16:9 (1.77:1) (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 televisions and computer monitors, and is also the international standard format of HDTV, Full HD, non-HD digital television and analog widescreen television. Also used inversely (9:16) as the ratio for mobile phone screens.
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 at a time 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 2.39:1 (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. The value found by Powers is exactly the geometric mean of the extreme aspect ratios, 4:3 (1.33:1) and 2.35:1, 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.
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. Most 4:3 (1.33:1) and 2.39:1 video is now recorded using a "shoot and protect" technique that keeps the main action within a 16:9 (1.77:1) inner rectangle to facilitate HD broadcast. 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. 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, 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 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".
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”. 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.
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[lower-alpha 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 anamorphically enhanced on DVD without the black bars. Many digital video cameras have the capability to record in 16:9.
Common resolutions for 16:9 are listed in the table below:
In Europe, 16:9 is the standard broadcast format for most digital 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.
|Albania||Top Channel, TV Klan, Klan HD, Digi Gold, DigitALB HD (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), SuperSport (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)*, Digi Plus**, Film Author**, 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.
|Austria||All main channels: ORF eins, ORF 2, ORF Sport +, ORF1 HD, ATV, Puls 4, Servus TV.|
|Azerbaijan||AzTV, Idman Azerbaijan TV (HD), Medeniyyet TV, İctimai Television, Azad Azerbaijan TV, Alternativ TV, TurkelTV, CBC (Caspian Broadcasting Company), Region TV, CBC Sport (HD).|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Kanal 1, Face TV, TV1, Hayat music, BDC TV, Hayat TV, Elta HD, Elta 2, BN TV.|
|Cyprus||Always in 16:9 even when showing 4:3 content: ANT1 Cyprus, CyBC One, Two, HD and the international channels CyBC has the duty to rebroadcast: DT, Euronews, Sigma TV, Plus TV, Primetel.
Always in 4:3, even when showing 16:9 content: MEGA Cyprus, Capital TV, EXTRA TV, MusicTV.
|Croatia||HRT 1**, 2**, 3**, 4**, RTL Televizija*, RTL 2*, Nova TV* , Doma TV*, RTL Kockica* Sportska televizija**.
Older programmes filmed in 4:3 are:
|Czech Republic||TV Nova, Česká televize, TV Nova HD, TV Prima, TV Barrandov, Óčko.|
|Denmark||Almost all main channels.|
|Estonia||All main channels (ETV, Kanal 2 and TV3) and their sister channels are 16:9.|
|Finland||Almost all main channels as 16:9 with resolution 1920×1080 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, Kutonen, Fox, AVA.|
|France||All DVB-T (TNT)
And almost all pay channels 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 etc.
|Germany||Almost all channels.|
|Georgia||Maestro TV, Tabula TV, GDS TV, Voice of Abkhazia.|
|Greece||All major stations N1, N plus N HD, ANT1, Mega Channel, Alpha TV, Star Channel, EPSILON TV, Makedonia TV use the 16:9 aspect ratio, and only switch to 4:3 when an older programme is broadcast. Skai TV was the first in Greece to broadcast in 16:9 format in 2006, and 100% of its programming is in 16:9.
Other stations using exclusively 16:9 aspect ratio: MTV Greece, NovaCinema1, NovaCinema2, NovaCinema3, NovaCinema4, NovaCinema HD, NovaSports1, NovaSports2, NovaSports3, NovaSports4, NovaSports Highlights, NovaSports6, NovaSports7, NovaSports HD, Nickelodeon (Greece), Kontra Channel, THRAKI NET, IONIAN CHANNEL, BEST TV, PatraTV, Blue Sky TV, Action 24, ΜΕΣΟΓΕΙΟΣ TV, ΚΡΗΤΗ TV, NEA TV ΚΡΗΤΗΣ, ΘΡΑΚΗ NET, TV 100, ΗΠΕΙΡΟΣ TV1, ΑΛΦΑ ΤΗΛΕΟΡΑΣΗ ΔΡΑΜΑΣ TELE TIME. 4:3 is still the most popular aspect ratio among local television stations.
|Hungary||All main channels (RTL Klub, RTL Klub HD, RTL2, Cool, Film+, TV2, SuperTV2, TV2 HD, M1, M2, Duna TV, Duna World, 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, DoQ.|
|Iceland||All three national stations broadcast in 16:9 with occasional 4:3 programmes. Local stations still use 4:3.|
|Ireland||RTÉ One, RTÉ 2, TV3, TG4, and Setanta Ireland.|
|Italy||Exclusively in widescreen: All Sky Italia Channels (Sky Cinema, Sky Primafila, Sky Sport, Sky TG24...), All Fox Company Channels except Fox Retrò, Cielo, all Discovery Group channels except Animal Planet, RTL 102.5 TV, QVC Italy, TGCom 24, Rai Storia, Rai News, Rai Sport Channels, all National Geographic channels, History Channel, Winga, MTV channels except MTV Classic, all Disney channels except Disney in English, all Mediaset Premium channels, Deejay TV, Vero, TG Norba 24, SuperTennis, Sportitalia Channels, Play.me, Repubblica TV.
16:9 with 4:3 occasional programmes: all channels owned by Rai and Mediaset; La7, La7d, Giallo.
|Latvia||Always on 16:9: Latvijas Televizija (LTV1, LTV7), Re:TV, Riga TV24, OTV, TV XXI.
|Lithuania||Always on 16:9: LRT televizija, LRT Kultūra, LRT Lituanica, Sport1 (Lithuania), Lietuvos rytas TV, BTV (Lithuania), Balticum Auksinis.
|Luxembourg||RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg, Luxe.tv.|
|Macedonia||Alfa tv, MRT 1, MRT 2, Sitel.|
|Malta||All nationwide channels.|
|Montenegro||RTCG, TV Vijesti.|
|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.|
|Norway||16:9 is the national standard for television – almost all channels conform to this format.|
|Poland||All channels: nationwide, TVP, ITI, Cyfrowy Polsat SA channels (except Polsat JimJam) Discovery Communications, Disney–ABC Television Group, Canal+ Group, Polcast Television, Viacom (for example VIVA, Nickelodeon and MTV Poland), 4fun Media
Other channels: TVS, Eska TV, Orange Sport, Eurosport, Eurosport 2, AXN, National Geographic Channel, NatGeo Wild, Fox, FOX Comedy, Superstacja, Kino Polska Muzyka, Polo TV, Telewizja Republika, Cartoon Network.
|Portugal||RTP (except RTP Madeira), SIC, TVI, TVCine, MOV, Canal Q, AXN, AXN Black, AXN White, National Geographic Channel, SportTV, Syfy, Económico TV, História, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Odisseia, FOX, FOX Life, FOX Crime, Fox Movies, A Bola TV, Canal Hollywood, MTV, Nickelodeon, Discovery Channel, Localvisão TV, CMTV.
|Romania||Occasional 16:9 widescreen programming is shown on the Romanian public broadcaster's channels (TVR 1, TVR 2, TVRi), Sport.ro, RegioTV Transilvania, Pro Tv, B1 TV, Dolce Sport and DigiSport. SSD version aired in 16:9-in-4:3 letterbox on PRO Cinema, Antena 1 Romania, Prima Tv Romania, Zutv, National Tv, National 24 +, Favorit TV, ID Extra Romania, Antena Stars, Disney Channel Romania, Disney Junior Romania and MTV Romania. Full 16:9 widescreen programming aired on all HD channels: TVR HD, PRO TV HD, Kanal D HD, Dolce Sport HD, Digi Sport 1, 2 and 3 HD, Digi 24 HD, Digi Life HD, Digi World HD, Digi Animal World HD, National Geographic HD, Comedy Central and Extra HD, Discovery Channel HD Romania, Animal Planet HD Romania, UTV Romania, UTV HD, Acasa TV HD and Sport.ro HD.|
|Russia||Always on 16:9: Channel One Russia, VGTRK (Russia-HD, Russia-24, Carousel, Sport-1, IQ HD), OTR, Ren-TV, LifeNews, RT, NTV, NTV Plus HD channels, Tricolor TV HD-channels, RTG TV, FOX, FOX life, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Dozhd Optimistic Channel, Euronews, RBC TV, Eurospot channels, Viasat TV1000 HD channels, Discovery HD-channels, Nickelodeon, HD media
Often on 16:9: NTV Plus Sport plus, NTV Plus channels, Viasat channels, Tricolor TV channels.
|Serbia||Prva (programming in 4:3 are transmissed in its original format with Prva logo changing its aspect ratio to match the aspect ratio of the program, idents are still being in 16:9), RTS1, RTS2 , RTS HD, RTS Digital, Arena Sport 1, 2, 3 and 4 (also on HD), Sport Klub, Sport Klub 2, Sport Klub 3, Sport Klub 4, 5, 6, SK Golf, Cinemania, RTV Pink (some programs airs in 4:3, recently most of the new programs are 16:9), Happy TV (some programming still in 4:3).|
|Slovakia||All nationwide channels (CME Slovakia (TV Markiza, Doma, Dajto), RTVS (Jednotka, Dvojka), J&T (TV JOJ, Plus, Wau), TA3).|
|Slovenia||All main channels (RTV Slovenija (TV SLO 1, TV SLO 2, TV SLO 3, TV Koper/Capodistria, TV Maribor), Top TV, POP TV, POP BRIO, Kanal A, Sport TV 1, Sport TV 2, Sportklub+, Golfklub, HBO Slovenija, RTS Maribor) and all HD channels (TV SLO 1 HD, TV SLO 2 HD, POP TV HD, Kanal A HD, Planet TV HD, Top TV HD).|
|Spain||As of 2013, all nationalwide and regional channels on 16:9, as is the national standard for television. Practically all of the local TV channels in 16:9. 4:3 is still common on PPV channels. Older programmes filmed in 4:3 are transmitted in their original format or are zoomed to 14:9 pillarbox; stretched programmes are rare.
The first films were broadcast in 16:9 (PALplus) at TV3 and TVG in 1997. Transition to widescreen programs and commercials started on DVB-T only and regional channels like Neox, Nova, Teledeporte, TV3 (Catalonia) or Aragón Televisión in late 2008, and in main analog networks in 2009 (except TVE). HD versions of nationwide main TV channels, Antena 3, Telecinco, LaSexta and TVE (as TVE HD) were launched (or relaunched in the case of TVE-HD) in 2010. 1080i HD version of Cuatro was launched in 2012.
|Sweden||Almost all main channels.|
|Switzerland||All SRG SSR channels.|
|Turkey||Almost all channels.|
|Ukraine||English Club TV, BTB (Bank television), 1+1 Media (Ukraine Today), StarLightMedia (ICTV, M1, M2, STB, QTV), Media Group Ukraine (NLO TV, Indigo TV, Football 1, Football 2), Tonis, 112 Ukraine, Music Box Ukraine, Espresso TV, HD Fashion, Trofey TV, 5Poverkhnost TV (Sport 1, Sport 2), ATR, Black Sea Broadcasting.|
|United Kingdom||In 1998, with the introduction of digital television, digital versions of BBC One, BBC Two, ITV 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.
As of 2012[update],
|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.|
|New Zealand||Almost all channels.|
Japan's Hi-Vision originally started with a 5:3 ratio but converted when the international standards group introduced a wider ratio of 51⁄3 to 3 (=16:9).
|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 the digital television broadcasting in 2007.|
|India||HD channels were added by most DTH operators.|
|Indonesia||Kompas TV, BeritaSatu TV, NET., CNN Indonesia, Trans TV, Trans 7, Said Muqaffa, Eri Satria, and Hasan El Basri. HD Channel only available in Digital Terrestrial and Digital Satellite (with a 14:9 Safe Area for HD Channels with Nation-Wide Analogue Transmission). Simulcasting with Analogue 4:3 format, Major Television Station in Indonesia with National Coverage are broadcast using 4:3 Format|
|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.|
|Malaysia||All HD channels and some SD channels available on Astro and HyppTV. SD variant of widescreen channels (such as Astro Ria, Astro AEC and Astro SuperSport channels) is usually letterboxed or cropped to 14:9 by Astro to provide compatibility to older set top boxes.|
|Philippines||Philippine TV stations|
|Qatar||All Al Jazeera Sports channels, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera English, Qatar TV HD, all Alkass 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.|
|Taiwan||TTV HD, CTV HD, CTS HD, FTV HD, PTS HD, TVBS.|
|Thailand||All major channels since the commencement of digital television broadcasting in 2014.|
|United Arab Emirates||Alarabiya, MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC Drama, Ad Aloula, Al Emarat, Ad Sports HD 1-7, Ad Drama + HD.|
|Vietnam||All of VTC HD's channels, VTV channels, K+'s channels (selected programmes).|
Middle East and Africa
|This section requires expansion. (August 2015)|
In Middle East and Africa, 16:9 is the standard broadcast format for most digital channels and all HDTV broadcasts.
- Display aspect ratio
- High-definition television
- Display resolution
- 1080p / 1080i
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- US 5956091, "Method of showing 16:9 pictures on 4:3 displays", issued 1999-09-21
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- "Television in the 16:9 screen format" (legislation summary). EU: Europa. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
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