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16:9 Screens Popular, But Movies Go Wider

Have you ever wondered why the wide screens have invaded our living rooms and computer desks so rapidly? It’s a matter of cost. A wide screen, 16:10 display costs less to produce than a 4:3 screen since. The cost lies in the cutting stage of manufacturing where big panels, which usually measures around 2m x 1.9m, gets sliced up into smaller panels that actually go into displays.

Using wide formats a manufacturer can produce more 16:10 displays than 4:3 displays. The same logic applies to 16:9 in fact this aspect ratio yields even better results. You can get even more displays when cutting the panels in the 16:9 form factor.

Widescreen DisplaysThe end user then should have a couple of advantages. First, the displays should be the cheaper in purchase cost for the consumer. Second, 16:9 are better to watch movies with since it’s the native format of many TV series and of many movies. Third, high definition like 720p and 1080p resolutions are produced to fit nicely in a 16:9 format, i.e. 1920x1080 pixels and not 1900 x 1200 (16:10) such as in most computer displays. With a 16:9 display, you can watch Full HD movies without the need to scale them.

However, the trend is changing again, as most movies coming out now are produced in even wider format than 16:9. So even now 16:9 displays are becoming an issue for most users who are into serious home theater setups.

Widescreen DisplaysThe disadvantages however are similar to those that we experienced by switching from 4:3 to 16:9 screens. Smaller vertical space, smaller overall working area compared with screens with the same diagonal size. If a user was using say, a 21-inch 4:3 screen but wanted to upgrade to a 16:9 display, they would have to purchase a 23-inch or 24-inch screen to give a similar working area.

The new sizes that we will see in desktop and notebook displays more and more often will be 14", 15.6", 18.5", 21.6", 23.6". The native resolution ranging from HD (1366x768) to Full HD (1920x1080).

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  • 0 Hide
    KyleSTL , June 13, 2008 5:39 PM
    I'm not exactly sure of the point of this article, but it's interesting, and true. Why are studios using like 16:3 aspect ratios? It's rediculous. I'm watching my movies on a 42" 1080p plasma, I can't imagine watching the same ultra-ultra-wide movie on a 4:3 CRT, YEESH!
  • 0 Hide
    hawler , June 13, 2008 5:44 PM
    I hate the fact that now when I watch my movies on my 50" LCD I still get black bars on the top and bottom for the movies that use wider ratios than 16:9.

    Why don't movie companies just use 16:9? It's what all the HD resolutions are and it looks a lot better to use an entire screen than just a portion of it. NO ONE own anything but a 4:3 or 16:9 TV (or 16:10 Monitor) yet they release movies that are, i believe it is, 2.35:1 all the time.

    It's really starting to annoying me
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , June 13, 2008 5:48 PM
    I don't even notice the black bars and I kind of liked them since if they were smart making a dvd, the subtitles and closed captioning would be nicely in the bottom black bar.
  • 1 Hide
    garydale , June 13, 2008 6:17 PM
    The point about 16:9 not needing to scale is a bit misleading. You don't need to scale 16:10 either. It's just a matter of positioning. Having a 16:10 display (1920x1200) gives you some screen space for controls, subtitles, or whatever.

    And yes, I don't care for the ultra-wide movies either. 4:3 or 16:9 are reasonable approximations for a human's field of vision. 2.35:1 isn't. It's been a marketing gimmick since movies first went wide to compete against TV. Time to return to reality and start making movies in a standard, human, aspect ratio.
  • 0 Hide
    xsamitt , June 13, 2008 6:36 PM
    I agree 100% Garydale.........I wish they would adopt a standard and just go with it.
    Does any one know what the conversion is 2.35.1 would be what exactly?
    And when is going to for sale?i keep holding off getting a very expensive tv for the fact im not made out of money and it will have to do me for a very long time.
    As far as i know tvs in the next couple of years will be like 300 lines instead of the meager 1080.......so it would make what we have now look like junk.
  • 1 Hide
    xsamitt , June 13, 2008 6:37 PM
    Sorry thats 3000....Not 300.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 13, 2008 6:57 PM
    agree with maxor...
  • 0 Hide
    KyleSTL , June 13, 2008 7:06 PM
    xsamitt:

    it would be equivalent to 21.15:9 or 16:6.8
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 13, 2008 8:08 PM
    I am a bit confused by this math:

    "If a user was using say, a 21-inch 4:3 screen but wanted to upgrade to a 16:9 display, they would have to purchase a 23-inch or 24-inch screen to give a similar working area."

    To equal the same area as a 21-inch 4:3, one would need a 22.257-inch 16:9 display. So saying one would have to purchase a 24-inch is wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    Aragorn , June 13, 2008 9:30 PM
    The 2.35:1 aspect ratio = 16:6.81 since someone asked I did the REALLY simple math.
  • 0 Hide
    bruceallen , June 13, 2008 10:43 PM
    Garydale and xsamitt:

    Aspect ratio is primarily an artistic choice, depending on the scope of the movie.

    Intimate euro dramas can be 1.66, most movies are 1.85 and epics are often 2.35. Kubrick liked 1.37.

    The movie isn't designed to look good on an LCD, it's designed to look good projected, first and foremost, where black bars are not a problem.

    Filmmakers will standardize on an aspect ratio at the same time as painters standardize on canvas dimensions...

    Bruce
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , June 14, 2008 12:06 AM
    As long as games support that format I'm fine but pretty soon our desktop real estate is going to be in short supply if monitor keep getting wider.
  • 1 Hide
    duxducis , June 14, 2008 12:54 AM
    if you upgrade from 17 inch 4:3 to 22 inch 19:9 you would gain 1 inch on top of the screen and 5 inches side (wider) also you gain ~75sqare inches of work space.

    going from 22 4:3 screen to 22 16:9 your would actually loose ~30sqare inches of work space and thats what they talk about in article above i believe.
  • 0 Hide
    fulle , June 14, 2008 1:08 AM
    I agree with the idea of not trying to limit artists, but an artist should not completely ignore technology, and aspect ratios.

    If I was going to make any kind of digital artwork, the screen resolution my work is viewed is something considered. I would want to make sure that the art is viewed in a manner that I feel best represents the work... Most artists have these sorts of limitations... you don't see digital work for magazines done in just RGB, they must also consider CMYK, and know what the art will look like in a printed form.

    The same should be applied in film. As artists, they should be thinking of these things, since inevitably it will effect the way people view their hard work.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , June 14, 2008 3:25 AM
    Resolution determines workspace too. Also I roo think these aspect ratios are stupid. You can't concentrate on details that far out of your centre of vision, so you end up looking from side to side :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2008 12:39 PM
    I'm actually quite annoyed with the whole concept. I don't use my computer or laptop for watching movies. I use it to work. Work which usually prefers a format more like 9.5 x 11. (A standard sheet of paper) I need a taller display not a wider one. Unless the movie industry plans on getting the rest of the world to start printing all their paperwork landscape and making web sites scroll horizontally and not vertically, the whole concept is useless to me as far as computers are concerned.
  • 0 Hide
    KyleSTL , June 14, 2008 1:16 PM
    Quote:
    I'm actually quite annoyed with the whole concept. I don't use my computer or laptop for watching movies. I use it to work. Work which usually prefers a format more like 9.5 x 11. (A standard sheet of paper) I need a taller display not a wider one. Unless the movie industry plans on getting the rest of the world to start printing all their paperwork landscape and making web sites scroll horizontally and not vertically, the whole concept is useless to me as far as computers are concerned.

    A 20-21" 4:3 display (like the Samsung 214T or 204B) can display a sheet of paper if rotated vertically 1:1 (or greater). Since a 24" 16:10 monitor (like the Samsung 245T) has the same number of horizontal lines (1200) it too can be rotated vertically to display a whole sheet of paper 1:1. Many monitor manufacturers make their stands so the display can be rotated for this very reason.
  • -1 Hide
    htowninsomniac , June 14, 2008 4:07 PM
    I don't like 16:10 monitors. Sure, they are good for movies, but they don't have enough vertical resolution for work. I'm a programmer and therefore work mostly with text, so I turn my monitors 90 degrees into a portrait orientation. With 20" 4:3 monitor, I therefore get a 1200x1600 resolution. 1200 pixels is wide enough for most lines of text, and 1600 pixels displays a nice number of lines.
    A 20" 16:10 monitor, on the on the other hand, gives me 1680x1050 pixels. 1050 pixels vertically is too few lines of text, and at least in my experience, being able to display many lines (many of which are very short horizontally) is paramount. If I turn a wide-screen monitor into portrait orientation, then I only have 1050 pixels horizontally, which is a bit narrow for some lines of code.
    In general, I just feel that the 16:10 format is somewhat unfortunate. I was much happier with 4:3 monitors, but they are almost becoming hard to find nowadays.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2008 6:42 PM
    Movies are filmed for their theatrical release not the home market, by using wider aspect ratios the films maintain an advantage for theatrical releases where the majority of the films revenue comes from. It's also used by directors to provide a more epic artistic feel to their films. 16X9 was chosen as a happy median to accomedate all aspect ratios
  • 1 Hide
    aihyah , June 14, 2008 8:46 PM
    "A 20" 16:10 monitor, on the on the other hand, gives me 1680x1050 pixels. 1050 pixels vertically is too few lines of text, and at least in my experience, being able to display many lines (many of which are "

    well thats why they make bigger wide screen lcds. 30" gets you massive resolution.
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