[Tig] The origins of 16:9 TV format

Peter Swinson peter_swinson at compuserve.com
Wed Oct 8 14:54:08 BST 2008

Here's one for the older wrinklies on this forum. I was recently asked to
explain where the 16:9 aspect ratio of HD and now many SD TVs came from.

To date I have the following.

NHK and maybe Sony proposed 5:3 for HD  (15:9).  This was regarded as the
Golden Aspect ratio used in art.   USA & Europe showed concern, (putting it
politley), and it was suggested that the aspect should fall between 1.66:1
and 1.85:1, being the then widescreen film aspect ratios of Europe & USA.  
This suggested a ratio of 1.78:1, which was discussed I believe by SMPTE &
EBU. It was agreed globally that an aspect ratio of 16:9 would meet this
demand, and so it was born!   In HD 1035 lines changed to 1080  to get
square pixels and everyone lived happily ever-after. Except of course there
were then suggestions of 2:1  and 2.4:1! 

Can anyone throw more light on the origination of 16:9 or confirm the
history above.



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