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For other uses, see 16:9 (disambiguation).
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 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. It is also used universally (16:9) as the ratio for mobile phone screens. This has replaced the old 4:3 aspect ratio. While 16:9 remains the Internet's standard aspect ratio, 21:9 aspect ratio has become an increasingly popular technology since 2015. 21:9 displays are most commonly curved, which gives them a number of advantages[1] over the flat-panels that 16:9 more commonly use.


An equal-area comparison of the aspect ratios which Dr. Kerns Powers employed to derive the SMPTE 16:9 standard.[2] TV 4:3/1.33 in red, 5:3/1.66 in orange, 16:9/1.77 in blue, 1.85 in yellow, Panavision 11:5/2.2 in mauve and CinemaScope/2.35 in purple.

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.[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, 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 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 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 resolutions[edit]

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

Width Height Standard
640 360 nHD
720 405
854 480
960 540 qHD
1024 576
1280 720 HD
1366 768
1600 900 HD+
1920 1080 Full HD
2048 1152
2560 1440 QHD
2880 1620
3200 1800 QHD+
3840 2160 4K UHD
4096 2304 Full 4K UHD
5120 2880 5K UHD
7680 4320 8K UHD
8192 4608 Full 8K UHD

In Europe[edit]

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.

Country Channel
 Albania All Channels
 Andorra Andorra Televisió.
 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**, 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 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 All channels.
 Georgia GPB (1TV, 2TV), Maestro TV, Kavkasia TV, Tabula TV, GDS TV, Voice of Abkhazia, Ajara TV, Pirveli TV, Marao TV, Aratrea TV.
 Greece All Channels.
 Hungary All channels
 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.
 Italy All Channels.
 Kazakhstan All channels.
 Latvia Always on 16:9: Latvijas Televizija (LTV1, LTV7), Re:TV, TV24, Sporta Centrs TV, TV XXI.

Often on 16:9: MTG channels (TV3, LNT, TV6 and others).

 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), MTG channels (TV3 Lithuania, TV6, TV8, Viasat Sport Baltic).
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 Cishinau, N4, Jurnal TV
 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 All Channels
 Russia All channels switch in 1 September 2017
 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 UATV, English Club TV, 1+1 Media Group (except UNIAN TV), 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.
 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.
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 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 using terrestrial services 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 launched allowing terrestrial viewers to watch BBC HD and ITV HD without a subscription, 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 broadcast in 16:9;
Almost all Virgin Media/Sky channels broadcast in 16:9. The rest switched by the end of 2012.

In Oceania[edit]

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[edit]

Japan's Hi-Vision originally started with a 5:3 ratio but converted when the international standards group introduced a wider ratio of 513 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 the commencement of digital television broadcasting in 2007.
 India All channels.
 Indonesia All channels.
 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.
 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, MNC, Edutainment TV, SPS and Sportbox.
 Pakistan All channels.
 Philippines Terrestrial channels (ISDB-T): CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN, Pilipinas HD (some programs are produced in 4:3), Inquirer 990 Television, Pinoy How-To TV/Island Living Channel, Light Network (since March 1, 2017), Ang Dating Daan TV, PTV, all Gateway UHF Broadcasting channels, TV5, AksyonTV, INCTV, and Net 25. There are GMA Network shows filmed in 16:9 but are broadcast in cropped 4:3.
 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).

In the Americas[edit]

Country Channel
 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.
 Costa Rica All channels.
 Mexico National channels: Canal de las Estrellas, FOROtv, Canal 5, Gala TV, Azteca 7, Azteca Trece, XHTVM-TDT, Canal Once, Canal 22, Una Voz con Todos, Teveunam, Imagen Televisión, Excélsior TV, Televisa Regional, Multimedios Televisión, Milenio Televisión, Teleritmo, and some state stations broadcast HD signal.

Pay channels: Bandamax*, De Película*, De Película Clásico*, Ritmoson Latino*, TDN*, TeleHit*, Unicable*, Distrito Comedia, Golden*, Golden Edge*, TL Novelas, Tiin, BBC Entertainment Latin America, CBeebies Latin America, UFC Network*, MTV*, MTV Live HD, MTV Dance, VH1 HD, VH1 Classic HD, Nickelodeon HD, Comedy Central HD, Paramount Channel*, TNT*, Space*, Cartoon Network*, Boomerang*, TBS*, Warner Channel*, CNN International*, truTV*, FOX*, FX*, Fox Sports*, NAT GEO*, Film Zone*, Cinecanal*, BabyTV*, Disney Channel*, Disney XD, Disney Junior, ESPN*, ESPN Dos*, ESPN 3*, ESPN +, Discovery Channel HD, Discovery Kids HD, Investigation Discovery HD, Discovery Home & Health HD.
*SD and HD signals are broadcast in 16:9.

 Peru All channels.
 United States Almost all channels.

In Africa[edit]

Country Channel
 Libya Libya 24.
 Morocco Al Aoula.
 South Africa 16:9 is the standard broadcast format for most digital channels and all HDTV broadcasts all main channels.
 Tunisia All channels.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "The Benefits of Curved Ultrawide: Facts and Research". Best Ultrawide Monitors. 2017-04-07. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  2. ^ a b "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. 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.