Reply to post: @Piro

Official: The shape of the smartphone is changing forever

Kristian Walsh

@Piro

... the film production industry does this, but film production had so many different source and intermediary aspect ratios that normalising them was the only way for people to stay sane. And as the final cinema presentation will always a fixed height, with variable width, it makes sense to normalise everything in terms of height being "1 unit" (it certainly makes it easier for a projectionist to work out how wide the curtains have to open to accommodate a 1.85:1 presentation)

But like it or not, when it comes to TV, and consumer electronics in general, the "-to-9" ratios are ingrained in the public's perception thanks to the billions spent in the late 1990s and early 2000s to launch 16:9 "widescreen" televisions and content.

And while most of the film-industry ratios are down to the mechanical details of film cameras, the TV ratios that correspond to them are actually a simple geometric progression:

31:41 = 3:4 = 1.33... :1, approx. the cinematic "Academy" ratio (1.37:1)

32:42 = 16:9 = 1.77 :1 approx. cinematic widescreen (1.85:1)

33:43 = 64:27 = 2.37:1 approx. "scope" ratios (2.35~2.39:1)

64:27 TVs do exist, and were sold in the past by Philips and others, but were advertised as "21:9" to make it clearer that they were a "super-widescreen" set. The problem with these wasn't the display, but the fact that they had to scale up existing 1080p content, with resulting loss of sharpness. But with today's streaming services able to (theoretically) deliver a native, unscaled 2.37:1 4k feed to consumers, I'm expecting a small renaissance in this aspect ratio at the high-end of the market.

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