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Potential digital TV viewers give interactivity thumbs down

Channel surfing, yes -- Web surfing, no

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The BBC's current campaign to promote its forthcoming digital TV service is stressing the medium's interactivity. But it may want to reconsider in light of a new survey conducted by US market researcher Jupiter Communications. Less than ten per cent of the study's participants said they were bothered about receiving supplemental information while watching comedy or drama programming. Only 37 per cent of respondents wanted access to extra content for news items. Jupiter's study -- albeit from a US perspective -- pours cold water on the broadcasting industry's assumption that interactivity will be a key driving force in the adoption of digital TV. Still, the survey also found that interactivity and access to background information was rated more highly than other much-touted features of digital TV, such as email and home shopping. The researcher's report on its findings also warns against bringing too much PC functionality to TV hardware. TV viewers simply won't go out of their way to gain added value from digital TV. Jupiter found 29 per cent of respondents would do nothing to use new features, 39 said they would use extra features on their remote controls, but only ten per cent said they would specifically browse the Web. "With PC prices falling, the PC will remain the dominant platform for Web access," said Ross Rubin, group director of Jupiter's Web Technology Strategies team. ®

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