Is there any way I, as a viewer, can change the aspect ratio of a video where the uploader got it wrong? It's driving me mad! Can't believe YouTube doesn't have anything for me to fix this... Does it?

Edit: is there perhaps a program for viewing YouTube videos outside of the browser that has the feature? For instance, Miro can show youtube videos, although unfortunately it doesn't seem to have a feature to adjust the aspect ratio either.

Bounty: looking for new options, since iDesktop can no longer do this.

  • 1
    I just made a bookmarklet that does this (and works on sites other than YouTube, too): alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2018/08/… – Alexander Pruss Aug 12 '18 at 22:59
  • @AlexanderPruss, this should be the answer - the bookmarklet from the gist link works great. – Stan Jan 7 '20 at 19:15

12 Answers 12


I made a website that lets you view YouTube videos in the correct aspect ratio: Stretch.site.

I think this should solve your problem.

  • 2
    Nice one! Is it possible to have another slider that would zoom in the whole thing to cut off baked-in black bars? – RomanSt Oct 19 '15 at 18:42
  • Yes, that should be possible! Can you provide an example video that has this issue? – doug Oct 19 '15 at 21:17
  • youtube.com/watch?v=L1v7hXEQhsQ has black bars above and below. youtube.com/watch?v=uURX8xD3ud0 has varying sets of black bars throughout, including one section that has black borders on all sides. – RomanSt Oct 19 '15 at 22:37
  • 2
    Ok I have added that feature! Let me know if you have any further feedback. – doug Nov 16 '15 at 8:46
  • 4
    I know this is the sort of comment Stack Exchange discourages, but you are my new hero! An end to a decade + of messed up YouTube videos! This is so great! – Fred Hamilton Jun 13 '17 at 18:00

Nope! It is the fault of the person who uploaded it or the YouTube conversion process, basically it is not there in a normal ratio and displayed wrongly, it has actually been edited and uploaded incorrectly. Your only bet would be to download the video and convert it yourself.

There are tons of Videos that have got black borders around the sides and this is how it should be (e.g. My Westie Eating Pringles!!)... But YouTube simply works from the source and does not usually edit aspect ratio at all.

Unfortunately some people simply do not understand video editing (generally the same people who have desktop backgrounds on stretch or their resolution set to the wrong aspect ratio!).

(sorry, I know I didn't need to post that video, but harmless nice example!)

  • 1
    I think it's the fault of YouTube as much as the fault of the uploader (for not letting the viewer change it), but thanks anyway for confirming my suspicion that it's impossible. – RomanSt Jan 14 '10 at 22:58
  • I can understand it being YouTube's fault if it incorrectly does it, but the fact is that it does understand aspect ratio which is why it gives the black boxes and does not automatically stretch... If I gave you a video that was saved in the correct ratio, how would an automated program know there was a error?... But I do think there should be options or a feature to allow you manually change it online - there must be a few people who know it is wrong and simply do not know how to edit it. – wilhil Jan 14 '10 at 23:02
  • 2
    Any reasonable video player (VLC, ZoomPlayer, whatever) lets me stretch the video manually (and in real time) if the originator got it wrong somehow. Stretching is such a cheap operation compared to decoding that there's no excuse for not having it... – RomanSt Jan 14 '10 at 23:10
  • Agreed, however these are fully featured video/media players, remember, flash video streaming is a relatively new process and is not that feature rich. I agree that they will probably do this in the future... You can however download videos from YouTube and play it in your choice of program and stretch then.... there just isn't an automated way of doing this. – wilhil Jan 14 '10 at 23:16
  • "Cheap operation", sure, for the processing and code. But looking from the UI/UX perspective, allowing scaling (in an embedded, "static") viewer is a very costly operation, precisely because many people don't understand aspect ratios. (I don't consider that a good a excuse, though! But my personal perspective on issues like this doesn't represent the usual UX perspective.) – Ilari Kajaste Oct 30 '13 at 11:27

SMPlayer (runs on Windows and Linux) supports both features you want:

Custom aspect ratio

  • Choose VideoAspect Ratio

YouTube videos

  • Choose OpenURL or press Ctrl+U and paste the YouTube URL

There is also a built-in YouTube browser: Choose OptionsYouTube browser or press F11

You can select your preferred quality at the bottom of the OptionsPreferencesPerformance page.

  • I've used this for a week and it's fantastic. – RomanSt Apr 2 '13 at 18:48
  • 4
    VLC media player (windows, mac, linux) can also do this! – morotspaj Jun 17 '15 at 20:50

At long last, YouTube Center, a Firefox addon, enables me to do this!

enter image description here


You'd have to be able to modify the data that the original user posted - which YouTube aren't necessarily going to let you do.

It would need code in the YouTube video playback control to allow this - it's certainly possible as it already allows you to select embedded or full screen, and desktop players allow infinite resize. But unless the code is exposed you - as a viewer - can't do anything.

The only thing you could do is post a polite comment and hope the OP spots it and corrects their own post.

  • Wrong answer. Stretching a video while displaying it is programmatically trivial. There is no need to modify the original data. – Timwi Jan 17 '10 at 20:14
  • @Timwi - OP posted "Is there any way I, as a viewer," [his bold]. Doing it programmatically (even if trivial) is not an end user task – ChrisF Jan 17 '10 at 20:15

On such videos I just click the "Report Playback Issue" item in the popup menu and write "wrong aspect ratio" in the comment field. And hope in time they do something about the issue.

  • I've recently realised that this problem is ubiquitous in modern TVs too, so I'm getting the impression that most people have simply learned to watch squished images and really truly don't notice this.... also that it's a battle we've lost already... – RomanSt Jan 2 '12 at 1:22

YouTube provides a solution to this problem – their chromeless player (a stripped down version of the regular embeddable player), which allow you to build and style your own custom controls.

The above link demonstrates the available controls of the chromeless player, which include Player size Aspect ratio, where you can choose between 16x9 and 4x3, and also allows testing it on any YouTube video.

See also this article : Making a Custom YouTube Video Player With YouTube’s APIs.

  • 2
    I've tried the demo at the link you posted and this only changes the size of the player, but not the aspect ratio of the video inside it. – RomanSt May 23 '12 at 9:50

You can use a Firefox add-on such as Video DownloadHelper to obtain the URL of the video file (use the “Copy URL” menu item).

Then you can use VLC to play the video directly from the URL (which is more or less equivalent to what the YouTube player does). In the Media menu, use Open Network Stream and paste the URL there.

Now you can use the A key to fix the aspect ratio while the video is playing.

  • Apparently you can't seek this way, but since it fixes the aspect ratio... +1 – RomanSt May 23 '12 at 16:32
  • @romkyns: Well... you kinda can... you just need a lot of patience :)) – Timwi May 23 '12 at 16:33

This video will show you how, by using a simple JavaScript and a Mozilla FireFox web browser add-on called GreaseMonkey, how you can change the aspect ratio of videos you are viewing (as a viewer) on YouTube from 4:3 to 16:9, or from 16:9 to 4:3. This is especially useful for those who use a widescreen 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio display (such as an LED, LCD, OLED or Plasma High Definition television set (HDTV) or a wide screen monitor) to display their PC's video output even though their computer's video card display graphics adapter can only output native 4:3 aspect ratio resolutions (using this method will cancel out the vertical squishing and horizontal stretching brought on by stretching a 4:3 image onto a 16:9 display.) This of course can also be used should the original creator or uploader of the YouTube video in question have incorrectly sized or formatted their video when creating or uploading their content, creating a video that is either disproportionately long and narrow or short and wide, or whose video has unnecessary black bars either on the top and bottom of the video or on the left and right sides of the video.



perhaps you can try this? install videocacheview, a freeware that allows you to view media/video files in the browser's temporary cache and view the video offsite. there's a portable version. please take note that not all youtube videos will appear in the cache folder even if it's fully buffered. also, videocacheview doesn't show the name of the video but assigns it a temporary name. i just set it to show videos accdg to date/time modified and just try to remember which video i opened first. ;D also, the video tab has to remain open in the browser for VCV to keep track of the vid.

you can then click on the video and either choose to play or save the video in any folder. pls note also the video cached is in tmp file format. but if you make daum potplayer as your default video player, it can play the video automatically, no problem. potplayer also allows you to view the video in various configurations: right click > video > pan and scan > then choose your setting. tho the results may not be entirely to your liking.

you can also just download the videos. i use flash video downloader or complete youtube saver which are firefox add-ons (no need to install software). (sorry i can't post links. im a newbie and not allowed to post more than two hyperlinks)

if you pin videocacheview and potplayer on the taskbar, it's at most a two-click process.


The solution as with the SMPlayer in the accepted answer above also works with VLC. Press ctrl-N or select the Media/Open Network Stream... menu and paste the URL of the video, like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQe3JxJHpxQ (this video shows a demonstration of the procedure) Then the video will play in VLC and you can adjust the aspect ratio in the Video menu.

I found the above (and tested it myself with VLC 2.0.8) on this page: http://lifehacker.com/5577212/play-youtube-videos-directly-in-vlc-media-player


this issue is SOLVED. Just add a code to your video youtube tags in order to choose the ratio aspect. Please check out this video to find some examples:

  • 4
    The OP isn't the owner of the video so they can't alter the code. – ChrisF May 22 '12 at 10:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.