Problems maintaining aspect ratio when using HDTV as monitor

Hi folks

I have a laptop hooked up to my 42" HDTV. It looks phenomenal except for the fact that in 16:9 the image from the laptop is stretched. If I change the TV to 4:3 it looks perfect, but obviously has the bars on either side which waste a lot of area.

I'm using a VGA cable to connect the two, and I have tried all possible laptop resolution options without any success. Am I doomed to not being able to view my laptop in the correct proportion AND full screen?

I'm actually presenting a poster at a conference on Wednesday and decided to do so digitally using this HDTV, and it looks awesome except for the darn distorted proportions, so any advice would be GREAT!

I am going to try tomorrow using a Macbook to see if that makes any difference... I have no idea whether or not it would.

Thanks! :-)
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  1. I also wanted to add that the HDTV has no zoom options; it's either 16:9 or 4:3 - that's it.
  2. it comes down to ratio....

    1. the ratio your TV is set to display

    2. the ratio of the ouput resolution of your video card.

    If your TV is set to 16:9 you should also be outputting a 16:9 ratio resolution.

    4:3 ratio resolutions include 1024x768 (4 x 256 = 1024 3 x 256 = 768)

    16:9 ratio resolutions include 1920x1080 (16 x 120 = 1920 9 x 120 = 1080)

    So the question is, do either of your laptops have graphics that support the selection of 16:9 ratio resolutions. If your laptop only outputs 4:3 ratio resolutions then the only way to get them to fill the screen is by stretching as 4:3 does not fit into a 16:9 frame.
  3. Well I went through all the possible resolution ratios available in XP and none seemed to do the trick.

    I then read somewhere that VGA is associated with 4:3 - is that the case? If I'm connecting via VGA could this be influencing the aspect ratio of the input to the TV?
  4. nah, VGA can output a 16:9 ratio resolution. More likely it is a limitation of your graphics hardware and it not supporting any 16:9 resolutions....

    Although the VGA input of your HDTV might limit the resolution....check your HDTV manual to check what resolution(s) are supported via the VGA input.

    You need to A. determine what input resolutions are supported by the HDTV and via what ports (VGA/DVI/HDMI)

    And B. What output resolutions are supported by your laptop and via what ports.

    As an example, the Macbook, in general, supports external displays up to 1900 x 1200 on Apple DVI displays but only 1600 x 1200 via VGA so if you are using the VGA output on a Macbook, it might be part of the problem.
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