Wednesday, 22 December 2010

UK consumers left confused by new TV technology

ANT recently conducted a mystery shopper exercise in 10 of the UK’s leading high street retailers to see how consumers are advised on TV purchasing. The results of the experiment were announced today.

The study brought to light the problems shoppers face when looking to buy a new TV. For example, only half the stores were aware that their shops sold connected televisions, meaning that customers could be missing out on new TV technology because shop representatives haven’t received sufficient product training. Not only this but a third of shops visited, despite actively promoting bargain deals on TVs, had no staff members available to advise customers on the benefits of the different types of TV technologies.

Freeview HD has been heavily promoted this year but when asked whether an HD television with built-in Freeview would deliver Freeview HD, not one member of staff identified that in order to take advantage of this the viewer must live in a HD-enabled area.

It’s an exciting time for TV with technology constantly evolving, but inaccurate advice from shop staff is fuelling consumer confusion. Retailers need to understand the type of features that are important to customers, and must train staff in order to support customers when they turn to them for advice.

About the mystery shopper experiment:
ANT conducted a mystery shopper experiment, visiting 10 of the UK’s leading high street retailers: Argos, Comet, Dixons, Curry’s, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Selfridges, PC World and Richer Sounds. The experiment was conducted in December 2010. The same experiment may yield different results if repeated at a different time.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Humax HD Fox T2: One to watch for 2011

As it nears the end of 2010, the annual ‘best of’ lists are being unveiled and Humax’s latest product enhancements haven’t gone unnoticed. The Register has picked its HD Fox T2 for its ‘The Years Best’ list and draws attention to the imminent arrival of BBC iPlayer and Sky Player to the Humax Portal. ANT has been heavily involved in the addition of both of these services to the Humax Portal which, based on the ANT Galio Platform, will be hitting the UK market very soon. Watch this space for more information in 2011.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Press the ‘Yellow button’ for personalised Local TV news services

UK On-demand TV services could soon be personalised to deliver consumers content targeted at local communities. Under new government plans, local TV news services could be tailored to towns and cities as well as larger regions currently covered by programmes such as ‘South East Today’ and ‘East Midlands Today’.

The services could be rolled out as early as 2012. Initially they will be start on ordinary channels such as 6 or 106, however they could soon be available through the ‘yellow button’. Delivery through an application or widget will provide users with much more flexibility to browse content, and if successful, the ‘yellow button’ could become synonymous with news as the ‘red button’ has with on-demand.

These types of new services represent a new era in how we consume TV content. At the same time it’s essential that broadcasters keep the viewer in mind when developing these new applications. With 118 million TV’s predicted to ship in 2014, broadcasters and services manufactures now have the opportunity to deliver targeted on demand services that haven’t previously been possible. It’s an exciting time for consumers as long as we strike the right balance.

Friday, 10 December 2010

TiVo Returns to the UK

Virgin Media’s eagerly anticipated TiVo set-top box was made available for pre-order last week, and it’s up take will be carefully monitored by many industry analysts. The set-top box will enable consumers to access an interesting mix of applications, content and services.

TiVo is a leading brand in the US, however its previous UK partnership with SKY in 2000 was short-lived. So Virgin Media will be hoping for a more positive response from the market with this new offering.

The TiVo service makes recommendations to viewers based on their previous programme choices. The new box also has a ‘Wish List’ feature where the consumer can add keywords and then all relevant programmes will be added to their personalised list. It also boasts an EPG that goes back 7 days, a feature that YouView also hopes to roll out in 2011. In a market where the level of media content is rapidly rising, personalisation is a key strategy in harmonising broadcast and broadband content for viewers. By working with TiVo Virgin Media is addressing this growing need for ‘personalised’ TV.

Virgin Media commented that the UK audience was perhaps not ready for the full internet experience on their TV screens, a concept that we’ve discussed many times on this blog – the internet experience needs to be tailored for the TV. Virgin Media appear to have addressed this by ensuring consumers can easily navigate the new user interface with preinstalled TV widgets such as YouTube, eBay and iPlayer.