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Aspect ratio is a term used to describe the proportional relationship between the width and height of a screen. There are two primary aspect ratios used in display. Movie theatres, DVDs, and HDTV signals use the 16:9 aspect ratio, also known as “wide screen” or “cinematic” display. Standard CRT television, satellite and cable television signals, and VHS use a 4:3 or “full screen” aspect ratio. These differences cause some viewing difficulties. 16:9 images shown on a 4:3 screen often use black bars on the top and bottom of the image to compensate for the difference in image proportion. Plasma screen televisions are by default capable of displaying 16:9 images, and can display 4:3 images with minimal distortion.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|