File:16x9 by Pengo.svg
File:Hd tv samsung LE26R41BD.jpg

16:9 (1.7Template:Overline:1) (16:9 = 42:32) is an aspect ratio with a width of 16 units and height of 9. Since 2009, it has become the most common aspect ratio for sold televisions and computer monitors and is also the international standard format of HDTV, Full HD, non-HD digital television and analog widescreen television (EDTV) PALplus.

Generally 16:9 is pronounced "Sixteen-Nine", "Sixteen-by-Nine," or "Sixteen-to-Nine."

History Edit

File:Dr. Kerns Powers, SMPTE derivation of 16-9 aspect ratio.svg

When the 16:9 (1.7Template:Overline:1) aspect ratio was proposed by Kerns H. Powers, a member of the SMPTE Working Group On High-Definition Electronic Production, nobody was creating 16:9 videos. The popular choices in 1980 were: 1.3Template:Overline:1 (based on television standard's ratio at the time), 1.6Template:Overline: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 1.7Template:Overline:1 and all of them also covered a smaller common inner rectangle with the same aspect ratio 1.7Template:Overline:1.[1] The value found by Powers is exactly the geometric mean of the extreme aspect ratios, 4:3 (1.3Template:Overline:1) and 2.35:1, which is coincidentally close to 16:9 (1.7Template:Overline: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.[2]

While 16:9 (1.7Template:Overline: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 (1.3Template:Overline:1) and 2.39:1 video is now recorded using a "shoot and protect" technique[3] that keeps the main action within a 16:9 (1.7Template:Overline: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,[4] 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 to use 16:9 as standard aspect ratio for monitors and laptops. According to a report by displaysearch the reasons for this were/are:[5][6]

  • Innovative product concepts drives a new product cycle and stimulating the growth of the notebook PC and LCD monitor market.
  • 16:9 provides better economic cut (panelization) in existing TFT LCD fabs.
  • 16:9 products provide higher resolution and wider aspect ratio.[7]
  • The widespread adoption of High Definition in the consumer entertainment sector will help end users readily adopt the new products with the wider aspect ratio.
  • The 16:9 panels provide an opportunity for PC brands to further diversify their products.[5][6]

In 2011 Bennie Budler, product manager of IT products at Samsung South Africa, confirmed that monitors capable of 1920x1200 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”.[8] 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 1920x1080 became the most common used resolution among Steam's users. The earlier most common resolution was 1680x1050 (16:10).[9]

Properties Edit

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 6:4 (NTSC), which is set to expand to either 16:9 or 4:3, which the television or video player handles. For instance, a PAL DVD with a full frame image may contain a video resolution of 720x576, but a video player will stretch this to 1024x576 with a 16:9 flag in order to maintain the correct aspect ratio.

DVD producers can also choose to show even wider ratios such as 1.85:1 and 2.39:1[10] 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 1.7Template:Overline:1 HDTV screen and have been issued anamorphically enhanced 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 resolutionsEdit

Common resolutions for 16:9 are 640x360, 854x480, 960x540, 1024×576, 1280×720, 1366×768, 1600×900, 1920×1080, 2048x1152, 2560×1440, 3840×2160 and 4096x2304.

1080p (Full HD) is 1920×1080, while 720p (HD) is 1280×720.

In EuropeEdit

In Europe, 16:9 is being adopted as the standard broadcast format for digital and HDTV. Some countries have even adopted the format for analog television by means of the PALplus standard.

Country Channel
Template:Country data Albania TV Klan, Klan HD, Digi Gold, DigitALB HD (1,2,3,4,5,6), SuperSport (1,2,3,4,5)*, Top Channel**, Digi Plus**, Film Autor**, Film Hits**, Film Thriller**, Film Drame**, Film Aksion**, Film Komedi**
* Do not set the aspect ratio correctly when broadcasting in 16:9 and the image appears squashed on 4:3 TV sets.
** These channels do broadcast in 16:9 and 4:3 but the aspect ratio is always kept 4:3 so 16:9 programs appear squashed.
Flag of Austria.png Austria ORF1, ORF2, ORF Sport Plus, ORF1 HD, ATV, Puls 4, Servus TV, and others (all main channels)
Flag of Belarus.png Belarus Belsat
Flag of Belgium (civil).png Belgium All channels
Template:Country data Bosnia and Herzegovina BHT 1, Kanal 1, TV1, Hayat music, BDC TV,
Flag of Bulgaria.png Bulgaria BNT 1*, The Voice, TV+, FILM+/SPORT+, TV7*, RING.BG, bTV Action*
* These stations do not set the aspect ratio correctly when broadcasting in 16:9 and the image appears stretched on 4:3 TV sets. Such stations use mostly 4:3 programming.
Template:Country data Cyprus ANT1 Cyprus
Sigma TV
Flag of Croatia.png Croatia RTL Televizija*, RTL 2*, Doma TV**, Sportska televizija**, Kapital Network**
Older programmes filmed in 4:3 are:
* cropped.
** transmitted in their original format.
Flag of the Czech Republic.png Czech Republic TV Nova, Česká televize, TV Nova HD, TV Prima, TV Barrandov
Flag of Denmark.png Denmark Almost all main channels as 16:9 is the national standard for television.
Template:Country data Estonia All main digital channels (ETV, Kanal 2 and TV3) and their sister channels are 16:9.
Flag of Finland.png Finland Almost all main channels as 16:9 is the national standard for television, including but not limited to Yle TV1, Yle TV2, MTV3, Nelonen, TV5, Liv, Jim, Sub, Yle Fem, Yle Teema, The Voice, Fox, AVA
Flag of France.png France All nationwide channels on the French DVB-T (TNT)
And almost all pay channel via TNT, ADSL, DVB-C and DVB-S;
Canal+ Décalé, Canal+ Family, Poker Channel, CinePlay, Ciné Cinéma Premier, OL TV, Motors TV, Disney Cinemagic, Disney Cinemagic + 1, NRJ Hits, Ciné Cinéma Premier HD and SD, National Geographic HD and SD, Ushuaia TV HD and SD, Disney Cinemagic HD and SD, MTV HD, NRJ 12 HD and SD, iConcert HD, HD1, Melody Zen HD, Sci Fi Channel HD and SD, 13ème Rue HD and SD, Orange cinemax HD...
Flag of Germany.png Germany ARD (Das Erste, EinsExtra, EinsFestival, EinsPlus; BR and BR-alpha, HR, WDR, SWR, RBB, RB), ZDF, 3sat, Arte, DW-TV, Phoenix; kabel eins, ProSieben, Sat.1; RTL, RTL II, Super RTL, VOX; and others (all main channels)
Flag of Greece.png Greece Exclusively in 16:9 aspect ratio: Skai TV, Star Channel, Prisma+, Cine+, Sport+, MTV Greece, NovaCinema1, NovaCinema2, NovaCinema3, NovaCinema4, NovaCinema HD, NovaSports1, NovaSports2, NovaSports3, NovaSports4, NovaSports Highlights, NovaSports6, NovaSports7, NovaSports HD, Nickelodeon (Greece), KONTRA Channel, ERT HD
Occasional in 16:9 aspect ratio: ET1, NET, ET3, Mega Channel, Alpha TV, ANT1
Flag of Hungary.png Hungary All main channels (RTL Klub,[11] TV2,[12] Magyar Televízió (m1, m2), Duna TV (both standard and HD),[13] Duna 2) FEM3, PRO4, Story4*, Sport Klub , Sport 1, Sport 2, Sport M, Life Network, Ozone Network, Viasat3*, TV6*, ATV, Spektrum, DigiSport, 1 Music Channel, MusicMix, Discovery Channel
* Do not set the aspect ratio correctly when broadcasting in 16:9 and the image appears stretched on 4:3 TV sets. Such stations use mostly 4:3 programming.
Template:Country data Iceland All three national stations broadcast in 16:9 with occasional 4:3 programs. Some smaller local stations still use 4:3.
Flag of Ireland.png Ireland RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TV3, TG4, and Setanta Ireland
Flag of Italy.png Italy All the 10 SKY Cinema channels, all the 6 SKY Sport channels, all the 15 SKY Calcio channels, all the 30 SKY Prima Fila channels, Cult, Sky TG24, Sky Meteo24, Sky Uno, MGM (localized version), Discovery Channel Italy, Discovery Science Italy, Discovery Travel & Living Italy, National Geographic Channel Italy, National Geographic Adventure(Italy), National Geographic Wild (Italy), History Channel Italy, AXN Italy, AXN Sci Fi, Comedy Central Italy, E! (localized version), all the 6 dahlia TV channels, all the 6 Premium Calcio, all the 3 Premium Cinema channels, Studio Universal, Rai Sport 1/2, QVC Italy.

Most of the actual broadcast of RAI public service and of few major local television stations and almost all of the broadcast of Mediaset and La7 networks (except some rerun, a handful of minor programs and the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful on Canale 5) is shown in the 16:9 ratio. Many television networks do not set correctly the aspect ratio when broadcasting.

Template:Country data Latvia TV3 Latvia, TV6, LTV7
Template:Country data Lithuania Lietuvos rytas TV, LNK, TV3 Lithuania, TV6, TV8, TV1, Info TV.
22x20px Luxembourg RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg,
Template:Country data Macedonia Alfa tv, MTV1 HD
Template:Country data Malta
Template:Country data Montenegro RTV Panorama
Flag of the Netherlands.png Netherlands All nationwide channels (Netherlands Public Broadcasting, RTL, SBS), BravaHDTV. Only older programmes filmed in 4:3 are usually transmitted in their original format, as cropping a 4:3 picture for 16:9 TVs has proved unpopular.
Flag of Norway.png Norway 16:9 is the national standard for television — almost all channels conform to this format.
Flag of Poland.png Poland TVP1, TVP2, TVP Info (except some regional opt-outs), TVP Polonia, TVP HD, TVP Sport, TVP Kultura, TVP Historia, TVP Seriale, Polsat, Polsat 2, Polsat News, Polsat Sport, Polsat Sport Extra, Polsat Café, Polsat Film, Polsat Play, Canal+, Canal+ Film, Canal+ Sport, Ale Kino!, TVS, TVN, TVN +1, TVN Siedem, Religia TV, TVN 24, TVN Meteo, TVN CNBC, TVN Style, TVN Turbo, TVN Warszawa, nSport, Mango 24, nFilm HD, nFilm HD 2,, Eska TV, TV4, TV6, Orange Sport Info, Domo,, MiniMini, TV Biznes, AXN, National Geographic Channel, NatGeo Wild HD, Fox, FOX Life HD, MGM HD, Wojna i pokój, BBC Knowledge HD, Animal Planet HD, TLC, Radio na wizji
Flag of Portugal.png Portugal RTP1 (some TV shows), RTP2 (almost all shows), TVCine, Canal Q, Eurosport, AXN, AXN Black, AXN White, National Geographic Channel, SportTV, Syfy Universal, Económico TV, História, Odisseia, Fuel TV, FOX,
Flag of Romania.png Romania Occasional 16:9 widescreen programming shown on The Romanian Public Broadcaster's channels (TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR Cultural),, B1 TV and DigiSport. SD version aired in 16:9-in-4:3 letterbox on PRO Cinema and MTV Romania. Full 16:9 widescreen programming aired on all HD channels: TVR HD, PRO TV HD and HD.
Flag of Russia.png Russian Federation Channel 1, Sport 1 HD, Dozhd Optimistic Channel, Expert TV HD, Fox Life HD, NTV+, Eurosport, HDMedia, RT
Flag of Serbia.png Serbia RTS HD, RTS Digital, Arena Sport 1, 2, 3 & 4 HD, Prva, Sport Klub, Sport Klub+, SK Prime
Flag of Slovakia.png Slovakia Markíza, Slovenská televízia (STV1, STV2, STV3 HD), JOJ, TV Doma, JOJ Plus
Flag of Slovenia.png Slovenia All main channels (RTV Slovenija (TVS 1, TVS 2, TVS 3, TV KP), Info TV, POP TV, POP BRIO, Kanal A, Sport TV 1, Sport TV 2, Sportklub+, Golfklub, HBO Slovenija, TV3 Slovenia, RTS Maribor) and all HD channels (Televizija Slovenija HD, Info TV HD, RTS Maribor HD)
Flag of Spain.png Spain Always on 16:9: Antena 3, Cuatro, laSexta, Telecinco, Veo7, MTV Spain, Neox, Nova, Nitro, Teledeporte, Marca TV, Intereconomia, AXN (PPV), FOX Spain (PPV), Discovery Channel Spain (PPV), Calle 13 (PPV), Canal+ Spain (PPV), Eurosport (PPV), Gol Televisión (PPV), ETB (Euskadi), Canal Sur (Andalusia), TV3 (Catalonia), Telemadrid (Madrid), and Aragon TV (Aragón). All HD channels like TVE HD, Antena 3 HD, TV3 HD, Telemadrid HD, FOX HD (PPV), MTVnHD (PPV) or Disney Cinemagic Spain (PPV).

Older programmes filmed in 4:3 are transmitted in their original format or zooming to 14:9 Pillarbox, stretched programs are not common.

Advertisements filmed in 4:3 often are zoomed to 16:9, only some of them are transmitted with 4:3 Pillarbox. Never stretching.

Often on 16:9: La 1, La 2, Disney Channel Spain, La 10, La Siete, FDF, laSexta 2, laSexta 3 and practically all of the regional tv channels like Cyl TV, CMT or TVG.

Sometimes on 16:9: Canal 24 Horas, Clan, Intereconomia (stretches most of its programming to 16:9) and practically all of the local tv channels.

Always on 4:3: Practically all PPV Channels like The History Channel, Cartoon Network, Canal de las Estrellas or CNN+. Shop channels.

Flag of Sweden.png Sweden Almost all main channels as 16:9 is the national standard for television.
Flag of Switzerland.png Switzerland All SRG SSR channels
Flag of Turkey.png Turkey TRT 1, TRT Türk, CNBC-e, e2, a Haber, World Travel Channel, Semerkand TV, Altaş TV, HTV, TarımTürk TV, TürkMax, Lig TV, Moviemax, Sinema TV
Flag of Ukraine.png Ukraine English Club TV
Flag of the United Kingdom.png United Kingdom In 1997, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 began producing 16:9 idents and switched some television shows to 16:9.

In 1998, with the introduction of digital television, digital versions of BBC One, BBC Two, ITV 1 and Channel 4 were created. An On Digital set top box or a subscription to Sky Digital was required to view the digital versions.
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 format 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 television services began to operate under the name of Freeview.
In 2003, Sky branded 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, viewers required an additional set-top-box which was HD capable, one that could be provided from either Sky or Virgin Media.
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 1 HD was launched on Sky and was later added to Virgin Media and Freeview HD in 2010.
In 2009, Freeview HD launched allowing viewers to watch BBC HD and ITV 1 HD without a subscription to either Sky or Virgin Media, a Freeview HD set-top box was required.
In 2010, Channel 5 HD and BBC One HD were launched on Sky and Virgin Media. BBC One HD was later added to Freeview HD in 2011.

As of 2012;
All Freeview channels broadcast in 16:9
Almost all cable/satellite channels broadcast in 16:9 with the rest expected to switch by the end of 2012.

In OceaniaEdit

Country Channel
Flag of Australia.png Australia All major channels since the introduction of DVB-T in 2001
Flag of New Zealand.png New Zealand Almost all channels

In AsiaEdit

Japan's Hi-Vision originally started with a 5:3 ratio but converted when the international standards group introduced a wider ratio of 5Template:1/3 to 3 (=16:9).

Country Channel
Flag of Hong Kong.png Hong Kong All major channels since the digital television broadcasting in 2007.
Flag of India.png India HD channels were added by most DTH operators.
Template:Country data Indonesia Kompas TV Only.
Flag of Israel.png Israel All main channels, including but not limited to Hot, Yes.
Flag of Japan.png Japan Japan pioneered in its analogue HDTV system (MUSE) in 16:9 format, started in 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.
Flag of South Korea.png South Korea All major channels currently feature 16:9 aspect.
Flag of Qatar.png Qatar All Al Jazeera Sports channels, ESPN channels and NBA TV.
Flag of Thailand.png Thailand Thai PBS, Spring News TV and Voice TV
Template:Country data United Arab Emirates Alarabiya (Since 06.14.2011).
Flag of Vietnam.png Vietnam All of VTC HD's channel, K+'s channel (selected programme)

In AmericaEdit

Country Channel
Flag of Brazil.png Brazil Telecine Premium, Telecine Action, Telecine Fun, Telecine Touch, Telecine Pipoca, HBO, Max HD, Megapix, TBS, FOX Sports, FOX News, BBC World News, Deutsche Welle, NHK, SporTV, Sky Sports+

See alsoEdit


Cited references
  1. 1.0 1.1 TECHNICAL BULLETIN: Understanding Aspect Ratios. The CinemaSource Press. 2001. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  2. Template:Cite patent/core
  3. I. Baker, BBC (1999-08-25). Safe areas for widescreen transmission. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  4. "Television in the 16:9 screen format". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "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. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Widescreen LCDs going widescreen by 2010". Engadget. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  7. Displaysearch: "16:9 products provide higher resolution and wider aspect ratio."
  8. "Widescreen monitors: Where did 1920×1200 go? « Hardware « MyBroadband Tech and IT News". 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  9. "Steam Hardware & Software Survey". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  10. 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).
  11. "RTL KLub 16:9-es képarányban | R-Time". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  12. "Tájékoztató a 16:9 képarányú sugárzásról | TV2 Sales". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  13. Szerző: Lukács Andrea (2010-10-05). "A Duna TV műholdváltása - Duna Televízió". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
General references
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