Will 21:9 Replace 16:9? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-13-2017, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Will 21:9 Replace 16:9?

You guys think 21:9 will be the standard in the future? Also, if you had the option of getting either 16:9 8K or a 4k 21:9, which would you choose?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-13-2017, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bluemetal04 View Post
You guys think 21:9 will be the standard in the future? Also, if you had the option of getting either 16:9 8K or a 4k 21:9, which would you choose?
I think it could go the other way too, while directors like Nolan and Tarantino have been trying to keep Imax alive, I think it's perfectly possible for it to completely kick into place and be more popular than 21:9. They've shown that the vertical space is still very important, and can be amazing when used right (Dunkirk being the latest example). Ultimately, I think 21:9 is better placed at this moment to overtake 16:9, but I wouldn't rule out increased verticality and a revival of Imax or an Imax-like format.

I would choose the 8k 16:9, as you could sit so close and nearly cover your entire field of view while preserving perfect picture

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post #3 of 10 Old 09-13-2017, 06:53 PM
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I watch material in various aspect ratios, and "scope" (2.39:1) movies are a small part of that. A lot of movies are also "flat" (1.85:1) and those would fit better on a 16:9 (1.78:1) screen than on a 21:9 (probably closer to 2.39:1 but 21:9 seems to be more of a marketing approximation) screen. An occasional movie will be framed for IMAX (1.43:1 for film, 1.89:1 for digital). A number of classic movies are in "Academy Ratio" (1.375:1, close to the old TV 1.33:1), and I also watch a fair number of new (1.78:1) and old (1.33:1) TV shows on disc and on cable.



Whatever TV aspect ratio I pick, it will be wrong for at least half of what I watch!


I appreciate that 16:9 was a decent compromise, considering the variety of aspect ratios for available content.


I think if I didn't have to worry too much about cost and was looking at a technology that doesn't have any burn-in risk, I just might spring for a 21:9 TV for my man cave.


It's more likely, though, that I would stick to 16:9 if I have to replace either of my TVs in the next five years, and would probably stay with a 1080p (or 2160p if 1080p wasn't available in the size I would be shopping for at that time). After all, I'm cheap.


For the next five years, I think 16:9 will remain the dominant aspect ratio for the majority of TV sets sold, with just a few niche sets being 21:9. One factor is cost: to get the same height as a 1.78:1 TV, the screen of a 2.39:1 TV would have to be 34% wider, but that extra 34% won't be used for "flat" (1.85:1) movies nor for television content (1.77:1), making that 34% a bit of a luxury that I don't think the typical consumer would be willing to pay, though some of the more discerning AVSFORUM members would be willing to pay to have better presentation of "scope" movies.

My very humble setup:
Spoiler!

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post #4 of 10 Old 09-14-2017, 10:05 AM
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Ah yes, and cable and dish installers will insist that spreading images to fill the screen is the correct setting for watching 16:9 content on 21:9 displays and that they're doing you a huge favor to configure your setup that way.

Rhetorical question: for all the centuries of talk about the golden ratio [(1+√5)/2, roughly 1.618:1] in 2D art, its use in video is rare enough, if it exists at all, that I've never seen mention of it on AVSForum.  Of course an irrational ratio can't be achieved with precision, but there are approximations that come close enough.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-20-2017, 07:06 PM
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Not trying to derail the thread too much, but consecutive Fibonacci numbers (e.g, 5:3, 8:5) make good approximations of the golden ratio. I've never seen a TV with one of those ratios, but a lot of PC monitors have 8:5 ratios (e.g., 1440x900; 1920x1200, etc.). If most of what you watch is 4:3 or 16:9, one of those displays would seem like a halfway-decent compromise. Unfortunately they are usually much smaller than TVs, rarely exceeding 26" diagonally. One might be OK for a bedroom though.

Incidentally, why do we call it 21:9 and not 7:3? Both ratios are identical, and we don't call 4:3 "12:9"
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-20-2017, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Not trying to derail the thread too much, but consecutive Fibonacci numbers (e.g, 5:3, 8:5) make good approximations of the golden ratio. ...

5:3 is 1.66... (5:3 or 15:9), and there have been a few movies that have been produced in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio, such as some Paramount movies; and 1.66:1 is a standard widescreen film format for some European countries. Once in a great while I'll see thinner than usual pillar bars on TCM and I'll check IMDB for the aspect ratio, and typically it would be 1.6:1 or 1.66:1.


There are so few 5:3 (1.66:1) movies aired nowadays that I doubt 5:3 will replace 16:9, let alone 21:9 or 4:3.


AVSFORUM must be rubbing off on me! On occasion while watching an old movie or a movie made for (4:3) TV, I'll think, "That shot would have been better framed at 1.85:1 than the Academy Ratio (1.375:1) (or the old 4:3 TV) that they had to work with in those days!"

My very humble setup:
Spoiler!
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-20-2017, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Not trying to derail the thread too much, but consecutive Fibonacci numbers (e.g, 5:3, 8:5) make good approximations of the golden ratio. I've never seen a TV with one of those ratios, but a lot of PC monitors have 8:5 ratios (e.g., 1440x900; 1920x1200, etc.). If most of what you watch is 4:3 or 16:9, one of those displays would seem like a halfway-decent compromise. Unfortunately they are usually much smaller than TVs, rarely exceeding 26" diagonally. One might be OK for a bedroom though.

Incidentally, why do we call it 21:9 and not 7:3? Both ratios are identical, and we don't call 4:3 "12:9"
21:9 highlights/frames the difference relative to 16:9 (which most people understand as the standard nowadays anyways). This is important for marketing too, so that people can understand it easier. 7:3 would make sense if the evolution was born directly after 4:3.

Just my 2c

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post #8 of 10 Old 09-21-2017, 07:45 AM
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You're probably right; they want you to see 21:9 and immediately think, "Oh, that's even wider than 16:9;" if they said 7:3 instead, you'd think "that's wider than 4:3" but how it compares to 16:9 wouldn't be immediately obvious. So it's sort of a marketing thing.

But that does make me wonder how we ended up with 16:9 in the first place, instead of the 5:3 we were just wondering about, which would have been easier to compare to 4:3 (and this thread would be asking if 7:3 would replace it).

I do wonder where this trend of ever-wider screen ratios will end. In ten years, will we all be shopping for the latest "surround" TVs, with monster screens that wrap around the viewer(s) like a horseshoe?

Given the wide variety of video aspect ratios, maybe the best approach would be not a traditional screen, but some kind of projector system that anamorphically stretched and squeezed all the available pixels into the correct aspect ratio for whatever content you were viewing.

Oh, well; I guess I won't worry about it. I'll just sit back and wait and see what comes out.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-21-2017, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
But that does make me wonder how we ended up with 16:9 in the first place, instead of the 5:3 we were just wondering about, which would have been easier to compare to 4:3 (and this thread would be asking if 7:3 would replace it).
The modern 16:9 (1.78:1) is a compromise of the various popular aspect ratios in use in 1980, a compromise to minimize screen wastage:

Aspect RatioUse
1.33:1TV standard of 1980 (which dates back to the AR of Edison film)
1.66:1European "flat" ratio
1.85:1American "flat" ratio
2.20:170 mm films and Panavision
2.39:1CinemaScope ratio for anamorphic widescreen films
Then Dr. Kerns H. Powers on the SMPTE Working Group on High-Definition Electronic Production made cardboard cutouts of the above aspect ratios, each of the same area, and stacked them with the centers aligned, and saw that they all fit within a 16:9 (1.78:1) rectangle and also all of the cardboard templates covered an inner rectangle of likewise 16:9. That is when Dr. Powers proposed 16:9 as the target aspect ratio for HD electronic production, and it was apparently adopted, becoming the standard AR for anamorphic DVDs, for Blu-ray discs, and HDTVs.

(Much of the above is pulled from Wikipedia: 16:9.)

As a compromise, I think 16:9 is decent, but it is indeed a compromise to minimize screen wastage. And like most compromises, there are down sides, in this case, one of the downsides is letterboxing and the resulting shorter image for "scope" movies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
I do wonder where this trend of ever-wider screen ratios will end. In ten years, will we all be shopping for the latest "surround" TVs, with monster screens that wrap around the viewer(s) like a horseshoe?
I don't think wrap-around TV will be more than a niche product, if ever. Today 21:9 TVs hardly sell.

It looks like the extreme aspect ratios used (besides the rare 360-degree presentations at Disneyland & Walt Disney World and maybe a few other special presentations) are 2.75:1 for Ultra-Panovision; and Napoleon (1927), the only commercial movie made in 4.00:1 Polyvision (three 4:3 projectors).

I am unaware of any recent movies filmed wider than 2.40:1. That may be a technical issue with the equipment now available for both filming and projecting, but I haven't heard of any big push for wider than 2.40:1.


There may also be practical reasons for not going excessively wide. If shooting wide, more of the set has to be built, dressed, and stage hands moved further to the side to be outside of the shot. There is also more risk of something coming into view at the edge that wasn't intended to be shown. (Can you imagine watching something like Stagecoach and then see a contrail in the sky? Or a panning shot in a movie from the Revolutionary War accidentally capturing someone in Levi's with an iPhone? Actually, capturing shadows of boom mikes are fairly common, and less common capturing the boom mike itself in the shot.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Given the wide variety of video aspect ratios, maybe the best approach would be not a traditional screen, but some kind of projector system that anamorphically stretched and squeezed all the available pixels into the correct aspect ratio for whatever content you were viewing.
The whole "2.35:1 Constant Image Height Chat" Forum here on AVSFORUM are threads discussing projector systems to get appropriate stretching of "scope" material, sometimes with variable matting (same function as the curtains in a theater: to hide the screen beyond the range of the projected picture: eliminate reflections on the unused portion of the screen).

My very humble setup:
Spoiler!
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-21-2017, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark12547 View Post
The modern 16:9 (1.78:1) is a compromise of the various popular aspect ratios in use in 1980, a compromise to minimize screen wastage:

Aspect RatioUse
1.33:1TV standard of 1980 (which dates back to the AR of Edison film)
1.66:1European "flat" ratio
1.85:1American "flat" ratio
2.20:170 mm films and Panavision
2.39:1CinemaScope ratio for anamorphic widescreen films

As a compromise, I think 16:9 is decent, but it is indeed a compromise to minimize screen wastage. And like most compromises, there are down sides, in this case, one of the downsides is letterboxing and the resulting shorter image for "scope" movies.
Thanks; that makes good sense. I'm not really complaining about 16:9; I guess I was just wondering why it won out over aspect ratios with smaller integers, like 5:3, 8:5, 6:3 (i.e., 2:1) or even 11:6. I guess Dr. Powers' "equal-area" experiment explains it.

My question came up after learning that choosing the number 9 for the denominator has seemingly locked discussions about different aspect ratios into also using a denominator of 9, as in the thread title, to facilitate comparisons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark12547 View Post
I don't think wrap-around TV will be more than a niche product, if ever. Today 21:9 TVs hardly sell.
LOL - I agree. I was deliberately trying to concoct a ridiculously extreme example as the endpoint of the progression from 4:3 to 16:9 to (as hoped by some) 21:9 to ???
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark12547 View Post
It looks like the extreme aspect ratios used (besides the rare 360-degree presentations at Disneyland & Walt Disney World and maybe a few other special presentations) are 2.75:1 for Ultra-Panovision; and Napoleon (1927), the only commercial movie made in 4.00:1 Polyvision (three 4:3 projectors).

I am unaware of any recent movies filmed wider than 2.40:1. That may be a technical issue with the equipment now available for both filming and projecting, but I haven't heard of any big push for wider than 2.40:1.

There may also be practical reasons for not going excessively wide. If shooting wide, more of the set has to be built, dressed, and stage hands moved further to the side to be outside of the shot. There is also more risk of something coming into view at the edge that wasn't intended to be shown. (Can you imagine watching something like Stagecoach and then see a contrail in the sky? Or a panning shot in a movie from the Revolutionary War accidentally capturing someone in Levi's with an iPhone? Actually, capturing shadows of boom mikes are fairly common, and less common capturing the boom mike itself in the shot.)
All that makes sense. 2.40:1 is only slightly wider than 7:3 21:9, so maybe we've finally reached the limit. I suppose somebody might want a 2.75:1 screen, but it'd probably be a tiny niche product as you pointed out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark12547 View Post
The whole "2.35:1 Constant Image Height Chat" Forum here on AVSFORUM are threads discussing projector systems to get appropriate stretching of "scope" material, sometimes with variable matting (same function as the curtains in a theater: to hide the screen beyond the range of the projected picture: eliminate reflections on the unused portion of the screen).
That does seem like the best approach, if the intent is to allow different aspect ratios to be viewed without getting either "fathead" or "Avatar" effects, and without wasting expensive pixels. But personally, I'm going to stick with the good ol' widely available compromise of 16:9 for the time being.

Last edited by JHBrandt; 09-21-2017 at 07:09 PM.
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