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Media Player Displaying Wrong Aspect Ratio

, By Patcoola

Windows Media Player and many other Windows applications display video(s) with the wrong image dimensions.

People trying to compress or convert video(s) to iPod or any other format using the 16:9 (wide screen) aspect ratio probably have encountered this problem.

The video is in wide screen but Windows Media Player displays the video in Standard Definition (a square.)



The problem is not the video, Windows Media is stupid, it tries to auto re-size videos to a standard aspect ratio like 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, etc. Even though the video is in 16:9 the player may not think so.

16:9 is associated with High Definition i.e. 720 and 1080 resolutions; anything under this resolution is associated with Standard Definition.

To avoided this problem always convert or encode your video(s) with the High Definition codec H.264. Media players associate this with 16:9 as the primary dimensions. Another solution is to use resolutions greater than 480.

Note: Different codecs beside H.264 may also work.


Common Standard Definition: 640×480 4:3 ratio.
Problem with 16:9 Standard Definition: 640×360 is associated with 3:2 ratio.
Solution: use the H.264 codec or use a higher resolution greater than 480.

Alternative Solutions:

More advance media players have user selectable manual options for changing the aspect ratio displayed.

Quick Time is a powerful media player; Quick Time Pro is used as a video editor and encoder. Quick Time does not make many aspect ratio associations and is very accurate.




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