YouTube Widescreen 16:9 ratio launches across site

YouTube have gone widescreen with all their content (blog announcement). Some may see this as a strange move given that most content for the site is in 4:3 ratio as default. Unfortunately the problem is that I could not find a video that did not have black bars down the side. So where is all the native 16:9 YouTube content? (Searching for 16:9 does not find much). Here’w what YT says: 

“We’re expanding the width of the page to 960 pixels to better reflect the quality of the videos you create and the screens that you use to watch them. This new, wider player is in a widescreen aspect ratio which we hope will provide you with a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience. And don’t worry, your 4:3 aspect ratio videos will play just fine in this new player”

Personally I would think that maybe YT would have been better off detecting what the native aspect ratio is and the have a different template – possibly be a little better in terms of presentation, and a little less impact on users. Content Creators tend to have pride in getting the format and presentation layer correct. The black bars do make all the videos look a little dated.

Yuk… The black bars are EVERYWHERE!!!

Future Guide: If you want to upload native 16:9 content to YouTube you’ll need to upload videos as a 640×360 or other 16:9 aspect ratio.

The same content embedded does not affect external pages, although I could not see how to embed a widescreen version of the above.


No black bars when you embed… for now.

More aspect issues:
Unfortunately Standard Widescreen cinema works at 1:85 and Cinemascope widescreen is at 2:35 – so videos like the WOW Lich King trailed end up with bars on the top! (here)


Ultimately there are 4 standard aspect ratios for content. 4:3, 16:9 1:85 and 2:35. Why can’t we have them all??


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6 Responses

  1. Lucy says:

    I agree. I’m really disappointed they haven’t included a sort of auto-detect thing for the ratio. The bars are bad. In fact I really can’t stand the bars. Really. Big time.

  2. Andy P says:

    …or they could just change the black bars to white bars?

  3. tbuesing says:

    Since the launch coincided with YouTube Live on the weekend, I am assuming that sponsor PureDigital’s new Flip Mino HD will upload with ease (and no bars!). For example ‘Where the Hell is Matt?’ in its 2008 version is available as widescreen and uses it to nice effect.
    the extension &fmt=22 indicates an HD video

  4. RobertEH says:

    yep splendid method .
    I have had great results also with

  5. DavidWP says:

    I’m gonna try this one for sure.
    I have had great results also with

  6. Alan Carter says:

    Great information that is much appreciated. Thank you for providing such interesting content.

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