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# 16:9 aspect ratio

A 16:9 rectangle in which rectangles visualize the ratio. Note that the groupings are not square.
An LCD television set with a 16:9 image ratio.

16:9 (1.77:1) is a widescreen aspect ratio with a width of 16 units and height of 9.

Once seen as exotic,[1] since 2009, it has become the most common aspect ratio for televisions and computer monitors, and is also the international standard image format for UHD, HDTV, Full HD, and SD digital television. It has replaced the "fullscreen" 4:3 aspect ratio.

16:9 (1.77:1) (spoken as "sixteen by nine" or "sixteen to nine") is the international standard format of Ultra HD, non-HD digital widescreen television and analog widescreen television systems PALplus[2] and Wide-aspect Clear-vision.[3] Japan's Hi-Vision originally started with a 5:3 (1.66:1) ratio but converted when the international standards group introduced a wider ratio of 16 to 9. Many digital video cameras have the capability to record in 16:9, and 16:9 is the only widescreen aspect ratio natively supported by the DVD standard. It is also the native aspect ratio of Blu-ray discs, but Blu-ray and DVD producers can also choose to show even wider ratios such as 1.85:1, 2.00:1, and 2.40:1 within the 16:9 DVD and Blu-ray frame by hard matting or adding black bars within the image itself.

## History

Derivation of the 16:9 aspect ratio
The main figure shows 4:3, 1.85:1, and 2.35:1 rectangles with the same area A, and 16:9 rectangles that covers (black) or is common to (grey) them. The calculation considers the extreme rectangles, where m and n are multipliers to maintain their respective aspect ratios and areas.

Dr. Kerns H. Powers, a member of the SMPTE Working Group on High-Definition Electronic Production, first proposed the 16:9 (1.77:1) aspect ratio in 1984,[4] when nobody was creating 16:9 videos. The popular choices in 1980 were 4:3 (based on TV standard's ratio at the time), 15:9 (the European "flat" 1.66:1 ratio), 1.85:1 (the American "flat" ratio) and 2.35:1 (the CinemaScope/Panavision) ratio for anamorphic widescreen.

Powers cut out rectangles with equal areas, shaped to match each of the popular aspect ratios. When overlapped with their center points aligned, he found that all of those aspect ratio rectangles fit within an outer rectangle with an aspect ratio of 1.77:1 and all of them also covered a smaller common inner rectangle with the same aspect ratio 1.77:1.[5] The value found by Powers is exactly the geometric mean of the extreme aspect ratios, 4:3 and 2.35:1, ${\displaystyle \textstyle {\sqrt {\frac {47}{15}}}}$  1.77 which is coincidentally close to 16:9. Applying the same geometric mean technique to 16:9 and 4:3 yields an aspect ratio of around 1.5396:1, sometimes approximated as 14:9 (1.55:1), which is likewise used as a compromise between these ratios.[6]

While 16:9 (1.77:1) was initially selected as a compromise format, the subsequent popularity of HDTV broadcast has solidified 16:9 as perhaps the most common video aspect ratio in use.[7] Most 4:3 (1.33:1) and 2.40:1 video is now recorded using a "shoot and protect" technique[8] that keeps the main action within a 16:9 (1.77:1) inner rectangle to facilitate HD broadcast[citation needed]. Conversely it is quite common to use a technique known as center-cutting, to approach the challenge of presenting material shot (typically 16:9) to both an HD and legacy 4:3 audience simultaneously without having to compromise image size for either audience. Content creators frame critical content or graphics to fit within the 1.33:1 raster space. This has similarities to a filming technique called open matte.

In 1993, the European Union instituted the 16:9 Action Plan,[9] to accelerate the development of the advanced television services in 16:9 aspect ratio, both in PALplus (compatible with regular PAL broadcasts) and also in HD-MAC (an early HD format). The Community fund for the 16:9 Action Plan amounted to €228,000,000.

Over a long period in the late 2000s and early 2010s, the computer industry switched from 4:3 to 16:9 as the most common aspect ratio for monitors and laptops. A 2008 report by DisplaySearch cited a number of reasons for this shift, including the ability for PC and monitor manufacturers to expand their product ranges by offering products with wider screens and higher resolutions, helping consumers to more easily adopt such products and "stimulating the growth of the notebook PC and LCD monitor market".[10] By using the same aspect ratio for both TVs and monitors, manufacturing can be streamlined and research costs reduced by not requiring two separate sets of equipment, and since a 16:9 is narrower than a 16:10 panel of the same length, more panels can be created per sheet of glass.[11][12][13]

In 2011, Bennie Budler, product manager of IT products at Samsung South Africa, confirmed that monitors capable of 1920 × 1200 resolutions are not being manufactured anymore. "It is all about reducing manufacturing costs. The new 16:9 aspect ratio panels are more cost-effective to manufacture locally than the previous 16:10 panels".[14]

In March 2011, the 16:9 resolution 1920 × 1080 became the most common used resolution among Steam's users. The previous most common resolution was 1680 × 1050 (16:10).[15] By July 2022, 16:9 resolution is preferred by 77% of users (1920x1080 with 67%; 2560 x 1440 with 10%).[16]

## Properties

16:9 is the only widescreen aspect ratio natively supported by the DVD format. An anamorphic PAL region DVD video frame has a maximum resolution of 720 × 576p, but a video player software will stretch this to 1024 × 576p.

Producers can also choose to show even wider ratios such as 1.85:1 and 2.4:1 within the 16:9 DVD frame by hard matting or adding black bars within the image itself. Some films which were made in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, such as the U.S.-Italian co-production Man of La Mancha and Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, fit quite comfortably onto a 1.77:1 HDTV screen and have been issued as an enhanced version on DVD without the black bars. Many digital video cameras have the capability to record in 16:9.

## Common resolutions

Common resolutions for 16:9 are listed in the table below:

Width Height Standard
256 144
320 180 QnHD
426 240 NTSC widescreen
640 360 nHD
848 480
854 480 FWVGA
960 540 qHD
1024 576
1280 720 HD
1366 768
1600 900 HD+
1920 1080 Full HD
2560 1440 QHD
3200 1800 QHD+
3840 2160 4K UHD
5120 2880 5K
7680 4320 8K UHD

## Countries

### Europe

In Europe, 16:9 is the standard broadcast format for most digital SD TV channels and all HD broadcasts. Some countries adopted the format for analogue television, first by using the PALplus standard (now obsolete) and then by simply using WSS on normal PAL broadcasts.

Country Channel
Albania All channels.
Andorra All channels.
Armenia All channels.
Austria All channels.
Azerbaijan All channels.
Belarus All channels.
Belgium All channels.
Bosnia and Herzegovina All channels.
Bulgaria All channels.
Cyprus All channels.
Croatia HRT 1**, 2**, 3**, 4**, 5, RTL Televizija*, RTL 2*, Nova TV*, Doma TV*, RTL Kockica* Sportska Televizija**.
Czech Republic All channels.
Denmark All channels.
Estonia All channels.
Finland All channels.
France All channels.
Germany All channels.
Georgia All channels.
Greece All channels.
Hungary All channels.
Iceland All channels.
Ireland All channels.
Italy All channels.
Kazakhstan All channels.
Latvia All channels.
Lithuania All channels.
Luxembourg All channels.
Malta All channels.
Moldova All channels.
Monaco All channels.
Montenegro All channels.
Netherlands All channels.
North Macedonia All channels.
Norway All channels.
Poland All channels.
Portugal All channels.
Romania Almost all channels except România TV and local and regional channels.
Russia All channels.
San Marino All channels.
Serbia All channels.
Slovakia All channels.
Slovenia All channels.
Spain All channels.
Sweden All channels.
Switzerland All channels.
Turkey All channels.
Ukraine All channels.
United Kingdom All channels.

### Oceania

Country Channel
Australia All channels.
Fiji All channels.
New Zealand All channels.

### Asia

Country Channel
Afghanistan All channels.
Cambodia All channels.
China CCTV channels 1–15, CCTV-5+, all CGTN channels. Older contents in 4:3 and news contents are stretched on SD variants of these channels as stretching on SD channels is common.
Hong Kong All channels.
India All HD channels. Most SD channels are still broadcasting in 4:3, either fullscreen or letterboxed.
Indonesia All national channels, except tvOne.
Iran All channels.
Israel All channels.
Japan All channels.

Japan pioneered its analogue HDTV system (MUSE) in 16:9 format, which started in the 1980s. There were also analog NTSC-compatible widescreen broadcasts using the Clear-Vision system. Currently all main channels have digital terrestrial television channels in 16:9. Many satellite broadcast channels are being broadcast in 16:9 as well.

Jordan All channels.
Kyrgyzstan All channels.
Lebanon All channels.
Malaysia All channels.
Mongolia MNB & MN2, TM Television, TV5, TV6, TV8, Channel 25, Эx Орон, SBN, ETV, MNC, Eagle News TV, Edutainment TV, Star TV, SPS, Sportbox and SHUUD TV.
Myanmar All channels.
Nepal Kantipur Television Network
Oman All channels.
Pakistan All HD channels. Most SD channels are still broadcasting in 4:3, either in fullscreen or letterboxed
Philippines 16:9 native:[a] PTV, ANC (both SD and HD),[b] Kapamilya Channel (HD),[b] CNN Philippines, One PH, One News,[b] One Sports+,[b] Hope Channel Philippines, 3ABN, Hope International, INCTV, Net 25, DZRH News Television, TeleRadyo, all TAP DMV channels (TAP TV, TAP Edge, TAP Movies, TAP Action Flix, TAP Sports, Premier Sports, Premier Tennis, and Premier Football), BuKo, NBA TV Philippines, PBA Rush, UAAP Varsity Channel, Golden Nation Network, Metro Channel, SMNI, SMNI News Channel, PIE, All TV

4:3 upscaled/stretched to 16:9:[c] ETC, 2nd Avenue, all of BEAM TV's subchannels, Light Network, UNTV,[d] Ang Dating Daan TV, TV5, One Sports, GMA 7, A2Z, GTV, IBC 13

Qatar All beIN Sports channels, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Mubasher, Qatar TV HD, all Alkass channels.
Saudi Arabia All channels.
Singapore All channels, however 16:9 contents look squashed on older 4:3 sets. Also, all 4:3 contents including news clips are stretched as stretching is common.
South Korea All channels.
Sri Lanka All channels
Syria All channels.
Taiwan TTV HD, CTV HD, CTS HD, FTV HD, PTS HD, TVBS.
Thailand All channels.
United Arab Emirates All channels.
Vietnam All of VTC's channels, VTV channels, HTV channels and K+'s channels (selected programmes), most of local channels.
1. ^ Channels that are squeezed/letterboxed to 4:3 on analog terrestrial transmissions nor no letterbox on widescreen-produced programs
2. ^ a b c d 16:9 versions available on pay-TV services only
3. ^ channels that are originally broadcasting in 4:3 on analog terrestrial, but upscaled or stretched to 16:9 for digital terrestrial television, cable and satellite
4. ^ Some programs are aired in true 16:9 formatting

### Americas

Country Channel
Argentina All channels.
Bolivia Always on 16:9: PAT, ATB.
Often on 16:9: Bolivia TV.
Brazil Channels change between 16:9 and 4:3 pillarbox depending of what's airing.
Chile All channels. Expect Telecanal in 4.3 in ident 4:3 letterboxed in commercials
Colombia All channels.
Costa Rica All channels.
Dominican Republic All channels.
Jamaica All channels.
Mexico Free-to-air television: Las Estrellas, FOROtv, Canal 5, NU9VE, Televisa Regional, Azteca Uno, Azteca 7, a+, adn40, Imagen Televisión, Excélsior TV, Canal Once, Canal 22, Una Voz con Todos, Teveunam, Milenio Televisión, Multimedios Televisión, Teleritmo, and some local HD stations.

Pay television: U, Golden, Golden Edge, TL Novelas, Bandamax, De Película, De Película Clásico, Ritmoson Latino, TDN, TeleHit, Distrito Comedia, Tiin, Az Noticias, Az Clic!, Az Mundo, Az Corazón, Az Cinema, 52MX, TVC, TVC Deportes, Pánico, Cinema Platino, Cine Mexicano.

Panama All channels.
Paraguay Almost all channels on free-to-air television, especially HD feeds (ex.: RPC, NPY, Unicanal, channel 7 HD). SD feeds (usually found on pay television) are usually letterboxed and downscaled to 4:3 (ex.: SNT & Paravisión).
Peru All channels.
United States All HD channels. SD feeds are usually letterboxed and downscaled to 4:3.
Uruguay All channels.
Venezuela All channels.

### Africa

Country Channel
Algeria
Angola All channels.
Botswana All channels.
Burkina Faso All channels.
Cameroon All channels.
Cape Verde All channels.
Comoros All channels.
Congo All channels.
Djibouti All channels.
Egypt All channels.
Equatorial Guinea All channels.
Eritrea All channels.
Ethiopia All channels.
Gabon All channels.
Ghana All channels.
Ivory Coast All channels.
Kenya All channels.
Lesotho All channels.
Liberia All channels.
Libya All channels.
Malawi All channels.
Mali All channels.
Morocco All channels except 2M.
Mozambique All channels.
Mauritius All channels.
Namibia All channels.
Nigeria All channels.
Rwanda All channels.
Senegal All channels.
Somalia All channels.
South Africa All channels.
Sudan All channels.
Togo All channels.
Tunisia All channels.
Uganda All channels.
Zimbabwe All channels.

## References

1. ^ "A Brief Review on HDTV in Europe in the early 90's | LIVE-PRODUCTION.TV". www.live-production.tv.
2. ^
3. ^
4. ^
5. ^ "Understanding Aspect Ratios" (Technical bulletin). CinemaSource. The CinemaSource Press. 2001. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
6. ^ EN 5956091, "Method of showing 16:9 pictures on 4:3 displays", issued 1999-09-21
7. ^ "Why 16:9 aspect ratio was chosen for HD?". Guruprasad's Portal. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
8. ^ Baker, I (1999-08-25). "Safe areas for widescreen transmission" (PDF). EBU. CH: BBC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
9. ^ "Television in the 16:9 screen format" (legislation summary). EU: Europa. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
10. ^ "Product Planners and Marketers Must Act Before 16:9 Panels Replace Mainstream 16:10 Notebook PC and Monitor LCD Panels, New DisplaySearch Topical Report Advises". DisplaySearch. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
11. ^ "Display Ratio Change (again)". 2009-04-14. Archived from the original on 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
12. ^ "16:10 vs 16:9 - the monitor aspect ratio conundrum". 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
13. ^ "Resurgence of 16:10 Aspect Ratio Laptop Computers to Occupy 2% Share of Non-Apple Market in 2020, Says TrendForce". 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
14. ^ "Widescreen monitors: Where did 1920×1200 go? « Hardware « MyBroadband Tech and IT News". Mybroadband.co.za. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
15. ^ "Steam Hardware & Software Survey". Steam. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
16. ^ "Steam Hardware & Software Survey". store.steampowered.com.
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