Understanding HDTV Aspect Ratio
This question is frequently asked, and it’s referring to the black bars you see on top and bottom of movies on your widescreen TV. Well here’s a good guide on just why they exist and how it actually is a good thing as it lets you see the whole picture.
Not that big of a deal, right? Barely noticeable bars. We’ve had movies even longer than TV, and there has never been a “standard” aspect ratio. The common ones are 1.85:1, 2.35:1 and 2:40:1, though a few films were even wider, 2.55:1 or even 2.76:1. Most big Hollywood movies are 2.35:1 (usually pre-1970) or 2.40:1 (after 1970) though there are exceptions.