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How do I change the screen format on my TV?

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First, let’s identify what you are seeing:

  • Letterbox (4:3 aspect ratio) - frame not displaying video at the top and bottom of the screen that keeps the picture from getting cropped.
  • Pillar-box (SD content, 4:3 aspect ratio) - frame on the left and right that keeps the picture from getting stretched.
  • Windowbox - frame on all four sides that keeps the picture from getting stretched and cropped.

Why is this happening?

We broadcast most of our HDTV programming in 16:9 format since most HDTVs have a widescreen display with that ratio. If we receive signals from our programmers with content in the 4:3 format, you may see black areas on the right and left edges of the screen that make the image fit the viewing area.

If you have a square (4:3 aspect ratio) HDTV and we broadcast the HD signal in the 16:9 wide-screen format, you may see black areas at the top and bottom of your screen.

Adjustments can be made to video settings on both the television and HD receiver to find a full or "stretched" screen to eliminate the bars on top and bottom or left and right sides of the screen.

How to change your TV screen format

If you have a white Universal Remote, just press the FORMAT button at the top left to cycle through different screen formats. If you have the Genie Remote, follow these steps:

  1. Go to any channel and press the INFO button
  2. Press the RIGHT ARROW to scroll through to Audio/Video
  3. Press the DOWN ARROW to highlight “Change Resolution & Format,” then press SELECT to cycle through different screen formats.
Learn more about DIRECTV remotes here.

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