Take a look at your TV. What shape is it? Sort of (but not quite) squarish? Maybe it’s much longer than it’s wide? We live in a TV world that’s in transition from 4:3 to 16:9. That second ratio, 16:9, is where TV is headed.
Alas, headed is an indefinite word. Until a few months ago TVs made in the late 1940s were functionally fine. Even now an old Philco or DuMont will do just fine with a converter between it and the on-air signal TV stations transmit.
We are headed to 16:9 but we’ve got to keep 4:3 working too!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’ve begun the arduous job of converting our 4:3 weather graphics to 16:9 for HDTV. With few exceptions every graphic we use on the air today will be unusable in a few weeks. Everything has to be re-rendered.
Wait–there’s more. (It’s about TV. I can use that line). Because some folks will still be using the old nearly square tubes we’ll have to safely concentrate the most important stuff in a 4:3 box cut out of the 16:9 box.
There’s a lot of work because there are lots of different graphics to produce. Many are frameworks or scenes which are populated with live data when called on-air. A satellite or temperature map are good examples.
Did I mention we’re changing the peripheral graphics that frame my maps and charts too! Oh yeah, new size, new shape, new look. Even the font is changing.
While I’m working on weather other people are working on other pieces of the overall pie. We’ve all got to block out the same ‘safe’ spaces so graphics from different places will all fit with each other.
The work started this afternoon. It will be my main chore for the week.
If you hear me scream you’ll know why.