What are the Benefits of a Widescreen TV?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 May 2020
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The widescreen TV format is likely to be the standard television format in the future, and many TV program producers and filmmakers have either already switched to using it or are in the process of doing so. It makes sense therefore, for someone buying a new TV, to get a digital television that will be in sync with the new high-definition broadcast technology. Having a widescreen television will allow the viewer to watch TV programs and home theater movies as they are meant to be seen.

Conventional TVs have a 4:3 format, which means the screen is four units wide and three units high. Programs shown on these screens can be viewed in either the center cutout or the letterbox formats. In the center cutout format, the picture sides are cropped to fit the screen, leading to visual information loss. With the letterbox format, black bands appear at the top and bottom of the picture, allowing the viewer to see the picture in its entirety, albeit on a reduced scale that detracts from its overall enjoyment.

There are no such issues with a widescreen TV. These TVs follow a 16:9 format, where the screen is 16 units wide and nine units high, offering the viewers a panoramic view akin to what is seen in a cinema theater. Thanks to the high-definition broadcast and the digital television technology that utilizes all the lines on the TV screen, the viewer also gets the benefit of a much sharper and clearer picture.

Apart from offering viewers better pictures, the widescreen TV format is excellent for covering large sporting, entertainment and other public events. Viewers can keep up with what is happening in its entirety and even watch different camera views at the same time on split screens. Another benefit of the widescreen television format is that it makes life easier for filmmakers; they don't have to reissue their films in another format if the theatrical format works just as well for television.

Widescreen TVs can receive digital signals in both the 16:9 high-definition broadcast format as well as in the standard-definition transmissions. Viewers can decide in which format they want to watch a program by making the suitable selection on the digital receiver. They can also set this to automatic so that the receiver will detect the incoming signals and, accordingly, display the picture in either the 16:9 or the 4:3 format. Pictures in the 4:3 format can be zoomed to fit the widescreen TV, although this may cause some amount of distortion.

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Post 6

I always hated having the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. There's so much wasted space on the screen when you're watching something on a regular TV that is meant for widescreen.

Someone else mentioned football, but I watch a lot of hockey, and when I got my new 32 inch widescreen TV a few years ago, the difference was night and day. I think standard TVs are all right. I never really had a huge problem with them, but for hockey, it is almost impossible to keep track of the puck sometimes. With the high def TVs, though, you can always see what is going on.

I know some people, too, that hook up their computer to their widescreen TVs so that they can watch streaming movies and videos in better quality.

Post 5

@stl156 - That is very impressive considering the quality of most TVs today. I have had the same problem watching things on my TV, as well. When I started college, I got a standard TV just because I couldn't afford an LCD widescreen TV, and they weren't very popular yet. Recently, though, I have been wishing for my TV to die so that I can justify spending the money on a nice widescreen LCD TV. It feels like it would be wasteful, though, if my current TV is still working just fine.

I will admit that, at first, I wasn't really sold on the widescreen TVs. I was always content just watching on the regular screen. Finally, though, my friends

started getting HD TVs and I saw the difference. The view was pretty incredible the first time I saw it. I think maybe things are getting a little out of control now that screens have advanced to the point where our eyes can't even pick up the new changes, but that's another story.
Post 4

@summing - You are right about that. It is getting to the point where people are almost being forced to go out and buy a new TV with the widescreen format.

My family amazingly had the same TV for 16 years until just this last year when it finally gave out, and we had to get a new one. We had that original TV long before the HD widescreen TV revolution came along, so it was just the standard format. Eventually, though, a lot of stations start broadcasting several of their shows in widescreen. The one I can think of specifically was ESPN. During football games and things, if you had the normal 4:3 screen, you were out of luck, and parts of the score bars were constantly cut off. It was very frustrating.

Since we've had the new TV, though, things have been great. I guess we'll see if this one is still hanging on in 16 years.

Post 3
I just bought my first LCD widescreen TV and I am loving it. It's funny because I am watching all the same shows but somehow liking them way more. There is a thrilling novelty to having the high definition picture. Honestly, I have been watching way more TV than usual lately.
Post 2

@summing - I could not agree more. I can remember watching classic films on VHS tapes on old TVs and feeling like I was missing about half of what the directors intended. It's a shame they ever made full screen available in the first place. Why would you accept a ruined work of art like that?

Post 1

The biggest benefit to having a widescreen TV is that you never have to watch anything in the incorrect aspect ratio. Watching things in full screen is one of the most annoying ways to watch a film or show.

Luckily widescreen is very quickly becoming the norm and full screen will soon be a thing of the past.

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