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Windows 7: Xbox 360 media center extender wrong aspect ratio on composite video


12 Sep 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
Xbox 360 media center extender wrong aspect ratio on composite video

I recently installed a Media Center server as a centralised location for all my media including broadcast and satelite TV. I view / play media using Xbox 360's as Media Center extenders. The setup was straight forward and works really well across my network. However I have one issue that I can not resolve.

Any items that have been recorded on the composite video input (satelite TV) of the TV tuner card in my Media Center server are in 4:3 aspect, but only when watched via xbox. If I watch these recordings directly on the Media Center server, they are in the correct 16:9 format. Xbox squashes the picture and puts black lines down either side of the picture. It does the same thing if you watch live TV from this composite video input. Digital TV inputs work fine.

Perhaps this is related to the file format used by Windows 7 - WTV, which from what I have read seems to have additional information embedded.

Any help will be appreicated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Sep 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Hi sacreblurr, if the video was recorded in 4:3 aspect ratio then the black lines should appear on the xbox and the normal media center, this is the correct aspect ratio, if the PC media center is displaying 4:3 aspect videos(black border) in 16:9 with no black border then it isn't the Xbox that has the problem, it'll be the PC media center that's not configured correctly, if you could get a screenshot of the PC media center and the xbox media center playing 4:3 video, that'll be great
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Thanks for the reply MrNeeds, I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately I can't get screenshots right now as I am away from home travelling overseas.

I can clarify a few of things, which may help you to understand my issue. The composite video output from the satelite set-top box is definitely 16:9. I can plug this directly into a widescreen TV and it is great.

Also when the recorded files are played on the Media Center directly, they are also perfect. The Media Center server has a widescreen TV connected via HDMI.

It is only when I play the same recordings via Xbox that I see the issue. The screen is definitely squashed. People, for example are tall and thin. Then there are the black lines down either side of the screen too. These only appear on Xbox.

I hope this clarifies things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Sep 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SacreBlurr View Post
Thanks for the reply MrNeeds, I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately I can't get screenshots right now as I am away from home travelling overseas.

I can clarify a few of things, which may help you to understand my issue. The composite video output from the satelite set-top box is definitely 16:9. I can plug this directly into a widescreen TV and it is great.

Also when the recorded files are played on the Media Center directly, they are also perfect. The Media Center server has a widescreen TV connected via HDMI.

It is only when I play the same recordings via Xbox that I see the issue. The screen is definitely squashed. People, for example are tall and thin. Then there are the black lines down either side of the screen too. These only appear on Xbox.

I hope this clarifies things.
Sorry for the late reply sacreblurr, I understand now, sounds to me like the display detection isn't enabled on the xbox 360 under display settings, however it may not solve the problem, you sound pretty competent and intelligent and I don't want to test your patience by insulting your intelligence, so I'll just assume you've set the xbox to widescreen mode, which leads me to believe that there maybe an issue with the extender settings on the PC side, have you tried sharing the video files across the network via windows media sharing and seeing if they play at the correct aspect ratio?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Thanks for the suggestion MrNeeds. I havn't tried sharing files - that will have to wait until I am back home in a week. I also thought I may try converting the file format to one of the earlier types. I'll let you know how I go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Ok, hope you have a safe trip
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Have you tried the HDTV switch on the xbox av cable? See How to Connect An Xbox 360 to Your TV - HDTV Switch
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

The various sources and aspect ratios can cause confusion and problems, if the setup is not correct.

Check out this article from Microsoft on how to get the proper aspect ratio to display properly on your WMC monitor.

Essentially the issue starts because old non-HD standard definition video (480i, 4:3) recorded using S-video or composite video has an aspect ratio of 4:3. Displays full-screen on a 4:3 screen (or in a 4:3 window on a Windows desktop monitor), like an old fashioned 4:3 CRT or "kitchen TV".

In contrast, HDTV screens are 16:9, and the program content itself is also 16:9. When the 16:9 content is displayed on a 16:9 screen (or 16:9 window on a Windows desktop monitor) again the entire full-screen 16:9 real estate is used to display the image.

No problem for either of the above situations.

The problems arise when you try to display 16:9 content on a 4:3 screen, or 4:3 content on a 16:9 screen. If you want to "retain OAR (original aspect ratio)" and not have any horizontal squooshing or stretching (so that humans look human) then something's got to give.

There has to be a compromise somewhere, and that means either:

(a) losing some of the left and right portion of a 16:9 image when displayed on a 4:3 screen, by "crop". The remaining 4:3 "center-cut" portion of the image can now be displayed full-screen on a 4:3 screen.

(b) keep the full horizontal width of an original 16:9 image and display it in the full width of the 4:3 screen, but as "letterboxed" so that there are black bars on top and bottom of the image. This uses the full width of the 4:3 screen and retains the OAR of the original 16:9 image, but effectively "zooms" that 16:9 image (i.e. moves you visually back further away from it, so that it becomes small enough to be placed into that 4:3 screen width). This "letterbox" approach to 16:9 content (e.g. HDTV channels) viewed on 4:3 screens (e.g. SD television screens) is preferred by most who just prefer OAR to anything else, no matter what the screen size.

(c) keep the full vertical height of an original 4:3 image (i.e. recorded from 480i SD channels via S-video or composite, or from a 480i digital channel) and display it using the full height of a 16:9 screen, but as "pillarboxed" so that there are black bars on left and right of the image. This uses the full height of the 16:9 screen and retains the OAR of the original 4:3 image. Again, this OAR presentation is generally preferred, even though there are black bars on left and right.


Now the video setup settings on Windows Media Center extenders (e.g. on my Linksys DMA2100) allow you to specify how you want output to appear on the related display device. I have my DMA2100 set to deliver 16:9 content as "4:3 letterboxed" when sending out over coax (to my 4:3 SD kitchen TV) because I want OAR under all circumstances.

Native 4:3 SD channel recordings are delivered by the extender "4:3 full-screen" because the source content matches the display device, so no adjustments are made by the DMA2100 for this situation.

With Windows Media Center you also have the ability to configure the "zoom" setting when watching TV on your computer monitor, as the referenced article alludes to. This alters the presentation on your Windows monitor (either full-screen or windowed mode). And I have WMC configured to display 4:3 zoomed correctly for OAR (with black bars on left and right) to my 16:9 window on my 16:9 computer monitor window, for watching 4:3 content on my computer's 16:9 monitor window.

You can experiment for yourself and see the options, and decide how you want to view things on your WMC window.

My guess is that you'll want 4:3 OAR for 4:3 recordings made via your composite input on your TV card, and if your window is 16:9 then that will mean 4:3 full-height but with black bars on left and right... just like you'd want on your real HDTV when watching 4:3 content on a 16:9 screen through your xBox Windows Media Center extender, for OAR.
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 Xbox 360 media center extender wrong aspect ratio on composite video




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