Check your TV's settings. You may have it set to 16x9 or Zoom. Set it to 4:3 or Set to Program and it will display your video correctly.
It's your TV (or disc or media player) that's interpretting the video this way. From what you describe, it's not the video file itself.
The odd thing is, though, I've played 4:3 on this TV before with the same sort of files. Like I said, I tried changing those settings to "normal" (they never say 4:3, I dont' think), and it didn't make any difference. That's why I'm wondering if it's a matter of the way the file was first imported. Soemthing in the back of my mind makes me think I would need to start a new project and use the "DVD or Computer" Add button. I'll check, now that I'm home.
I second SG's comments to you on this matter which appears to be related to the player rather than the video. But, I am curious about one or two things. Could you confirm...
How did you burn your Timeline content to DVD, as DVD-VIDEO standard or DVD-VIDEO widescreen? And, in keeping with your VHS source, can we assume that your Timeline content was SD 4:3?
Can you get any input on settings from the manufacturer of the TV or its DVD player?
Sure enough. you were right. I played with both the TV & the media player and, counter-intuitively, rather than choosing "normal" I chose "Widescreen" (I think on the player) and it came out right. Weird. Thanks!
Great news, Buddy!
In an attempt to retain backward compatibility with older standards and signals (the whole world is not full HD yet), many TV and player mfgrs. allow for their equipment to be set to handle a variety of feeds, and some in different ways, using different handling treatments. Often, one has to take a particular signal, and then make adjustments (usually on the TV, but not always), to get what they want their display to look like. It gets confusing as some mfgrs. sort of swap names randomly, and what works in the setup menu of one device, might not be the exact same with another. I always recommend that one feed the particular signal to the display, then work through the menu to get what they want, regardless of what that mfgr. calls it.
The variations in how particular signals are handled, and how they display, are why video producers pull their hair out - they have no control over what the client/recipient has, in the way of equipment, and how it is setup. Most folk open the box, pull out the equipment, plug it in, and hook up some wires, put the batteries into the remote - and that is their setup - no calibration - nothing but the default settings from the plant. It is rare that a consumer will calibrate the color, the gamma, or set anything on their equipment, so a producer must go with common broadcast levels and color, and pray.