Archives: 'TV Graphics Breakdown'

NBC Sports Network – College Hockey Graphics Package Breakdown

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) is the channel to watch College Hockey. While their “Friday Night Ice” programming far-too-often features Notre Dame, the broadcast itself is typically top quality — it’s a shame that NBC lacks the rights to televise the NCAA Tournament — ESPN holds the rights through 2024.

The channel that was previously known as Outdoor Life Network acquired rights to the NHL during the 2005 season. The station quickly rebranded themselves as Versus to better represent the content of their station. NBCSN’s OLN origins are still reflected by a variety of outdoor and hunting shows that still air regularly. On January 2nd, 2012, Versus was renamed to NBCSN following owner Comcast’s merger with NBCUniversal. January 6th marked the first NBCSN broadcast of College Hockey (several previous broadcasts on Versus notwithstanding). The January 6th tilt featured Dartmouth at none other than RPI, broadcast live from the Houston Field House. NBCSN originally featured a large variety of ECAC Hockey and Hockey East action, however the Eastern Conference broadcasts have been scaled back in favor of NCHC, B1G, and plenty of Notre Dame matches.

Note: This broadcast is from December 13th, 2013. The majority of this post was originally composed on January 4th, 2014, but went unpublished for who knows why reasons. Oh wait, I probably know why. I mean, I should know why. But I don’t. Here it is anyway.


The game we’re taking a look at tonight is a non-conference match featuring the Colorado College Tigers (NCHC) at the Wisconsin Badgers (B1G) from the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. Per usual, I took these screensots using the LG TV app on my phone. The app is quite easy to use, however it uses very lossy JPEG compression, so apologies for the intense artifacts!

I was unable to determine exactly which font NBC uses (it’s probably something custom). What The Font and Da Font forums had no clues, however Identifont singled out Frank as a candidate. Frank’s letters look about right, however the numbers are certainly not a match. Could be a strange hybrid, or bespoke/custom solution. Like CBSSN, lowercase letters are verboten (except the the short ordinals in the scoreboard — odd). NBC (regrettably) uses a couple wall-of-text graphics which are nearly impossible to read.

Thematically, NBC is gorgeous and consistent. Silver/chrome rectangular frames are adorned with circular mechanical looking elements, which aid in the forward rotation transitions of many of the graphics. Most graphics have a particle/snow effect emanating from the bottom corners. Multiple lens flares march across horizontal chrome elements. While the basic building block is rectangular, some larger titles project the rectangle on the inside of a cylinder to achieve depth. The base NBCSN color is a deep blue with a tinge of gray, however team/organization colors are used whenever relevant. School logos are tightly integrated in to the graphics. Pre-rendered title cards and transitions are consistent with this theme.

While these breakdowns primarily center around graphics, I’m going to touch on some production points of interest as well. With that, let’s get started with the complete titles and graphics breakdown after the jump!


Mysterious New NBCSN Graphics Roundup

Monday, December 15th, 2014

On Friday, December 5th, NBCSN broadcast an interesting College Hockey matchup between #17 Boston College and the University of New Hampshire. As an avid College Hockey fan, I was looking forward to the broadcast, hoping for some nice BC schadenfreude, or at the very least, some solid Hockey East action. What I got was something altogether unexpected and magnificent!

NBCSN has used the same graphical theme since their inception from the ashes of the Versus channel in January 2012. But that changed this past Friday, when something totally different was rolled out for what should have been a routine College Hockey broadcast!

What is this new devilry? The chrome, heavily gradiented graphics of old are gone, replaced with a more flat, light-colored theme. There’s definitely still some 3D depth — sort of a chiclet look. I was left wondering… why? The NBCSN College Hockey broadcast the next day (Saturday 12/6) was a revision to the norm (which I also grabbed a bunch of screenshots from, but if you know my blogging style at all, you know you’ll never see them). My leading thought right now is that this a trial of the look that NBC will debut at this year’s Super Bowl. Right now, the Big 3 (NBC, CBS, FOX) rotate through the Super Bowl. Last year’s Fox broadcast didn’t really debut anything new, but 2013’s CBS broadcast was the debut of the new look and feel that continues to all CBS and CBSSN broadcasts to date. Seems like a opportunity for NBC to change up their look too!

My other theory is that somehow the production truck was ill-equipped to use the normal NBCSN graphics for whatever reason, but seeing that there was another broadcast on Saturday presumably using the same truck (from Lowell, MA, a journey of all of 57 miles) seems to negate that possibility.

So, systems test will be the prevailing theory! So let’s take a look at NBCSN’s new look. As a reminder for those of you new to this series, these screenshots are taken directly off my TV using a bizarre LG app. The app unfortunately only takes screenshots at 960×540 with high levels of JPEG compression. It’s the best I can do until I finally call Comcast and ask for a cable card. Which I should do. But not today.

Click through the “More” link to see this graphics roundup in full.


CBS Sports Network Update

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

I’m working on a breakdown of NBCSN, but in the meantime, here’s a quick update to my previous look at CBS Sports Network’s Hockey graphics package.

One thing I disliked about the previous broadcast was the use of a Picture-in-Picture game clock in their score bar. Naturally, a PiP game clock is never desirable but it’s sometimes necessary due to technical limitations. Whatever technical limitations existed in Western Michigan’s Lawson Ice Arena two weeks ago did not exist in Minnesota Duluth’s Amsoil Arena last week, as that broadcast showcasing WMU at Duluth featured a proper game clock. It seemed to be actually synced with the arena clock, rather than manually operated, but I can’t be sure.

Here’s a quick look at the CBS score bar, with proper clock:


Looks much better. The whole look is more cohesive, the clock is much clearer and easier to read, and the dark blue background behind the clock is more consistent with the rest of the graphics. The blue bar below the scoreboard is the starting lineup “dangler” caught in mid transition.

Another change is an alternate background color for Western Michigan. As the away team, WMU is wearing black, and this is quickly and immediately discernible from the scoreboard graphic. I have mixed thoughts on this practice, however, which I’ll expand on in a future post.


A proper clock also significantly improves the score lower third, which looked nasty.

Something I forgot to mention last time was Typography. I’m not a “classically trained” graphic designer, or else I surely would have commented on it. Anyway, CBS Sports currently uses Klavika, following in the footsteps of ESPN. Like most broadcasters, CBS has elected to use an all caps (and in some places, small caps) for increased readability. Indeed, the graphics are extremely clear, even after the terrible JPG compression induced by my screen capture process. All caps are generally regarded as less readable as the amount of text increases, but CBS does a decent job of limiting the amount of text on most graphics (one exception is the “Coming Up” graphic).

While I originally only intended to grab a shot of the scoreboard with clock, while the broadcast was on I grabbed a couple more shots of titles that jumped out at me (after the jump!).  (more…)

CBS Sports Network – Hockey Graphics Package Breakdown

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) kicked off their NCHC coverage last night, covering North Dakota at Western Michigan. CBS has adapted their new-for-2012 graphics package to Hockey, and it looks quite nice!


I went through their broadcast last night and took screenshots of each different state of the scoreboard and of each distinct graphic used during the broadcast.

The screenshots are of fairly poor quality (low res, high JPEG compression), as they were taken using the LG TV App on my phone (technology is amazing), and there doesn’t seem to be any quality setting. It’s very easy to take these screenshots, however. I will hopefully switch over to higher quality screenshots once I build my PVR (hopefully later this month).

So, let’s get started with the scoreboard after the jump! (more…)