16:9, 1.77:1 and 1.78:1 or correctly rounded, is a term which is the ratio between picture width and height describes in the video technology. It is necessary to distinguish between "real " 16:9 (aspect ratio: 1.78:1 ) and the standard 1.85:1 anamorphic used for storage operations.

  • 3.1 Using archive material in new shipments
  • 3.2 Subsequent pruning of existing programs
  • 3.3 sense Fuller handling andersformatigem material
  • 3.4 Presentation of people
  • 4.1 German-speaking
  • 4.2 United Kingdom
  • 4.3 Other countries


Technical page

" Classical " image formats are 4:3 in video technology, or ( in the meantime ) 3:2 in photography. The cinema technology originally began with 1.33:1 (4:3 ) to 1.37:1, but is at an early stage changed to formats with aspect ratios from 1.66:1 to 2.35:1, because these in make better cinema project: for projections in the 4:3 aspect ratio a significantly greater vertical distance from the rows of seats is necessary.

Television - originally with a round cathode ray tube ( Zylinder-/Kegelform ) - For optical reasons only in an almost square, been to a rectangular cross- format, which is normal when movie 4:3 ( 1,333:1 ), adapted later. Only with the development of plasma and LCD screen technology any image formats have been possible and now one was based on the widespread since the 1950s film format widescreen.

Also for playback with optical aids, typically projectors, the circular shape approximated image formats are advantageous. Widescreen formats will increase demands for the lens system.


Studies have shown early on that the human field of view is more like a wide-screen format. Since the technology is no longer speaks against you aim today to transfer TV shows in widescreen format.

A crucial role for the establishment of wide-screen played fast and strong penetration of households with DVD players and the fact that most DVDs include a digital anamorphic 16:9 picture that offers especially on 16:9 TVs better image quality than the previously standard television technology. Another reason was that the television manufacturers largely einstellten the production of 4:3 devices. Against this background, the TV channels were forced to switch to the digital 16:9 format to offer a high- quality image evenly matched as they are used by many consumers, the DVD and other newer digital video sources.

The change from analogue to digital broadcasting via satellite, cable and antenna, it was also the television possible to bring an over the DVD image quality equivalent to the living room of the viewer. When digital TV reception is in fact - similar to anamorphic widescreen DVDs - also transmit a digital anamorphic 16:9 picture and equalized from the TV and displayed optimally, provided the corresponding receiver set top box is set to 16:9 output. Also 4:3 TV can display an anamorphic 16:9 picture in full horizontal line number of the rule. In older models, the 16:9 - pinching mode, this means sometimes be manually activated, resulting in better image quality ( more pixels, better colors, no Grieseln ) is also achieved here. However, a prerequisite is the connection via scart cable and setting the Digitalempfangsbox to RGB.

For analog reception, as is common yet often with cable TV reception, whereas a conventional 4:3 letterbox image ( anamorphic image recording ) will be sent with black stripes and a correspondingly lower horizontal image line number. 16:9 televisions usually recognize such a letterbox picture and automatically zoom in so much that the black stripes at top and bottom and the wide-screen content is displayed according zoomed full-screen on the entire existing scene. The coarse pixel structure of the low-resolution analog image conceal these TVs by strong blur. You made ​​a good image on new widescreen TV with a digital DVB receiver.


Use of archive material in new shipments

By the end of the 20th century almost all television productions were recorded in 4:3 format. In newly-produced broadcasts in 16:9, which relies on the archive material, besides, the problem arises how the format is not the same recordings are to be integrated into the program. Frequently, this problem around in historical documentaries or nostalgia programs that use old TV footage.

One way to use this archive material, is to trim the existing 4:3 images to 16:9 format. However, since these can not be subsequently extended to the horizontal plane, as much image information will be cut off until the image corresponds to an aspect ratio of 16:9 at the top and bottom edges. In this method, however, a quarter of the vertical image information of the original image is lost, which results inter alia in originally highly zoomed images show that this can be seen as clearly cut off. Another problem arises when text displays that are sometimes only partially or not at all are readable by circumcision.

This method is used by the transmitters in the production of new television programs, despite their significant disadvantages most frequently. In rare cases, the original 4:3 picture is not brought about by circumcision, but through distortion to the required aspect ratio. Although all of the image information can be seen on the application of this method still, although no longer correct the original proportions. A circle is then, for example, to a horizontal ellipse, especially in faces, this distortion has an extremely disturbing.

Subsequent pruning of existing programs

Some stations, such as ZDF, now go even to over completely in 4:3 produced programs to cut to 16:9. Here are some significant losses, the image sequence, as this usually takes place without the use of pan and scan process and instead usually only a fixed image area is cut (usually from the upper portion of the output format ). No method can be different Sehvorstellungen all viewers needs. While some at any cost a completed 16:9 want and take distorted or cropped pictures in buying, others want to see the images in their original format, even when doing the TV screen is not completely filled out. By cropping the original films on a pseudo -16: 9 to pull the transmitter, especially the displeasure of those viewers who would like to see the broadcasts in question in the original format.

Sense Fuller handling andersformatigem material

Another option when dealing with 4:3 images to 16:9 productions is to bring the 4:3 recordings by black bars or stylized backgrounds on the left and right edges to an aspect ratio of 16:9. Although the TV screen is not completely filled by this method, but all of the original image information and the correct aspect ratio preserved.

With already produced in 4:3 format program, it is even easier: If this shipment sent in the correct 4:3 format, each spectator has even the possibility to decide whether the shipment in its original format or a correspondingly truncated or distorted pseudo would like to see -16:9 format. This has only the disadvantage that the trimmed from its own TV image is often taken from exactly the center of the original. For optimal transmission of the image content, however, the 16:9 -neck should be taken slightly above the center of the image or even on top of the image, as the main image contents are mostly trapped above the center of the image in 4:3 format. Overall it's a very unaesthetic method because the actually targeted by the cameraman image center will be further shifted to the upper edge of the 16:9 screen, which can lead to image defects such as severed heads or missing hair approaches. This problem is considered from the TV stations in their productions, most 16:9 TVs can not, however, has the ability to move the position of the image detail.

Another reason why television stations older material rather than aufzoomen to transfer it in the letter box format, is the limited resolution of digital television picture. While at a 16:9 anamorphic sent full 720 × 576 pixels could be transferred, only about 540 × would letterboxing a 4:3 image of it 576 pixels are used, the remaining pixels would be as black bars left and right of the image to see. If one now aufzoomen this image on a 16:9 TV, only 540 × 432 720 × 576 possible pixel would appear that correspond to a notional loss of quality of nearly 44 percent. Would be considered on a 4:3 TV is one of the transferred black bars left and right nor the products resulting from the equalization of the anamorphic format bars above and below to get the actual picture, so you would see a much too small 4:3 image in a 4 :3- TV.

Representation of persons

While the widescreen shots of scenery is better than a 4:3 image, it leads to the representation of people at a disadvantage: both a standing and a seated man and also the close-up of a head extend more in the vertical than in the horizontal. The wide format is used poor in these cases. As a result, people are in the 16:9 format shown smaller than in the 4:3 format. The fall in the comparatively limited size of television and computer screens more weight than with cinema screenings.

Become a standard format in different countries

Previous experience has shown that the establishment of 16:9 as the default format lasted much longer than originally thought. Although major television networks have already resided in the 1990s when purchasing new technology of their production to 16:9 compatibility and also with internationally marketed television productions and productions EBU 16:9 the usual format was, produce and send still some stations in 4:3 format. In the early years of the 16:9 format were series and occasionally also films that were recorded in 16:9, produced with 4:3 compatibility, ie it was already taken when films that significant image content (also later added fonts, and effects) never more than the left image center to the frame of the visible in the 4:3 range, so that owners of a digital 4:3 TV and television stations that still sent in 4:3, 16:9 aufzoomen these productions easily and could present in 4:3. However, this technique is now no longer common, which is why newer series should be actually transmitted in 16:9 format.


More sophisticated productions of public institutions such as cultural programs and documentaries have been partly produced in 16:9 since the mid-1990s, followed by numerous television films and series. Completely the public broadcaster switched to the end of 2007 to 16:9. For the first time on a large scale outside of movies or series, the 16:9 format in 2006 came at the World Cup for use. From this point on, more and more broadcasters presented their own productions to 16:9. The first was the Southwest Broadcasting (SWR ) in the fall of 2006; followed by

  • The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF ) in April 2007,
  • NDR and MDR, ARD and ZDF in summer 2007,
  • RBB, SR, RB, and the French-Swiss television in the fall of 2007.
  • ProSieben since the beginning of 2008, the first productions such as The Next Uri Geller (January 2008), Galileo ( 31 March 2008) in 16:9 ( since November 2008 and the advertisement).
  • RTL sends since August first 16:9 broadcasts and since November 19, 2008 completely (including advertising).
  • N24 sends since October 22, 2008 in 16:9 and since November also advertising in 16:9. N24 intersects old 4:3 broadcast in 16:9.
  • Cable one sends in 16:9 since November 2008 completely (including advertising).
  • Since April 2009 sent by the Austrian private station PULS 4 productions, commercials and trailers in 16:9.
  • Since mid-September also sends ATV partially in 16:9.
  • The children's channel Nickelodeon only broadcasts in 16:9 since 2 October 2011. Broadcasts in 4:3 allow zooming to 14:9.
  • The Austrian music channel gotv sends all productions, advertising, and most of the new music video in 16:9 since the beginning of 2010. Partial music videos are, however, still broadcast in 4:3.
  • VIVA Germany sends the trailer and some production in 16:9 since 1 January 2011. Since March 23 VIVA also sends music videos in 16:9.
  • Swiss TV has changed in December 2007, the program completely to 16:9, but 4:3 sends productions still in this format. The digital satellite signal is transmitted in anamorphic form. In the regional area Telebasel has converted the first Swiss private television station in the autumn of 2007 fully to 16:9 letterbox.

The major private stations have switched to 16:9 in 2008, the vast majority of smaller transmitter has now followed suit. In the Pay- TV sector are only a few music - regional or shopping channel from ( Rck - TV, jukebox, Rhein- Main- TV).

Great Britain

In the UK the major broadcasters already changed in the 2000s to the wider screen format, but there respect the cameramen that all relevant content ( persons and text graphics ) are in the center, so that viewers with 4:3 TVs have the ability to on their digital receivers zoomed the 16:9 picture to be output as a 4:3 picture ( as Pan & Scan), whereby the 4:3 TV is fully utilized, so no black stripes are visible above and below, but the right and left panel of the widescreen image, which goes beyond the 4:3 format is truncated. Due to the earlier introduction of the wide image widescreen television have spread rapidly in the United Kingdom.

Other countries

In France, a few smaller private stations have fully switched to 16:9, whereas the large institutions, even the 2006 World Cup still radiated in circumcised 4:3. In the Benelux countries presented the most major broadcasters in 2004 largely to 16:9. In Italy, RAI numerous programs produced in 16:9, but sends no digital anamorphic 16:9. The transmitters produce the group Mediaset and send 4:3, the Italian pay - TV provider SKY sends the other hand - like many other European pay- TV providers - especially movies in true anamorphic 16:9 (July 2007).

For example, with series in the United States can continue to the middle gerückte graphics look like age indications, names of actors or station logos. Even at sporting events this is often to be seen. What you would not lose any graphics do not set the left and right screen edge. However, it would in most cases lose image information and people who are at the edge of the picture, could not be shown completely or cut.

Today's use

  • 16:9 playback devices (televisions, video projectors ), whose field of vision is approximately the ratio of 16:9
  • 16:9 image capture devices ( video cameras) whose field of vision is approximately the ratio of 16:9
  • 16:9 display modes to 4:3 - and 16:9 TVs, with several manufacturers including often understand something different; often is a picture over the standard representation by approximately 25 percent reduced image height meant
  • Standard aspect ratio of HDTV (1920 × 1080 or 1280 × 720 with square pixels )