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I usually just use Windows Media player, though I've tried Zune and VLC to play back video files (mp4, avi). However, most video files do not fully maximize to the screen – rather, it is a slightly smaller rectangle with some black space around it.

Why is this?

Aren't there any video player applications for Windows that allow for true "full screen"? Maybe I'm missing a setting somewhere in one of the apps I've tried?

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Most films have a different aspect-ratio than does your computer screen. Therefore full-screen is not possible - either you watch a smaller part of the film and hope nothing interesting or worthwhile is happening in the part you can't see or you accept that not all your display is going to be filled with filmed material.

I'd rather watch what the director intended than some mutilated or heavily distorted travesty, but I recognise that others find a small bit of blackness deeply disturbing to the consumerist psyche.

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Maximized or full screen videos usually respect aspect ratio. Thus, if the aspect ratio of the video is not identical to the aspect ratio of your display device, you will always have at least two black bars (left/right or top/bottom).

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Thank you for clarifying this, I obviously don't know terminology and concepts :| Maybe this is another question, but... I stream the same videos through my xbox via TVersity and it looks fine with the aspect ratio not being a factor. Is there some type of conversion I need to do? – javamonkey79 May 3 '12 at 8:02

Zoom player allows for changing of the aspect ratio on playback.

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