Why are there black bars around the video I'm watching?

Some HBO GO shows and movies may have black bars around the video image (along the top and bottom or on the sides). Black bars are used when the aspect ratio of the video doesn't match the aspect ratio of your screen.

Black bars above and below: This means the video was filmed with an aspect ratio that's wider than your screen.

Black bars on the sides: This can happen if the video was filmed with a squarish aspect ratio (for example, 4:3), and your screen is widescreen (16:9).

Black bars are added in lieu of stretching or clipping the video image. You can't manually adjust the aspect ratio in the video player to remove the black bars.

For browser troubleshooting steps, see How do I get HBO GO to play full screen on my computer?