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Schmye Bubbula
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[UN-SOLVED] Secret key sequence to set Display Type to 4:3?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:17 am

Edit, Jul 9, 2016: Solution REMOVED by the Roku powers-that-be in firmware 7.2

Aaarrgghh!!!!!!!!!!!!

--
Edit, Apr 23, 2016: Found it!

• Go into a secret Roku developer menu by rapidly hitting the remote control keys:
Home (five times), FF, Play, RW, Play, FF
...which brings up "Platform Secret Screen."

• Then go into:
System Operations Menu

• Then select:
Enable selecting all resolutions

• Then hit the Home key to get out to the normal home screen, and go into:
Settings > Display type
...and select "4:3 standard"

(original thread title: "Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4:3?")

- -
[original post]

RokuShawnS, do you or anyone else know if there is a secret remote control key sequence that will set a Roku 2 4210's Display Type to 4:3 Standard, which of course wouldn't be included in the settings GUI because it only has HDMI HD output, but still may reside in the firmware, left over from the earlier Roku 2 model that did have output for old TVs? This would allow a Roku 2 (and a Roku 3, for that matter) to connect to an old TV through one of those HDMI-to-Composite AV converters that otherwise would pass through the picture displayed with the left & right sides cropped-out and vertically distorted (stretched to fill the screen).

RokuShawnS, would you ask Roku engineering if such a key sequence is still hidden in there, and if so, also pass along a feature request to add it perhaps as an "advanced" option in the settings GUI ("for people wanting to connect to an old SD TV with a third-party HDMI-to-Composite converter")? And if it isn't in there, request that it be put in?

My old first-generation Roku XDS is long in the tooth, too many channels don't work right or at all, and I got Roku's letter offering a big discount until Sep 30 saying that things will only get worse from here, and I would prefer the lightning-fast processor in the Roku 2 much more than a Roku 1 not any faster than what I have now. I'm not in a position to get an HDMI TV any time soon.
Last edited by Schmye Bubbula on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
– –
Roku 3 (4200) purchased for $22.93 on clearance at Office Depot > Bleiden HDMI-to-Composite converter > old 4:3 CRT TV (now in another room, as I have acquired a modern LCD flat screen TV, March 2017)

R.I.P. Roku XD|S (2100), Feb 2011–Apr 2016
 
nazugrit
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:49 pm

Have you seen how cheap TVs can be bought for now? I don't know about the stores in the area where you live, but refurbished TVs are really cheap. At MicroCenter in St. Louis, they have a 29" TV for $119.99, or if you wanted bigger, a 32" one is only $20 more.
 
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jeffrok
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:03 pm

He said he was in no position to get a new TV anytime soon.
Yeah, I got some Rokus.
https://youtu.be/d1CSEeqWl10
 
nazugrit
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:24 pm

That's why I posted that, to make sure he knew how cheap TVs are getting, and might be in his price range without him realizing it. I was shocked by how cheap they were a couple months ago when I went to buy one.
 
dfgsrzwer
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:50 am

There's a reason to want to set your display to 4:3 even with HDMI: content providers that stretch 4:3 to 16:9. Luckily, my Roku 3050 allows you to do so even with HDMI (though it does need to be set at 16:9 rather than 4:3 for it to "unstretch").
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Schmye Bubbula
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:48 am

Could we get an authoritative answer to the question of whether the current Roku 2 still has a Display Type capability of 4:3 Standard in the firmware, possibly hanging around now unused from last year's Roku 2, and if so, whether it's accessible from some hidden developer's menu or with a secret remote control key sequence?

I've had a ticket in with Roku support for over a week now, and have PM'd two Roku representative moderators here, but have been met with silence on the issue.

How hard would it be to pick up the phone and call a Roku engineer about this?
– –
Roku 3 (4200) purchased for $22.93 on clearance at Office Depot > Bleiden HDMI-to-Composite converter > old 4:3 CRT TV (now in another room, as I have acquired a modern LCD flat screen TV, March 2017)

R.I.P. Roku XD|S (2100), Feb 2011–Apr 2016
 
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RokuChrisT
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:25 pm

I checked with the teams -> here's the answer:

4:3 display mode is available on Roku units with a composite output, such as the currently shipping Roku 1
Roku units with only HDMI output do not have a 4:3 display setting
 
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AeRoSpaceman
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:54 pm

RokuChrisT wrote:
I checked with the teams -> here's the answer:

4:3 display mode is available on Roku units with a composite output, such as the currently shipping Roku 1
Roku units with only HDMI output do not have a 4:3 display setting

That is not correct. I have a MHL stick which is HDMI only and have the options of 4:3 standard, 16:9 widescreen, 720p and 1080p. I have always had those choices out of the box.
OTA Antenna "Actual Rabbit Ears", 42" JVC EM42FTR, Roku Streaming Stick (MHL :-)) 3400x (1EL54H001869) (ROKU Beta)
 
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Basil
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:02 pm

AeRoSpaceman wrote:
RokuChrisT wrote:
I checked with the teams -> here's the answer:

4:3 display mode is available on Roku units with a composite output, such as the currently shipping Roku 1
Roku units with only HDMI output do not have a 4:3 display setting

That is not correct. I have a MHL stick which is HDMI only and have the options of 4:3 standard, 16:9 widescreen, 720p and 1080p. I have always had those choices out of the box.

If the response was limited to current Roku devices, then the MHL stick would not be counted, any more than would other discontinued devices.
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AeRoSpaceman
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:06 pm

Basil wrote:
If the response was limited to current Roku devices, then the MHL stick would not be counted, any more than would other discontinued devices.
I only based my post on this statement and nothing else.
4:3 display mode is available on Roku units with a composite output
OTA Antenna "Actual Rabbit Ears", 42" JVC EM42FTR, Roku Streaming Stick (MHL :-)) 3400x (1EL54H001869) (ROKU Beta)
 
Schmye Bubbula
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:45 pm

RokuChrisT wrote:
I checked with the teams -> here's the answer:

4:3 display mode is available on Roku units with a composite output, such as the currently shipping Roku 1
Roku units with only HDMI output do not have a 4:3 display setting

Well, of course there's not a 4:3 display setting officially in the settings GUI in models with only an HDMI port (except, apparently, the MHL stick), but are you saying that you asked Roku engineering and they directly addressed what I've been asking all along, that they're saying that there is also not unofficially 4:3 Standard still lingering unused in Roku 2/3/4 firmware accessible by some secret remote control key combination or hidden developer menu?
– –
Roku 3 (4200) purchased for $22.93 on clearance at Office Depot > Bleiden HDMI-to-Composite converter > old 4:3 CRT TV (now in another room, as I have acquired a modern LCD flat screen TV, March 2017)

R.I.P. Roku XD|S (2100), Feb 2011–Apr 2016
 
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RokuChrisT
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:38 am

Schmye Bubbula wrote:
are you saying that you asked Roku engineering and they directly addressed what I've been asking all along, that they're saying that there is also not unofficially 4:3 Standard still lingering unused in Roku 2/3/4 firmware accessible by some secret remote control key combination or hidden developer menu?


Indeed, I rolled my chair over to the team that builds the actual OS and we went through your hopes - alas, our boxes that are HDMI-only (no composite) will not have 4:3 display available. Same for secret developer codes, it's simply not there.

I believe your aversion to Roku 1 is the older app versions for the major channels? I was trying to think of HDMI to composite options but they won't solve the 4:3 display issue unfortunately. As some of the forum posts below mentioned, the new TCL RokuTVs are relatively great deals compared to other TV brands ($100/200 range) at Best Buy and other online stores.

If anyone knows of an Aspect Ratio Converter box or related 16:9 to 4:3 workflow to help Schmye B. out, I'd love to know how too! All the signal converter products I can find online are related to digital tv (antennae signals) tools.
 
Schmye Bubbula
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:15 pm

Thank you for finally locating a definitive answer that even a latent 4:3 isn't in the HDMI-only Roku boxes at all.

I had gotten the communication from Roku announcing the old first generation boxes as sunsetted, and offering a discount on a new Roku. After going so long without an answer in this thread, my time ran out on the 30-day money-back guarantee, and I returned my Roku 2 for refund a few weeks ago. I also got my money back on the (otherwise extremely high quality) HDMI-to-Composite converter, for which I got fooled by their advertising which in my opinion perilously borders on fraud ("HDMI to 3RCA Composite AV Converter for Roku 2 and Roku 3") because I had no idea that it would display a butchered, anamorphic squeezed-distorted picture instead of properly letterboxed widescreen on a 4:3 TV.

I since found out that converters which will adjust aspect ratio typically sell for well over $500, and the cheapest I've seen is this Hall unit for $200, which is ludicrous for an under-$100 Roku, and there's nothing whatsoever for it listed on eBay.

Image
Image

$30 for the regular converter is do-able, but it would need resumption of the 4:3 Standard setting in the Roku box.

I can understand perfectly that even a few dollars additional unit production costs translates into considerable millions of dollars across a production run, so I see why Roku doesn't want to put composite connectors on the back. But since an aspect ratio setting is already in there, it wouldn't cost them a penny to put 4:3 back in. And if Roku is afraid of additional tech support expense, they could just add a caption, something like, "Display Type: 4:3 Standard (for third-party HDMI converters, not supported by Roku)"

The problem here is that people are grievously understating the market from old TVs by looking at flat screen sales market share, which of course for CRT TVs is well-nigh zero. But the installed base of flat screens overtook old TVs only a year ago, and will remain nearly half the market for some years to come, until they eventually become negligible by attrition.

Image
source: Broadband TV News LLP, Aug 2014, projected data afterward

You want to know the tell-tale sign when you can ignore the millions & millions of old TVs still going strong? Why, when Walmart stops using precious shelf space to carry digital-to-analog TV converter boxes! (Ironically, in my Walmart they're right across from their Roku display!) Indeed, I would think that proportionately more demand for streaming boxes would come from precisely the most cost-conscious cord cutters wanting to get more mileage out of their old TVs. Roku, Amazon, Apple, etc. are all shooting themselves in the foot by neglecting installed base.

Meanwhile, I will not be buying a Roku 1, because I see very little improvement over my Roku XDS. As far as I'm concerned, the Roku 1 was sunsetted out of the gate! I am a Roku enthusiast, so I resent being asked to spend a nickel on a Roku 1 with so many inadequacies, among others:
– Waaay too slow compared to the lightening-fast processor in the current Roku 2
– No Netflix profiles
– No ethernet ports
– No dual-band wireless
– Doesn't support Resume Play in Nowhere TV channel
– Won't resume audio in iTunes Podcasts channel
– Doesn't work with Firefox Nightly video casting

Maybe we can hope that the Roku 1 will additionally become what is now the Roku 2 sometime in 2016.

- -
edit, Nov 12, 2015:
– corrected typo "precious" misspelled as "previous"
– brain fart: corrected use of "grandfathered" when I meant "sunsetted"
– Jul 11, 2016: corrected awkward phrasing
Last edited by Schmye Bubbula on Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
– –
Roku 3 (4200) purchased for $22.93 on clearance at Office Depot > Bleiden HDMI-to-Composite converter > old 4:3 CRT TV (now in another room, as I have acquired a modern LCD flat screen TV, March 2017)

R.I.P. Roku XD|S (2100), Feb 2011–Apr 2016
 
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AeRoSpaceman
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:18 pm

Seriously Schmye Bubbula... For the $70 you spent on the new ROKU 2 you could have spent $30 more and bought a $99 24" RCA 1080p LED from Walmart(online/in-store) LINK. It was in stock yesterday online (out of stock now) but should be again soon(check your local Walmart). You could then keep your XDS, get rid of a heavy, huge, and electricity wasting CRT. I have no clue how big your CRT TV is but there are so many deals out now on LCD/LED and more to come for the holidays... I don't understand where you are coming from here???
OTA Antenna "Actual Rabbit Ears", 42" JVC EM42FTR, Roku Streaming Stick (MHL :-)) 3400x (1EL54H001869) (ROKU Beta)
 
Schmye Bubbula
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Re: Secret key sequence to set Roku 2 4210 Display Type to 4

Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:23 pm

"Buy a new TV" is off-topic for this thread, and besides, there are a number of reasons more than HDTVs-are-cheap-today for being stuck with an old TV. If somebody wants to open a new thread on that topic, I'll list umpteen.
– –
Roku 3 (4200) purchased for $22.93 on clearance at Office Depot > Bleiden HDMI-to-Composite converter > old 4:3 CRT TV (now in another room, as I have acquired a modern LCD flat screen TV, March 2017)

R.I.P. Roku XD|S (2100), Feb 2011–Apr 2016

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