resolution seems fine but plays 4:3 stretched vertically in Plex


#1

I've got a file that shows resolution 16:9 960x718. It plays fine in VLC and inFuse looking just like a normal 16:9 show, but in Plex (playing on iPhone or AppleTV) it plays like 4:3 stretched vertically (looking like an NTSC show, but as if stretching it to 16:9 would make it look right... anamorphic?).

Get info in PlexServer shows:
Video Resolution 720p
Duration 58:31
Width 960
Height 718
Aspect Ratio 1.33

Two questions:

1) Why is this happening?

2) What can I do to "fix" this? I'm happy to "convert" the file stretching it to 16:9, editing it, or whatever's needed -- but what should I change it to? Is there something I can do in Plex to "fix" this???

Thanks


#2

Could you make a screenshot please? I haven't heard of anamorphic content in HD yet. The pixel dimensions of your video suggest an almost perfect 4:3 picture, which should be played undistorted.


#3

960x720 (correct 4:3 aspect ratio - yours being a little off the mark) is 4:3, not 16:9
4:3 displays pillar boxed - black bars on either side - as intended - correctly displayed.
Plex is only doing what it's told and that is to display the correct aspect ratio.

If you want to 'Murder' the aspect ratio because you can't deal with black bars you're going to have to stretch the video out of whack and you'll need a special Murder weapon for that.

Top of forum/Downloads/Get an app

Plex Media Player - when in 'App' Mode (go full screen by clicking the arrows) enter settings, go to Video, arrow down and turn on the Aspect Ratio Murdering Feature and you too can make Ingrid Bergman as fat as Roseanne Barr for your viewing pleasure.

Now here's some bad news.

The apps in your devices may not contain a special suite of weapons direct from Murder Incorporated, but if they do those Homicidal controls will be in the settings - somewhere.

Most people (that can't watch video as it's intended) simply use the TV's Built-in Mangling Settings - in the picture formatting area along with Zoom, etc. There you can annihilate aspect ratios to your heart's content.

Happy Mangling


#4

@OttoKerner said:
Could you make a screenshot please? I haven’t heard of anamorphic content in HD yet. The pixel dimensions of your video suggest an almost perfect 4:3 picture, which should be played undistorted.

Hopefully that screenshot shows it… with bars but a kinda anamorphic image.

@JuiceWSA Yes I KNOW the specs show it to be 4:3 ish, but both VLC and inFuse play the MP4 correctly stretching it to look like a non-bars 16:9 without telling them to do anything other than “play”. Why do those two apps know how it needs to be played and Plex won’t?

Should re-convert it telling the converter to stretch it???


#5

@fearlessleader said:
Hopefully that screenshot shows it... with bars but a kinda anamorphic image.

Oh, yes. That is clearly a compressed 16:9 image.
The question is: where did this come from? BluRays usually don't store anamorphic content above SD resolution.
Since it doesn't look exactly HiDef: Did you rip a DVD and did upscale it? If so, why? You don't gain anything from "inventing" more pixels.


#6

@fearlessleader said:
Should re-convert it telling the converter to stretch it???

I don't know what you're using to encode or what the source is, but if the source is really 960x720 that is NOT 16:9. That is 4:3 at 720p and displays correctly Pillarboxed. That image is, as Otto said, is stretched out of whack vertically.

I think the encoder software, or the marsupial using it (lol) told it to encode a 1280x720 source at 4:3 - when you should not have made ANY suggestions to the encoding software AT ALL and simply encoded it at 1280x720. Every player on Earth knows what that is and how it should display. When you start freaking out players with bogus 4:3 or 16:9 tags you're doing it wrong.

And PLEASE don't tell us that was SD material you upscaled. Marsupials LOVE doing that and it don't help AT ALL.

Handy Handbrake Guide in my signature.

Your other players may be able to extrapolate what that video really is, but Plex is pretty stoopid when it comes to those decisions. You have to tell it what you want and if you tell it wrong - it behaves exactly as you've shown.... badly.

That almost looks like a DVD extra, included on some BluRays, stored at 720x480 @ 1:33.
What that does is display 4:3 pillarboxed AND letterboxed. 'Keyholed' if you know what I mean and there ain't a dam thing you can do about it, but it looks like you tried by cropping off the top and bottom. Whooops! No can do.

In that case the best you can do is not crop anything, let the black bars encode just as they are and let it display 'Keyholed' just as it was intended or you end up Murdering the Aspect Ratio in ways you can't imagine.


#7

It was an NZB that was an .mkv which I converted to .mp4 The image is the same in mkv or mp4.

The conversion from mkv to mp4 can be made to unsqueeze it -- and, of course, I'll keep an eye out for another nzb.

Again -- why does VLC and inFuse both play it unsqueezed but Plex doesn't?


#8

I've downloaded a 1080 NZB version that doesn't have this problem. It's nearly three times larger, and 720 is just fine (not needing it in 1080).

BUT, I'm still trying to understand:

(1) How to unsqueeze such videos if I get them in the future?

(2) Since I play it in VLC to verify it before installing it into Plex, why does VLC automatically unsqueeze it when playing it but Plex can't be made to do what VLC does?


#9

VLC is designed to play any crap you throw at it.
Plex is more - 'refined' - you have to encode a higher level of crap.

Until I can see a Media Info Report of the original source file I can't tell you how to encode it and unless you're using Handbrake - you're on your own. I don't know how what ever you're using works or what it's doing to your files.

I'll also need to see the file's info after what ever you're using is done with it.

https://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo

Install, open file, export report to a txt file and drag it to a message window - it'll look like this:

! General
! Complete name : F:\Movies\Mo Movies\Deadpool (2016).mp4
! Format : MPEG-4
! Format profile : Base Media
! Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
! File size : 3.53 GiB
! Duration : 1 h 48 min
! Overall bit rate mode : Variable
! Overall bit rate : 4 644 kb/s
! Encoded date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Tagged date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Writing application : Lavf57.31.100
!
! Video
! ID : 1
! Format : AVC
! Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
! Format profile : High@L4
! Format settings : CABAC / 5 Ref Frames
! Format settings, CABAC : Yes
! Format settings, RefFrames : 5 frames
! Codec ID : avc1
! Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
! Duration : 1 h 48 min
! Bit rate : 4 434 kb/s
! Width : 1 912 pixels
! Height : 798 pixels
! Display aspect ratio : 2.40:1
! Frame rate mode : Variable
! Frame rate : 23.976 FPS
! Minimum frame rate : 23.810 FPS
! Maximum frame rate : 25.641 FPS
! Color space : YUV
! Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
! Bit depth : 8 bits
! Scan type : Progressive
! Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.121
! Stream size : 3.37 GiB (95%)
! Language : English
! Encoded date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Tagged date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Color range : Limited
! Color primaries : BT.709
! Transfer characteristics : BT.709
! Matrix coefficients : BT.709
! Menus : 3
!
! Audio
! ID : 2
! Format : AAC
! Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
! Format profile : LC
! Codec ID : mp4a-40-2
! Duration : 1 h 48 min
! Bit rate mode : Variable
! Bit rate : 203 kb/s
! Maximum bit rate : 320 kb/s
! Channel(s) : 2 channels
! Channel positions : Front: L R
! Sampling rate : 48.0 kHz
! Frame rate : 46.875 FPS (1024 SPF)
! Compression mode : Lossy
! Stream size : 157 MiB (4%)
! Language : English
! Default : Yes
! Alternate group : 1
! Encoded date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Tagged date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Menus : 3
!
! Menu #1
! ID : 3
! Codec ID : text
! Duration : 1 h 48 min
! Language : English
! Encoded date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Tagged date : UTC 2016-04-27 10:54:40
! Menu For : 1,2
! 00:00:00.000 : 1
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! Bit rate mode : VBR
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#10

@JuiceWSA said:
VLC is designed to play any crap you throw at it.

Evidently, so is the Mac/iOS app "InFuse"... But somehow both of those know to remove the vertical black bars and then unstretch the rest of the image. How, I don't know.

The converter I use to go from MKV to the easier-to-use .mp4 allowed me to convert and stretch it back to the aspect ration that makes it look normal (and looks 16:9).

Plex is more - 'refined' - you have to encode a higher level of crap.

I thought that Plex used VLC libraries to play vids. Ah well...

Until I can see a Media Info Report of the original source file I can't tell you how to encode it and unless you're using Handbrake - you're on your own. I don't know how what ever you're using works or what it's doing to your files.

I said... it's an MKV downloaded via an NZB. I didn't do anything "to" it. The only app I have to play MKVs is VLC and VLC somehow knows how to play it to look right. So I converted it as-is to MP4. THEN I can see how Plex shows it.

I'll also need to see the file's info after what ever you're using is done with it.
https://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo

You asked:

General
Unique ID : 174348751585264935390696662000156435004 (0x832A591FFECB1AA937973EACF48E623C)
Complete name : The Doctor Blake Mysteries S05E01 A Lethal Combination.mkv
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4 / Version 2
File size : 1.82 GiB
Duration : 58mn 31s
Overall bit rate : 4 460 Kbps
Encoded date : UTC 2017-09-18 20:11:35
Writing application : mkvmerge v15.0.0 ('Duel with the Devil') 64-bit
Writing library : libebml v1.3.5 + libmatroska v1.4.5

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Main@L3.1
Format settings : 2 Ref Frames
Format settings, CABAC : No
Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration : 58mn 31s
Bit rate : 4 074 Kbps
Width : 960 pixels
Height : 718 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 25.000 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.236
Stream size : 1.67 GiB (91%)
Language : English
Default : Yes
Forced : No
Color range : Limited
Color primaries : BT.709
Transfer characteristics : BT.709
Matrix coefficients : BT.709

Audio
ID : 2
Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Format settings, Endianness : Big
Codec ID : A_AC3
Duration : 58mn 31s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 384 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Frame rate : 31.250 fps (1536 SPF)
Bit depth : 16 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 161 MiB (9%)
Language : English
Service kind : Complete Main
Default : Yes
Forced : No

Text
ID : 3
Format : UTF-8
Codec ID : S_TEXT/UTF8
Codec ID/Info : UTF-8 Plain Text
Duration : 57mn 15s
Bit rate : 74 bps
Count of elements : 942
Stream size : 31.1 KiB (0%)
Language : English
Default : No
Forced : No


#11

Width : 960 pixels
Height : 718 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9

Yes, the pixel dimensions say 4:3 but the matroska container says "display this as a 16:9 picture".
Other players obey this, but Plex only looks at the video stream and disregards what the container says.


#12

Well - that's bogus. No wonder Plex is having problems.

Width : 960 pixels
Height : 718 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can tell you:
960x718 is 4:3 - not 16:9

For some unknown reason the Marsupial at the controls thought it would be a good idea to 'store' 1280x720 / 16:9 material at 4:3 and then expect a player to blow it up to normal size. VLC may be able to do that, but Plex is sat there with drool on his shirt unable to make the right call.

NZB?
Does that mean it was encoded by Marsupials?
If so - there's your problem.

Solution:

1) learn to encode and fix it with Handbrake (Guide in my signature). Crop out the black and encode it at 1280x720 with a bit rate of 4000Kbps. Don't try to freak out Plex - make no anamorphic adjustments. A simple encode is all that's necessary.
2) find another source who's Marsupials are trained better.
3) stick with VLC
4) fiddle with the TV's Mangling Settings and try to turn that Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse.

That's about all I got.
This is NOT a Plex issue that needs to be solved.
It IS a junk media issue that Plex can't fix in playback.


#13

As a matter fact, I have come across a few of those anamorphic 960X720 videos. I'm not sure why they are encoded to that size, but they do display properly in most apps. Generally, I re-encode them even if it means a quality loss to 1280X720.

I'm pretty sure the iosphone and other apple apps have a problem with some, if not all anamorphic videos. That is, they display them at the actual video resolution, and seem to ignore the aspect ratio flag. I know my daughter has complained that some older rips I have that use the anamorphic flag don't look right on her iPad, but everything else looks the way it should. The only common denominator I could find on the "don't look right" videos was the anamorphic setting.


#14

But Wait!

You can use Plex Media Player (top of the forum/downloads/get an app) and go full screen (App View), then go to Settings/Video and Force that junk to 16:9... I think.