The BBC has responded to criticisms of the onscreen logo (pictured above) used on its trial HD services on the Sky HD platform and Freeview. Like all criticisms of onscreen graphics, the broadcaster dodges the complaints of its users and adopts a dismissive tone about the irritation they cause:
“The BBC, in common with other broadcasters, inserts Channel Identifiers (also known as DOG for Digital On-screen Graphic) in the top left-hand corner of the screen on its dedicated digital channels. In the competitive multi-channel environment we feel that such identifiers are an aid to viewer navigation and it is important to ensure that viewers can quickly identify they are watching BBC services.
This policy has evolved over the last few years and is applied in a flexible manner which we believe best reflects the needs of the majority of our audience
Static images are a common feature of broadcasting, and whilst DOGs are one example, there are many others e.g. sports scores and electronic programme guides. Such images are editorially important, and cannot be excluded totally from any broadcaster’s output. Static images of certain types, even if removed for periods, such as during advertising breaks, have the potential to ‘burn’ some of the newer types of screen including those based on back-projection and on plasma technologies.Intellect (the trade association for the UK hi-tech industry) has issued “Advice to Broadcasters on the avoidance of ‘image retention’ on plasma and back-projection screen technologies” and the BBC’s use of DOGs and graphics follows that guidance to the best of our ability:
The BBC DOGs tend to be added in a way that causes them to be semi-transparent, and this reduces the risk of long-term burn-in to a very great extent
Short-term image retention effects due to the presence of, for example, a sports score for just a couple of hours are not likely to result in long term damage to the display device.
Careful adherence to the display manufacturer’s guidance by the user is important in reducing the risk of damage.
We continue to liaise with manufacturers on practical approaches to this problem which, whilst arising primarily from the vulnerability of the screen technology, benefits by such a joint approach.”