How To Measure a Widescreen TV

Flat and widescreen television sets have replaced what used to be known as the boob tube. Not only do such television sets provide the viewer with a better experience. They also save space in your living room.

The term “widescreen,” as applied to television, generally refers to its aspect ratio. Every viewing screen such as TV sets and computer monitors have what is known as the aspect ratio. Such number is the ratio of the displayed image’s width to the image’s height. Thus, it is actually a combination of two numbers with a colon in between.

Thus, when you are told to measure a widescreen TV, you are going to measure its aspect ratio. Here’s how to do it.

  • Determine what your widescreen television’s aspect ratio is. The aspect ratio of most widescreen TV sets is 16:9. That simply means that the width is 16 units long and the height is 9 units long. This makes the image projected by the TV a widescreen image, simply because the width is wider than the height. In contrast, a non-widescreen TV would display an image that is square, or that has an aspect ratio of about 1:1.
  • Find out the width of the television screen. Just by determining the width of the screen, you will be able to calculate the height by using simple proportion. So, for example, if your screen’s width is 32 inches, then its height is 18 inches.
  • Another way to measure the wideness of the screen is by knowing the diagonal length. In geometry, a diagonal is a line from one angle of a polygon going to another angle of the same polygon. In terms of squares and rectangles, the diagonal line extends from one corner to its opposite corner. Television screen sizes are often expressed as lengths of this diagonal line. Thus, if your TV has a 32-inch screen, the number does not refer to the length or the width of the screen. Instead, it refers to the diagonal from one screen corner to the other corner.
  • Understand the importance of screen area. Suppose you have two TV screens. Both are 32-inch screens. Are they equivalent?  Not necessarily. If one screen has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and the other has an aspect ratio of 4:3, the screen with the aspect ratio closer to a square (i.e., 4:3) will have the bigger screen area. Yet, even if a 4:3 screen has bigger area, the 16:9 screen still has better advantage because it makes the TV image appear more horizontal than vertical, which is basically similar to human beings see. Since your eyes lie on a horizontal line and since almost all of the objects you view with your eyes are close to the floor or to the ground, a widescreen TV will therefore provide your sight with enough and more useful viewing space.

Measuring a widescreen TV is not something overly technical. It’s something that anyone can do. Keep these tips in mind, then, next time you measure a widescreen TV so that you would know that you can measure it using the aspect ratio and the screen size.


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