How to Stretch the Picture on a Widescreen TV

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

You are watching the big game on your new widescreen TV and are just getting tired of those annoying vertical black lines on the side of the viewing area. After all, you paid good money for the widescreen and should not have to put up with it any more. Don't fret; here are a couple of solutions that may help you out if you want to stretch the picture on a widescreen TV.

Things You'll Need

  • Remote control
  • Widescreen television

Step 1

Set the ratio on your input source, if available, to match that of your TV. In order to fully enjoy the viewing of a widescreen TV, many video sources (DVD player/recorders, game consoles, satellite and cable boxes, DVRs, video iPods and computers) can be set to a ratio that matches your TV. Go to the main menu for your video source and access the settings screen. Make sure that your device is set at a ratio that matches your TV. In the case of the widescreen, it should be set to a ratio of 16:9.

Step 2

Use the zoom control on your TV, DVD player or cable/satellite receiver. The good thing is the screen will be full. The bad thing is that you will lose parts of the top and bottom of the picture in order to fill the width of the screen, and the picture quality can drop.

Step 3

Set the widescreen TV to Stretch or Full mode to make the picture fill the screen. From the TV's main menu, access the screen features (this will be different for all models). The problem with this can be that when viewing programs that are set at a ratio of 4:3, the programs set at this mode will stretch the picture horizontally and everything will look squat and wider than normal.

Step 4

Set the viewing ratio to Panorama or Theater Wide view from the main menu of your widescreen TV. This feature works better on some brands than others, stretching the outer edges of the picture only and leaving most of the picture in normal view. This however may become more annoying at times, such as when watching the nightly news in panoramic view.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most movies are now available in widescreen formats but still the networks broadcast most of their programming in the standard 4:3 ratio.
  • Consult your owner's manual for specific instructions from the manufacturer.
  • Some warranties may be voided after certain operations are performed.
  • Consult your owner's manual or customer service representative before performing warranty operations.