It sounds like you're watching wide screen content on a 4:3 tv, so the screen may be zoomed in so that the bars that would normally be on the top and bottom are not showing. Because the picture is zoomed in, images that would be at the top and bottom are off the screen. If you're watching from a home receiver (Uverse, DirecTv, Xfinity, etc.) you need to change the video settings to let the receiver know that your TV's aspect ratio is 4:3 (full screen) and not 16:9 (widescreen). Also, if your channel lineup has the option of watching CNN on a standard definition channel, that would also help because the shape of the image would be what your tv was designed for. If you watch 16:9 programs, you will have to choose letter box mode (bars on top and bottom because the shape of the widescreen image does not match the shape of your tv), pillar box mode (bars on either side) zoomed, or stretched. Stretched will make the shape of everything appear distorted, as it squeezes a widescreen image on the sides to make it narrow enough, so that everyone will have tall and skinny heads like an old Kung Fu movie. The sharpest picture would likely be to watch 16:9 (hi def) content in letterbox mode (bars on top and bottom) so at least you get the proper aspect ratio that the sports were recorded in, and it comes from a sharper source (HD vs SD). I would just deal with the bars, because even with a widescreen tv, there will sometimes be bars because that's how programs are sometimes recorded, for different visual impact or cinematic effect.
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