I have a Toshiba dvd video recorder/video cassette recorder. The device goes through my sony home theater receiver via HDMI then out to my sony HD tv. Problem is the tv image is stretched. How do I get a normal tv image to play when the feed is through the toshiba?
Find your TV's "format" or "aspect" setting and go thru its options. My setting for a normal 4:3 pic from an analog DVDR is called "Normal."
Your DVDr also has a setting for playback ("TV Aspect"?), so check that also and use the combo that works for you.
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When playing Hollywood DVDs, the player should handle most stretch settings automatically so the TV and receiver synchronize along with it. Hollywood DVDs use a standardized "squeeze" of widescreen 16:9 movie into a 4:3 DVD frame. A flag embedded in the DVD tells the player to send instructions to the TV to "unsqueeze" and fill the 16:9 screen correctly, or switch to 4:3 when playing non-widescreen videos.
This happy system gets all screwed up when we record our own DVDs. Most recorders don't embed the "auto-unsqueeze" signal in their DVDs, so you need to manually use the Picture Size or Aspect Ratio button on the TV and/or receiver remote to cycle thru the stretch/squeeze setting until the picture looks normal. The correct setting for widescreen DVDs is usually named "Full," choosing "Normal/4:3" squeezes the picture, choosing "Just" or "Wide Zoom" gives an in-between compromise, and of course "Zoom" magnifies the middle of the picture to fill the screen. If your problem videos are the old 4:3 size and being incorrectly stretched, use the "4:3" or "Normal" setting on the TV to unstretch back to the old squarer picture framing.
Try those different TV screen Picture settings first, and see if that helps. If not, figuring out your problem could get very complicated and you may just want to ask a tech-savvy friend to come and personally look over your system. It would take many paragraphs to explain all the possible conflicts between DVD recorder, A/V receiver, and TV. But someone who knows how this stuff all works based on personal experience could help you much quicker by visiting, and having a look at your system.
Just as an example, your Toshiba must be set to match the TV. If you previously owned an older tube TV and then recently switched to a 16:9 flat screen, you might need to "tell" that to the Toshiba (HDMI should automatically sense this kind of thing, but sometimes you need to manually change the TV setting from "4:3" to "16:9.") There's also an "upscaling" or "resolution" setting in the Toshiba that affects the HDMI and Component connections to the TV. People are often tempted to use the highest possible 1080 setting, assuming it will give the best quality, but the 1080 output from most DVD units forces every video to a widescreen stretch (even if the video isn't widescreen at all), which then disables the TV from showing standard 4:3 videos (like old TV shows) correctly. A lot of DVD player/recorders (and most BluRay decks) will only play 4:3 material correctly at resolution settings of 720 or 480.