Thursday, February 5, 2009

TV's standards have slipped

There was a time when the technical standards for radio and television stations were pretty strict and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Things like deviations from assigned frequencies, audio levels and quality, video levels, and so on.

But times have changed.

In this computerized age, the computer takes precedence, not you, the TV viewer.

Example: On the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 4, on WGAL television, the Today show was televised as scheduled. But the station also wanted to display school closings because of weather conditions.

A public service, indeed. Much needed, no question about that. But what the station's computers do is squeeze the vertical portion of the Today show, but not the horizontal, so everyone looks like they shrunk and got fat.

There would have been a time the station would have been held to a higher, better standard: If you have to squeeze the picture, you do it proportionately.

What made it stand out like a sore thumb Wednesday morning was that there was a segment on the Today show which was showing how people age smoking vs. non-smoking, etc. So there we are, side-by-side photos of twins, and the "expert" (that in itself would be a future column to discuss!) is explaining how much "fatter" the one twin's face is compared to the other. Really? They both looked fat to begin with, because they were being transmitted in a distorted fashion.

C'mon, WGAL -- and other broadcasters -- program your computers so you can display a truthful proprotion of the scene being transmitted.

Our brains are being warped by enough weird crap and we don't need that to warp us further.

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