Viewing Anamorphic Widescreen Videos in VLC Media Player

Here’s a quick tip if you’ve got old DVDs that you’ve ripped to video files.

The DVD format used to squeeze widescreen video into the legacy 4:3 aspect ratio in order to be compatible with the video formats used on older televisions. This legacy resolution was used given the relative but declining popularity of older CRT televisions with respect to LCD and plasma televisions. However, with a compatible DVD player and a widescreen television your DVD player would be able to stretch the video back into its widescreen format but with potential loss of picture quality.

Anyway, if you’ve ripped the video off the disc then you may find that the video seems squashed horizontally with people and objects appearing thinner than they should. Now, you could run the files through a converter but that can be tricky for the general user out there so there is a way to have VLC Media Player do it for you.

Just fire up the video in VLC and then do the following:

  1. Click on Video at the top,
  2. Click Aspect Ratio,
  3. Click 16:9.

I find this handy for video I record off the television using the Vulkano as for some reason it chooses to record to a video file with 4:3 aspect ratio encoding.

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