TV Home Forum

Not a mock thread ... Is it time to drop the 4:3 safe zones

(April 2008)

DV
DVB Cornwall West Country (West) Spotlight
As virtually every new television set on the market has a 16:9 screen now, is it about time that broadcasters assume that 16:9 is the standard in the UK and prepare ALL their graphic elements accordingly. I have just received my Melodifestivalen DVD from Sweden today and note there's no safe area use whatsoever on their production.

So I propose that from 01-Jan-2009 that in the UK safe areas are effectively ignored when producing programmes which are to first run on 16:9 channels.

Discuss!
AS
Asa Admin Meridian (South East) South East Today
To me it should have absolutely nothing to do with how many new TVs are w/s, but how many existing 4:3 TVs are still used, and in bedrooms and kitchens I bet that's still a high percentage. I have a 15" CRT but choose to watch 4:3 letterbox - I imagine most people don't.

You only need to get a digital only channel like N24 to shove their clock out of the safe area to see the barrage of complaints come in.

I think the real knack for a designer is to create graphics which make use the outer space but keep all the required content firmly in the safe area.
MS
Mr-Stabby London London
Most people probably have Freeview or Sky on their main TV, but i'd say most people also have that TV in the kitchen, their little portable in the bedroom, or even the TV in the car that only accepts an analogue signal. So therefore no, i think graphics should remain 4:3 safe, well 14:9 safe.

I think digital switchover is the time to make graphics 16:9 safe. As Asa has said, a decent graphics designer can make use of the space without it being vital to the graphic itself.
MW
Mike W London London
Asa posted:
To me it should have absolutely nothing to do with how many new TVs are w/s, but how many existing 4:3 TVs are still used, and in bedrooms and kitchens I bet that's still a high percentage. I have a 15" CRT but choose to watch 4:3 letterbox - I imagine most people don't.

You only need to get a digital only channel like N24 to shove their clock out of the safe area to see the barrage of complaints come in.

I think the real knack for a designer is to create graphics which make use the outer space but keep all the required content firmly in the safe area.

Al ' la errrrm, dare I say Midlands Today (Maps). What they do is they have important stuff in 4:3 safe and [B][B][C]Midlands Today and "Transmission Rings" in the 16:9 safe.
RE
Reboot
On top of what Asa said though, there's a LOT of people who HAVE 16:9 TVs... but have their digibox of whatever flavour set to give a 4:3 output, with predictably stretched consequences. And yet they don't even notice.

It happens in public places too, like hotel foyers, I was in a bank the other day that had News 24 on the plasma screen beside the queue in stretched-4:3.

It's not just about the technology, it's about training people to use the technology as it's intended to be used.
MS
Mr-Stabby London London
Reboot posted:
On top of what Asa said though, there's a LOT of people who HAVE 16:9 TVs... but have their digibox of whatever flavour set to give a 4:3 output, with predictably stretched consequences. And yet they don't even notice.

It happens in public places too, like hotel foyers, I was in a bank the other day that had News 24 on the plasma screen beside the queue in stretched-4:3.

It's not just about the technology, it's about training people to use the technology as it's intended to be used.


To be fair though, most people wouldn't notice that the picture is wrong unless you make the graphics 16:9 safe and then they will see that part of the graphic (and therefore the picture to them) is missing, and they'll wonder why.
NW
nwtv2003 Granada North West Today
Reboot posted:
It happens in public places too, like hotel foyers, I was in a bank the other day that had News 24 on the plasma screen beside the queue in stretched-4:3.


Same thing happens in our branch of Nationwide, it just doesn't look right. Although I went round to a friend's once and they had their Widescreen TV in 4:3 Letterbox mode and yet they didn't notice, it just looked terrible.

But if you're one of the lucky few like myself and have an IDTV and watch DTT, then the Widescreen is sorted out for you automatically, it's just a problem when you watch the 4:3 programmes. In my choice I prefer having the bars on the side before anyone asks.
RE
Reboot
Mr-Stabby posted:
To be fair though, most people wouldn't notice that the picture is wrong unless you make the graphics 16:9 safe and then they will see that part of the graphic (and therefore the picture to them) is missing, and they'll wonder why.

I want to know why people don't notice that the persons on-screen look like they've been fed through a funhouse mirror.

Seriously, I don't notice all the faults people pick up here and elsewhere, but if you can see the screen I don't know how you can miss that any resemblance that the persons on-screen bear to human beings is entirely coincidental.
MS
Mr-Stabby London London
Reboot posted:
Mr-Stabby posted:
To be fair though, most people wouldn't notice that the picture is wrong unless you make the graphics 16:9 safe and then they will see that part of the graphic (and therefore the picture to them) is missing, and they'll wonder why.

I want to know why people don't notice that the persons on-screen look like they've been fed through a funhouse mirror.

Seriously, I don't notice all the faults people pick up here and elsewhere, but if you can see the screen I don't know how you can miss that any resemblance that the persons on-screen bear to human beings is entirely coincidental.


You'd be surprised. I've actually worked with some broadcast TV stations that don't notice it and just stretch 4:3 material to 16:9. My parents TV was setup this way and occasionally they'd point out that the actor on-screen has porked out recently, but they don't exactly notice that their entire body and the scene behind them is out of proportion. Strange really.
DC
DrCheese
I can understand the reasons for 4:3 safe area's at the moment for the reasons above i.e whist most people main TV's are now WS, the other TV's around the house are still 4:3.

I do hope tho that no HD channel still stick to 4:3 safe area's.....
RE
Reboot
Mr-Stabby posted:
You'd be surprised. I've actually worked with some broadcast TV stations that don't notice it and just stretch 4:3 material to 16:9. My parents TV was setup this way and occasionally they'd point out that the actor on-screen has porked out recently, but they don't exactly notice that their entire body and the scene behind them is out of proportion. Strange really.

I'm not surprised any more - I wish people would notice these things, and don't understand how they can't, but...

DrCheese posted:
I do hope tho that no HD channel still stick to 4:3 safe area's.....

Well, considering nearly all HD material is either simulcast or rebroadcast in SD...
:-(
A former member Anglia (East) Look East
Mr-Stabby posted:
I think digital switchover is the time to make graphics 16:9 safe. As Asa has said, a decent graphics designer can make use of the space without it being vital to the graphic itself.


Ironically the problem will only get worse after DSO.

At the moment, broadcasters could quite happily get away with making graphics 14:9 safe, and still make almost full use of the widescreen AR. But when analogue is switched off, there will be a slew of people who currently watch analogue in 14:9 who will switch over to a digital receiver that can't do 14:9 letterbox, only 16:9 letterbox or 4:3 centre cut-out.

It's the fault of the box makers really for being cheap -- the cutout option should have been removed from the outset and 14:9 used in its place.

As for those with WS TVs who just use 4:3 -- why should widescreen viewers suffer just because of a few people who can't be bothered to RTFM?

Newer posts