Updated Guide: Compensating For Rectangular Pixels (1024×768 TVs)

This guide was originally posted for Windows Vista, but I think I’ve got the proper pieces here for it to work on Windows 7. Please let us know via the Comments button at the bottom if you have concerns/issues/feedback! As always, proceed at your own risk!

The problem is when you have a 16:9 display that has a typical 4:3
resolution. For example, my Pioneer 4280 has a 1024X768 native
resolution To avoid having set Windows to 1360X768 and have the TV
rescale it back (thus muddying the picture), I found that the following
works to tell VMC that the display device has non-square pixels. I
imagine that a similar setup would work for non-square pixel displays
other then 1024X768.

  1. Set your desktop to 1024X768 and run Media Center
  2. Go to Configure Your TV or Monitor
  3. Go through the steps and choose 16:9.
  4. On
    the next screen, it will complain that you are running 1024×768 and yet
    you chose 16:9. It will ask you if you want to change your resolution.
    Say Yes.
  5. On the next screen, it lists various resolutions. Choose 1024×768. That is not a typo. Go ahead and choose it.
  6. When it asks for preview, go ahead and say Yes. If you don’t do this, it may not work. It didn’t for me.
  7. The
    screen should now change aspect ratios, but not resolution. In other
    words, text will stop looking stretched out. Say Yes to the question if
    you want to keep this resolution.

You should be set. Your resolution in VMC will stay at 1024×768, but
Media Center will know it needs to compensate for the TV being 16:9.

The problem I kept having was that doing it this way is completely
confusing. It is not a way anyone would guess. I actually got to this
point by choosing 1360×768, then poking around at the registry and
editing by hand. Armed with the knowledge of what this was doing, I
went back and figured out how you are "supposed" to do it. 


Now, the only question I have left in my mind is if I should fiddle with the resulting registry settings.  [CHANGED IN WINDOWS7] It changed some settings under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DisplayService





I can change LogicalWidth to 16 and LogicalHeight to 9 and the results are pretty much identical to the above settings.  I wonder if there’s any benefit at all to having one over the other.