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Fine tuning

Sam Taylor | 17:03 UK time, Monday, 22 January 2007

Usually they ask you just to change one thing at once - this time they wanted to go further. News 24 and World were getting a new system to play out their on-screen straps and captions - so why don't we also change how they look, sound and behave? And while we're at it, what about new titles and whole new look for all our other graphics as well?

BBC News 24 logoIt's been months in the making, so you can imagine the relief at 0500 this morning and again at 0830, when we finally saw both a new on-screen look and a brand new technical system working happily on both BBC World and News 24.

Every channel wants to regularly refresh the way it looks on screen - TV graphic styles go out of fashion quickly - but this time we wanted a classic look: more room on screen for the pictures, fewer things getting in the way, and a clean, crisp style that ties in with the red and white of the set. We also had the chance to use new technology to introduce moving backgrounds to our breaking news straps, and new 3D icons for reporters who are joining us by videophone or webcam.

A team of graphic designers have been working on the new look for months, while another group of experts paved the way to introduce the playout system. My job's been to feed in requests from the channel teams - and as the deadline approached, to make sure everyone knows what's about to happen.

n24-graphics.jpgOf course you can't plan for everything, so it was great to launch News 24's new five-digit text number (61124) on the same day. We got plenty of feedback within minutes - much of it very positive about the way things look. However, we also got plenty of people saying the live 'bug' and the location strap at the top left of screen couldn't be seen fully on their TV. It looks like in our quest to maximise the amount of space on screen we've gone a little too far 'north', and we'll make some adjustments over the next couple of days to bring it back into view.

Moving the clock out to the left though was a conscious decision - most viewers have the option to watch News 24 in widescreen, even on a conventional 4:3 television (by selecting 16:9 on their Freeview or satellite box setup), and we wanted to use all the available space so it's easier to read the ticker. But rest assured, we'll be watching the feedback and reaction very closely - just as our viewers have been watching extremely closely today.



You haven't just gone too far north with the location bar you've sent the news scroller too far south!

I can see the top 1/3 of the words BBC News 24 and, because they're lower than the top of the BBC image, just the very top of the 17.22 making the current time, it's pretty distracting when one can't read what's on the ticker!

  • 2.
  • At 05:41 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Rob F wrote:

Sam - on my screen, even putting the freeview box in widescreen mode (it's a 4:3 TV) cuts off the left-most digit on the clock. Any chance you can move it over to the right just a little bit?

  • 3.
  • At 06:54 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Jamie wrote:

Not all of us are watching News 24 on expensive plasmas like the ones dotted around television centre or like the ones many BBC staff and designers have in their apartments which look like those photos in Ikea catalogues.

I watch N24 on a bog-standard 28" widescreen CRT. Until I do get round to keeping up with the Jones' and fork out for a Plasma to mount on my wall, can you please put the graphics within the "safe areas". To ignore simple principles of on-screen design and layout on a major television channel is shocking.

Your designers took months? I could have designed those captions and logos in a single afternoon. Seriously.

One other thing I've been meaning to ask for years, is why is there so much red? It's hardly politically neutral. Orange would be a safe bet for your on-screen colour-scheme.

  • 4.
  • At 07:14 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

If we consider the top and bottom of the TV screen to be the tropics of cancer and capricorn respectively, then the best place for the clock, channel logo and ticker is at the south pole, and any "live" logo at the north pole.

Such a configuration provides the greatest viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, we get it only when someone slips up, but when we do its superiority may be seen plainly. A picture unspoiled by distractions. Bliss! Why can't it be this way all the time!

Less is more!

  • 5.
  • At 08:12 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • K Joshua wrote:

I have a new widescreen TV, and in the usual 16:9 widescreen mode the beginning of the time is missing off the left edge of the screen! Very annoying.

Other than that, I love the new look and the new fonts are easier to read.

  • 6.
  • At 08:50 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Peter Hewitt wrote:

Why have you ruined the BBC1 graphics however? The black and grey ones from when you relaunched the studio were fantastic. The new ones are a step backwards. Plus why do you still use the eight year old headline music?

News 24 and World look great, but BBC1 has been ruined.

  • 7.
  • At 09:05 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Rob wrote:


I have just changed my freeview settings to 16:9 from 4:3 and the clock is still too far left, and can't make out the the whole time. like the new ticker style though and new screen layout is great!

  • 8.
  • At 09:06 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

Thanks for the message Sam.
Sadly, I would have to agree with most people on this site. While I like the new look and appreciate the massive effort in bringing us viewers a credible news service - the clock and the location strap are taking the bang out of this occasion. I know you plan to review the location strap is taking place as I send this, but please could you bring the clock back east? Pretty please.
However, I think the new graphics are an improvement.
Looking forward to the tweaks being carried out Sam.

Take care

  • 9.
  • At 09:22 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • daventry mcallister wrote:

It looks great to me and I don't understand why you have to make compromises for people who can't be bothered to set their digital boxes correctly.

  • 10.
  • At 09:53 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • David H wrote:


Thanks for the blog, and those of your colleagues.

I feel the ticker is a waste of screen space. If I want a quick hit of news, and cannot be bothered to hit Ceefax (no, not BBCi), I will go to the net. Without the ticker, the time, channel name and live strap can appear all within the 1 area, and create a really clean look. The clock looks a bit naff left on its own over there.

I also feel the end of the titles (after the BBC News starts scrolling, and especially the News 24 tonight titles) look blurred and rushed. I also feel the lack of dynamic headline in the titles feels like a step back.

All in all though, a pretty decent result, which does indeed make more screen available for the pictures, and that is a very good thing.

  • 11.
  • At 11:05 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Jamie wrote:

The author makes a small comment about Freeview viewers being able to view News 24 in 16:9 on a 4:3 television. This isn't stricly true, as the signal is embedded with an AFD code which automatically resizes the picture to 14:9. A small number of Freeview boxes allow the user to override this code, but the majority do not. In my experience, this 14:9 display of News 24 leaves the last digit of the clock onscreen at all time.

daventry mcallister, the people with issues DO have their systems set up correctly.

The graphics are outside the safe areas and (I will bet real cash) have been tested only on whizzy LCD screens which have less overscan than domestic CRT screens.

  • 13.
  • At 12:44 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Matt Eason wrote:

Leftmost clock digit is cut in half for me too. It looks like there's plenty of room to move it to the right though. My Sky+ box and TV are both set to 16:9

  • 14.
  • At 01:12 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Hello. Love the new look: especially the facts that 1, the straps/astons etc now go all the way across the screen (looked terrible when that small area at the left never got filled in), and 2, the BBC NEWS 24 has gone horizontal again! Those boxes look terrible! Sadly though, I have Analogue Cable and despite me having a 16:9 Widescreen TV, the clock doesn't appear at all, the ticker is right on the edge and the LIVE bit at the top is not readable! Not something that can be altered with analogie cable.

  • 15.
  • At 04:59 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • James wrote:

I was interested to see the new look.

I am not sure if the opening trumpets on the theme tune sounds rather too much like SKY!

Also - why in the opening credits does the Middle East and Australia feature more prominently than Europe and the Americas (which dont appear at all!)

Would be nice to see the alternate versions like the previous set.

I like what you've done with the music however - it's got a more "live" feel to it with the new instrumentation.

It can only improve from here.

Well done.


  • 16.
  • At 08:25 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

I think the new styles and captions are great - well done! Our TVs are standard CRTs (both widescreen and 4:3) and all the graphics and captions fit in fine. Plus I love the adjustments to the title sequence and music on the BBC1 news.

  • 17.
  • At 08:41 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Adam M wrote:

Sam - could you make the new titles available to view online?


I have to say that the new look to News 24 is superb, although why wasn't the set updated? It looks a bit dated now. Good work none the less.

  • 19.
  • At 10:25 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I can't understand why people cannot set up your televsions correctly. Yeah, the LIVE strap is right at the top of the screen but overall it looks great, I have a 20" and 32" widescreen TV and before that on a 4:3 TV I would watch widescreen programmes in letterbox. It is now time that the 4:3 safe areas were scraped as BBC NEWS 24 have done buy inserting the clock outside the safe area.

Great package only one gripe though, when BREAKING NEWS happens can you always play the music whether you are in the middle of a report or interview as last night (22/01/2007) just before 11pm. News broke from ABC in America and the music didn't play.

Overall great


  • 20.
  • At 11:21 AM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Phillip Darlington wrote:

Brilliant graphics but I do have to agree with some people on the positioning. I have a 16:9 widescreen TV using Freeview in Widescreen mode but I lost the top half of the Location/Bug strap is missing as is the bottom half of the Clock/Headlines strap.

  • 21.
  • At 12:10 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Emmet Spier wrote:

RE: Moving the clock out of the 4:3 screen space.

This is awful design, you have decided it is more important to your viewers to see the logo 'BBC NEWS 24' than a clock.

I'm sure you have considered 16:9 distribution (for your audience?) but all the screens I watch News 24 are *not* widescreen. That's right, in the gym, kitchen, airport, bedroom people want to see a clock.

Form follows function.

  • 22.
  • At 12:21 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Somebody wrote:

One thing you appear not to have considered when you didn't make the clock 14:9 safe - News 24 still goes out on analogue overnight, weekend mornings and during News Events. And on these occasions, the clock is half-on, half-off screen.

Why not put the clock in the 14:9-not-4:3 Safe Area by right rather than left aligning it in the space?

  • 23.
  • At 01:04 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Bill Taylor in England wrote:

I like the new layout!
I am concerned that the BBC does not provide a test card transmission for their digital feeds, which could inform the general public how their TVs should be set up to see what the BBC intended.
The contributions so far imply some TVs set ups are causing their viewers to miss out on the intended pictures.

  • 24.
  • At 01:41 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

Whatever the pros and cons of this new layout, what is the point of it, if you can't drop the 'DOG' when it completely obscures vital information on external feed from the Oscars ceremony ???

They could switch it off for a few seconds when it is getting in the way of key information being displayed ?

If not, then it so inflexible as to be completely pointless. Grrrr...!!!

Hello again -- thanks for all the further feedback, I'm glad a lot of people like the new look and the way it allows more room to see the action in the pictures themselves. This morning we've moved the LIVE and location strap down so hopefully that will fix the problem at the top of the screen for most people. Now we're looking at how we fine-tune the position of the clock which clearly some viewers can't always see in full, even in widescreen mode. It's not a matter of the age or type of TV you're watching on, it appears even some plasmas are losing the left-hand digit on the clock -- while others have plenty of space beyond. Many thanks for bearing with us while we get to grips with it, and I'll let you know as soon as we can make the change.

  • 26.
  • At 02:37 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Michael Bolton wrote:

Its not so much the graphics as the dreadful set. BBC Breakfast has clouds which had a feature expressing how much work they had taken and then lasted about three days before someone realised it looked like the local junior school had tried to paint the backdrop. You can see the joins between all the screens and thats aside from the different contrast of the screens.

The new titles are good and as ever the David Lowe BBC News thems sounds better with each new mix. its a real signature to the news but as for the on-air look, why update the graphics when the studio looks like so cheap and nasty especially against the previous versions.

  • 27.
  • At 03:10 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Reboot wrote:

The "Live" graphic is fine now, but the bottom line's still cut off (I know the ticker washed out in the pic, but it's the same or slightly worse than the BBC NEWS 24):

  • 28.
  • At 03:41 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Lee Corbin wrote:

It's great that you've responded so quickly to the first of these issues and it's much better to see the whole of the LIVE strap.

However, I'm another person suffering from "half ticker syndrome". On my TV, the new graphics are clipped along the bottom and thus look a bit amateurish.

I've today watched News 24 on another widescreen TV where everything fits well on screen ... and it all looks excellent. A great improvement and so much better to be able to see more of the actual pictures!

Any chance that you'll be moving that ticker up a bit?

  • 29.
  • At 04:21 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Nigel Riggall wrote:

The top live bar now looks better but the bottom ticker is still a bit of the bottom of my screen because not all of the letters are showing properly.

The clock i can`t see at all even if i adjust the screen ratio, if i put my box into letterbox mode it looks even worse with the screen having thick black bars at the top and bottom, but i can see all the information.

  • 30.
  • At 04:51 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Hi Sam

I think that ticker is too far down as it's showing exactly half of the information, bearly readable.

It seems even with modern sets overscan is still a problem, I wish that TV Manufacturers and Broadcasters communicated with each other to make TV's graphics friendly.

  • 31.
  • At 05:16 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

It looks like there are some dodgy widescreen TV's out there!! Mine are both Toshiba (20" and 32") and the new grahics look great on them.

It's a shame Sam and the team are going to have to move the ticker and straps up so we end up with the same amount of screen as before. Although the clock fits OK on my sets, the clock could move slightly nearer the BBC NEWS 24 logo for the overnight simucast on analogue BBC ONE/TWO.


re your update nice to see you drop the frankly arrogant attitude of 'we're not moving the clock - deal with it'.

Will you now accept that the bottom of the ticker is also outside the safe area and shift it up a bit so we can read it?

BBC Parliament manage to fit a far larger bar on their picture without shoving it into the overscan area.

  • 33.
  • At 05:30 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

What ever you use try not to use applets that slow everything down.

  • 34.
  • At 05:51 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Somebody wrote:

> It's a shame Sam and the team are going to have to move the ticker and straps up so we end up with the same amount of screen as before

Why? There's room *within* the ticker bar to move the text closer to the top without actually impinging (on a similar gap to the distance between the text and the edges of the old ticker). That would probably be the best solution for all concerned...

  • 35.
  • At 07:51 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • keith wrote:

please fix the clock, that is my only problem. I like the new astons, far better than the old version, but the clock is too blurry and to far out and please fix the bottom of the screen as it doesn't seem to go in a straight line. Apart from this a vast improvement, that shames all the other networks. Good job BBC News

  • 36.
  • At 08:25 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Having problems viewing the ticker too. Got to agree with a previous poster that it is 'too far south' on my TV too. I can only see just over 50% of it. There were no problems viewing the previous ticker, any chance of pushing the new one up? It really does spoil the current viewing experience.

  • 37.
  • At 09:43 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Paul. wrote:

Lee Corbin: However, I'm another person suffering from "half ticker syndrome". On my TV, the new graphics are clipped along the bottom and thus look a bit amateurish.

I've today watched News 24 on another widescreen TV where everything fits well on screen ... and it all looks excellent. A great improvement and so much better to be able to see more of the actual pictures!

Me: So haven't you identified that it's your TV that has the problem? If the ticker is moved up it will look daft for the majority of us whose TV currently shows the ticker perfectly along the bottom of the screen.

  • 38.
  • At 10:04 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Please make the graphics slightly transparent. I don't want my plasma screen to be damaged by the BBC's onscreen logos and graphics.

I've got to say that the ticker at the bottom of the screen remains too low. I'm sure that on a perfectly aligned plasma it looks lovely. But despite my best efforts in my TV's setup, my widescreen CRT shows just the top of the time and crops the bottom of all the lettering.

I accept that my TV probably could be better aligned, but that would require me going into my television's service mode. Not something that the average punter should be doing unless they know what they're doing.

The same problem occurs on a 4:3 CRT too.

You don't have to raise the bar much, but it does need to go up a bit. Otherwise it's just an annoying distraction serving no purpose whatsoever. I realise that this probably impacts on your headline graphics positioning, but those "safe zones" you see, even in consumer packages like Premiere are there for a reason.

Even the flattest CRT screens have slight curvature in the corner, which is why the ticker needs to go higher.

Don't forget that many televisions that display News 24 are in places like airport lounges and gyms. These aren't always the latest plasmas or lcds, and they're not always perfectly aligned, but it's in those places that the time is most useful.

Personally I'd say that CNN International's ticker is at the perfect height. There's still plenty of room for headline graphics.

  • 40.
  • At 12:16 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • JAMES TAYLOR wrote:

All very good with the new graphics and the BBC wonder why they haven't got the lisence fee increase that they wanted.

What a waste of money on these new so called graphics and lack of clock!

Watch Sky or Fox or CNN and see how the professionals do it!

I think the new look is essentially fine: it's been all too often in the past that the action in a shot has been completely covered by an Aston, for example.

However I am a little surprised that there are problems with alleged overscan. Quite frankly, the safe areas are well established and not under any doubt, and I'm sure that you're following them.

If you are, then if a viewer can't see some aspect of the on-screen furniture it's their problem and not yours: you can't afford to adjust screen design to suit poorly-aligned sets as it will adversely affect the majority. Conversely, if you're outside the safe areas then your designers need their wrists slapped.

As far as the clock is concerned, you know you're outside the safe area and that's a design decision. In fact watching News24 in LB on a 4:3 set is something I've done as long as I can recall. Everyone can do it - why not encourage them?

  • 42.
  • At 08:34 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jon Llewellyn wrote:

Hi Steve

Are there any plans to have Breakfasat adopt the new graphics changes. It seems odd that it didn't at the same time as the other output. With Breakfast coming from the same studio as the 1, 6 and 9, surely it would have made sense to let Breakfast have them as well.

  • 43.
  • At 11:56 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jon Litchfield wrote:

I have a CRT screen (widescreen) and I adore the new look. News channels have for far too long seen it as a duty to clutter every inch of the screen with extraneuos nonsense. As for the talk of the clock, who among the viewers does not have a watch or a clock on the wall, leave it on the left where it can be seen by many (not all I agree) and use that bit of spare down there. Please don't bring it all too far up again as it is lovely now to see the news set and studio properly.

News24 is virtually unwatchable because of tabloid size captions with different coloured backgrounds sliding up and down, the wretched clock, and above all, that awful BBC News Theme crashing and banging along behind the headlines.

Having the time on screen is OK but I don't need to be told what channel I'm watching - it only takes one button press to find out. If you can do without all the interference for the weather forecast, why can't you do without it all the time? It is particularly distracting for special programmes like Click where it can obscure the programme's own captions and picture information. Also on sports coverage the clock logo often obliterates part of the picture where the action is.

To Richard @ post 41

The problem is the graphics are NOT inside the safe areas and hence are affected by overscan.

Here's a picture of the BBC Parliament bar

as you'll see the whole thing displays fine.

On the same major brand TV set here's the new BBC News24 OSG:

On the same set the old - correctly positioned - OSG displayed fine.

This is very much the same as the massive DOGS on BBC Three a while back where they were HUGE and far too 'solid' and expressed concerns from flatscreen owners were dismissed with a very sarky 'You'd think people would have more important things to worry about' response from the then powers that be at BBC Three.

This was later removed from the BBC Three news site after people complained and the DOGS eventually reduced in opacity and size.

People who were able to see the old graphics and wont be able to alter the overscan of their sets will have a reasonable expectation that the OSGs display properly on their set.

As a publicly funded entity the BBC have a duty to ensure this is the case.

Shifting the ticker up a tad won't affect those people who can already see the OSG but it will return those who can't to the position they were in just a few days ago - with properly displaying graphics.

Personally I'd prefer no DOGS and OSGs but if we have to have them let's be able to read them!

  • 46.
  • At 03:04 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Rob Williams wrote:

Apart from the text on that lower bar (ticker, logo and clock), I think that the new graphics and music are excellent.

On my TV, all of the text on that bar is too low. There seems to be plenty of room between the text and the top of the bar. If the text were moved, so that its top edge was about 50% closer to the top edge of the bar, I think that it would look fine.

  • 47.
  • At 04:40 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Here's something interesting: On analogue cable, even in LetterBox mode, I can see none of the clock whatsoever. With analogue cable, you cannot alter this - it's controlled by the cable operator. So, in response to people that keep saying "maybe they should learn to programme their TV's correctly", the TV is more often than not ok. More proof of this, is that when it's on BBC ONE overnight, much more can be viewed as cable broadcast this differently. In saying that, I actually really really like the new look! ( I have a 16:9 Widesreen TV)

  • 48.
  • At 07:16 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Vincent wrote:

I watch BBC News 24 on Analog cable (cant get digi cable and dont want to pay for sky digital yet)..
They are still playing the output in the old 4:3 format! I can't change this as I dont have a cable box - just a cable connected to the wall! Nothing I do with my TV lets me see the clock! Yet on SkyNews I can see the clock.... So It looks like if I want a news channel I can view - I will have to watch Sky!

Bye bye news24

  • 49.
  • At 07:21 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

Overall I like the new look. It's less cluttered and classier than the enormous headlines and 'BREAKING NEWS!!!' graphics we've come to expect from Sky, ITV etc.

However I think there is something of a (slightly arrogant) assumption creeping into the BBC that everybody has the latest TVs, PCs etc on which to display its output, and that if you you lack these, well you should just jolly well stop whingeing, people, and get your priorities right.

The BBC has in the past been accused of fetishising the latest gadgetry (particulalry the website) and maybe there are too many techies at the Corporation these days, as it certainly seems to be a recurring theme.

I'm quite happy with my 25-year old 30" CRT, thanks. It does the job just fine. I don't want to HAVE to fiddle about putting my freeview box into letterbox mode and have a much-reduced picture size with huge areas of wasted space top and bottom, just so that the owners of £2000+ plasmas can enjoy graphics optimised for their displays.

As I said on another thread, as a public service broadcaster you should take into the account the circumstances of all your viewers and listeners.

  • 50.
  • At 08:33 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jonathan Rothwell wrote:

The new look is fantastic - the titles are far better than the previous N24 sequence (slow music, slow animation, looked too much like ITV News)

One thing I would change is the countdown on N24 and World - it now looks incredibly tired and out-of-place. Could we have those data trails from the titles instead of the satellite beams? Also, could Breakfast, Newsnight, Panorama and the regions PLEASE adopt this on-screen look? It can't be that difficult to adapt the titles.

  • 51.
  • At 12:20 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Lee wrote:

I have to say the whole new look is fantastic! Plus I like the fact that a digital widescreen channel is making use of the available space and not cramming everything into the middle. Everything fits perfectly now that LIVE has been lowered. Much more room to breathe - well done.

The best bits for me are -
the red glass look, very Aqua/Vista
16:9 fit is perfect

One thing I noticed was the red behind the clock stops with a line just before the BBC logo, is that intentional? (that sounds really picky I know but you give someone a voice and you ask for trouble)

  • 52.
  • At 09:34 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Simon Jones wrote:

Please can you use mixed case for the ticker. Mixed case is 30% easier to read than all capitals.

  • 53.
  • At 02:03 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Nic Barlow wrote:

Revamped music makes BBC News appear stylish for once, and the titles have more edge to them.

Can your designers change the BBC1 set to look like News24's? It is currently amateurish and distracting - all they need to do is change the background projection - not sure how quick they could do that!

Also!, why does BBC Breakfast have to have such a big pointless set Mon-Fri then revert at weekends to the News24 set which is far better? Surely that was a waste of money and why does the weather presenter have to be stuck in the Blue Peter garden? What a further waste of resources just to set up an OB link! Remember the licence fee folks!!

Like most people commenting on various sites, the News24 ticker needs to be tweaked so that the clock is visible when viewed in 4:3 mode.

Other than that, excellent work team - keep it up!

  • 54.
  • At 04:41 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

It's good to see the BBC being bold enough to effectively force people to switch to widescreen.

Aside from the overnight simulcasts and the tiny minority still on analogue cable, News 24 is a digital channel and there's no reason why people shouldn't be able to set up their Sky / Cable / Freeview boxes correctly.

My main TV is a widescreen CRT and the graphics display perfectly. The kitchen and guest room have 4:3 sets fed by Freeview boxes in letterbox mode, and it always used to bug me that the available space was being underused simply becuase some people can't or won't set their equipment up properly.

But one suggestion: as there are so many complaints both here and on other forums (mainly from people with 4:3 sets and incorrectly configured digiboxes), how about an explainatory article on the website and Ceefax?

  • 55.
  • At 05:29 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

My TV (4:3) is setup up correctly using the letterbox mode and i still can't see the first digit of the clock.

  • 56.
  • At 05:56 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • David wrote:

Vincent, you choose your source of news solely by whether or not you can see a clock on-screen??? How about a watch? Works for me.


It's not a case that the TV aren't set up properly, it really is a case that someone at the BBC got it wrong.

Hard to imagine I know but it does happen ;-)

  • 58.
  • At 02:17 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

I have a 4:3 CRT TV and can see the time perfectly. I have used this TV in letterbox mode since the old days of onDigital and think it's about time that on screen graphics made use of the whole screen. If people can't see all the graphics, it's probably because TVs are not aligned properly (and this is something you can do via a menu). I have a portably TV which I use on analogue and that always cuts the top of the picture off.

I also agree with a previous comment that the ticker should be in mixed case.

  • 59.
  • At 06:07 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • John Cletheroe wrote:

Just a few thoughts here:
- We don't need any channel names or logos displayed on-screen. All STB's can display them in the highly unlikely event of wanting to see them.
- We don't need the clock displayed on-screen. It's available on any text system if needed.
- We don't need the news ticker on News24. The current headlines can be accessed on any text system.
- We don't need the dreaded "Press Red", ever.
- Less screen graffiti would be generally appreciated by many viewers.


  • 60.
  • At 03:58 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Dave Shaw wrote:

Nice graphics but the clocks position is a real annoyance. Its just too far to the lest to be comfortable.

  • 61.
  • At 10:20 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew McNeil wrote:

I like the new graphics on out nation's best news channel, but like with many other people, I'm suffering from the so-called 'half-ticker syndrome'. All BBC channels look bast on the 'Full' screen setting on my JVC CRT TV, but it is quite annoying that I can't see the bottom half of the ticker and the clock.

Apart from that, great!

  • 62.
  • At 02:34 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • xyz8 wrote:

My TV is more than 20 years old and I've lost most of the running ticker at the bottom... which I'm grateful for as I rarely engage with it. I've also lost the clock, but still look in the old place by habit. Overall, I'm happy to go with the changes!

  • 63.
  • At 03:35 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

John Cletheroe wrote:

- We don't need any channel names or logos displayed on-screen. All STB's can display them in the highly unlikely event of wanting to see them.

I totally agree, but sadly I don't expect them to disappear anytime soon. Have you ever tried watching five US or any of the Disney channels?

- We don't need the clock displayed on-screen. It's available on any text system if needed.

Never been watching News 24 while waiting for a train or a flight? I have...

- We don't need the news ticker on News24. The current headlines can be accessed on any text system.

Again, if you're watching the news in a public place like a motorway service station, or an airport, it's a lot easier to read a ticker than to strain your ears.

- We don't need the dreaded "Press Red", ever.

I don't. You don't. But we the experience to understand that it's available should we so desire. But huge chunks of the population are completely ignorant of it. My dad was recently amazed and pleased to find he could watch the snooker via BBC interactive, he'd never bothered with it before.

Sam, I appreciate this may be beyond your remit, but do you know if the Beeb plan to embrace widescreen on any other channels? I realise of course that there are still many people who can only get BBC1 and 2 on analogue terrestrial, but maybe a move to 100% widescreen would force their hand - and maybe save you spending £600 million on Freeview boxes!

  • 64.
  • At 02:03 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Malcolm Powell wrote:

This is more Widescreen Fascism! Many people prefer 4:3 to widescreen and have a right to their choice. I use a 4:3 set in “Centre Cut” mode because I prefer 4:3 when not in a cinema and do not want the black bars. In Sam Taylor’s biased article he attempts to justify this Widescreen Fascism by stating that “most viewers have the option to watch News 24 in widescreen”. This is of course beside the point. Although most viewers have this option, there is no good reason why they should be forced to exercise it! Screen layouts should be chosen so that viewers have a choice of aspect ratio!

Those who make television programmes need to take the same view as web designers. The HTML that is used to implement web pages is a means of specifying content only. Detailed formatting and layout can always be overridden by a user’s personal web browser settings. In this respect, the web is well ahead of television.

  • 65.
  • At 02:05 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Norman and Wyn wrote:

My wife and I love the new screen layout but why oh why must we have the noisy dum dum dum when the headlines of the news and sport are read out, it is sometimes louder than the speech, very irritating?
Thank You.
Norman and Wyn.

  • 66.
  • At 03:40 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • RM wrote:

I don't have any problem with the positioning of any of the elements of the new graphics on my 7 year old Toshiba 28" widescreen CRT, but I do have one or two (maybe three) minor nitpicks/questions about the current News 24 look.

1. Although I like the new graphics, I can't help but feel they look a little bare, especially when there's just the aston on screen detailing a story. I think it could be improved by adding a variant of the new "world" logo seen in the titles to the left hand side. Rather like this half assed attempt I came up with....

2. Why do some news items still have a massive black bar on the left hand side of the screen? Surely the BBC can afford a full complement of widescreen cameras by now?

3. The new graphics make the old set look rather small and a bit on the cheap side, when will the move to Broadcasting House be taking place, and will the new set be bigger?

Wonderful changes!

Well done - style and substance - greatly improved.

I particularly love the sound bed that accompanies the 'headlines' - this music just gets better with EVERY remix.
Please please release the 'family' of sounds as a CD or mp3 files.

Great work

  • 68.
  • At 10:34 PM on 31 Jan 2007,
  • Steve Fox wrote:

Nice to see News 24 continue to renew and freshen its identity. As someone who grinds his teeth at the constant clutter of DOGs which continue to obstruct my viewing pleasure on most channels these days its good to see a channel take a leap in the opposite direction and scale it all back. My ONLY gripe with News 24 continues to be that blasted printer that lurks under the presenters desk and noisily grinds into life on the hour straight after the main titles. I understand that a paper backup may be needed if those very attractive Dell laptops AND the autocue go 'clunk' but it doesnt look or sound very professional when the microphones pick up this sort of obtrusive background noise, especially at the start of the key hourly lead story!

Finally, trebles all round (sic) for retaining the musical talents of David Lowe. Hes fab.


  • 69.
  • At 02:25 PM on 01 Feb 2007,
  • Barbara Forrest wrote:

Hiya, like the new style news bar - means I can see more of what is on the screen, but the clock is far too small, can you not make it the same size as the BBC letters in the blocks next to it?

Regards Babs

  • 70.
  • At 11:19 AM on 03 Feb 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

Well, I also have a 'normal' TV and have set my Freeview box to handle widescreen output correctly - so how do Sky News manage to get their busy screen looking good with my TV, but BBC News cannot?

As the switch to digital TV is becoming more important, so the numbers watching on standard 4:3 TV screens will increase. I think we will find more people will start to prefer to look at Sky News when we are rushing around to get ready in the morning so we can keep an eye on the time!

In this instance I think you could please everybody with a little bit of tweaking to the graphic layout and would be worth the effort?

  • 71.
  • At 07:06 PM on 03 Feb 2007,
  • Sam Kleeman wrote:

I'm shocked that no-one has noticed the suprising similarities between BBC's 'new time-consuming design' and Sky's 'old' design. Everything is nearly in the exact same place. How can this be? BBC, creative? Ha!

  • 72.
  • At 09:19 PM on 03 Feb 2007,
  • Andrew Davidson wrote:

Please can you re-instate the clock?
It doesn't show at all on our TV, or on other family members TV's except 1 partially,none of us have the newest plasma models,is this discrimination?
The new music is very good, but I fear half the new graphics are missing for us !
PS How much 'Red' do you need?
Yours disgruntled,

  • 73.
  • At 01:02 PM on 05 Feb 2007,
  • Rob Townsend wrote:

Never assume anything. A little piece of advice with regard to your concious decision to move the clock on BBC News 24 further to the left. I have 3 tv's in my house and not one of them can pick up the clock satisfactorily. I urge you to change this ill-thought decision so we can all benefit from the clock. I am now having to switch over to Sky News just to get the clock. Ludicrous! We don't all have widescrean tv's. As a licence payer I have a right to demostrate against this foolish move. The fact that it has taken months to alter these graphics beggers belief. Not happy.

  • 74.
  • At 02:22 PM on 08 Feb 2007,
  • R. Howitt wrote:

Bring back the clock! We pay all this money for BBC24 and never can tell the right time. And, where have my wife's favourite announcers gone? Everything is going to the dogs these days! I shall have to stop paying my licence fee.

  • 75.
  • At 05:14 PM on 09 Feb 2007,
  • Matthew Thorpe wrote:

Haha! Now that the clock has been moved back into the safe area, there's a big red rectangle of nothing in it's old place. These new graphics are turning into a bit of an odyssey! Everything above the ticker does look neater, but taking the clock away only from certain viewers was a slap in the face with a wet fish.

In 'improving' things, many viewers are now getting less from the channel.

I've altered the aspect ratio on my equipment, as watching News24 in 4:3 is now incredibly annoying - it looks like the channel is slipping off the bottom of the screen! Looking forward to these ill-researched changes being tweaked soon. (?)

  • 76.
  • At 08:27 PM on 09 Feb 2007,
  • John Cletheroe wrote:

Many thanks for correcting the clock's position.

Is there any chance that the vertical position of the bottom line can be corrected so as to make the bottom half of the text on it visible please? It needs to be moved up about half the height of the text characters.


  • 77.
  • At 09:00 PM on 09 Feb 2007,
  • Ben Avison wrote:

I normally take an instant dislike to redesign of on-screen graphics, but this time round I thought it was a distinct improvement: the previous graphics were just too big and brash. But now that you've caved in and moved the clock back within the 4:3 safe area, it looks really silly - a little black box just off-centre and a large blank area on the left.

If we really must have a clock on the screen, would it not be possible to do it as an MHEG overlay so that its position can be different for 4:3 and 16:9 sets?

  • 78.
  • At 11:51 AM on 10 Feb 2007,
  • Carl wrote:

Slapping the clock in the ticker line makes it look like an after-thought, and you've still done nothing about the problem of the ticker line on CRT sets.

Stop congratulating yourselves about a great job and get this sorted out. The ticker is still too low and the position of the clock looks like a temporary bodge-up.

And if the BBC is prepared to move the clock because of complaints, can we assume that the BBC3 and BBC4 DOGs will now also be removed?

  • 79.
  • At 01:56 PM on 11 Feb 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Oh for goodness' sake, I can't believe you've caved in and moved the clock to the right of the logo for the sake of the minority of viewers watching in centre cut-out mode on 4:3 TVs - 99.999% of whom have watches and/or clocks that they are perfectly capable of referring to if they need the time!

(I just cannot understand the people posting comments here to bemoan the loss of something so utterly superfluous as if their lives depended on it - particularly when a flick of their digital box settings would bring it back anyway!)

Is News 24 a widescreen channel or not? Watching in 16:9 now just looks utterly ridiculous as the red part of the bottom strip simply doesn't look right - it has an enormous gap on one side and the logo squashed up on the other. Please just put the clock back where it belongs: inside the 14:9 safe area but outside the 4:3 safe area.

After all, that way, viewers with 4:3 TVs will finally come to appreciate that if they put their digital boxes into a useless mode like 'centre cut-out' they are actually losing part of the picture!

  • 80.
  • At 03:05 PM on 11 Feb 2007,
  • James wrote:

Really sorry about this, but I have one very small complaint about the positioning of the clock... (I know!)

It looks sort of odd, in a black box next to the News 24 logo, so I was wondering if possibly you could just extend the red left part of the bar to the right a bit, and place the clock there instead? Of course it's no big thing if you cannot, it still looks great!

  • 81.
  • At 07:44 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Joss wrote:

The bottom half of the news ticker bar is still missing on my Sony KD-28DL11U IDTV. Do you plan to move it up at any point or will I have to start watching an inferior news channel just to avoid this annoyance?

  • 82.
  • At 11:33 AM on 25 Mar 2007,
  • JJ wrote:

What a great waste of money! How about taking some of the budget and spending it on getting some proper journalists?

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