By Cory Doctorow at 11:12 am Mon, Mar 18, 2013
What color is a dead channel these days? Blue? Black?
Post digital switch-over, I think that question is now a category error. With an analog apparatus, background RF in an otherwise unused channel was processed and splattered onto the screen, same as anything else. With the digital arrangements, if the decoder can’t pick up a more-or-less-complete stream in the codec of choice, it doesn’t pass anything to the display, leaving the ‘color’ of a dead channel wholly arbitrary. Blue seems to be popular.
Unless the correct arbitrary choice is standardized somewhere, ‘color’ isn’t really a property that inheres to ‘lack of a decodable bitstream’, any more than ‘primality’ is a property that inheres to a trout.
Discussing this at work, we discovered a co-worker who genuinely thought it meant flat, featureless blue.
Speculation on whether or not there was a floating AUX NO SIGNAL hologram was interrupted.
Maybe it’s finally the age of the colourless green idea.
mine still displays static when set to “TV” input, but we have no antenna attached. Dunno what it would do if we plugged a HD antenna in.
‘The sky was the color of a birthday cake covered in stale icing’?
Happy Birthday! I was just thinking about Neuromancer the other day, and how buzzy it was to share it with friends. Something new under the sun (or within the bits) at the time…
happy mutants science fiction short
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