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BBC iPlayer boss: smart TVs not sufficiently simple

IPTV UIs too complicated for viewers

Smart TVs

Telly makers have been told to simplify the smart TV experience if they want more punters to take the internet-connected tech on board.

Daniel Danker, who runs the BBC's iPlayer operation, told an audience at the Digital TV Group (DTG) Summit in London today that connect TVs need to become less complicated.

Hooking the things up is hard enough, he reckons, and even then "audiences are presented with a list of choices that boggles the mind".

Worse, we'd add, a lot of those choices are free content sources stuffed on by TV makers to make their IPTV selections look more impressive and not because they deliver value to the viewer.

Giving punters some better IPTV content would be a good start, we'd say.

And Danker challenged telly makers' keenness to jump on the mobile app bandwagon to deliver functionality. Too many smart TV apps are not useful to television viewers.

"If you think about mobile, apps have revolutionised mobile phones, because they are relevant," he said.

Build UIs that work for TV viewers, not ones that emulate PC interfaces, he said.

Oh, and enough with the firmware updates, while you're at it.

Earlier this year, pollster YouGov found that TV makers are failing to persuade punters that smart TV is a good thing. More UK consumers are accessing IPTV content through games consoles than directly on their TV sets, it found.

This week, the DTG published plans to extend Freeview's Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) to allow viewers to search back past the current date and time to reveal programmes available to watch through catch-up services, like BBC iPlayer.

The DTG said it will work to establish frameworks for Freeview content to be routed over home networks to other TVs, tablets and smartphones. ®

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