I just setup Raspbmc on my Raspberry PI which I am using as HTPC. I had installed Raspbian and custom built XBMC earlier and it served the purpose. I liked Raspbmc for its unified packaging and thought it to be better than custom setup.

However, I am facing a problem playing HD Videos (i.e. 720p / 1080p) where the videos do not occupy the full screen of the TV; instead, the picture is bounded by black bars on the top and bottom.

For 4:3 videos, I have configured wide zoom on Raspbmc and they are shown full screen, but I couldn't find any such setting for 16:9 inputs.

How do I get Raspbmc to not letterbox 16:9 content?


Go to Settings > System > Video output > Video calibration (the last option):


There you can resize the screen and set the correct aspect ratio.

Please go through all comments for more details.

  • Thanks for advice. I had already setup the callibration by setting cyan arrows to top-left and bottom-right corner and also adjusted the pixel ratio but with no luck ! If I stretch screen (by not putting arrows in right place), the entire XBMC interface gets skewed.
    – jatanp
    May 27 '13 at 16:45
  • Are you sure the videos are not being displayed like that in order to keep the aspect ratio? is there a black boarder around all the screen? Or only two horizontal or vertical lines?
    – GuySoft
    May 27 '13 at 16:50
  • There are only two horizontal lines in top & bottom. I tried with many 1080p videos from YouTube and same result.
    – jatanp
    May 27 '13 at 17:49
  • Ok two lines indicate that the overscaning is not the problem, its the aspect ratio. Did you set the cyan rectangle at the center of the video calibration to be a box (using ruler or long object against the screen helps)? That might be the solution. Either that or you physical screen is not 16:9. You are connected by the HDMI port right?
    – GuySoft
    May 27 '13 at 17:57
  • 1
    Hi GuySoft, It looks like we are on right track. I adjusted the pixel ratio and it stopped the adjustment as soon as it reached 1.125, however the rectangle is not perfect square yet ! But the width of bars are definitely gone down. Please let me know whether the ratio can go beyond 1.125 ! Also I really appreciate if you can explain and point me to article which would explain this stuff.
    – jatanp
    May 27 '13 at 19:20

There's an option in raspi-config for configuring overscan - I would start there and see if that lets you eliminate the black bars.

  • Thanks Dermot, I changed the setting but that did not help.
    – jatanp
    May 27 '13 at 16:47

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