16 9 aspect ratio
March 19, 2013

HD Widescreen Displays for Corporate Events: 16:9 vs. 4:3

With the flat screen monitor so prevalent in everybody’s home these days, why are we still seeing so many corporate events without widescreen displays?

These days the buzz word is high definition (“I want what I have at home on my 60” flat screen”). But what does this mean? 

Sitting in your living room watching high-definition movies and TV shows is very different from what’s usually happening in the hotel ballroom.

Should You Use a Widescreen Display?

Answer a few questions first to understand if going with widescreen displays for your corporate event is the right move.

1. Is the presenter or corporate events manager distinguishing between widescreen for the 16:9 PowerPoint presentation and the high-definition video that needs to be played back?

2. Has the PowerPoint template that your presenters are using been updated to the 16:9 aspect ratios?

3.  Are the presenters’ presentations prepared using the same aspect ratio?

We see presenters using a variety of presentation tools to get their message to the attendees. But you need to get everybody on the same page using the same aspect ratios. The way to do this is communication!

Event Producers Need Media Assets Early

Somebody from the events team needs to communicate with the presenters and see what media is being used by each presenter. Once this info is gathered, a decision needs to be made about formats.

You may have one presenter who wants to show an HD video as part of his talk, yet another speaker whose PowerPoint deck is still in 4:3 aspect ratio.

Knowing your presenters’ needs is key! It may be best to provide presenters with a PowerPoint template and have them put their presentations into it. That way, everybody’s PowerPoint matches.

4:3 Can Work on 16:9, But 16:9 Does Not Work on 4:3

Making sure that your presenters’ media can be shown to the attendees is crucial. A 4:3 aspect ratio PowerPoint presentation can still be shown on a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, though it won’t fill the screen (see the top right example in the graphic below), but it’s not very easy to show a 16:9 presentation on a 4:3 screen.

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HD or Standard Definition LCD Projectors?

If all the videos being shown are standard definition then the expense of high-definition projectors and switching may not have to be considered. Using standard definition LCD projectors switched to 16:9 aspect ratios may be the answer.

Getting the right information or providing your speakers with a very detailed description of the equipment that is being provided is critical to success in the meeting space.

Is the Cost of Widescreen HD Projectors Worth It?

The other determining factor can be budget. What will a widescreen with HD projectors and switching cost? Yes it is more expensive, but the expanded AV budget may keep your attendees more in tune with what’s being said and your message will be more clearly understood.

High-definition video playback with well-designed 16:9 PowerPoint can be very engaging to the audience and can create a much more powerful event. Talk to your AV provider about your overall presenter needs and put together a plan as a team so your budget won’t be blown out of the water.

Let Your Presenters Know the Technology You Select

Decide on your equipment well in advance of the meeting and let your presenters know what is being provided.

You’ll have a much better chance to have everything run smoothly and all those equipment details that have been talked about ahead of time will make your presenters the stars of the event!

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