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One rationale for widescreen is that, since the human eye has a field of view that extends farther to the sides than it does above or below, a widescreen image makes more effective use of the field of view, thereby producing a more immersive viewing experience. Critics of widescreen point out that that the human field of vision, based upon the angular ratio of our fields of view (180 degrees horizontal, 135 degrees vertical), is in fact closer to the older ratio of 4 to 3, and not widescreen ratios such as 16:9 or 2.35:1. Also the area of the retina used for detailed vision is circular, not rectangular. Consequently, large-format technologies like IMAX favor a 4:3 format.

Comparison of three common aspect ratios constrained by the screen Adam Aircraft Charter diagonal size (the black circle). The smaller box (blue) and middle box (green) are common formats for cinematography today. The largest box (red) is the format used in the cinema and television before the development of widescreen.One can further criticize the supposed superiority of widescreen by calculating the area of different aspect ratios that have been constrained by the size of the diagonal and not the vertical. That is, if you compare rectangular shapes with the same diagonal size, the aspect ratio of 1:1 will have the largest screen area. In more practical terms, a typical 100" diagonal projector screen in 4:3 format is measured 60" by 80". The same 100" diadonal screen in 16:9 format is 7" wider, but 12" shorter which results in 15% smaller area. In a word, when buying a widescreen, consumer pays more money for less screen.