I recently discussed the world of TV amongst my entourage one afternoon during a BBQ party at home. In the main, my guests stated that they watch either DTT, Satellite or an IPTV service (Cable does not exist in these parts), also the odd DVD or Blu-ray for stored media. I showed them (mostly the men) my set-up at home which is a FTA STB for French Terrestrial, a Satellite+PVR, also a Blu-ray and an IPTV service in the front room – All via a single screen via an HDMI splitter – AppleTV and WebTV in the den through a projector, an IPAD for WebTV. The first questions were … why do you have so much TV in the house and do you watch it all? The answer is a sort of ‘because’ and ‘it’s not really that simple’: For IPTV, I have no real choice as it is a bundle from Orange … however I have not turned on the STB since over a year…I still pay 3 Euros/month rent – Duh! The satellite is because we have a multi-language family so I need access to other language programmes. The den is because we wanted a system with an ad-hoc (pay-as-you-go) movie channel and AppleTV seemed the way to go, at the time. They looked bewildered at all the kit!
If I had my way the’ sum of the whole’ would be a huge Gateway that would take all the inputs and then send them to ‘slave devices’ in the home…which is ‘on the way’ in the market-place, but not from Orange as they have not followed Bouyges or Free who offer a combo (media-centre) devices; the Orange IPTV service has in fact have simply chosen to go for a new interface in 2012 from Orca Interactive (who they now own) which will be a huge step out of the 1990s interface they presently have; but not enough to make me watch the content. I would actually like to use the iPAD and some Companion Screen interactivity but that is a long way off in this region!
My friends … who range from both retired and working businessmen, to engineers, artists, artisans, restaurateurs and more – a diverse crowd … are amazed at my explanation of what is available in Digital TV … this is because normally watch several programmes – thier favourites, and are suprised by the odd new show they fall upon…they have what they need, which is actually basic linear TV!
However for people like me, and there are others, we need the industry to solve the complex modern digital TV system offering (something that is not tied to a single operator): It needs to cater for diversity in a ‘multi-service’ environment, it needs to be intuitive i.e. easy to navigate and switch between devices that can offer multi-content in a TV Everywhere scenario. However is it really possible to have an extraordinary Viewing Experience and Simple Navigation system when you have such a diverse number of providers and a principal screen of 42″. It would seem unlikely. From what I have seen the business of TV is fragmented, cluttered and simply getting more and more complex as Google and the rest try to usurp traditional broadcasters.
We finished the party and cleared up settling in front of the TV with a ‘digestif’ – We searched and searched the late-night channels eventually falling upon the recorded shows on the PVR – Raymond Blanc and the delightful show the ‘Hungry Frenchman’. With our friends we had talked of many things that evening, including the demise of quality content, and it was an interesting insight into the reality and perception of the common man. I did lend out a couple of Blu-ray disks too.