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Contact Information

Media Design Associates 5450 NW 33rd Ave Suite:103 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309-6310
Phone: 954.334.000
Fax: 954.334.0333
Email: info@mda-usa.com

About MDA

“We believe design and technology belong together.”

Michael A. Wohl, MDA Founder- MDA has built its entire business around this belief. One of our specialties is making sure technology is never obtrusive – but a comfortable, natural extension of the way you live.

Recognition

Media Design Associates is the recipient of numerous awards throughout the years. At Media Design Associates it’s always – Technology. Design. Experience.


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Understanding Aspect Ratios

 

One of the questions that’s frequently asked in the world of television has to do with the various aspect ratios that are currently floating around. Widescreen, 16:9, 4:3, 1.33:1 – these are just a few of the various ratios that denote screen aspects and are enough to give even the most gifted mathematician a bit of a headache. That being said, there are three aspect ratios that have formed the bulk of content currently being displayed in home theaters. Here’s a little bit of information about each one.

Standard Definition – Known as “four by three,” 4:3 or 1.33:1, this is the square-ish aspect ratio that was associated with television since the beginning. It’s what most are used to seeing with those old, large and heavy cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions and monitors. Nearly impossible to find in stores anymore, these TVs have been largely rendered obsolete by the advance of much lighter and more energy efficient flat-panel plasma and LCD display technologies.

Typically, programs produced in widescreen or movies viewed in their original aspect ratios are severely letterboxed (black bars along the top and bottom) when viewed on a standard 4:3 TV.

High Definition – Typically known as “widescreen TV,” high definition content is usually (but not always) distributed in a 16:9 aspect ratio and viewed on a matching widescreen TV. Nearly all network television and most cable programs produced within the past few years are shot in a 16:9 high definition format. Widescreen TVs are also great for viewing movies in their original aspect ratios, as minimal letterboxing occurs, if any. These TVs come in either the plasma or LCD varieties and in a range of resolutions.

When displaying content originally produced for display on a standard 4:3 TV, widescreen sets will fill the blank pillars on either side of the image with black or gray sidebars. Alternatively, you can set the TV to either stretch the image to fill the screen, or zoom it to crop off the top and bottom of the image.

CineWide – While movies are shot in a variety of aspect ratios depending on how the film’s director decides to show the story, a majority of movies are produced in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Slightly slimmer than your HDTV’s 16:9 aspect ratio, it still fills the screen nicely on a plasma or LCD HDTV with only slender black bars displayed on top of and below the image. These displays can also be set to fill the screen by zooming and cropping the image where necessary. In the past, CineWide movies have been released on VHS and DVD in “fullscreen” versions, where editors have used the pan and scan technique to crop the image to fit 4:3 aspect ratio TVs and attempt to keep the movie’s action within the square frame. Since the adoption of the DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats and widescreen TVs have become more widespread, many movies are no longer released in this “fullscreen” format.

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