How to Fix Your TV if It Cuts Off Part of the Screen

By Laurie Reeves

All newer high-definition televisions come equipped with multiple aspect ratios that can cut off portions of the screen if the setting is in the wrong aspect mode. Besides the television's aspect mode feature, elements outside the television such as the DVD player, DVR, the cable or satellite set-top box contribute to this problem as well. Start first with the television’s menu or its remote, and move from there to fix the problem.

Adjust the Television

Navigate to the screen function on your television through the “Menu” button on the television or the “Menu” feature on the remote. The screen function may appear on your television under a different name; refer to your operating manual for specifics. Once you have found the setting, change it until it says “Normal.” The screen mode on your television allows you to change the setting from normal to a zoom or widescreen setting. If your television comes equipped with a vertical setting, this can also change the position of the image on the screen.

DVD Player

Navigate to the “Screen” setting on the DVD player, and ensure it matches the setting for the television. If your TV has a normal setting that equates to widescreen and the DVD player is set to a zoom or a wide setting, this can cut off portions of the screen. Leave the DVD setting to normal, and adjust all settings through the television remote to avoid confusion in the future.

Cable or Satellite System

Like the DVD player and the television, many cable and satellite receivers come with an adjustment to the screen setting. This is because stations that broadcast a high-definition signal usually also project a widescreen image along with the HD signal. For the television to accurately portray this image, set the cable or satellite box to normal.

Check Other Channels

Check other channels to see if they have the same issue. Sometimes when the image is cut off, it may be a problem with the channel rather than the television. When receiving HDTV signals, changing the channel often changes the appearance of the screen. Some of these channels offer black bars above and below the screen when in normal mode, while others do not, depending on the broadcast.

Universal Remote

To make screen adjustments quick and easy, use one remote as the "universal" remote and program it to all of the devices used with your television. If you have a DVR system with a cable or satellite service, use its remote to control the television, the cable or satellite set-top box, the DVR and the audio system. When purchasing a universal remote, confirm that it has easy push-button aspect ratio scaling, as older universal remotes do not have this function. Follow the instructions for programming the remote using the user manual.