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DVR playback - black bars surround picture

I get black bars surrounding the TV picture but only during playback of TV shows recorded on the DVR. Live channels fill the entire screen.  

It almost seems to have something to do with the Picture in Picture settings (those at the bottom of the DVR remote).  I am not using the PIP features, but pressing the Swap button on the Cox remote switches back to live TV (which may be normal operation?).

My setup is simple: coax from wall to DVR, one HDMI cable from DVR to TV. 

DVR is new, just picked up from Cox last week (Contour). TV is about one year old, Vizio.

How can I get a full size screen during playback of recorded shows?

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  • The black bars are usually caused when you are watching a standard definition program on a High Definition TV.

    Please be sure that when you are setting up recording you are recording the HD version of the channel 10 you are setting it up to record channel 1010 which is the HD version.

    You can also check the video output format in settings.
    on the remotes press Cable then press Settings
    select "Audio and Video"
    select Video Output Format
    for resolution 1080i or 720p (depends on TV)
    for output format select preferred option for SD channels.(you may want to try Stretch)