What's the one true aspect ratio?

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What is the right aspect ratio for a laptop screen?

16: 9
21
39%
16:10
16
30%
3:2
2
4%
4:3
12
22%
Other (taller than 16:10)
1
2%
Other (wider than 16:10)
2
4%
 
Total votes: 54

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What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Iranon » Sun May 26, 2013 8:58 pm UTC

Feel free to note what's the correct aspect ratio for desktop monitors, but I didn't want to muddle this with different hardware categories.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby poxic » Sun May 26, 2013 9:09 pm UTC

Oh, I thought this would be about phi.

Edit: wait, 16:10 is pretty close, no?
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Iranon » Sun May 26, 2013 9:15 pm UTC

It could well be... 16:10 is close to golden (slightly taller).
I'm more partial to the Lichtenberg (sqrt2 : 1) ratio for something that's mathematically elegant and usable.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby screen317 » Tue May 28, 2013 2:09 am UTC

poxic wrote:Oh, I thought this would be about phi.

Edit: wait, 16:10 is pretty close, no?
I voted 16:9, but my goodness that song was awesome.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Derek » Tue May 28, 2013 5:38 am UTC

I won't be giving up my 16:10 monitor any time soon, but I voted 16:9 for the sake of standardization.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Vash » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:01 pm UTC

4:3. I wish things had never gone widescreen.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:37 pm UTC

15:8 should have been chosen for its hypotenuse, but 16:9 is the next best thing.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:07 pm UTC

4x3. For monitors *and* film.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:48 am UTC

The eyes scan horizontally more readily than vertically. I understand 4:3 for computer displays, since so much of what happens on computer displays is text pages (which for many users just end up taking a 4:3 space at the center, leaving pretty little bars of wallpaper on the sides and not much else; I ended up snapping Mail or Music into the right-side secondary-window bar when using Windows 8, and I have to note that the threads and Post box here have a box of what's essentially whitespace to the right of the text.) But for film, I think 4:3 is constrained. It makes more sense to emulate the "shape" of what people actually see in viewing a scene, with some concession to "peripheral vision," even if that space is all still well within our normal binocular vision.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby EvanED » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:21 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:But for film, I think 4:3 is constrained. It makes more sense to emulate the "shape" of what people actually see in viewing a scene, with some concession to "peripheral vision," even if that space is all still well within our normal binocular vision.
For a similar reason I think it also makes sense for games -- along with the added argument that in most games, most of what you want to look at is usually spread out more horizontally than vertically (e.g. people standing around on the ground instead of flying in the air).

For a lot of work, I think it depends on the actual resolutions and physical sizes in question. For instance, I'll easily take a resolution that fits two windows side-by-side (e.g. console and editor) comfortably over one that doesn't but that has more height.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:12 am UTC

Oh, agreed - I like having a browser window and a notepad up, or two documents side-by-side if I'm using a big enough display. There are some tasks that really do work more smoothly that way.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:04 am UTC

16:9 for games.
I don't really separate 16:10 vs 16:9 much. I have one 16:10 monitor at home and two 16:9 monitors at work. From that, the only conclusion I draw is:
2 x 16:(x) > 1 x 16:(y) for any x,y in {10,9}

4:3 is limited. Unless what you're reading has access to the full width of the monitor then it's terrible.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Vash » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:17 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:15:8 should have been chosen for its hypotenuse, but 16:9 is the next best thing.


Speaking of hypotenuses, 4:3 also has a whole hypotenuse, probably even a slightly more convenient one. (5)

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Vash » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:22 pm UTC

Arguments over width are invalid. Just get a bigger 4:3 screen.

For real though, I think something near 16:9 is nice mainly because it's a good compromise between 4:3 content and movie aspect ratios like 2.39:1. Yes, black bars for both, but smaller ones, and both kinds of content get to be decently large. The alternative is to own 2 or more screens, which is expensive.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

Vash wrote:Arguments over width are invalid. Just get a bigger 4:3 screen.

It'd be quite the monster 4:3 screen that matched the 16:9 screen I'm currently using.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Steax » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:53 pm UTC

9:16 for my side-monitors, because for some reason I code a lot faster when I get more code on the screen at once. It's rare to find code that needs to wrap horizontally, but all code extends vertically.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:16 pm UTC

My display: 5040x1050

Spoiler:
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8-)

The one true aspect ratio is 24:5.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby EvanED » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:30 pm UTC

Vash wrote:Arguments over width are invalid. Just get a bigger 4:3 screen.
So are arguments over height then: just get a bigger 16:9 screen.

IMO this question is implicitly "what aspect ratio would you want for a fixed number of pixels or for a fixed cost".

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Iranon » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:10 am UTC

That's what I meant, but total size may play into it. I don't want to scan in two axes, so above a certain size I'd want my screen to get wider but not taller.
For a desktop, a ludicrously wide screen seems like an attractive alternative to multiple monitors.

Somewhat related, usage habits play into it.
4:3 is nice for fullscreen work, but too narrow for the most basic multitask scenario (2 equal-sized windows side by side).
16:9 is too wide (or too short) for fullscreen work. It's great for most modern movies and immersive games. For information-based ones I'd prefer something taller.
Something in between multitasking setups because quarter-screen windows and the like will also be comfortable. Mathematically interesting ratios are the Lichtenberg Ratio and the Golden Ratio.

The former is used in A-Series paper. Halves have the same aspect ratio as the original. At 1,44:1, it's quite tall but perfectly usable. Any window layout that's based on powers of 1/2 looks great on it.
The latter can be split into a rectangle of the same aspect ratio and a square... which means we could fill it with an endless spiral of dwindling squares. Golden spirals are another cool tiling setup, on other screens our windows just won't be square. Even more than the above, it's regarded as an inherently pleasing shape. 16:10 was very close and I'm sad to see it go.

Of course, we only get to enjoy those nerdy details in full when we're not using any desktop furniture... and most people won't care anyway. Still, I'd like manufacturers to show some appreciation of mathematical elegance. Bookbinders have done so for centuries... for a better reading experience for all even if we couldn't pin down the nerdy details of why they're laid out in a certain way.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Vash » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:45 pm UTC

What we need is cheap screen material that you can cut out for yourself and make into any size or shape screen you want.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby MrPotatoJunior » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:59 pm UTC

What do you guys think about 2.16:9? I have seen a few movies in it and it looked OK. Maybe better than 16:9.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby WanderingLinguist » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:09 am UTC

MrPotatoJunior wrote:What do you guys think about 2.16:9? I have seen a few movies in it and it looked OK. Maybe better than 16:9.


.....I don't think that means what you think it means.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Derek » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:04 am UTC

WanderingLinguist wrote:
MrPotatoJunior wrote:What do you guys think about 2.16:9? I have seen a few movies in it and it looked OK. Maybe better than 16:9.


.....I don't think that means what you think it means.

He obviously has a very bad case of this.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby MrPotatoJunior » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:28 am UTC

WanderingLinguist wrote:
MrPotatoJunior wrote:What do you guys think about 2.16:9? I have seen a few movies in it and it looked OK. Maybe better than 16:9.


.....I don't think that means what you think it means.


Did I say something wrong? Isn't 2.16:9 when it's like two 16:9 next to each other to form an extra wide aspect ratio? Like 1280x544?

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby EvanED » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:22 pm UTC

MrPotatoJunior wrote:
WanderingLinguist wrote:
MrPotatoJunior wrote:What do you guys think about 2.16:9? I have seen a few movies in it and it looked OK. Maybe better than 16:9.


.....I don't think that means what you think it means.


Did I say something wrong? Isn't 2.16:9 when it's like two 16:9 next to each other to form an extra wide aspect ratio? Like 1280x544?
2.16:9 would be this aspect ratio:
ratio.png
ratio.png (133 Bytes) Viewed 15231 times


The ":9" isn't just something people add on. The whole thing, for instance, 16:9, is an actual ratio of width to height, which is the same as 1.77:1 (that's 16 divided by 9). So a 16:9 monitor is 1.77 times wide as it is tall.

So 2.16:9 would be the same as 0.24:1, which means your screen would be almost four times taller than it is wide. Some movies are like 2.16:1 (2.16 times wider than tall) or even like 2.35:1.

Two 16:9 monitors next to each other would just be 32:9, or 3.55:1.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby MrPotatoJunior » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:12 am UTC

EvanED wrote:
MrPotatoJunior wrote:
WanderingLinguist wrote:
MrPotatoJunior wrote:What do you guys think about 2.16:9? I have seen a few movies in it and it looked OK. Maybe better than 16:9.


.....I don't think that means what you think it means.


Did I say something wrong? Isn't 2.16:9 when it's like two 16:9 next to each other to form an extra wide aspect ratio? Like 1280x544?
2.16:9 would be this aspect ratio:
ratio.png


The ":9" isn't just something people add on. The whole thing, for instance, 16:9, is an actual ratio of width to height, which is the same as 1.77:1 (that's 16 divided by 9). So a 16:9 monitor is 1.77 times wide as it is tall.

So 2.16:9 would be the same as 0.24:1, which means your screen would be almost four times taller than it is wide. Some movies are like 2.16:1 (2.16 times wider than tall) or even like 2.35:1.

Two 16:9 monitors next to each other would just be 32:9, or 3.55:1.


OK thanks for the explanation.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby phlip » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:00 pm UTC

I suspect he means not 2.16:9 (as in two point one six to nine) but rather 2∙16:9 (as in two times sixteen to nine)... then it would make sense to mean two 16:9 monitors, arranged horizontally.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:34 pm UTC

As in, a common 16:9 setup (probably more common as 16:10), side by side, but with a merged desktop? That sounds frightening, I'm not even sure many applications can handle being stretched to such a size, especially centered layouts... Like most websites.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Iranon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:57 pm UTC

Most people with such a setup would have several programs visible at the same time.

16:9 is already too wide for most single tasks - in widescreen movies, needing to scan a little in the horizontal axis makes the experience more engaging, in everything else it's just annoying.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:59 pm UTC

Yeah, and there's nothing quite like spreading out over two widescreen displays and getting comfortable, but I'm curious, now. He said that he's watched movies this way, then said it was two 16:9 displays side by side. Terminology and ratios aside, it still sounds like he's talking about two physical widescreen monitors, side by side, with a movie playing over the entire extended desktop. MrPotatoJunior, is that what you're describing?
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:25 pm UTC

Iranon wrote:Most people with such a setup would have several programs visible at the same time.

16:9 is already too wide for most single tasks - in widescreen movies, needing to scan a little in the horizontal axis makes the experience more engaging, in everything else it's just annoying.


Yes, but they were mentioning movies, so unless it's a borderless monitor, there's going to be a big black line down the center. And if it's going to be a multi-app setup, why bother making it into one desktop?

I personally have a 3 x 16:9 desktop, and it's great, yes. But I only ever have one main monitor instead of spreading stuff out.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby MrPotatoJunior » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:27 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Yeah, and there's nothing quite like spreading out over two widescreen displays and getting comfortable, but I'm curious, now. He said that he's watched movies this way, then said it was two 16:9 displays side by side. Terminology and ratios aside, it still sounds like he's talking about two physical widescreen monitors, side by side, with a movie playing over the entire extended desktop. MrPotatoJunior, is that what you're describing?


I think not. I'm referring to actual movies that had the resolution that was like two 16:9 next to each other. They were as tall as ONE 16:9 movie, but it was TWICE as wide as a 16:9 one. I think this is not very common yet. If I recall correctly the last movie that I have downloaded with this resolution was Evangelion 3.33 You are (not) alone.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:20 pm UTC

Weird. That film is supposed to be 2.35:1 (which is now really 2.39:1, apparently, but there was a naming convention thing.) That would be 21.5:9, for comparison (not 32:9).
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Derek » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:29 am UTC

I happen to have that film on my harddrive right now, and the bluray version is 1920x814, or 2.35:1. That's basically as wide as movies are made.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Steax » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:17 am UTC

Ohh. so MrPotatoJunior was talking about the movie's aspect ratio, not a physical screen. Got mixed up there.
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby MrPotatoJunior » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:45 am UTC

Derek wrote:I happen to have that film on my harddrive right now, and the bluray version is 1920x814, or 2.35:1. That's basically as wide as movies are made.

Really? Then we must have different versions, because mine is 1280x544. You say you have the Blu-Ray FLAC? Do you have the [Coalgirls] one?

Oh wait, isn't it the same just scaled down?

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:25 pm UTC

Yeah, yours is just downscaled. The aspect ratio is the same (2.35:1, not 3.56:1, which is what two 16:9 screens would be).
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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby sparkyb » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

I have some very strong opinions about aspect ratios. I don't have one true aspect ratio globally, but I do for specific applications. I appreciate the switch to 16:9 for TVs, especially because it makes a better movie viewing experience. I have no problem with movies coming in a variety of ratios (16:9, 1.85, 2.35) because I can stand a little letterboxing. For computing devices with really specific uses like my phone or tablet or a monitor/projector on a computer I use exclusively for presenting media I like a 16:9 display or even a 16:10 display so there is room for a full-width 16:9 video and still some space for a task bar or something. Even if I fullscreen it's just a little extra letterboxing which isn't a big deal.

But for general-purpose computing I still prefer my 4:3 monitor (actually 5:4, but close enough). I prefer a little more height and not having everything be crazy wide. I mostly scroll things vertically anyway. I have a 19" 4:3 at home and at work I kept my 2 17" 4:3s despite my company's attempt to make me switch one of them to a 24" 16:9. And where I am most adamant about 4:3 is laptops. In my opinion 4:3 (or 5:4) is the ideal ratio for a laptop screen. It is a good for the size of the keyboard+trackpad it folds down on. Every widescreen laptop I've seen is either just shorter which just deprives me of vertical pixels I have on my current laptop and is strictly a step backwards, or the whole laptop has to be wider which makes a laptop that is physically bigger than I want. In fact, most of the time it is both. I thought 1400x1050 was the best laptop resolution ever. Why would I want to downgrade to 1440x900?

My other serious aspect-ratio pet peeve is stretching or cropping media to match a display. I don't care what the aspect ratio of your media and display are, so long as you show the media at its native aspect ratio. Letter/pillarboxing are your friend.

Lastly, speaking of the golden ratio, I used to work at a company that had the standard golden ratio rectangle/spiral thing as part of our logo and so we had business cards that were the golden ratio, slightly taller than standard business cards (an earlier iteration was the same height but narrower). It was pretty cool, although being non-standard created some problems sometimes. Now I use them as dividers in my business card file since they stick out.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Derek » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:33 pm UTC

I actually agree about laptop screens. My (widescreen) laptop tends to be wider than necessary for most things, but not quite tall enough. But I long since gave up trying to find a good 4:3 laptop.

MrPotatoJunior wrote:
Derek wrote:I happen to have that film on my harddrive right now, and the bluray version is 1920x814, or 2.35:1. That's basically as wide as movies are made.

Really? Then we must have different versions, because mine is 1280x544. You say you have the Blu-Ray FLAC? Do you have the [Coalgirls] one?

Oh wait, isn't it the same just scaled down?

I've got the UTW version. 1920x814 is 1080p with letterboxing, and 1280x544 is 720p with letterboxing, but they both have the same 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I actually don't know which is "original" in the sense that which came on the blu-ray, but I'm assuming it's the 1080p.

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Re: What's the one true aspect ratio?

Postby Vash » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:26 pm UTC

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widescreen#Types

The most widescreen movie according to that page was 4:1.


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