Video resolution for certain 4:3 OTA programming

Hello again,

I use my OSMC setup primarily to watch recorded OTA TV. Some of the programs I record are old enough to use 4:3 resolution. Sometime after the big August upgrade – maybe 3 months ago – I noticed that certain recorded programs are being displayed in something less than 4:3 resolution. The picture is “squeezed” together horizontally. Interestingly, perhaps, not all of these old 4:3 programs display incorrectly. Indeed, this may be happening only for certain OTA channels, I haven’t looked closely at that.

(Edited to add: I just scanned through all channels and noted that the resolution issue is not tied to channels but rather programs; i.e. on a given channel, one program could exhibit the problem and the next one might not.)

When I watch these incorrectly displayed programs within NextPVR, the resolution is correct; i.e., no “squeezing”. When I use my OTA tuner in my TV, they are correct. When I watch them in Kodi running on my Windows 10 computer, they are correct. There is something about OSMC that is causing these programs to render incorrectly.

Today, I noticed that if I watch one of these programs in OSMC and select “Player Controls (OSD)” and select “Wide Zoom”, the program appears to display correctly. So, evidently, I can do this for any offending program, recorded or not, and the display can be corrected.

Correcting the display as described seems to be a klunky solution, and, in any event, this behavior just started in OSMC in the last 3 months or so.

I’m happy to upload logs if that would be helpful, but I thought I’d ask first to see if there was something obvious that changed in a recent upgrade that I need to “correct” more globally inside OSMC.

As always, I appreciate any help and appreciate all the great work you’ve done to make OSMC an excellent solution for me.

Sorry for not looking a little harder. I think the answer is in @angry.sardine’s comprehensive whitelist “how-to” guide.

I’m still tinkering, but the solution that seems to work is to go to Settings>Player>Videos and set “Display 4:3 Videos As” to “Stretch 16:9”.

I’m tinkering with the “Minimize Black Bars” setting, but that doesn’t appear to be doing anything for me. But at least the resolution seems correct now.

Did you read: Kodi v19 Matrix is here. Here's what you need to know - OSMC

The Raspberry Pi uses a new video stack now – and there are some regressions.

@angry.sardine is a Vero 4K / 4K + user – where we have control over our video stack as it’s an OSMC manufactured device. As such, we could guarantee feature parity with the release of Kodi v19.

@sam_nazarko Yes, I have read the post you linked above. I’ve paid close attention to all the warnings about v19, especially as they relate to the RPi (3B and 3B+) and was at pains to upgrade carefully, preserving a fallback to v18 in case it was necessary. I use OSMC almost exclusively to watch recorded OTA TV from here in the US. My upgrade went well and I had no problems from the August release until about 3 weeks ago, when I noticed the “squeezing” problems I documented above.

I understand @angry.sardine is a Vero user, and I understand that you have control over its video stack. But please note that @angry.sardine presents detailed information about how to overcome video rendering issues on the RPi in the context of his whitelist guide. I followed his advice as it relates to the RPi/v19 (see above) and the results have been very good, at least for me. My “squeezing” problem is gone. I’ve also implemented a whitelist following his guidelines again as they specifically relate to the RPi. No problems so far.

I’m a happy user of the most recent upgrade of OSMC and appreciate the great support I get here.

Yes, I’m a Vero 4K+ user, but I do also own a Pi 3B+ which runs OSMC. My Whitelist guide is aimed at Pi 2/3 users as well as Vero 4K users, and any Pi-related suggestions I make in there have been tested on my own Pi. I don’t possess a Pi 4, and don’t make any recommendations for that platform.

As far as “Settings / Player / Videos / Display 4:3 videos as” is concerned, if you don’t have a whitelist enabled, leaving it set to “Normal” is fine, but if you have whitelisted 576p and are watching 4:3 576 material, it isn’t displayed correctly - you get black bars at the top and bottom of the screen as well as at the sides. Changing the setting to “Stretch 16:9” fixes that, and gives you the correct aspect ratio for all SD material (This is an upgrade from Kodi v18 where it didn’t work like that; but in Kodi v19 that option on the Pi works the same way as “Use HDMI AVI signalling” works on the Vero 4K).

Trying it just now they seem to have changed the behaviour a little since I last updated my guide - using “Stretch 16:9” no longer gives correct aspect ratio on HD 4:3 videos. :slightly_frowning_face: But for SD stuff it’s fine. I’ll update my guide at some point.

For the record, I did not have a whitelist enabled when I began to experience my “squeezing” problem with “Display 4:3 videos as” set to “Normal”. Moreover, the problem I experienced was increased width of black bars on both sides, not the top and bottom. This problem went away as soon as I set “Display as” to “Stretch 16:9”.

Also, for the record, I’ll note that my squeezing problem did not occur with all 4:3 content. (All of my 4:3 content is OTA TV.) Some of that displayed correctly, so evidently there are some 4:3 SD resolutions that display correctly with “Display 4:3 videos as” “Normal” and others that don’t.

Since my 4:3 content tends to be pretty old, I don’t have any 4:3 in HD, so I haven’t seen the most recent problem you note.

Finally, I’ll reiterate that my problem occurred after the big August release but before the most recent December release. All of my 4:3 content displayed correctly until at least late October/early November. From this I’ll speculate that either something changed in OSMC or Kodi or some of the TV broadcasters around here changed their 4:3 resolutions in the October/November timeframe.

My thanks to @angry.sardine for the guide. It’s been quite useful for me. Indeed, after reading through it, I felt compelled to enable a whitelist for my RPi 3B. :slightly_smiling_face:

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