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Recommended resolution & aspect ratios

YouTube uses 16:9 aspect ratio players. The YouTube player automatically adds black bars to videos in the player so that videos are displayed correctly without cropping or stretching, no matter the size of the video or the player.

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 be processed to display pillar boxes (black bars on each side of the video) or letter boxes (black bars at the top and bottom).

Some examples:

  • The player will automatically add pillarboxing to 4:3 videos in the 16:9 widescreen player size.
  • If the player is re-sized (such as when it's embedded on another website), the 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.

If you upload a 16:9 video at its original aspect ratio (1280x720 recommended)   The video will fill the YouTube widescreen 16x9 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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