Whether you’re sticking it out with your trusty old 4:3 TV or shelling out for a shiny new 16:9 widescreen model, there’s no escaping the black cropping bars that come into play when viewing programs in the incorrect aspect ratio for your particular TV – I know most widescreen TVs have a zoom option to fill the screen of 4:3 content, but that runs the risk of cutting people’s head’s in half so isn’t an option I recommend. Now a creative studio in France has come up with an interesting solution to the problem with a concept TV design that maximizes the viewable picture area and minimizes the black bars for both aspect ratios.

Studio FRST’s 16943 TV features a large screen with a corner cut out to fit two screen sizes into the one unit. When displaying 4:3 content the screen area along the right hand side above the cut out corner remains blank, and when displaying 16:9 content the screen area along the bottom to the left of the cut out corner remains blank (which means that it only solves half the black bar issue compared with a normal TV).

The 618 x 840 x 120 mm (24.3 x 33 x 4.6-inches) concept also incorporates a built-in DVD player and a transparent glass base to give the impression the TV is “levitating.”

While the Studio FRST design might appeal to those fans of classic TV shows looking to maximize their screen real-estate, it’s unlikely such a TV will ever see the light of day since the irregular size would pose problems to screen manufacturers and make any such TV prohibitively expensive. As a concept though I have to say I like it.

View gallery - 4 images