Letterbox  - leaves the black bars on top and bottom, and no cropping or squeezing the picture
      • Zoom - cuts off some picture on either side to make the picture fill the screen 
    • If you chose  Widescreen 16x9 TV in step 2, the options for displaying 4x3 programs are:
      • Stretch - no black bars; makes actors look slightly stretched sideways
      • Sidebar - preserves the black bars on either side; and no cropping or stretching the picture
      • Zoom - cuts off some picture from the top and bottom to make the picture fill the screen.
  5. Press the A button.
  6. Press EXIT.

Go back to Quick Fixes for TV Picture Problems.


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