Q: I had an original Apple TV, which I used to show pictures from Aperture. When I would show the pictures using the slideshow function, the pictures would fill the screen. Now that I have upgraded to the latest Apple TV, the same pictures being displayed using the slideshow do not fill the screen. There are now black bars on either side. These are the same pictures, with the only difference being that the pictures are being streamed directly from Aperture. Why do the streamed pictures not fill the TV screen while under the older system they did? Thanks!
A: Actually, the second-generation Apple TV is most likely behaving normally, at least in terms of your default settings, and this should also have been how the original Apple TV displayed your photos by default.
Most cameras take photos natively at either a 4:3 or 1.5:1 aspect ratio, and about the only common exception to this is photos taken during video recording on some HD video cameras, since these are effectively just frame captures of a 16:9 HD video. An HDTV uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, and therefore so does the Apple TV.
So basically, unless you’ve actually been shooting or cropping your photos into a 16:9 aspect ratio, the Apple TV will normally display the black bars you’re seeing at each side in order to fit the entire photo to the screen. Unless they were in a 16:9 aspect ratio to begin with, the only way your photos would fill the screen would be to either distort the photo sideways or crop the top and bottom.
Either model of Apple TV will only do this with your photos in one case: When you have the Ken Burns effect enabled in your slideshow settings. Named for the American documentary filmmaker, the Ken Burns option provides a panning and zooming effect for your photos during a slideshow. On the Apple TV, this effect displays the photos zoomed in to fill the screen, but does not provide a static view of your photos—they will also slowly move across the screen before transitioning to the next photo. This setting also does not affect normal photo display—only actual slideshows started by selecting the “Slideshow” button at the top of a photo set.
This setting is disabled by default on a new Apple TV, but if you had previously enabled it on your original Apple TV, it would have remained on for all of your slideshows, and you may have forgotten about it. If you want to enable this option on your new Apple TV, you can do simply by selecting the “Settings” button that appears to the right of “Slideshows” when viewing a photo gallery. Whatever options you choose here will apply to all of your photo slideshows with the exception of the screen saver, which is controlled from a separate option under the Settings menu.