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4:3 vs. 5:4

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First post, by atom1kk

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Hi.

I am using on my old machine a flat screen tft from 2008. But when i look at some games they look somehow compressed. I have measured my monitor and looked for the values in the Internet its seems that the ratio is 5:4. Also when i look for old tft monitors at ebay they seem all to have the 5:4 ratio.

My question is, as i remember from the old times with my tube monitor, the pictute wasnt so compressed. Is it possible thst the old monitors where 4:3 and all thr tft monitor from beginning of 2000 where 5:4?

Reply 1 of 40, by FioGermi

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I'm not a monitor technicality person so take what i say with a grain of salt...:

4:3 was the mainstream aspect ratio used by CRT monitors. Most 5:4 LCD monitors will stretch that 4:3 image slightly to fit. This may or may not be noticeable or bothersome to you. Some monitors will offer aspect scaling features that will add black bars to the top/side of the image so your 5:4 monitor can display 4:3 content without the stretch. But that's not a guarantee.

Reply 2 of 40, by atom1kk

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Unfortunately my monitor doesnt do it.

My monitor steetches the picture to top/bottom.

Is there any possibility to disable the stretching?

Or hsve been there tft monitors in 4:3 ratio?

For Windows this is not a problem with stretching but some older games look bit odd.

Reply 3 of 40, by Joseph_Joestar

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Two things matter here:

1. What is the native resolution of your LCD monitor?
2. What is the resolution of the game that you're playing?

Most LCD monitors from the mid 2000s were using 1280x1024 as their native resolution, meaning they had a 5:4 aspect ratio. If you're playing an older game at say 800x600 resolution (4:3 aspect ratio) then it will get scaled up to your LCD monitor's native resolution. A bit of image degradation may happen along the way, depending on which scaling method is used.

Some GPUs using certain drivers and a VGA connection allow you to bypass the monitor's built-in scaling and instead maintain the proper aspect ratio. That way, your scaled image will not be deformed, but it will still be blurry due to getting blown up from a lower resolution to 1280x1024.

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Reply 4 of 40, by Falcosoft

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atom1kk wrote on 2022-04-16, 10:57:

Sorry, i explained me maybe wrong. What i wanted to say is that 4:3 ratio is wider than the 5:4 ratio if i am correct. On my tft the side ratio seems to be compressed. I see it on many games, the ingame ingame symbols, especially the round ones look more oval.

Only LCD/TFT monitors with 1280x1024 native resolution have 5:4 aspect ratio. These monitors are usually 17" and 19". You can find earlier 15" LCD/TFT monitors with 1024x768 resolution that have 4:3 aspect ratio. Also there were bigger, more professional LCD monitors with 1600x1200 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio. Later and bigger LCD monitors usually rather have either 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratio (with 1680x1050 and 1920x1080 resolution respectively).
99% CRT monitors have 4:3 physical aspect ratio and have no 'native' resolution. Some CGA/VGA resolutions (e.g. 320x200, 640x350) used mainly by DOS software have no square pixels and intended to be displayed also as 4:3.

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Reply 5 of 40, by Cuttoon

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15 inch TFTs are roughly the visible size of a 17" CRT. They have 1024 x 768 just like it is recommended for a 17" CTR.
17 and 19" TFT have 1280 x 1024 which, yes, is 5:4. Somehow, in their infinite wisdom, VESA decided to make that nonsense one of their standard modes.
(Probably was about making the most out of some typical limit in physical video memory.)
19" CRTs will take 1280 x 1024, but then, well, it will be compressed in height, as normal 4:3 would be 1280 x 960

There are 20" TFTs in 1600 x 1200, but relatively rare as those were high end and when they got cheaper were replaced by 16:10 widescreen ones like 1440 x 900.

Aspect ratio for Windows is unimportant apart from ergonomics. A windows screen can have any resolution native to the screen. That's why hardly anyone noticed the weird AR.

In general, with video coding, AR and resolution are not the same. Most DVDs are anamorphic, meaning a resolution with a pixel count other than the intended AR coded into it.

Almost all CRTs were 4:3 but the games were not necessarily.
Most DOS ones were in 13h which is 320 x 200.
Which would be an AR of 16:10.
But, they were intended for a 4:3 screen, at least most. Meaning, their graphics employed "non-square" pixels. They were supposed to get somewhat stretched.
Some actually look better if you manually reduce the CRT screen to 16:10 or 4:2.5 height:

UFO_geoscape.jpg
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- That's a screencap in 320 x 200 - stretch that to 4:3 and you'll get an egg shaped planet.

So, not an exact science 😉

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Reply 6 of 40, by RandomStranger

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In the mid 2000s companies for some reason went for 5:4 with most of their monitors. There are still 4:3, but mostly those are either 1024×768 or 1600×1200 resolution. The most common in between is 5:4 1280×1024 while 4:3 1280×960 and 1440×1080 are uncommon. I've only seen a handful of those here and there.

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Reply 7 of 40, by atom1kk

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Yes my native is a 1280x1024. Its a 19"monitor. Would it help if i find a tft with a 1024 native resolution. Should it have than a 4:3 ratio or eould it still be 5:4.

The most games i play need 800x600.

Reply 10 of 40, by konc

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atom1kk wrote on 2022-04-16, 13:21:

so as i understand 15 " tft would be the ony possible solution to get it in 4:3 ratio?

15" 1024x768 or the more rare and expensive 20" 1600x1200 are your best options

Reply 11 of 40, by Cuttoon

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konc wrote on 2022-04-16, 14:07:
atom1kk wrote on 2022-04-16, 13:21:

so as i understand 15 " tft would be the ony possible solution to get it in 4:3 ratio?

15" 1024x768 or the more rare and expensive 20" 1600x1200 are your best options

As I wrote clearly up there. But feel free to ask one more time 😉

(I may have assumed you were willing to divide 1024 by 768 and find out it's roughly 1.33333)

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Reply 12 of 40, by Shponglefan

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This thread has me wondering why 1280x1024 resolution was even a thing. Why didn't companies just use 1280x960 and stick with the 4:3 ratio? Especially since 1280x960 would have evenly scaled up 640x480 and 320x240 resolutions.

It also seems weird from an aspect ratio perspective to first go narrower (i.e. from 4:3 to 5:4), before the subsequent trend to go wider (16:10 -> 16:9 ->21:9 -> etc).

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Reply 13 of 40, by Cuttoon

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Shponglefan wrote on 2022-04-16, 14:53:

This thread has me wondering why 1280x1024 resolution was even a thing. Why didn't companies just use 1280x960 and stick with the 4:3 ratio? Especially since 1280x960 would have evenly scaled up 640x480 and 320x240 resolutions.

It also seems weird from an aspect ratio perspective to first go narrower (i.e. from 4:3 to 5:4), before the subsequent trend to go wider (16:10 -> 16:9 ->21:9 -> etc).

Well, no one ever expects the Spanish inquisition or reads previous posts.

Just my theory, but mainly, the 1280x1024 has been a VESA standard mode since VBE 2.0 in 1994:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VESA_BIOS_Exten … defined_by_VESA

So, RAM back then being damn expensive, my rational is: They did the math and recognized that 1280 x 960 in 24 bit true color without any bells or whistles (double bullshitting, 3D, etc.) would be 3.5 MB, wasting HALF A MEGABYTE on the best-equipped mainstream card imaginable to man back then. So they pimped that to almost four MB in the line count.

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Reply 14 of 40, by Shponglefan

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Cuttoon wrote on 2022-04-16, 15:13:

So, RAM back then being damn expensive, my rational is: They did the math and recognized that 1280 x 960 in 24 bit true color without any bells or whistles (double bullshitting, 3D, etc.) would be 3.5 MB, wasting HALF A MEGABYTE on the best-equipped mainstream card imaginable to man back then. So they pimped that to almost four MB in the line count.

That actually makes a lot of sense and seems quite plausible.

It's still mystifying to me they didn't at least define 1280x960 as a supported resolution. We could have had pixel perfect scaling, but instead we get messy, blurry upscaling and squashed aspect ratios.

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Reply 15 of 40, by Cuttoon

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Shponglefan wrote on 2022-04-16, 15:19:

It's still mystifying to me they didn't at least define 1280x960 as a supported resolution. We could have had pixel perfect scaling, but instead we get messy, blurry upscaling and squashed aspect ratios.

Well, yes - the whole affairs appears a lot as if it was designed by committee.

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Reply 16 of 40, by Anonymous Coward

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1280x1024 resolution that was a royal pain in my ass from 1999 to about 2011. My original 19" display was a Viewsonic PF970. Although it supported 1600x1200, it could only do it at 60Hz, so I ended up falling back to the next highest resolution which was 1280x1024. This was a 4:3 CRT, so using a 5:4 resolution made everything stretched horizontally, which was annoying. At some point I figured out how to run 1280x960 instead, which fixed the problem. I never understood why that wasn't the standard to begin with.
My next 19" display from 2003 was a Samsung SyncMaster 191T, which of course was 1280x1024 natively. That was fine until I wanted to run 4:3 resolutions, which had the opposite effect of squishing everything vertically (and making it blurry due to scaling).
During this time period I warned a lot of my friends to avoid this resolution, but it seemed like I was the only one that was bothered by it. The same people would also watch their DVD movies in incorrect aspect ratios, which drove me crazy.

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Reply 17 of 40, by atom1kk

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konc wrote on 2022-04-16, 14:07:
atom1kk wrote on 2022-04-16, 13:21:

so as i understand 15 " tft would be the ony possible solution to get it in 4:3 ratio?

15" 1024x768 or the more rare and expensive 20" 1600x1200 are your best options

i looked at ebay for 20 " tft and i can find some for reasonable price.

Reply 18 of 40, by Shponglefan

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atom1kk wrote on 2022-04-16, 15:52:
konc wrote on 2022-04-16, 14:07:

15" 1024x768 or the more rare and expensive 20" 1600x1200 are your best options

i looked at ebay for 20 " tft and i can find some for reasonable price.

One thing you'll want to check is the pixel response time. A lot of early LCDs had some pretty atrocious response times which can result in ghosting especially in gaming. If you can find a display with ~8 ms grey-to-grey response time (or less) that would be ideal.

I recently picked up a 21" NEC 2170NX which runs 1600x1200 @ 60 Hz and has a grey-to-grey response time of 8ms. It's been perfectly usable in games and haven't noticed any ghosting on it.

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Reply 19 of 40, by Cuttoon

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2022-04-16, 15:34:

1280x1024 resolution that was a royal pain in my ass from 1999 to about 2011. My original 19" display was a Viewsonic PF970. Although it supported 1600x1200, it could only do it at 60Hz, so I ended up falling back to the next highest resolution which was 1280x1024. This was a 4:3 CRT, so using a 5:4 resolution made everything stretched horizontally, which was annoying. At some point I figured out how to run 1280x960 instead, which fixed the problem. I never understood why that wasn't the standard to begin with.

Pretty much any card and drivers should allow both for Windows.
Technically, you could dive into the CRTs OSD and reduce the width of the 1280 x 1024 mode to display correct 5:4, "pillarboxing" the screen. Which, of course, looks like shit.

Anonymous Coward wrote on 2022-04-16, 15:34:

My next 19" display from 2003 was a Samsung SyncMaster 191T, which of course was 1280x1024 natively. That was fine until I wanted to run 4:3 resolutions, which had the opposite effect of squishing everything vertically (and making it blurry due to scaling).

Well, that's the main reason while many nerds around here keep CRTs. Non-native resolutions look horrible, especially the close ones.
I'd estimate that a game in 1024 x 768 might look somewhat ok on a 1600 x 1200 TFT that also is 4:3. And of course, 800 x 600 will work perfectly, just blowing up the pixels four times.

And 13h in 320 x 200 will actually work natively on a common (older 16:10) 24" TFT with 1920 x 1200, only six (or rather, 36) times larger.

Anonymous Coward wrote on 2022-04-16, 15:34:

During this time period I warned a lot of my friends to avoid this resolution, but it seemed like I was the only one that was bothered by it. The same people would also watch their DVD movies in incorrect aspect ratios, which drove me crazy.

For half a decade, there was no affordable way around 17" and 19" CRTs in that silly resolution.

And yes, people watching movies in the wrong AR are the worst, next to people who watch dubbed.

Traditionally, there simply never was any link between AR and line count and the entertainment industry found creative ways to screw things up all the time, so they were not to keen on promoting the theory behind it.
E.g. most PAL DVDs were "anamorphic" meaning the movie was supposed to be 16:9, often pan&scannin or letterboxing the movie's cinemascope format. But coded in the usual 576i. Between plain old TV and HD, there were 16:9 CRT TVs for a short period, supposed to have the same line count, but to display that DVD signal in full screen.
Of course, many times, default settings would result in idiotic "double letterboxing" and people failing to notice that Silvester Stallone was only 150 cm tall...

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