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

Apr 19 2009

Today we have a plugin that is not even close to'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 16x9 AR whenever it records Law & Order in SD on WHDH or USA on any tuner.

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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 4x3 and 16x9. Some of the long running shows were orginially all broadcast in 4x3 and this is what is available for reruns. Then at some point in time they switch the show to 16x9 letterboxed. In this case I usually configure it to auto switch to 16x9 and if I realize it's cropping and really 4x3 I'll manually switch it. Over time this is becoming less of an issue since there is less 4x3 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 Instructions - Forum Discussion

Creator: Nielm

Price: Free

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