In a typical digital on screen graphic, the station's logo appears in a corner of the screen.
A digital on-screen graphic (originally known as digitally-originated graphic) (known in the UK and New Zealand by the acronym DOG; in the US and Canada as a bug; and in Australia as a watermark) is a watermark-like station logo that many television broadcasters overlay over a portion of the screen-area of their programs to identify the channel. They are thus a form of permanent visual station identification, increasing brand recognition and asserting ownership of the video signal. In some cases, the graphic also shows the name of the current program. Some television networks use an on-screen graphic to advertise upcoming programs (usually programs scheduled later the same day, but can also be for "significant" upcoming programs as much as a week in advance) — this is generally displayed after the opening, during in-program credits, and when returning from a commercial break.
The graphic identifies the source of programming even if it is time-shifted—that is, recorded to videotape, DVD, or via a digital personal video recorder such as TiVo by possibly station identification. Many of these technologies allow viewers to skip or omit traditional between-programming station identification; thus the use of a DOG enables the station or network to enforce brand-identification even when standard commercials are skipped. DOG watermarking also helps minimize off-the-air copyright infringement (for example the distribution of a current series' episodes on DVD): the watermarked content is easily differentiated from "official" DVD releases, and can help law-enforcement efforts by identifying not only the station an illegally copied broadcast was captured from, but usually the actual date of the broadcast as well.
Many news broadcasters also place a clock alongside their DOG. In the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, DOGs may also include the show's parental guideline rating. In Australia, this is known as a Program Return Graphic (PRG). It has also become custom to place text advertising other programs on the network above the station's logo.
In many countries, some TV networks put "LIVE" in the bottom of the DOG to advise viewers that the program is live other than repeats.
During televised sports events, a DOG may also display a few game-related statistics such as the current score. This has led many people in Canada and the United States to refer to it as a score bug.
Arabic TV logos are in the top-right and top left, except MBC 1. MBC 1 is in the logos are changed black and white and transparent during commercial breaks.
Australia first introduced the watermark (Or Digital-on screen graphics) in 1999.Channel 7 was the first network to broadcast on all of their programs.
In Canada, networks and channels display logo bugs the same way as the UK and the US, with only minor differences.
CTV places their opaque logo over Fox's on-screen graphic during American Idol.
A simulation of how a Canadian TV network could place their logo if a US network's logo is already present.
Canadian networks often request the simultaneous substitution of programs on US networks. The imported feed is either a clean feed without a bug from the US broadcaster, or a direct US feed with the US network's bug present.
When the US network's bug is present, the Canadian broadcaster will either:
- cover up the logo with their own (opaque) logo - this strategy is used by CTVglobemedia's TV stations (the logo is normally grey), and NTV in Newfoundland), or
- "co-brand" the show by placing their logo in a different corner of the screen.
As of mid-March 2011, CTV and "A" no longer cover up the Fox logo during American Idol, due to Bell Canada's taking over of CTVgm. But both CTV and "A" now put their logo at the bottom-left corner.
In the 1980s, public broadcasters started to randomly show logos during programs to prevent video piracy, following the lead of Italian broadcasters RAI and Canale 5. After the first private stations emerged in 1984, permanently showing their logo most times, the public broadcasters soon followed. Today practically all TV stations show their logo during the programs and often these are an integral part of their design using fluent motion graphic animations to make the transition between programs, previews and advertising, as well as displaying additional information such as teletext numbers or the name of the following program. Most logos are transparent during programming though some channels don't. (e.g. kabel eins uses a bright orange coloured logo.) Also the majority of the channels show their logo in either the top-left or top-right corner of the picture though there are exceptions (e.g. RTL II in the bottom-right or N24 logo in the bottom-left and date and time in the top-right).
The Irish Language channel TnaG first used their DOG during simulcast of QVC and their coverage of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament). In 1998 TV3 launch as Ireland's first commercial operator and the first Irish channel to permanently use a DOG in the Left hand corner of the screen. In 1999 TnaG re-branded as TG4 and began showing their logo during all programmes. In 2002 RT introduce their DOG however it would only appear for 20 seconds at the beginning of each show and it was there to classify the suitability of the content of the show, in 2004 the dog became a permanent part of the on screen presentation for both RT One and RT Two. RT 's classification guide also appears for 20 seconds at the beginning of each show. RT 's, TG4's and Setanta Ireland's DOGs appear in the upper right hand corner of the screen, while TV3's DOGs appear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. RT and TV3 do not use their DOGs during News or Current Affairs Programming. Channel 6 (now 3e) also displayed a dog during its 2 years on the air, 3e continue to display an on screen logo. The new Digital services from RT also display DOGs/BUGs RT jr, RT TWO HD and RT One+1. DOGs/BUGs are also used to tell viewers when shows are live or when they are replays. RT use the word "replay" during repeats of live programming while TV3 advise viewers "Text & Comment Lines are Closed", Setanta replace the word "Ireland" with the word "LIVE" to advise viewers that they are watching live events rather than repeats and TG4 places the Irish word "beo" (live) below the number 4 in their logo during live programming. RT refer to DOGs as BUGs. In Northern Ireland UTV began displaying their DOG in the late 2000s. All of the community and local channels in Ireland display a BUG. All BUGs also display 888 for subtitles.
Indonesian TV logos appeared since 80's where TVRI introduced the DOGs. The second television network, RCTI, appear since 1989. Another was SCTV and MNCTV. All logos were appear in upper left and upper right. MetroTV also appear the DOGs since 2000, before changed to bottom in 2010 (the year also MetroTV changed the logo).
TV3 of Malaysia introduced DOGs to Malaysian television in 1995, and 1997 for RTM (although DOGs has been partially used starting in 1991). Malaysian TV logos are in full-color, the logos are removed during commercial breaks, trade test transmissions and transitions between programs. All Malaysian television stations, show the logos in the top-right of the screen, with the exception of 8TV, in which the logo is shown in the top left.
New Zealand introduced the Digital on-screen graphics in 2002,starting with TV3. New Zealand FTA networks would place various logos in different places.TV One is currently still has the logo on the top right hand corner. TV2 usually has the logo from the top right hand corner until New Year's Day 2012. Prime And Maori Television still using the Digital on-screen graphic logo from the top right corner.Other networks would have the logo on the bottom right hand corner.
GMA Network was first introduced DOGs in 1995, since the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board has implemented a television content rating system way back since November on the said year. All of the stations started to display the DOGs after the commercial breaks, except Net 25 and some cable channels, that continues displaying DOGs at all time. The DOGs can be seen on the upper-right corner, aligned with the TV content rating logo but on several cable channels it changed to upper-left corner or bottom-right corner. Formerly, ABS-CBN removes the DOG with the rating for 3 minutes before the commercial break, however, the problem was fixed in 2000, which the DOG and the rating now removes 10 seconds before the commercial break.
Polish television introduced the logos in 1992 because TP was rebranded to TVP. At that time, TVP was the only broadcaster in Poland with two channels: TVP1 and TVP2. The DOGs of TVP are white, while the PolSat one was in full-color until 1994, local TV broadcasters show the logo in full-color. Polish television removes the logo in commercials, trailers and other non-program broadcasts, except test cards. The TVP logo is always shown in the top right side of the screen.
The Serbian national television RTS began showing logos in the early 1990s. Their logo was sometimes turned on manually during certain broadcasts but shortly afterwards remained permanently on-screen. One could notice how they were manually controlled, as the "logo-free" time during the begin of a program varied. Until around 1994 1995 their logos were opaque white and black, presumably due to being inserted into the analog CVBS signal just before being broadcast instead of an analog YUV, RGB or digital SDI signal, while in the mid-1990s they upgraded to colorized but still opaque logos. RTS's predecessor RTB (Radio Television of Belgrade) had DOGs of varying sizes, but rather than being introduced one after another they appear to have been used simultaneously at different broadcast sites. At least three different sizes and styles of their opaque black-and-white logo are known today. On the satellite channel "RTS-SAT", Latin letters were used, but after the destruction of RTS headquarters in 1999 during a NATO air strike, it could be noticed how the logo appeared to have been quickly re-drawn and was being inserted by different equipment as it varied in shape and size, presumably because of the original equipment used to insert it being destroyed. Today RTS has the same opaque color logo from 1999 on RTS-SAT and new translucent logos were introduced in the 2000s for the analog terrestrial programs. Old logos remain on most archived recordings presumably due to lack of a cleanfeed archiving policy in the past, as can be seen in the "Trezor" historical series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbLujWaoJl0
Trivia: During a football victory in 1990, the logo jumped from the left to the right corner and back many times, presumably due to a technician playing with the DOG inserter out of happiness over the victory. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI7tkw09NnI
Most local and regional stations and some national commercial broadcasters (Pink, B92, Avala) in Serbia along with station logo also show a digital clock below the logo.
Singaporean televisions began showing the logo during television programs in 1994. The television stations show the logo in full-color, and are usually shown in the top right of the screen. Like its neighbouring country, Malaysia, Singaporean channels remove logos during commercial breaks.
Thai television started showing the DOGs in 1988, the first channel was TV3. The logos are removed in the commercials and test cards, and usually during the transition between programs. TV5 does not remove logo in the movie trailers. In 2000, TV3, TV5 and TV7 added the station's website URL to the logo, and later, in 2007, MCOT and ITV. ITV removed their website URL from the logo on 8 March 2007, when ITV rebranded to TITV, and show the website again in 2009, called TVThai. Thai television logos are in full-color, and usually the logo is in red, green and blue, with the channel name in the middle. TV5 used to show the current status above the logo in 3 colors, green means everything is normal, yellow means there will be something happening later, red means its in bad situation. The status was added in 26 December 2004 (tsunami) and was removed in 2006. In 2007, every channel showed the logo of the King's 80th birthday in the left of screen. Thai TV logos are usually shown in top right side of the screen, the top left side is for the clock, the bottom left side is for the program logo and the bottom right side is for hand language, but in rare cases, the logo is moved to the bottom right side. Logos, tickers, clocks are usually removed when in the royal news at 8pm.
In the UK, DOGs most commonly appear in the top-left hand corner on British channels. DOGs were first used on satellite and cable television systems in their early days, when broadcasts were unmarked. Channel 5 was the first to use DOGs on an analogue terrestrial channel in 1997. The DOG was originally very bright and noticeable, and was soon toned down. Channel 5 said that the DOG was used to assist viewers in tuning to the new channel once its test transmissions had ceased. Following the rebrand to "five" in 2002 the DOG disappeared until October 2008.
The BBC has a DOG on each of its digital-only channels. In October 1998, it added DOGs to BBC One and BBC Two but following a large number of complaints they were removed just two months later. The DOGs appear in the top left-hand corner on other channels except BBC News (which is bottom left and forms part of integrated information graphics) and its international counterpart, BBC World News. Whilst BBC One HD, BBC Four, BBC HD and BBC Parliament have static DOGs, the ones on BBC Three, CBBC and CBeebies alongside other channels such as Channel 5 and Nick Jr. feature moving elements. ITV uses DOGs on all its channels besides ITV1. UTV provide a DOG in the top left hand corner of the screen.
The logos on channels such as Sky Sports, Channel 5, BBC Three, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4, E!, Disney XD, Sky Arts 1 and 2, Sky1, Sky2, The History Channel and More4 are almost transparent, whereas others like those on Comedy Central, Eurosport, Playhouse Disney, the UKTV channels, CITV, CBBC, CBeebies, the Discovery channels, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Boomerang and Nickelodeon are bright and noticeable. Sky Movies, Film4 and Channel 4 do not use DOGs. Some stations display their on-screen graphics permanently. The UKTV are an example that remove them during commercials and trailers, with some Sky channels removing them altogether at certain times into a programme. In addition to a fixed (sometimes animated) motif, MTV includes the programme title in the top-right hand corner. During widescreen programmes, the DOGs on BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, CBeebies, E4, and 4Music stay in the far corner of the screen while most other channels keep theirs within the 4:3 "title safe area".
On digital systems such as Sky and Freeview, where stations have a set EPG number and a name displayed across the bottom of the screen when changing channel, DOGs have been deemed unnecessary by some users. Despite this, broadcasters persist with the practice. In response to negative feedback, the BBC has responded, "We believe it is important to ensure that viewers can quickly identify when they are watching a BBC service." It reinforced this position in both 2008 and 2009 following continual complaints to its Points of View programme, citing channel identification as the sole reason for the policy. In its website FAQs, Five's stated reason for its use of a DOG is that "the vast majority of channels carry them, most permanently and virtually every channel at some point has one during the day." However, on 21 October 2008, the BBC announced that it was removing the DOG from BBC HD for all films and most dramas, acknowledging that there was an "irritation factor". However, the dog came back on the same day as when BBC One HD launched. More recent additions are graphics which appear near the end of a programme to tell the viewer what's up next, despite this information being available at a touch of a button on digital TV. Many viewers also find this practice annoying, distracting and unnecessary.
From its inception, cable network VH1 commonly used a bug in the corner of the screen while broadcasting music videos for copyright purposes. MTV did the same, beginning in 1993. MTV first began using a bug while videos were shown on the program Beavis and Butt-head, displaying the show's logo during the videos (but not Beavis and Butt-head's commentary of them).
Digital on-screen graphics have been a permanent part of the broadcasting of sports events since the mid-1990s, when the NFL on Fox introduced a permanent box at the top left-hand side of the screen showing the score of the game. From that point forward, the display of digital on-screen graphics with NFL games has evolved rapidly, with the addition of virtual first-down markers for football games and numerous other miscellaneous graphics.
One infamous use of a digital on-screen graphic was FoxTrax, an ice hockey puck that was designed to impose a glowing aura on the television feed to aid the puck's visibility. The "glowing puck" was a source of derision among hockey fans and was discontinued shortly after its debut.
The use of bugs to announce upcoming programs is particularly prevalent among advertising-driven cable TV networks, such as TNT, Disney Channel, Syfy, AMC, etc. These usually appear when a program resumes after a commercial break, to inform the viewer of the next scheduled program, a new episode of a program later the same day, or a "significant" broadcast in the near future (e.g. the premiere of a featured movie, or the season premiere of a popular series).
Vietnamese TV shows their logos since 2000.
Connections with sponsor tags
Another graphic on television usually connected with sports (particularly in North America, though not in Europe) is the sponsor tag. It shows the logos of certain sponsors, accompanied by some background relevant to the game, the network logo, announcement and music of some kind.
Use in ham radio
In most countries, hams are required to periodically identify their amateur-TV transmission. Therefore they nowadays frequently overlay their callsign on the signal instead of having a paper card in the background. Most hams use for this purpose homebuilt devices or old consumer character generators. Only rarely one can see real graphics, as most of the time their callsign is written out in the typical "OSD font".
Live DOGs by hobbyists
One of the easiest and most sought-after devices used to generate DOGs by hobbyists is the 1980s vintage Sony XVT-500 video superimposer. This device can luma-key a signal, capture a still frame into memory and then overlay the keyed graphic in one of eight colors onto any CVBS signal. Another method commonly used by hobbyists and even low-budgeted TV stations in former times was Amiga computers with genlock interfaces.
- Broadcast designer
- Screen burn-in, a side effect in some cases of digital on-screen graphics
- On-screen display
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