televisions, browsers and changing technology

I haven’t upgraded my television. It works fine and my environmental nature winces whenever I consider trading up for a modern, wide-screen version.

Ever since the digital switch I’ve noticed that my shows are cropped badly. The Daily Show is obviously not framed correctly–I regularly miss meaningful gestures of John Stewart’s left hand. We straight up miss jokes on American Dad and the Family Guy because they occur in that region of the show that only wide-screened TVs include.

The other day, I noticed that we were even missing out on part of Jeopardy. In some shots, two out of three of the contestants were practically cut in half!

So basic cable–in charge of many channels watched by people of all income levels and ages–no longer bothers to film their shows in a way that looks as good on the traditional square screens. Viewers who have been appreciating their shows for decades and decades have lost almost a third of their shows’ footage and are forced to move to a modern wide screen television should it bother them.

The Internet Explorer version of this site is regrettable. What's more regrettable is Microsoft's unwillingness to take advantage of the awesome design controls modern CSS gives us!

I found this discovery particularly maddening. As a web designer, if I want to take advantage of modern design technology, I have to accept that certain design features won’t show up in various browsers. My websites work in every browser.  They just look better in some than others.  Each browser does things differently, just as each television and computer offers a different user experience.  I know each browser’s limitations and design with that in mind.

Cable companies, it seems to me, chose to move forward with all wide-screen all the time without considering the expense and experience of their visitors.  Or maybe they’re also in the television selling business and they did indeed consider the expense.

Televisions cost money.  Modern browsers are free (though it has to be noted that, if you’re running some older computers, it may be necessary to upgrade that first).

This site is designed optimizing the modern features of web design — features like transparent backgrounds, rounded corners and box and text shadows.  My favorite part about designing with these features is that it almost resembles painting.  Painting with numbers, content and links. It’s really fun.

Check out my site (and many others on the web) in Chrome, Firefox or Safari for a more pleasing viewing experience

If you’re using modern tools, you’re rewarded. The difference is palpable, just as when you’re watching TV.

If you’re using Internet Explorer to view this site, I urge you to download Firefox or Chrome and take either of those for a spin. Some of you, I know, are still using Internet Explorer Version 6 — a browser that should have been recalled long ago and is no longer safe for internet travel.  Minimally, please stop ignoring the “download the new browser version” dialog box that insists on pestering you.

Web designers everywhere are appreciating the awesome design tools updated browsers bring. Try it out. Believe me, you’ll notice the difference. And like it.

For me,  I should probably find someone to take over my old television and move on.  Who needs a wide-screen TV when internet TV is the television of the future?


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