Posts tagged ‘dots’

The White Dashes at the Top of a TV Picture

By Chad Upton | Editor

They may appear as rapidly flashing dots, dashes, lines or boxes across the top of your TV screen.

The white lines are more prevalent on HDTVs, although they can show on older standard definition sets too.

They often appear while watching an HD channel that is broadcasting a standard definition signal, which frequently happens during commercial breaks and shows that are not available in high definition.

The lines are supposed to be there, you’re just not supposed to see them. If you have seen them, they will vary in size and shape depending on your TV.

These lines are like barcodes embedded in the picture. Closed captioning, teletext and programming guide information is represented by these white lines. Your TV can interpret them and display the information in a format that you can read.

Although this primarily affects HDTVs, it stems from variances in old Tube TVs (Cathode Ray Tubes). In the early days of television, there were extreme variances in production of television sets — some would cut off more of the picture than others.

Broadcasters overcame this problem by trying to keep all titles and important actions away from the very edges of the screen, in case they were cut off on some TVs. That extra space that you don’t see is called the overscanned image (because of the way that CRTs would paint an image on the screen by scanning side to side sixty times per second).

The overscan area became a good place to hide extra information when closed captioning data was added to TV signals.

HDTV signals do not overscan. Their signals are newer and were designed to encapsulate extra information from the beginning. But, you may still see these lines on an HDTV if the broadcaster is showing content that has the lines.

Most good televisions have the option to adjust overscan, including hdtvs. You’ll have to consult your manual, but this option will allow you to adjust the picture so the white lines are not visible.

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Sources: Wikipedia (Safe area, Overscan)

August 20, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

The Purpose of Beer Bottle Bumps

Many people have noticed the small bumps on the side of beer bottles, near the base (the “heel”). They’re not just on beer bottles either, every glass bottle in my house has them, which are mostly beer bottles.

These are typically called “mold codes” or “heel codes” and there are many different ideas about what these are for, but I could only confirm one.

It is a popular notion that these bumps help the bottler know how many times the bottle has been reused. I couldn’t find any proof that they are used for this. In fact, I’m not sure how these dots would convey that information since they are made when the bottle is molded.

This rumor seems to confuse the heel code with bottle date codes, which are traditionally found on the neck of the bottle. On newer bottles, date codes are stamped with ink. On older bottles, they were part of the glass mold and were often beside an embossed logo from the glass producer or bottler. Dating on older bottles helped bottlers know how long they had been in circulation. (more…)

March 26, 2010 at 12:01 am 7 comments


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