How do I change the way Windows Media Center looks on my display?

If you're using Windows Media Center to watch TV on your computer, the image on your monitor or TV might be stretched or there might be unnecessary margins around the image. This means that the aspect ratio is incorrect. You might be able to fix the problem by adjusting the display settings in Media Center.

Picture of Media Center showing margins on each side of the screen
Adjusting the display settings in Media Center

Before changing any Media Center settings, make sure that the display settings on your monitor or TV hardware are configured correctly and that you're using the best available connection to connect the computer to the display. For information about the different types of video connections, see Connect your computer to a TV.

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To change the aspect ratio for a specific channel

If you're having problems with the image aspect ratio on only a few TV channels, you can use the Zoom feature to change the dimensions for those channels.

  1. While watching TV, right-click the video, and then click the right arrow to scroll to the Zoom section.

  2. Click Zoom 1, Zoom 2, Zoom 3, and Zoom 4 to try the different zoom modes and see which one eliminates the margins and expands the image appropriately.


  • If you're using a Media Center remote control, press the MORE button to go to the Zoom section.

  • Zoom options might not be available for some digital TV channels.

To change the overall aspect ratio

If you're having problems with the image display on all channels, as well as the Media Center interface itself, change the general display resolution from widescreen display (16:9) to standard display (4:3), or vice versa. Here's how to do this:

  1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click General, click Windows Media Center Setup, and then click Configure Your TV or Monitor.

  2. Follow the instructions, and when prompted to choose a display width, click Standard (4:3) or Widescreen (16:9).

  3. Select the appropriate display resolution, and then complete the instructions as needed. You might need to try more than one resolution setting to find the one that looks best on your display.


  • If Media Center is not in full-screen mode, you can quickly change the overall aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 (or vice versa) by holding down the Ctrl key while resizing the window with your mouse. Or, you can switch to full-screen mode by clicking the Maximize button Picture of the Maximize button. When you do this, Media Center automatically adjusts the aspect ratio to match your display.