You will see more on TV screen 

7 December 2023


Birmingham Evening Despatch masthead

From the Birmingham Evening Despatch for 24 March 1950



The Radio Correspondent

ON 3 April the B.B.C. will alter the size of the television picture ratio to bring it into line with the practice adopted by cinema films.

This means that in future, viewers will be able to see film transmissions on their screens, without the side edges being cut off as happens at present.

Radio manufacturers have been fully consulted by the B.B.C. and they are agreed that the step will be an advancement towards television perfection.

Technically the change involves a change in the aspect ratio of screens from 5:4 to 4:3.

As new models of receivers come into production, the Radio Industries Council said today, they will have masks conforming to the new conditions, but the B.B.C. change in no way makes existing sets out of date or any less efficient — and there is no question of changing masks in them.

Nevertheless for those people who desire it there are two ways of adjusting the 5:4 ratio receiver to give a correctly proportional picture (i.e., a circle on the test card).

The methods, which any dealer will explain, consist of adjustments to the width and height controls to give a correct circle.


Illustration of the two sizes

5:4 (centre, white) vs 4:3 (outer, red)


Birmingham Post masthead

From the Birmingham Post for 3 April 1950

Television Picture Changes

Midland Anxiety

By Our Television Correspondent

The change in the shape of the television picture to-day will cause some anxiety in many homes in the Midlands, and it is safe to say that the service engineers will have a busy time getting everybody satisfied again with the adjustment of their receivers. The fact is that viewers in this area are still not expert in the manipulation of the various knobs and screws and in any case the finer points of tuning a television receiver are beyond the capacity of the inexpert amateur.

The knob-twiddler has long been a menace on sound radio, but on vision his attentions are even more devastating as the balance and controls in the receiver are more finely adjusted and one alteration may readily upset another.

Leave It to Expert

In the circumstances, therefore, the best course to be followed is to wait patiently for the expert attention of the radio engineer and not to fiddle with the controls inside the receiver.

Manufacturers will adjust new receivers to the new conditions, but the only difference noticeable from existing sets, after adjustment. will be that the mask will not quite fit the size of the picture.

The reason for the adjustment is that the “aspect ratio” of films and of film recordings of television production in other countries conform to the standard now adopted. British television will, therefore, now be in line with other producers of vision material, and the way is cleared for a greater degree of international co-operation. F. B.


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1 response to this article

Andrew Barker 9 December 2023 at 12:34 pm

That was interesting. I never knew that the UK TV service had a 5:4 ratio. But since it was about 1956 when my family first got a TV I would have only ever seen the 4:3 ratio TVs.

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