How to Troubleshoot the Picture Ratio on an LG TV

By Robert Vaux

When TVs first appeared, they had an picture ratio of 4:3, which matched that of most movie screens at the time. Terrified of losing their business, movie studios struck back with "widescreen" films using 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 ratios. When widescreen TVs started appearing, they emulated those same ratios, but many TV shows (and some movies) were still in 4:3---and we were eventually left with a bit of a mess. Canny manufacturers, including LG, have solved the problem by allowing you to adjust the picture ratio on the TV to fit the program you're watching. If it's not set properly, however, your image will look distorted or cut off. A quick bit of troubleshooting can fix the problem easily.

Step 1

Press the "Menu" button on the remote and scroll down to the "Option" title (it should be second from the bottom ). Then select "Aspect Ratio." You should see a list of ratio options. You simply need to pick the one which fits the show you're watching.

Step 2

Choose the 4:3 ratio for older movies and TV programs. You should see a pair of bars on the left and right side of the screen. (That's okay: the bars keep the program in the same proportion in which it was filmed.)

Step 3

Select the 16:9 ratio for widescreen movies and for more recent shows to match their longer width. For some movies, you may see black bars and the top and bottom of the screen. Again, that allows the movie to be shown in the manner it was filmed.

Step 4

Pick "Set By Program" to automatically switch the LG TV between 4:3 and 16:9 to match whatever show is on at the time.

Step 5

Select "Horizon" to horizontally expand the image onscreen. It will fill the whole screen---eliminating the black bars to the left and the right---but it may look distorted.

Step 6

Use the "Zoom 1" option to zoom the image forward. That will eliminate the black bars at the top or the bottom of the screen, though you will cut off the edges of the image.

Step 7

Pick the "Zoom 2" button to select a midway point between "Horizon" and "Zoom 1." The picture is stretched, but not as much as with "Horizon," and fills the screen, but doesn't cut off as much as "Zoom 1."

Step 8

Use the "Cinema Zoom" button to enlarge the picture to fit the screen. This option allows you to adjust the proportion to your liking, rather than use the set proportions of the other aspect options.

Step 9

Exit the menu when you are done and watch your programming normally.

Tips & Warnings

  • A quick troubleshooting solution to any screen ratio problems is simply to press the "Ratio" button on the LG remote. Each time you push it, it shifts to a new aspect ratio. Keep pressing it until you find the aspect ratio you want.
  • DVD covers and some satellite or cable services inform you which aspect ratio their content is in. A DVD with a "Widescreen" banner on the front is in 16:9 (or narrower), while one with a "Fullscreen" banner is in 4:3. In addition, the small print on the back of the DVD should include the film's aspect ratio. Cable or satellite companies---and stations such as TCM---may list which shows are widescreen on their programming guides.