What are 16:9 Resolutions & 4:3 Resolutions?
Summary: With the advance in technology, we have made great strides in the aspect of the screen display. From the beginning 4:3 resolution to the popular 16:9 resolution, what’s the difference between these two types of ratio resolutions? Which is more capable to provide a better watching experience? What are the 16:9 resolutions? If you are curious about these issues, this post will give you a comprehensive explanation.
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Table of Contents
- Recommendations for Best Watching Experience
What is Display Resolution?
The display resolution (display modes of digital television, computer monitor, or display device) refers to the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. Subject to the control of multiple factors, including cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, flat-panel displays (including liquid-crystal displays), this terminology can be a little bit confusing. Under most circumstances, we quote is as width × height, with the units in pixels: for example, 1920 × 1080 means the width is 1920 pixels and the height is 1080 pixels.
The Importance of High Resolution
High resolution is an important prerequisite for ensuring the clarity of color displays. The dot pitch of the monitor is one of the foundations of high resolution. The dot pitch of large-screen color monitors is generally 0.28, 0.26, 0.25. The other aspect of high resolution refers to the maximum pixel points that the display can achieve in terms of horizontal and vertical display. Generally, there are 320×240, 640×480, 1024×768, 1280×1024, etc., and a good large-screen color display.
It can usually reach a resolution of 1600×1280. Higher resolution not only means higher definition but also means that more content can be displayed in the same display area. For example, in the mode of 640×480 resolution, only one page of content can be displayed. While, if you adopt the resolution of 1600×1280, two pages can be displayed simultaneously.
What is the 4:3 Aspect Ratio?
4:3 Aspect Ratio refers to the width and height of pictures 4 units wide by 3 units tall. This word is also known as 1.33:1 and is frequently pronounced Four-Three, Four-to-Three, or Four-by-Three. From the early twenty century, when television displays and computer monitors were first introduced, the 4:3 Aspect Ratio was prevalent.
The History of 4:3 Aspect Ratio
In 1888, Thomas Edison filed a document with the US patent office in which he conceived of “a device that would do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear.” But before this team could build their first motion picture camera they needed to establish the size of the film they would use. Dickson cut the original film in half. Punches 64 perforations every foot and 35mm film is born. For some unknown reasons, Dickson set on the image being 4-perforation high. Therefore, the first aspect ratio is created:1.33.
In the 1950s, the invention led to the revenues of theater declining dramatically, Hollywood looked to widescreen to attract audiences back. As a result, the majority of the movies tend to adopt a new aspect ratio. As displays and monitors did not employ “technical” ratios like 1.33 or 1.37, 4:3 was born with the introduction of television screens.
In terms of televisions, they remained 4:3 for most of the twentieth century. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the concept of larger television screens became popular, and the 4:3 aspect ratio was replaced by the 16:9 aspect ratio.
The Features of 4:3 Aspect Ratio
Due to the lack of width, significant compositional factors are usually positioned vertically within the frame, which exposes the drawbacks of 1.33 frame: it is not suitable for landscape scenes.
1.33 is best for single shots because the actors’ faces could exactly fill the frame and the audience will not feel confined in the meantime. Owing to its limits on scopes, the background seldom leads to distraction.
Groups of two can produce a very intimate frame, and it is difficult for larger groups to produce good effects. Horizontal arrangements will make the frame look cramped.
Generally speaking, the 1.33 frame tends to be more effective when the frame only has a single point of interest or focus. And it seems to perform well in handling two things simultaneously, not to mention displaying landscape.
What is the 16:9 Aspect Ratio?
16:9 (1.77:1) is a widescreen aspect ratio with a width of 16 units and a height of 9. It is the international standard format of HDTV, non-HD digital television, and analog widescreen television PALplus.
The History of 16:9 Aspect Ratio
In 1984 when 4:3 aspect ratio was popular, 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 the very beginning, 16:9 was considered a compromise format, while the subsequent appearance of popular HDTV helped the 16:9 aspect ratio become the most common video aspect ratio in use.
From the late 2000s to the early 2010s, the computer industry gradually from 4:3 to 16:9 and regarded 16:9 as the most common aspect ratio for monitors and laptops.
The Features of 16:9 Aspect Ratio
One of the best resolutions you can hit with a 16:9 aspect ratio is 4K or 3840 px by 2160 px.
- 16:9 is in accord with the eyes of human
Scientists found out that the pupil ratio of human eyes is also exactly 16:9, which meant the field of view is a rectangle with a length-to-width ratio of 16:9. This major discovery resulted in significant reforms in the TV industry. Therefore, in order to provide more comfortable service, a growing number of manufacturers started to adopt this aspect ratio.
- High-quality pictures
With regard to user experience, the monitors that use a 16:9 aspect ratio display better results resulting from no black panels on the sides of the screen. Besides, one of the best resolutions the users can hit with a 16:9 aspect ratio is 4K or 3840 px by 2160 px. The high resolution could offer a better watching experience.
Aspect Ratio and Resolution
The resolution or display modes of digital television, computer monitor or display device is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. For every aspect ratio, there are several counterpart resolutions. Sometimes, you may find that if you choose the wrong options, certain parts of the movie will be either cut off or the videos have much padding around them. Therefore, to enjoy the best watching experience, we need to select the appropriate aspect ratio and resolution.
With regard to the video aspect ratios, there is no one-size-fits-all option. Generally speaking, the aspect ratio will be chosen according to where the video will be posted, how it will be viewed, and what purpose it serves.
16:9 aspect ratio also referred to as “1.71:1”, is a wide rectangle and is considered an international standard format for TV, cinema and major online platforms. One of the best 16:9 resolutions (or 16 by 9 resolutions, 16:9 screen resolutions) is 4K or 3840 px by 2160 px. 16:9 resolutions are typically seen as optimal for their capability of the highest resolution. No matter you want 4K or even 8K, 16:9 resolutions will meet all your demands. There are some common 16:9 aspect ratio resolutions: 1024×576, 1152×648, 1280×720, 1366×768, 1600×900, 1920×1080, 2560×1440 and 3840×2160.
The 4:3 aspect ratio was the first standard for traditional television and computer monitors. The invention of HDTV resulted in the decline of 4:3. With the demand for high-definition monitors, 4:3 resolutions have gradually been replaced by the popular 16:9 resolutions.
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How to Calculate Aspect Ratio?
- Take your original height. In our example, it will be 1200 pixs.
- Take your original width.
- Divide the height by the width, e.g. 1200 / 1600 = 0.75.
- Multiply the quotient by the preferred width, e.g. 0.75 * 300 = 225.
- The resulting figure is your new height given in pixels.
1920 x 1080 is a 16:9 aspect ratio. By default, smartphones, DSLRs, and most modern camcorders record video at 1920 x 1080.
Standards can vary by regulating bodies such as the ATSC, DCI, CTA, and others, but in general, these are the most popular and recognized 16:9 resolutions: 720×480 (480p, SD) 960×540 (qHD) 1280×720 (720p, HD).
Having read this article, do you have a general understanding of these professional terms? The once-popular 4:3 resolution and now 16:9 resolution aim to provide the best watching experience. Although some forms of framing appear to come and go in popular culture, they never fully vanish. Hopefully, this post will be of help to you.