Your Thoughts?

March 11, 2010

Do you see the 16x9 (wings) on your main home television nowdays? If you see us over the air or get HDTV/Digital from your provider you do. Vote below

Just for fun today, let me know what part of our weather graphics you see when you watch from home.

The reason I’m asking this is that I want to get a general idea of what people are seeing.  Up until about three years ago stations in our area were broadcasting in the original 4×3 “square” looking size.  That’s how it started in the 1950s.  Then stations began broadcasting in “widescreen” or the 16×9 format.   Most cable companies are not passing through the “whole picture” unless you get HD specifically or their “digital tier”.  Bascially they “cut-out” the middle part of the picture and pass it on to you.  Pardon my lack of knowledge about that, but I don’t get cable at home, just an antenna so I see the whole picture.   All local stations broadcast in the wide 16×9 format whether a station is broadcasting in HDTV or not.  KPTV is not yet broadcasting newscasts in HD.

What does this have to do with weather?  Well it’s directly related to what we do in the weather center.  When we make weather graphics, we have to keep anything important in that 4×3 area.  And just today while I was working on a new 7 Day forecast page I thought how nice it would be to use that whole space so each day’s weather would be larger.  But that’s not going to happen until the vast majority of viewers are watching the 16×9 wide view.    I suppose a good analogy is that TV programs probably didn’t make specific color references until most viewers had color TVs.

This is also the reason we have to stay in the main part of the view when working at the green wall.  If you watch the 4×3 format (cable) you may notice sometimes weather people drift in and out of the shot, or even stay half-in/half-out.  That means they aren’t paying attention to the wings and are out on the edges where on the widescreen viewers can see.

Really a rainy night out there, tomorrow looks only slightly better.