Why are there black bars around the video?

Some HBO Max shows and movies may have black bars or letterboxing along the edges of the video. Black bars are used when the aspect ratio that a movie or show was filmed in doesn't match the aspect ratio of your screen. Black bars are added in lieu of stretching or clipping the video.

  • Black bars above and below: This means the video was filmed with an aspect ratio that's wider than your screen.
  • Black bars on the sides: This can happen if the video was filmed with a squarish aspect ratio (for example, 4:3), and your screen is widescreen (16:9), or if your screen is ultrawide (21:9).

You can't manually adjust the aspect ratio in HBO Max to remove the black bars.