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aspect ratio

Aspect ratio is an image projection attribute that describes the proportional relationship between the width of an image and its height. For example, movies, which are usually shot with a wide-angle lens, have an aspect ratio that is typically 16:9, which means that the width of the image area is almost twice its height. The traditional television and computer display, on the other hand, are designed for an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which means that the width of the display area is only 1.33 times the height, almost square. The inconsistency between movie and television aspect ratios has generally meant compromising the size or completeness of the image when you watch a movie on a standard TV set. Many newer television displays, such as those using HDTV technology, have a widescreen format with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

This was last updated in September 2005

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