What is the aspect ratio and what is the difference between 16:9 and 4:3?

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A. The basic definition of aspect ratio is "width to height ratio of a film or television image". Today, when you are shopping for a projector, you have to decide between getting a 4:3 or 16:9 native projector. 4:3 projectors display a "squarish" looking image and normally match the look of a standard computer monitor or TV. Native resolutions of 4:3 displays are 800 x 600 (SVGA), 1024 x 768 (XGA) and 1600 x 1200 (UXGA) and they are designed for displaying computer data and do a good job showing Standard Definition TV (SDTV) or normal TV. 16:9 ratio projectors are more "rectangular" and match the display format found in widescreen DVD's and HDTV. When displaying SDTV, a 16:9 native projector will either display the content as a square in-the-middle-of a rectangle or the projector will stretch the image to fill the screen. When you are shopping for DVD's and you want an image that will fill the screen, look for 16:9 formatted DVD's, 1.78:1 or 1.85:1. Within what is considered ... more
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