Older "widescreen" movies



I made .mkv files from a few older DVDs for my plex server that are billed as widescreen, but the widescreen picture is framed within a 4:3 full screen format. This leaves a small widescreen picture surrounded by a rather large black border. On my phone (iOS) if I double tap the picture, the Plex app will scale the picture to fit the screen appropriately. However, the bulk of my Plex use is on my Sony smart TV and I don't think that app has the capability to scale like iOS does. If the Sony app does have the capability, how do I make it scale? If not, I'd like to request that this feature be added to the Sony app.


Hi @jaydawg8383 would you mind trying to recreate with a sample file? If it works will you please share the sample with me via Dropbox/Google Drive/etc?

I've heard several reports from TiVo users as well but actually don't have any DVDs I can rip or any DVD rips to test on.



Sure, I could do that. The first such movie is the 199X DVD of The Usual Suspects. The sample will be from a .mkv file but I can follow the instructions you linked to for creating it. Do you want to use my google drive or yours? It'll be a few hours before I can make the sample...being at work and all.



I just used my own Google Drive, the link is to a three and a half minute segment from the middle of the movie. If you have trouble accessing the file or if it doesn't work, let me know. I did test playing the segment on my machine and it played OK on this end.



mattseeley - were you able to pull down the file?


Use an @ in front of the persons name to make sure they are notified. @mattseeley :)


@mattseeley @adamskoog has there been any update on this? just checking in...


@mattseeley @adamskoog I totally understand these things take time and you guys are surely busy, but is there any update on this issue? Thanks!


Hi @jaydawg8383

I looked at your file and it seems you made some mistakes when encoding the DVD. The file is encoded to play at a 4:3 aspect ratio, therefore the black bars on top and bottom. Also it seems that the pixel aspect ratio is not square. It might NTSC or PAL.

To be sure everything goes smooth, try to disable anamorphic options, use the same resolution as source for the output and I think it's better not to burn in the subtitles. Right now the subs are displayed on the bottom black bar. That might had triggered the wrong settings.

You can try to use the display mode settings on your TV and use a 21:9 ratio with zoom, not stretch (if the TV has that option). Doing so might crop out the burned in subtitles but at least you have a full screen image.

What software are you using for ripping DVDs? You can use "make mkv" for a fast direct copy of the DVD (the output will be same quality and size as the source witch is great if space is not a problem) or handbrake if you want to encode the file for a smaller size (I would recommend 1000 to 1500 kbps for video in a two step variable mode for SD content - giving aprox. 1/4 from the original size with a good quality).

Let me know if this helped.



@edmondenache Thanks for your reply, see my answers below...

The DVDs, including the sample I sent along, are all NTSC. If I play one through my DVD player, they appear in the proper screen size.

When I was doing the rips, I used MakeMKV to get the full title from the disc without compression. I have a large DVD collection, so it took a while, but I used version 1.9.5 through 1.9.7 of MakeMKV, and I don't know how to specify disabling of anamorphic options in MakeMKV, or how to specifically tell it to use the same resolution as the source. I know this isn't a forum for MakeMKV, but I don't see those options in the program. I don't mind subtitles, and I wasn't specifically excluding them because again, I don't believe I had the option to exclude them. I'm basically just dumping the title from the disc, and I don't recall seeing any of these options in the process.

Lastly, I'd rather not change the aspect ratio of my TV because that'll muck up the majority of the other titles which display perfectly fine by default.


You can select the aspect ratio only when the film is playing. Is not a complex setting. You can change it in one second on the fly. If it's there, is the simplest solution to your problem. There should be a dedicated button on your remote. At least I think so. I don't have a Sony...

Make MKV makes an unaltered copy of the DVD. There are no settings to mess with. It's odd that the end result looks like that. Try on the same file using the latest version. Maybe it works...

Let us know how this is going.


I'll take a closer look at what you mention @edmondenache and I'll post an update soon. I have to contend with the holidays at the moment. I'm sure you all know how that goes...


No worries mate, we know. :)

Happy Christmas and a Great New Year!


Alright, sorry for the hiatus, but I've spent some time with this. I messed around with the original movie, as well as another movie which has the same issue. Unfortunately, I am getting the same results all around.

I have tried using the Plex app on my Sony TV as well as streaming the titles in question to my Chromecast via my iPhone, with both titles. All results are the same, I still get the same black bars on all borders of the actual picture. I ripped the latest title (2010 if you're curious) using the very latest version of MakeMKC (1.9.8) and it experienced the same issue as the first title (The Usual Suspects) which was ripped with MakeMKV 1.9.5 through 1.9.7 (I don't recall specifically which version.) I don't think the MakeMKV version is the issue here. Also, playing the discs in my DVD player results in a normal view.

Any other ideas?


@mattseeley @edmondenache see my post above, do you have any other ideas?


Thanks for taking the time to chronicle your efforts with the issue. I'm here looking to address the exact same problem and you've saved me a ton of time on things I would have tried.

Any luck? I'm kind of assuming I may need to upgrade some of my older DVDs to solve the problem, but that's the last resort.


I solved the issue by re-ripping DVDs from ones that had been mastered properly.