Recommended resolution & aspect ratios

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

The YouTube app for Android devices uses a 16:9 aspect ratio player. The player automatically adds black bars so that videos fill the player correctly. 

How your video will display

For now, if you upload a file that isn't 16:9, it will be displayed pillar boxed (black bars on each side of the video) or letter boxed (black bars at the top and bottom). However, we are working to make the player automatically adapt to the size of the video as it currently does in iOS. 

Some examples: 

  • The player will automatically add pillarboxing to 4:3 videos. 
  • If the player is resized (such as when it's embedded on another website), the 16:9 videos are letterboxed when the player is sized to 4:3. 
  • Anamorphic videos will be automatically letterboxed when shown in either 16:9 or 4:3 sized players. The player can only do this if the native aspect ratio of the video is maintained.  

If you add letterboxing to a video before uploading it, the widescreen player will add pillarbox bars too. This results in black bars all around the video (window-boxing) and a bad viewing experience.

Display examples

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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