16:9 and 4:3 -- Do I have this right?


Could someone confirm that this is correct:

It is my understanding that many TV stations nationwide are broadcasting in digital, requiring an off-air HDTV tuner for reception.

Even though this is the case, the content may not be high-definition. (Just like satellite, it's a digital signal, but not true high-def.) Much of this programming is still in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

True HDTV, contrarily, is always 16:9.

Is this correct?

yes, you are right

A. Billmann,

Short for High-Definition Television, a new type of television that provides much better resolution than current televisions based on the NTSC standard. There are a number of competing HDTV standards, which is one reason that the new technology has not been widely implemented. All of the standards support a wider screen than NTSC and roughly twice the resolution. To pump this additional data through the narrow TV channels, images are digitized and then compressed before they are transmitted and then decompressed when they reach the TV. Thus, the requirement of the OTA, Cable or Satellite Decoders.

You can find some good basic information on how HDTV works at


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