Netflix has a vast catalog of films and TV series, which adapt more or less to almost all the dimensions of the display of our smart devices. But as you have surely noticed, some films are often reproduced with black bands on the sides, usually above and below the video, or worse on all four sides, that is in format “letterbox". Obviously it doesn't just happen with Netflix, but also with Youtube, Amazon Prime and any other platform.
This happens for a simple reason, that is due to the "aspect ratio" or "display aspect ratio" of the film or TV series, especially if the film is not recent. In fact the older films have an aspect ratio in 4: 3, the most recent in 16: 9.
The videos do not perfectly fit all monitor sizes for a trivial reason: that is, to not lose quality and to maintain the aspect ratio with which they were conceived. The result would in fact be a "stretched" or "crushed" video. However, the letterbox format has black bands on all edges, so it could easily resize and adapt better (though not to perfection) to the size of the monitor, showing for example bands only below and above the video or right and left, rather than on all sides.
I recently purchased a monitor LG 29UM59A ultrawide from 29 ″ with aspect ratio 21: 9 - thanks to a super offer that I also shared on Telegram channel. I immediately found it great for the job compared to the 15.6 ″ on my Notebook but, as far as I am concerned fun, several films are unfortunately reproduced in "letterbox" format.
To overcome this problem, all smart TVs and monitors can resize the format with preset profiles. If the operation is immediate on the TV, it may be more cumbersome on a monitor connected to the PC. Furthermore you should change format before and after playback. So if, as in my case, you watch videos and films on browsers, there is a very simple solution.
How to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime and Youtube in 21: 9
To solve this trivial problem, we think a very simple extension for Chrome, UltraWide Video, which does not require special configurations. In reality there are similar extensions for the other browsers and below you will find the badges to install them. I have only tested the Chrome extension and below I show you how it works.
Just install the extension for your browser and choose how the videos will fit on the display. On Chrome we have two options, crop and aspect ratio, the first "perfectly" adapts the video to the size of the screen, thus altering the aspect ratio of the movie; the second one adapts the video maintaining the aspect format of the movie. If these do not work, we have the possibility to force video to change format.
The best option therefore depends on the movie and the type of monitor. In my case, with the monitor in 21: 9 format, I get an excellent result by forcing the resizing with the crop option if the video is in “letterbox” format. Otherwise it is recommended to leave the option on Aspect Ratio. After setting the option, just run the video in full screen and you can enjoy your movie on the entire surface of your monitor. Here are the differences with and without extension on Netflix, YouTube and Prime Video. Click the images to enlarge them.