Recommended resolution & aspect ratios

YouTube uses different video aspect ratios based on the platform and video format.

YouTube on desktop uses a 16:9 aspect ratio player. The player automatically adds black bars to videos so that they are displayed correctly without cropping or stretching. 

Recommended resolution & aspect ratios

To fit the player perfectly, encode at these resolutions:

  • 2160p: 3840x2160
  • 1440p: 2560x1440
  • 1080p: 1920x1080
  • 720p: 1280x720
  • 480p: 854x480
  • 360p: 640x360
  • 240p: 426x240

You can adjust the fit of your video in the YouTube player after uploading your video using formatting tags. 

How your video will display

If you upload a file that isn't 16:9, it will display pillar boxed (black bars on each side of the video) or letter boxed (black bars at the top and bottom).

Some examples:

  • The player will automatically add pillarboxing to 4:3 videos.
  • If the player is re-sized, there may be letterboxing. For example, 16:9 videos are letterboxed when the embedded player is sized 4:3. 
  • Anamorphic videos will be letterboxed in both 16:9 and 4:3 players. The player can only do this if the native aspect ratio of the video is maintained - i.e. don't add black bars to the video itself.

Note: If you add letterboxing to a video before uploading it, the widescreen player will add vertical bars, resulting in black bars all around the video and a bad viewing experience.  

Video display example images

If you upload a 16:9 video at its original aspect ratio (1280x720 recommended)   The video will fill the YouTube widescreen 16:9 player.
If you upload a 4:3 video at its original aspect ratio (640x480 recommended)   The video will display in the widescreen player at the correct size and ratio with pillarbox bars.
If you add letterbox bars to the top and bottom before uploading so that the video fits a 4:3 player   The YouTube player will add pillarbox bars so the 4:3 video fits widescreen. Bars will surround the video.

 

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