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If the information in this article doesn't match what you have, see the help for your version of Fiber TV. Learn more about different versions of Fiber TV.

Learn about aspect ratios

Google Fiber delivers great HDTV, but if the aspect ratio of a program you are trying to watch does not match your TV's settings, the content will not look its best. This article helps explain why and what you can do about it.

Aspect ratio is the proportional relationship between the width and height of an image. It is commonly expressed as two numbers separated by an x—for example, 16 x 9. Two common video aspect ratios are 4 x 3, the universal video format for 20th century TV, and 16 x 9, the video format for HDTV. Other cinema and video aspect ratios exist, but are used infrequently.

Although all HDTVs manufactured over the last few years are capable of displaying 16 x 9 format, not all TV shows are produced in full width 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Some are still produced in 4 x 3. So on an HDTV, content produced in 4 x 3 ratio is matted on the left and right with black bars. Those bars are called pillar boxes.

Some TV stations broadcast in 4 x 3 only. When those stations receive 16 x 9 content, in order to fit it into their standard 4 x 3 broadcast format, they matte it with black bars at the top and bottom. This format is called letterboxed, because the image is the shape of an old letterbox—a slot for letters that is wide and short.

The worst case is when one of these broadcasters sends 16 x 9 in a 4 x 3 format. Then you see both sets of mattes—essentially a black border around all four sides of the image.

To adjust the aspect ratio:

  1. While watching any program, press ok on the remote control.

    The info overlay appears at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Select Options, and then select Aspect.

    The aspect ratio options appear.

  3. Select an option:

    • Source: Uses the aspect ratio from the video source.

    • Stretch: Stretches the image to remove the black borders on the sides or top and bottom of the image. This action alters the aspect ratio of the original image in an attempt to make it fill the screen.

    • Zoom: Zooms the content in, which can remove black borders all around the image. This action preserves the aspect ratio of the original image in an attempt to make it fill the screen.

  4. Select Done to return to the current program.

    The aspect ratio reflects your setting.

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