When purchasing a new PC monitor or perhaps a TV screen, you’ll likely encounter a specification called “Aspect Ratio.” This term refers to the ratio between the width and height of the display. It’s noted in the form of W:H, which is interpreted as W pixels in width for every H pixel in height. The higher the first number compared to the last number, the wider the screen will be compared to the height.

Most monitors and TVs today have an aspect ratio of 16:9, also known as widescreen. This ratio is the most common option for computer monitors and TVs today because it fits best with the majority of content, including movies and TV shows. We are also seeing more and more gaming monitors adopting a 21:9 aspect ratio, referred to as UltraWide. There are also several monitors with a 32:9 aspect ratio, or ‘Super UltraWide’.

Popular Aspect Ratios And Screen Resolutions
Popular Aspect Ratios And Screen Resolutions

Less popular aspect ratios include 4:3 and 16:10. Finding new monitors with these aspect ratios can be challenging nowadays, though they were quite widespread in the past. The 4:3 aspect ratio, often referred to as square monitors, dates back to 1917 when the Society of Motion Picture Engineers adopted it as the standard format for film.

Here’s a list of popular aspect ratios and associated screen resolutions:

  • 32:9 aspect ratio: 3840×1080, 5120×1440, 7680×2160
  • 21:9 aspect ratio: 2560×1080, 3440×1440, 3840×1600, 5120×2160
  • 16:9 aspect ratio: 1280×720, 1366×768, 1600×900, 1920×1080, 2560×1440, 3840×2160, 5120×2880, 7680×4320
  • 16:10 aspect ratio: 1280×800, 1920×1200, 2560×1600
  • 4:3 aspect ratio: 1400×1050, 1440×1080, 1600×1200, 1920×1440, 2048×1536

Choosing the Right Aspect Ratio

The best aspect ratio will often be whatever your display’s native screen resolution/aspect ratio is. However, it also depends on what type of content you are watching as well as your personal preference.

Right Aspect Ratio
Right Aspect Ratio

16:9 is the most widespread aspect ratio as it is used for the most common monitor and TV resolutions, including 1920×1080 and 4K. Moreover, a 16:9 aspect ratio is very versatile as it can decently display both 4:3 and 21:9 content.

When it comes to gaming, ultrawide monitors with 21:9 or 32:9 aspect ratios can offer massive benefits due to the broader field of view. However, some competitive games will limit the aspect ratio to 16:9, meaning you’ll have black bars at the sides of the screen.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the aspect ratio is a crucial factor to consider when purchasing a new display. It significantly impacts your viewing experience, whether you’re watching a movie, playing a game, or working on a project. The 16:9 aspect ratio is the most common and versatile, but 21:9 and 32:9 ratios can provide a more immersive experience for certain applications. Always consider your specific needs and the type of content you’ll be viewing when choosing an aspect ratio.

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