Noise to Signal

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Attention Comedy Central Extra!

The fact that you are unable to show an episode of Not Going Out made this year in anamorphic widescreen - instead having to show it letterboxed - is embarrassing. The fact that you also have a horrendously ugly DOG in the top-left is just the icing on the shit sandwich. There is not a chance in hell I am watching something like that.

God knows I love broadcast television. I’ve always loved it - and I love it so much that I’ve ended up working in it. But it’s things like this - terrible widescreen issues, horrific DOGs, condensed-to-nothing title sequences, credit-squeezing, a total disrespect for the programmes themselves - that make me long for a future of downloads, where there’s at least a chance that some of them might get better…

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A-fucking-men. The slow trickle across cable/satellite television of even being bother to broadcast in widescreen was a huge sticking point for me. Still are.

It’s worse over here, though. In the UK it’s easy to broadcast the 4:3 and the 16:9 on the same signal, and that can’t be done here in the US for some reason. So networks are faced with a decision - have two versions of the same channel, or don’t bother. Guess which option they usually go for. Yep, you’ve got it - secret option number three: film your shit in widescreen anyway, and then broadcast it lettereboxed on a 4:3 network with the bug overlapping the cocking letterboxing and the picture at the same time. So we get stretched widescreen on our widescreen television on the SD channels.

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By Ben Paddon
July 11, 2009 @ 7:43 am

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