So, what is this 2:1 Univisium display ratio on the LG G6 and likely the S8?

TL;DR

With more and more Netflix and other movies shot in the 2:1 Univisium format, phones like the LG G6 and the S8 would embrace the up-and-coming 18:9 aspect ratio for their displays, fitting more scene in the frame, and allowing for taller, narrower devices, plus better split-screen multitasking with Nougat.


LG got none other but the inventor of the 2:1 Univisium format on stage today to explain why the G6 comes with a screen in this new aspect ratio. When LG announced a brand new 5.7" display panel with the unorthodox 1440 x 2880 pixels resolution, the company's experiments with secondary displays immediately came to mind. "Oh, it's just LG being LG," some thought, "they are always doing something with modular phones or extra ticker screens like on the V-series, so that might be it." Today became clear, however, that this screen will indeed be on their G6 flagship, and a lot of eyebrows got raised. What, a screen with an 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio in a flagship handset? The vast majority of today's smartphone displays use the more common 16:9 ratio, which is the widespread widescreen 1:78:1 HD standard you see on your TV.

Adding fuel to the 2:1 fire, Evan Blass of @evleaks fame tipped not long ago that the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus displays will come with 18.5:9 aspect ratios, and we started wondering why the odd .5, and whether that means a flat 16:9 panel that is slightly curved on both sides. It might be accounting for the on-screen button strip that will allegedly be on the S8 and S8 Plus, or it could be because of the slightly rounded corners and edges, but in any case the aspect ratio for the visible flat portion of the displays will be closer to the new 2:1 standard of the G6 than the old 1.78:1 one.


Then came the question what, for Pete's sake, is the 2:1 (18:9) standard? Well, it's called Univisium, and is not widespread yet. As the name implies, it strives to unify the current widescreen 1.78:1 (16:9) HD standard, aimed at digital TV broadcasting, with the theatrical release 2.20:1 (70mm) standard of films shot for movie theaters. According to its founder, the cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, in the future all releases will boil down to those two formats, thus he proposed Univisium as closest to the mathematical average of the 2.20 (70mm) and 1.78 (HD) formats, so that no cropping or artificially keeping the action inside one rectangle would be needed while filming for any purpose.

Sounds iffy? Well, don't forget that the current widescreen 1.78:1 (16:9) standard was also coined as a mathematical average of the old 4:3 TV broadcast aspect ratio, and the legacy CinemaScope lens one used for shooting widescreen theatrical releases at the time. Most TVs, computer, laptop and smatphone displays since 2009 have caught on to the 16:9 format, but the future might merge the last two standing formats even further into the Univisium standard. That is why the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 screens might have been coined with the futureproof, albeit unorthodox 2:1 aspect in mind. Samsung, in particular, didn't bat an eye to slap an HDR10-compliant display on the Note 7, despite that this wide-color standard is not really widespread just yet. 

The writing is already on the wall - blockbuster TV shows aimed at binging and streaming like Netflix's House of Cards or Amazon's Transparent are already done in the 2:1 format, and we just peeped to check how was the newest Netflix series Frontier shot - yep, in beautiful 4K, depicting the raw detail of Canadian nature, and, surprise, surprise, in 2:1 ratio. 

Could this become the de facto phone screen standard going forward? That's a leap, so we'd have to hear how will Samsung and LG fare with this eventual move, but it has one more added benefit - judging from the new 2:1 G6, phones would become slightly taller, but narrower, and thus easier to use with one hand. Thanks, Univisium, if that's you.

Story timeline

This story is part of:

LG at MWC 2017 (17 updates)

Related phones

G6
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(20.5h talk time)
Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)

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32 Comments

1. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

I still prefer 16:9, because I need a wider screen most of the times instead of a longer one. For instance when I'm using it ro read something on the internet, most of the time the limitation is the width, and not the height. Anyways, it's not a deal-breaker for me.

3. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Then again, during scrolling and reading long articles, longer screen is more useful.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7416; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

This article went on and on, and left out one major point why the display is 2880x1440. VR is why this display is like this, especially since it will be Daydream VR compatible. Not to mention when the screen is split in two for VR, this means that each eye will get a resolution of 1440x1440. To put things into perspective the iPhone 7 display in regular mode is 1336x750 for it's entire display. So that means this display has more than 4 times the physical pixels as an iPhone 7, and it's VR should be even more mind blowing.

16. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

That's very true.

18. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Maybe not, since it will be edge variant, some part of screen will be edged and won't be visible from VR gear.

10. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

That's probably one of the reasons why the S8/Plus will have 5,8 and 6,2 inch displays. Keeping the width but adding height which results in a bigger screen.

11. John-Knotts

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Bingo

17. Lamzaza unregistered

If the keybroad popup you have more space to view

26. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right...

19. techbuttcheex

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

This aspect ratio looks totally ridiculous. Getting rid of bezels is supposed to make phones more compact, not awkwardly stretch them out.

2. AlikMalix unregistered

2:1 !!!

21. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Yup! But more funny is this: 'split-screen multitasking with Nougat.' LOL As we didn't have split-screen multitasking with Samsung phones so far?(and Google borrowed it from Samsung many years later) BTW media was not exited at all about split-screen until Google copy it. Right? Now suddenly is great feature. :) Well not as great as if Apple do it. Even if lame.

29. AmashAziz

Posts: 2931; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Why the hell did your brain cells bring up this totally irrelevant topic onto this comment section????

4. Tariq123

Posts: 186; Member since: May 15, 2016

might go from s7e to G6

15. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 968; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

I'm avoiding the S8 because of the curved screen. LG will keep to the normal flat screen, allowing for better case and screen protector options. Learned the hard way from the S7 Edge. I just hope the G6 comes with the SD835, a calibrated display for color accuracy, and waterproof.

25. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

I hear you, man. I have enough trouble trying to get good protectors for this 2.5D screen on the OnePlus 3T. Curved screen = easier to damage + more costly to repair - screen protector options. Sadly though, it likely won't have the 835. To be honest, as long as they trim down their skin (things I've seen suggest that they will, quite heavily) and put at least a 3400mAh battery in it, it'll have great battery life anyways. Xiaomi, Google, and OnePlus have proven you can get good battery life out of the 820/821 SoCs

32. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Do you seriously need a screen protector? I haven't used on my phone which I've had since 2014 and the screen is flawless and has survived many drops.

5. saiki4116

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 31, 2011

This 2:1 screens are going to suck in Landscape mode.

13. sgodsell

Posts: 7416; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Far from it. This article failed to mention anything in regards to VR. This display should be awesome for VR. Especially since this device is going to be Daydream VR compatible.

6. tizz06

Posts: 15; Member since: May 17, 2012

im happy about this. that means if they use on screen buttons then the usable screen ratio would most likely be 16:9 with the buttons on screen.

14. Alter

Posts: 231; Member since: Mar 25, 2016

Hmm that's a good point. I hadn't thought about that.

20. techbuttcheex

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

On screen buttons at a system level are an abomination. They're the result of incompetent UI designers who don't understand touch.

7. irossdrummer

Posts: 369; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

So this would make more sense for the s8 & s8 plus to be 5.7 and 6.2 inch in the rumors because a 5.7 inch 2:1 screen is the same width as a 16:9 5.2 inch screen (similar to the 5.1in s7) and a 6.2 inch 2:1 screen has the same width as a 16:9 5.65 inch screen (similar to the 5.5in s7 edge and 5.7in Note7). The rumors make more sense now! Can't wait to upgrade to the s8 :)

8. monoke

Posts: 1172; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Well if you're gonna minimize upper/lower bezels and keep typical aspect, you'll get quite a squarish profile which I don't think oems want. Imo, the longer the better. You can get so much more content provided dpi is adjusted accordingly.

24. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

yeah it's gonna look weird, even if there are no problem with the functionality.

9. mastamolvi unregistered

Look carefully at the measurements. The s8 is 131.58 in screen length and full phone length is also 131.58 which is not possible. The diagonal 143.05 over 1cm of the phones size. The s8 plus is 142.34 in screen length and the full phone length is 159.53. The diagonal is 154.46. 5mm less than phones length. Something is wrong with this post.

22. Furbal unregistered

Ultra wide is the best I've found. I use my 21:9 monitor far more than my standard 16:9 1440p. It is much easier to use Windows side by side with that extra width.

23. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

I only watch anime and youtube though. But whatever if the top and bottom bezel is small it won't make it looks ridiculously tall.

27. BadAssAbe

Posts: 508; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

2:1 would work alot better on a OLED screen, any black borders would then blend in with the black bezels given a black phone

28. det_bradlee

Posts: 162; Member since: Jun 08, 2015

Do you really need to "future proof" a cellphone screen? My S6 Edge screen has been slowly dieing since the 12 month mark. Heavy banding across the notification bar, and the rest just dimmer. Maybe LG screens will be better.

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