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Wrong aspect ratio on Youtube

Is there a way to force the aspect ratio of a YouTube video being viewed?

There are videos on YouTube which look distorted because they have an incorrect aspect ratio (16:9 instead of 4:3). But the uploader likes it that way, because 4:3 adds black bars on the sides on 16:9 monitors.

Can I view these videos in 4:3?

Maybe there's some URL hack with something like this?


The above doesn't actually work, but something I thought might be possible.


1 Answer 1


This thread on Superuser gives iDesktop.tv as a viable solution.

Bingo - http://www.idesktop.tv/ - requires a free signup but after that any YouTube video can be watched through the browser, and the player has aspect ratio controls among other things. It is also possible to search for YouTube videos directly on the site.

In full screen one can select one of several predefined aspect ratios.

From here: https://superuser.com/questions/95981/wrong-aspect-ratio-on-youtube/95999#95999

And from their help & support:

Do you support widescreen on these videos?

Yes, and not only that. While playing videos you will notice a few icons for selecting video aspect ratio. You can choose from 4:3, 16:9 (wide screen), video's default (the aspect ratio of the uploaded video) or custom. Custom will resize the video to fit the player so resizing it you will change the video's size.

Edit 31/07:

From their support team:


We are sorry to inform you that with the release on iDesktop v3 the aspect ratio button has been removed.

Best Regards
iDesktop.tv Team

  • Thanks but I signed up and I don't see where to change the aspect ratio in the player (which works OK), at least not in the free version... Changing the player's size keeps the original aspect ratio. Maybe it's simpler to just download the video and play it with VLC or MPC?
    – SemMike
    Jul 24, 2011 at 4:36
  • If you don't have a problem downloading it, desktop players give you far more options, of course. But this site is about web apps, hence my answer. :)
    – Alex
    Jul 24, 2011 at 6:37
  • But have you tried it, and if so do you know where the aspect ratio option is located?
    – SemMike
    Jul 24, 2011 at 7:07
  • Strange, I can't find the controls as well. I wrote them an email asking about this issue.
    – Alex
    Jul 24, 2011 at 8:57
  • Great thanks, I am not entirely blind then...
    – SemMike
    Jul 24, 2011 at 16:38

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