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 at a time[when?] 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 (or 64:27, see also 21:9 aspect ratio for more information), √47/ ≈ 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.
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[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 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:
|4096||2304||Full 4K UHD|
|8192||4608||Full 8K UHD|
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.
|Belarus||All Channels (except BTRC channels)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||All Channels|
|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||All Channels.|
|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.
|Georgia||GPB (1TV, 2TV), Maestro TV, Kavkasia TV, Tabula TV, GDS TV, Voice of Abkhazia, Ajara TV, Pirveli TV, Marao TV, Aratrea TV.|
|Hungary||All channels (except Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Echo TV, Pax TV)|
|Iceland||All three national stations broadcast in 16:9 with occasional 4:3 programmes. Local stations still use 4:3.|
|Ireland||RTÉ channels, TV3, TG4, and Eir Sport.|
|Latvia||Always on 16:9: Latvijas Televizija (LTV1, LTV7), Re:TV, TV24, Sporta Centrs TV, TV XXI.
|Lithuania||Always on 16:9: LRT channels (LRT televizija, LRT Kultūra, LRT Lituanica), Sport1 (Lithuania), Lietuvos rytas TV, Balticum TV, Balticum Auksinis.
|Luxembourg||RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg, Luxe.tv.|
|Malta||All nationwide channels.|
|Moldova||TRM (Moldova 1, Moldova 2), GMG Group (Prime, Canal 2, Canal 3, Publika TV), ProTV Cishinau, N4, Jurnal TV|
|Monaco||Télé Monte Carlo & Monaco Info.|
|Norway||16:9 is the national standard for television – almost all channels conform to this format.|
|Russia||All channels switch in 1 September 2017|
|San Marino||San Marino RTV|
|Slovakia||All nationwide channels (RTVS, CME Slovakia, J&T, TA3 and others).|
|Ukraine||UATV, English Club TV, 1+1 Media Group (all channels), Inter Media Group (all channels), StarLightMedia (except Novyi Kanal), Media Group Ukraine (except Eskulap TV), Tonis, 5 kanal, Channel 24, Espreso TV, 112 Ukraine, News One, NewsNetwork, XSPORT, ATR Group (ATR, Lale), ZIK, Black Sea TV, Poverkhnost TV (Sport 1, Sport 2), Music Box Ukraine, EU Music, Trofey TV, Dacha TV, HDFashion, 3s.tv, RTI, PravdaTut, Pershiy Diloviy.|
|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.
|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||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 5 1⁄3 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 digital television broadcasting started in 2007.|
|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.|
|Lebanon||LBCI.4:3 Shows are stretched|
|Mongolia||MNB & MN2, MNC, Edutainment TV, SPS and Sportbox.|
|Philippines||16:9 native*: CNN Philippines, Hope Channel Philippines, 3ABN, Hope International, INCTV, Net 25
4:3 upscaled/stretched to 16:9**: ETC, 2nd Avenue, GMA Network, GMA News TV, all BEAM's subchannels, Light Network, UNTV, Ang Dating Daan TV,SMNI, all ABS-CBN channels (including TVPlus channels), TV5, AksyonTV
*channels that are letterboxed 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.
|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.|
|Taiwan||TTV HD, CTV HD, CTS HD, FTV HD, PTS HD, TVBS.|
|United Arab Emirates||All channels.|
|Vietnam||All of VTC HD's channels, VTV channels, HTV channels and K+'s channels (selected programmes).|
|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.|
|Costa Rica||All channels.|
|Mexico||Free Television: Las Estrellas, FOROtv, Canal 5, Gala TV, Azteca 7, Azteca Trece, adn40, Canal Once, Canal 22, Una Voz con Todos, Teveunam, Imagen Televisión, Excélsior TV, Televisa Regional, Multimedios Televisión, Milenio Televisión, Teleritmo, and some local stations broadcast HD signal.|
|United States||Almost all channels.|
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2015)|
|South Africa||16:9 is the standard broadcast format for most digital channels and all HDTV broadcasts all main channels.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 16:9.|
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