It was 20 years ago today (approximately) that I launched the effort –
ultimately successful – to establish square sampling (“square pixels”) as the standard for HDTV. I am the inventor of the number 1080 found in HDTV standards. My efforts resulted in my being awarded SMPTE’s David Sarnoff Gold Medal. See the entries toward the bottom of my Video Engineering page. (My pal Don Craig, who received a Sarnoff medal for a different and well-deserved reason, tells me that his density check reveals that it's gold plated, not solid gold. However, the company that he and a few of his colleagues founded was sold in 2010 for USD 306 M, so he's not too upset.)
Here is a discussion that I had in early 2012 with fxphd’s
Mike Semour on the origin of square pixels in HD. (Edited by the marvellous Jimmy Shen.) Duration 09:08.