Why Do I Get Black Bars On My TV While Watching DVDs?

Last Update date : 2017.01.24

You can get black bands on the top and bottom of a widescreen TV when you watch a widescreen DVD movie because of the difference in aspect ratios between the TV and the movie.

The aspect ratio is the ratio of a TV screen or movie image's width to its length. Standard TVs have an aspect ratio of 4:3. High Definition TVs have an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Most current films have an aspect ratio 2.35:1. Many recent theatrical releases distributed on DVD and labeled as "widescreen" retain this very wide aspect ratio. Because the image of these movies is wider than a widescreen TV, your home theater places black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. Most widescreen DVDs on the market will not fill the entire screen on your TV because they have been recorded in an aspect ratio that is different from your TV's.

There are three common movie aspect ratios: 1.33:1, 1.78:1, 2.35:1. Below are images of the different movie aspect ratios and how they fit on a standard 4:3 screen and on a wide screen 16:9 TV screen.






Note:  The aspect ratio your movie was recorder in is listed on the rear of the DVD case.

Your TV may be able to stretch the image to make it fill the entire screen. Please consult your TV owner's manual for more information.

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