Container-less Content? Not in This Digital Age.
Beyond this lay other sub-frames, notably specific encodings from basic HTML to high-level coding languages and the binary code on which all digital technologies rely. Both screens and code rely on a physical infrastructure of fiber-optic cables, transistors, electricity, LEDs, and so on. All of these frames condition digital content. It is no less mediated or framed than a book or broadsheet newspaper. Far from being totally unbound, all digital content comes in a series of interlocking frames: hardware; screens and display mechanisms; mark-up languages; computer code. Screens and code don't contain or distribute content -- they frame it, just as books frame content and in so doing enable distribution (in distributing the frame, you distribute the content).
Frames & the Oxford English Dictionary
Frames are not a static concept. They are malleable and pragmatic, crossing cultural and technological boundaries, as applicable to iPhone games as ancient sagas on fragile papyrus. Where we wouldn't speak of the iPhone as the container for a game, we could call it a frame.
As an example of framing take one of the greatest feats in publishing, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). First published in 1928 after seventy years of labor, the first edition's statistics are staggering: 15,490 pages; 414,825 words; 1,827,306 illustrative examples selected from five million suggestions; 227,779,589 letters and numbers; 178 miles of type in 10 enormous morocco clad volumes. Clearly the OED wasn't just another book, another delivery system, but a scholarly monster in need of taming, a sprawling near unframeable enterprise.
Yet there are several levels of frame here. At the most basic, those 10 volumes act as a frame for the dictionary. At a somewhat meta-level, the goal of the OED is to be a definitive frame for the English language. And the history of the OED's composition reveals further frames at work, up to the point where the chief executive of Oxford University Press (OUP) can state there may never again be a complete print edition, something previously unthinkable.