How New Technologies Made TV Worse

We are in the middle of a digital revolution:Twitter, YouTube, mobiles, LCD – the only sure thing about these new technologies is that we do not really know how they will affect our lives. Amidst this wonderful wave of transformation some disturbing trends have emerged. Following are a few examples from Israeli TV wherein new technologies facilitate in its change for the worse:

Distorted video proportions

Between 4:3 and 16:9, analog and HDTV, a mixture of formats that is indicative of a TV world that hasn’t decided on a new standard and has to make do. Until a universal standard is agreed upon and implemented, are we destined for years and years of stretched heads?

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That man is not this fat! Channel 10 News visually distorts an interview from UK’s Sky News.
These people are not this thin! Channel 2‘s UK reporter submits a visually distorted news item.

Web quality footage when better is available

News desks get access to virtually every other news feed in the world and record most of it for future use, but lately it seems it became too much of a hassle for them to use the recorded footage. Searching for a video on YouTube is so easy and fast that even when doing a piece about an event that happened a day earlier, news channels slack off by broadcasting pixelated videos from the web, as opposed to broadcast-level footage.

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Channel 2 News features coverage by German ARD using a compressed YouTube video.
Channel 2 News covers Bar Refaeli’s interview with Letterman on CBS using YouTube posted video.

Web videos as legitimate news items

The blurring of boundaries between news and entertainment is a serious issue, and part of it manifests in this trend of deeming web-content newsworthy. In this age of Context Collapse a private posting can be escalated into prime-time news:

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Channel 10 News covers a satirical YouTube video that miscaptions the Fuehrer so as to make him complain about parking spaces in Tel-Aviv.
For that extra kick, channel 10’s reporter shows said video to a Holocaust survivor who had never seen it before. Sought emotional impact achieved.

Part 2 of this post will be published during the next few months.

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