Life With A Plugin, Episode 21: SageTV – Auto Aspect Ratio Switcher

Today we have a plugin that is not even close to new…it’s actually been around since 2005, which pretty much makes it a classic. Sometimes things lose their relevance over time, but not so when you’re talking about a plugin that will help you out by automatically switching aspect ratios to match the material you are watching.


The Auto Aspect Ratio Switcher is a plugin that allows you to establish different rules under which the plugin will automatically switch between the four aspect ratio settings configurable in SageTV. This plugin is available for both the stock STV and for SageMC. The rules for when to switch aspect ratios can be defined on three characteristics: show title, channel, and capture device or any combination of the three characteristics. For instance, it can switch to my Source AR when Law & Order records in HD on WHDHDT on any tuner, or it can switch to 16×9 AR whenever it records Law & Order in SD on WHDH or USA on any tuner.

Insert Photo

Above & Beyond

It the stock UI functionally, just better looking! Seems like this is
something people chat about a bit over in the Sage forums, so it should
fill a niche.

Main Controal Panel Configuring Option by Option

Falling Short

So far I have only found one scenario that these three rule categories can not account for. This is when a given channel broadcasts the same show in both 4×3 and 16×9. Some of the long running shows were orginially all broadcast in 4×3 and this is what is available for reruns. Then at some point in time they switch the show to 16×9 letterboxed. In this case I usually configure it to auto switch to 16×9 and if I realize it’s cropping and really 4×3 I’ll manually switch it. Over time this is becoming less of an issue since there is less 4×3 content every year.

Grade: Everyday Use

This is the only plugin for SageTV that I always install. It’s essential to smooth operation. I mean, there’s an Aspect Toggle button that can be assigned, but really who wants to push a button on a remote when the computer can automatically do it for you. Isn’t the goal of an HTPC to consume as much media as possible with the least amount of effort…oops, maybe that’s not HTPCs I’m talking about.

Product Vitals

Website: Download and InstructionsForum Discussion

Creator: Nielm

Price: Free