How to Adjust a TV to View Wide Screen With Non HD Channels

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Enjoying high-definition television is one of the benefits that comes with a new HDTV, but all channels don't broadcast in HD, leaving the wide-screen real estate on your television to be occupied by those unsightly black bars. This guide will show you how to adjust your television's aspect ratio so that non-HD channels utilize the entire screen.


Adjusting the Picture on YourTtelevision

Step 1

Power on your television and tune in to a non-HD channel. If you have cable or satellite service, these channels are usually listed separately and easily identifiable from their HD counterparts.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Locate the "P.Size," "Picture Zoom," "HD Zoom" or similar button on your television's remote control.

Step 3

Press the button and note the television's display as it cycles through the different options for your television. The television usually cycles through 4:3, 16:9, Zoom 1 and Zoom 2 and is different depending on the make and model of your television. This is essentially changing the aspect ratio for your non-HD channels.


Step 4

Leave the television on the setting for 16:9. This will convert all images received by your television into the wide-screen format if the channel does not broadcast in HD.

Things You'll Need

  • High-definition television

  • Television remote control

  • Cable, satellite or antenna service


The 4:3 ratio was the standard before wide-screen televisions were being produced, thus the black bars on the edges to simulate the traditional televisions. Setting your TV for the 16:9 ratio allows the TV to convert the video to the wide-screen format that has become popular with HD programming.

If you are watching a non-HD program on an HD channel, most TVs will broadcast the program in the 4:3 format regardless of your television's setting. To view the program in full wide-screen, tune to the non-HD version of that channel.

Consult your user manual to determine what is the correct button to cycle through these options. In some instances, this option may be under the "Video Settings" menu.