Unnatural Proportions on 16×9 Screen

Those people aren’t fat, just stretched

Just about every bar in the country is now equipped with at least one 16×9 size flat screen TV. The problem is that most of the programming is still produced and broadcast in 4×3 aspect ratio.

There are two options for displaying all familiar 4×3 SD video in a 16×9 widescreen monitor. You can center the smaller 4×3 image and leave the sides of the monitor unused. Alternately you can stretch the video horizontally to fill up the entire screen.

Unfortunately, most people select the stretch option which has an unpleasant side effect of making everyone look wide faced. Properly set TV as illustrated in Figure 1 comes at a price. A plasma screen and even LCD screens may develop a permanent “burn” due to underutilization of the black pillarboxed area. Better TVs have screen savers that minimize the damage by shifting the picture by minute amounts. While a screen saver like this can save a home HDTV it is generally unacceptable to use such devices in professional environment where steady image is required.


stretched TV image

Fig 1. wrong proportions on widescreen TV