Updated Guide: Compensating For Rectangular Pixels (1024x768 TVs)

Nov 12 2009

This guide was originally posted for Windows Vista, but I think I've got the proper pieces here for it to work on Windows 7. Please let us know via the Comments button at the bottom if you have concerns/issues/feedback! As always, proceed at your own risk!

The problem is when you have a 16:9 display that has a typical 4:3 resolution. For example, my Pioneer 4280 has a 1024X768 native resolution To avoid having set Windows to 1360X768 and have the TV rescale it back (thus muddying the picture), I found that the following works to tell VMC that the display device has non-square pixels. I imagine that a similar setup would work for non-square pixel displays other then 1024X768.

  1. Set your desktop to 1024X768 and run Media Center
  2. Go to Configure Your TV or Monitor
  3. Go through the steps and choose 16:9.
  4. On the next screen, it will complain that you are running 1024x768 and yet you chose 16:9. It will ask you if you want to change your resolution. Say Yes.
  5. On the next screen, it lists various resolutions. Choose 1024x768. That is not a typo. Go ahead and choose it.
  6. When it asks for preview, go ahead and say Yes. If you don't do this, it may not work. It didn't for me.
  7. The screen should now change aspect ratios, but not resolution. In other words, text will stop looking stretched out. Say Yes to the question if you want to keep this resolution.

You should be set. Your resolution in VMC will stay at 1024x768, but Media Center will know it needs to compensate for the TV being 16:9.

The problem I kept having was that doing it this way is completely confusing. It is not a way anyone would guess. I actually got to this point by choosing 1360x768, then poking around at the registry and editing by hand. Armed with the knowledge of what this was doing, I went back and figured out how you are "supposed" to do it. 


Now, the only question I have left in my mind is if I should fiddle with the resulting registry settings.  [CHANGED IN WINDOWS7] It changed some settings under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DisplayService





I can change LogicalWidth to 16 and LogicalHeight to 9 and the results are pretty much identical to the above settings.  I wonder if there's any benefit at all to having one over the other.

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