16:9 aspect ratio

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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) (16:9 = 42:32) is an aspect ratio with a width of 16 units and height of 9. Since 2010 it has become the most common aspect ratio for televisions and computer monitors, and is also the international standard format of HDTV, Full HD, non-HD digital television and analog widescreen television. This has replaced the old 4:3 aspect ratio.


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 [1] when nobody was creating 16:9 videos. The popular choices in 1980 were: 1.33:1 (based on television standard's ratio at the time), 1.66:1 (the European "flat" ratio), 1.85:1 (the American "flat" ratio), 2.20:1 (the ratio of 70 mm films and Panavision) and 2.35:1 (the CinemaScope ratio for anamorphic widescreen films).

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.[2] The value found by Powers is exactly the geometric mean of the extreme aspect ratios, 4:3 (1.33:1) and 2.35:1 (or 64:27, see also 21:9 aspect ratio for more information), 47/15 ≈ 1.770 which is coincidentally close to 16:9 (1.77:1). Applying the same geometric mean technique to 16:9 and 4:3 yields the 14:9 aspect ratio, which is likewise used as a compromise between these ratios.[3]

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 important video aspect ratio in use.[citation needed] Most 4:3 (1.33:1) and 2.39:1 video is now recorded using a "shoot and protect" technique[4] 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 a 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 raster space.[citation needed] This has similarities to a filming technique called Open matte.

After the original 16:9 Action Plan of the early 1990s, the European Union has instituted the 16:9 Action Plan,[5] just to accelerate the development of the advanced television services in 16:9 aspect ratio, both in PAL and also in HDTV. The Community fund for the 16:9 Action Plan amounted to 228 million.

In 2008 the computer industry started switching to 16:9 from 4:3 and 16:10 as the standard 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".[6]

In 2011 Bennie Budler, product manager of IT products at Samsung South Africa, confirmed that monitors capable of 1920×1200 resolutions aren't 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".[7] Since computer displays are advertised by their diagonal measure, for monitors with the same display area, a wide screen monitor will have a larger diagonal measure, thus sounding more impressive. Within limits, the amount of information that can be displayed, and the cost of the monitor depend more on area than on diagonal measure.

In March 2011 the 16:9 resolution 1920×1080 became the most common used resolution among Steam's users. The earlier most common resolution was 1680×1050 (16:10).[8]


16:9 is the only widescreen aspect ratio natively supported by the DVD format. Anamorphic DVD transfers store the information as 5:4 (PAL) or 3:2 (NTSC) square pixels, which is set to expand to either 16:9 or 4:3, which the television or video player handles. For example, a PAL DVD with a full frame image may contain a video resolution of 720×576 (5:4 ratio), but a video player software will stretch this to 1024×576 square pixels with a 16:9 flag in order to recreate the correct aspect ratio.

DVD producers can also choose to show even wider ratios such as 1.85:1 and 2.39:1[a] 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.

Super 16 mm film is frequently used for television production due to its lower cost, lack of need for soundtrack space on the film itself, and aspect ratio similar to 16:9.[citation needed]

Common resolutions

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

Width Height Standard
256 144 YouTube 144p
426 240
640 360 nHD
768 432
800 450
848 480
896 504
960 540 qHD
1024 576
1152 648
1280 720 HD
1366 768 WXGA
1600 900 HD+
1920 1080 Full HD
2000 1125
2048 1152
2304 1296
2560 1440 QHD
2880 1620
3200 1800 QHD+
3520 1980
3840 2160 4K UHD
4096 2304 Full 4K UHD
4480 2520
5120 2880 5K UHD
5760 3240
6400 3600
7040 3960
7680 4320 8K UHD

In Europe

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

Country Channel
 Albania All channels.
 Andorra Andorra Televisió.
 Armenia All channels.
 Austria All channels.
 Azerbaijan All channels (except Lider TV).
 Belarus All channels (except NTV-Belarus, Belarus-4 Brest, Belarus-4 Hronda).
 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**.
Older programmes filmed in 4:3 are:
**transmitted in their original format.
 Czech Republic All channels.
 Denmark All channels.
 Estonia All channels.
 Finland All channels.
 France All channels on digital terrestrial television
Most subscription-based networks
 Germany All channels.
 Georgia All channels (except Rustavi 2, Comedy Arkhi, Caucasia, Ertsulovneba, Mall TV, Marneuli, Imervizia, Gurjaani).
 Greece All channels.
 Hungary All channels (except Cartoon Network).
 Iceland All three national stations broadcast in 16:9 with occasional 4:3 programmes. Local stations still use 4:3.
 Ireland All channels.
 Italy All channels (expect TGS, Tele One and Video 66).
 Kazakhstan All channels (except 7 channel, STV).
 Latvia All channels.
 Lithuania Always on 16:9: LRT channels (LRT televizija, LRT Kultūra, LRT Lituanica), Sport1 (Lithuania), Lietuvos rytas TV, Balticum TV, Balticum Auksinis.
Often on 16:9: LNK channels (LNK, BTV, TV1, Info TV), TV3 channels (TV3 Lithuania, TV6, TV8, TVPlay Sports, TV1000 Premium).
Always on 4:3: Liuks!.
 Luxembourg RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg, Luxe.tv.
 Macedonia All channels.
 Malta All nationwide channels.
 Moldova TRM (Moldova 1, Moldova 2), GMG Group (Prime, Canal 2, Canal 3, Publika TV), ProTV Chishinau, N4, Jurnal TV, TV8, NTV-Moldova.
 Monaco Télé Monte Carlo & Monaco Info.
 Montenegro All channels.
 Netherlands All channels.
 Norway 16:9 is the national standard for television – almost all channels conform to this format.
 Poland All channels.
 Portugal All channels.
 Romania Always on 16:9: Antena channels (Antena 1, Antena Stars, Antena 3, Happy, ZU TV, Antena Internațional), RCS & RDS channels (including Digi 24, U TV, Music Channel), Kiss TV, B1 TV, Telekom Sport, Look TV, Look Plus,Turner channels:(Cartoon Network,Boomerang
Often on 16:9: TVR channels (TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR 3, TVRi), PRO channels (Pro TV, Pro 2, Pro X, Pro Cinema, Pro Gold, Pro TV Internaţional), Kanal D
Always on 4:3: Realitatea TV, România TV
Always on 4:3 with 16:9 stretched: CNM channels (Naţional TV, Național 24 Plus, Favorit TV), TVR regional channels (TVR Cluj, TVR Craiova, TVR Iași, TVR Tîrgu-Mureș, TVR Timișoara), Prima TV.
 Russia All channels (except Spas, some channels from VGTRK (Russian Bestseller, Russian Detective, Cinema, Sarafan, My Planete, Live Planet, History, Mama, Mult, Ani), some channels from CTC Media (CTC Domashny, Che, CTC Love), some channels from Gazprom-Media (TNT4 and 2x2), some channels from UTH Russia (U and Disney Channel)).
 San Marino San Marino RTV.
 Serbia All channels.
 Slovakia All nationwide channels (RTVS, CME Slovakia, J&T, TA3 and others).
 Slovenia All channels.
 Spain All channels.
 Sweden All channels.
  Switzerland All channels.
 Turkey All channels.
 Ukraine All nationwide channels (except UA:PBC regional television network (UA:Ternopil, UA:Chernihiv, UA:Sumy, UA:Odesa, UA:Kharkiv, Centralnyi Kanal, Podillya-Centr, Mykolaiv, Skifiya, Ltava), Eskulap TV, OTV, KRT, First Kiev, All News, Vintage TV, Svarozhichi, Rada TV, ChePe.Info, Glas, EWTN, Novyi Hristianskiy, Boutique TV).
 United Kingdom In 1998, with the introduction of digital terrestrial television, digital versions of BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and Channel 4 were launched in 16:9. An On Digital set top box or a subscription to Sky Digital was required to view them in that aspect ratio.

On 1 July 2000, "C-Day", most of the UK broadcast industry began requiring commercials to be delivered in 16:9 full-height format (with a 14:9 safe area for those channels still broadcasting in 4:3). ITV and C4 upgraded their continuity suites to be 16:9-capable at the same time, allowing idents to be broadcast in widescreen on digital.
In 2001, the UK's fourth broadcaster Channel 5 switched to 16:9.
In 2002, On Digital became defunct and free-to-air digital terrestrial television services instead began to operate under the name of Freeview.
In 2003, Sky channels were re-branded, which included the switch to 16:9.
In 2006, BBC HD began broadcasting in 1080i which became the standard for all HD channels. Similar to the switch to Digital in 1998, DTT viewers required an additional set-top box which was HD-capable.
In 2007, Channel 4 HD was launched on Sky. It was later added to Virgin Media in 2009 and then to Freeview HD in 2011.
In 2008, ITV HD was launched on Freesat and was later added to Virgin Media, Sky and Freeview HD in 2010.
In 2009, Freeview HD was launched, allowing DTT viewers to watch BBC HD and ITV HD with no charge, a Freeview HD set-top box or television is required.
In 2010, Channel 5 HD was launched on Sky and Virgin Media.
In 2011, BBC One HD was launched on Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview HD.
As of 2012, all Freeview channels and almost all Virgin Media/Sky channels broadcast in 16:9. The rest switched by the end of 2012. Older 4:3 programmes are either shown in their original format or zoomed to 14:9 or 16:9.

In Oceania

Country Channel
 Australia All major free to air channels and almost all pay TV channels (including SD). Older 4:3 programmes are either shown in their original format or zoomed to 14:9 or 16:9.
 Fiji All channels.
 New Zealand All channels.

In Asia

Japan's Hi-Vision originally started with a 5:3 ratio but converted when the international standards group introduced a wider ratio of 5​13 to 3 (=16:9).

Country Channel
 Afghanistan All channels.
 Bangladesh SA TV.
 Cambodia All channels.
 China CCTV channels 1-15, CCTV-5+, CCTV News. 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 major channels since digital television broadcasting started in 2007.
 India All channels.
 Indonesia 16:9 native*: Kompas TV, BeritaSatu TV**, CNN Indonesia**, MetroTV, Trans7, Trans TV, CNBC Indonesia**, NET.

16:9 with inner 4:3***: RCTI, SCTV, Indosiar

4:3, upscaled/stretched to 16:9****: TVRI, MNCTV, antv, GTV, tvOne, iNews, rtv

*Channels that are primarily broadcast in 16:9 sometimes are filled by 4:3 content which are either stretched or pillarboxed.

**Only on digital cable/satellite

***Channels in this category broadcast in 16:9 HDTV along with inner 4:3 SDTV. Due to their visibility, some contents are either pillarboxed and windowboxed (especially in commercial ads and live sport games). Contents wider than 16:9 are usually letterboxed. They're usually stretched in SDTV mode. HD versions are limited to pay-TV services.

****These channels are still using 4:3 configuration. Stretched when broadcasting in 16:9 format. Some channels have limited original 16:9 video contents.

Note: Nationwide TV channels listed above are classified according to their original configuration, sorted chronologically according to TV configuration update. Configuration for exclusively digital and local channels are may vary. Local version of nationwide channels may be different to their national version.

 Iran All channels.
 Israel All main channels, including but not limited to Hot&Yes.
 Japan Japan pioneered in its analogue HDTV system (MUSE) in 16:9 format, started in the 1980s. Currently all main channels have digital terrestrial television channels in 16:9 while being simulcast in analogue 4:3 format. Many satellite broadcast channels are being broadcast in 16:9 as well.
 Jordan All channels.
 Kyrgyzstan All channels.
 Lebanon LBCI.4:3 Shows are stretched

National Broadcasting Network (Lebanon). Its in HD and has no 4:3 content Future Television.

 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

AP1 TV News 24 (Nepal) TV Filmy

 Oman All channels.
 Pakistan All channels.
 Philippines 16:9 native*: PTV, ABS-CBN HD***, S&A ***, ANC (both SD and HD)***, CNN Philippines, One News***, Hope Channel Philippines, 3ABN, Hope International, INCTV, Net 25

4:3 upscaled/stretched to 16:9**: ETC, 2nd Avenue, all BEAM's subchannels, Light Network, UNTV, Ang Dating Daan TV, SMNI, all ABS-CBN terrestrial channels (including TVPlus channels), TV5, AksyonTV

*channels that are squeezed/letterboxed to 4:3 on analog terrestrial transmissions nor no letterbox on widescreen-produced programs.

**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.

***16:9 versions available on pay-TV services only.

 Qatar All Al Jazeera Sports channels, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera English, Qatar TV HD, all Alkass channels.
 Saudi Arabia All channels.
 Singapore All MediaCorp 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 major channels currently feature 16:9 aspect ratio.
 Sri Lanka Colombo TV.
 Syria All channels.
 Thailand All channels.
 United Arab Emirates All channels.
 Vietnam All of VTC HD's channels, VTV channels, HTV channels and K+'s channels (selected programmes), some local channels.

In the Americas

Country Channel
 Argentina All channels.
 Barbados All channels.
 Bolivia Always on 16:9: PAT, ATB.
Often on 16:9: Bolivia TV.
 Brazil Rede Bandeirantes, Rede Globo, Rede Record, Rede Gazeta, Rede TV!, SBT, FOX Sports, ESPN, ESPN Brasil, ESPN+, Telecine Premium, Telecine Action, Telecine Touch, Telecine Pipoca, Telecine Fun, Telecine Cult, Multishow, GNT, HBO, HBO HD, MAX HD, Gloob, Arte1, Megapix Sky Esportes, Canal Off, BIS, Canal Sony, History Channel, TBS, AXN, Globosat, Warner Channel, Discovery Channel etc.
 Canada Almost all channels.
 Chile Canal 13HD, Chilevisión HD, TVN HD, MEGA HD.
 Colombia All channels, except Citytv
 Costa Rica All channels.
 Dominican Republic All channels.
 Ecuador All channels.
 Mexico Free-to-air television: Las Estrellas, FOROtv, Canal 5, Gala TV, 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 stations broadcast HD signal.

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.

 Paraguay All channels.
 Peru All channels.
 United States Almost all channels (especially HD Feeds). SD feeds (usually found on cable/satellite) are usually letterboxed and downscaled to 4:3.
 Uruguay All channels.

In Africa

Country Channel
 Angola All channels.
 Botswana All channels.
 Cameroon All channels.
 Cape Verde All channels.
 Congo All channels.
 Djibouti All channels.
 Egypt ERTU Channel 1, ON E, ON Drama, ON Sport, ON Sport 2, DMC, DMC Drama, CBC, CBC Drama, CBC Sofra, Extra News, Al Nahar One, Al Nahar Drama, Al Nahar Sport, TeN, Al Hayah, Al Hayah 2, Al Hayah Musalsalat.
 Ghana All channels.
 Ivory Coast All channels.
 Kenya All channels.
 Liberia All channels.
 Libya Libya 24.
 Madagascar All channels.
 Morocco Al Aoula.
 Mozambique All channels.
 Nigeria All channels.
 Senegal All channels.
 South Africa 16:9 is the standard broadcast format for most digital channels and all HDTV broadcasts all main channels.
 Sudan All channels.
 Tanzania All channels.
 Tunisia All channels.
 Uganda All channels.

See also


  1. ^ The 2.39:1 ratio is commonly labeled 2.40:1, e.g., in the American Society of Cinematographers' American Cinematographer Manual, and is mistakenly referred to as 2.35:1 (only cinema films before the 1970 SMPTE revision used 2.35:1).



  1. ^ Searching for the Perfect Aspect Ratio (PDF)
  2. ^ "Understanding Aspect Ratios" (Technical bulletin). The CinemaSource Press. 2001. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  3. ^ US 5956091, "Method of showing 16:9 pictures on 4:3 displays", issued 1999-09-21 
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Television in the 16:9 screen format" (legislation summary). EU: Europa. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Widescreen monitors: Where did 1920×1200 go? « Hardware « MyBroadband Tech and IT News". Mybroadband.co.za. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  8. ^ "Steam Hardware & Software Survey". Steam. Retrieved 2011-09-08.


  • "NEC Monitor Technology Guide". NEC. Archived from the original on 2006-05-21. Retrieved 2006-07-24.
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