A few comments on digital TV have anchored in Harry's Harbour
|TV's Shrinking Image
It is amazing to me that I have become so addicted to watching television. What is even more amazing is that every once in a while I actually turn it on. As a writer I have very little extra time to sit in front of the boob tube for a mind lube. I used to write for radio and television news and even was a newscaster. So, I don't watch that stuff anymore. I don't watch programs with a laugh track, either. I collect tapes of my favorite movies and from time to time I will watch one of those. I can always shut it off and read a book.
But what really annoys me is the new technology. Okay, call me a "digital refusenik" because I guess that's what I am. After my eye examination revealed there was nothing wrong with my viewers, I realized that there must be something wrong with what I was viewing. Bingo! As you probably know, it's the switch-over to Digital TV which causes the image on the tube to shrink, leaving a black stripe on the top and another black stripe on the bottom. It's a change in picture format from an aspect ratio of 4:3 to an aspect ratio of 16:9, enabling TV to get closer to the aspect ratio of movies and human vision. How nice, you say? Sure. It's great for governments that see it as a futuristic technology which incidentally will free up existing TV frequencies for resale to communications operators. And, broadcasters love it as a weapon to fight competition and save money due to lower power consumption. And, guess what? You know those people who manufacture TV sets? Sure. Guess which ones they're pushing? You got it.
Well, hey, that's the Terrestrial Market for you. And, what about those of us who were happy with full-screen images. Look out. Governments are attempting to enforce planned analog switch-off dates while we digital refuseniks worry about being forced to replace every television set we own.
What to do? Well, when some idiot dreamed up the laugh track, I stopped watching those shows. When another idiot dreamed up splashing the name of the station you are watching on the screen, I taped a black strip of paper over that part of the screen. (Ever watch a woman and a man embracing while Mickey Mouse watches from the corner of the screen? So much for the Disney Channel.) Now we pray that after the opening credits the tiny image will fill the screen. When it doesn't? Bow to the inventor of the remote control. Surfing will assist in eliminating such unsweet sorrow.