Aspect Ratio

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How pyTivo handles aspect ratios

This is meant to be a quick and dirty explanation of how pyTivo handles Aspect Ratios.

Quick Tutorial on Aspect Ratios

By no means is any of this guaranteed to be accurate. This only represents what I believe to be true, if I am making a mistake that causes an error in pyTivo please point it out to me, KRKeegan.

There are two types of aspect ratios:

Display Aspect Ratio

This is simply the width:height ratio of what the file looks like when it plays on your TV.

Pixel Aspect Ratio

This refers to the shape of the pixels themselves. For example a 1:1 pixel aspect ratio means a perfect square pixel.

Then there is the issue that the largest dimension of file TiVo will accept is 720x480. You will note that this is a ratio of 3:2. True 4:3 would be 720x540, so TiVo stretches the image to be taller; to compensate for this, pyTivo distorts a 4:3 image, making it proportionately smaller before it sends the file. True 16:9 would be 853:480, so TiVo stretches the image on the sides, to compensate pyTivo distorts 16:9 images proportionately smaller horizontally.

For another look at aspect ratio, see this web page courtesy of SeeMoreDigital.

What are the steps pyTivo goes through to determine how to display the file?

  1. If the ratio of width to height is greater than 1.33 then
    1. If 16:9 aspect is allowed and the file does not appear to be 4:3 then set the aspect to 16:9
      1. If the video is wider than 16:9 then pad the top and bottom taking into account that the pixels we use here will be distorted as noted above
      2. If the video is taller than 16:9 then pad the left and right taking into account that the pixels we use here will be distorted as noted above
    2. If 16:9 not selected then send in 4:3
      1. Pad the top and bottom with distorted pixels
  2. If the ratio is below 1.33 than always send as 4:3
    1. Pad the left and right with distorted pixels

And that is it.

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