Gray bars on the sides of HD channels on the Dish network are usually caused by incorrect picture format settings. You may also notice the "HD:gray bar" message on the channel banner. Don't worry -- your receiver is working fine. You, or someone else, might have changed the picture format accidentally by pressing a button on the remote control. To remove the gray bars, change the picture format back to the correct setting.
About the Gray Bars
The gray bars are displayed when the receiver attempts to maintain the aspect ratio of the video. While HDTV programs are displayed properly on 16:9 screens, the receiver automatically adds the gray bars to programs that are broadcast in 4:3 format. To solve this problem, you must change the video format using the Dish remote control. However, getting rid of the gray bars means that the receiver will stretch the image to fill the entire screen.
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Removing the Gray Bars
To change the picture format, press the "*" button on the remote. The button is located below the "7" key on all Dish remotes. Press the button repeatedly until the gray bars disappear and you are satisfied with the image quality. If you are watching an HDTV channel, the video will look natural when you remove the gray bars. However, channels in 4:3 format will be stretched and the video may look unnatural.