Video Formats

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HD to SD

How do I convert a 16:9 HD video into a 4:3 SD format to be able to show it on an old TV set, for example?

Most video editing programmes can also export PAL SD, but the easiest way is to use the free programme "HandBrake".


  • Pal-4_3-SD-720×576-letterbox — LINK
  • Pal-4_3-SD-720×576-cropped — LINK


The old standard video format in Germany was simply called PAL for a long time. This meant "PAL SD", with 25 frames per second, an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels (square).


  • 720 x 576 pixels (square)
  • 25 fps

Furthermore, other video formats such as SECAM (France, Eastern Europe and China) and NTSC (Mexico, USA and Japan) used to be widespread.

Letterbox or Cropp

To convert an HD video that is in 16:9 and has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels to PAL, you either have to insert black bars at the top and bottom (Letterbox) or crop the video on the right and left (Cropped).

  • Letterbox — In letterbox format, the original picture composition is kept. Therefore, the black bars are visible, and the 1920 pixels are down sampled by 37,5% to 576 pixels.
  • Cropped — When cropping, the video fills the entire screen, and it is "only" scaled down by 53%, but 284 pixels are lost on each side.