Friday, 2 November 2012

Moving the EPG to the companion device, a natural evolution

One new development that was commonplace at IBC this year is the use of companion devices such as an iPad or smartphone for navigating the EPG. Over the last year there have been lots of demos of these services, but now it’s becoming a commercial reality. ANT Galio Move, the companion device offering from ANT, is available to consumers today under the View21 brand in the UK and recently won an award at the awards for its approach to using a second screen.

This isn’t just a “we won an award” blog entry, though.  What I really want to talk about is how this kind of app has changed my use of the EPG.  

Moving the EPG off the main screen on to a second screen does more than just give me a better way of navigating around a grid-based guide. It changes how the guide gets used as a browsing tool and a content discovery mechanism, and affects the whole dynamic of watching TV. Many tablet owners are already used to multi-tasking while watching TV, and having the EPG on a companion device means that browsing the guide simply becomes another part of that multi-tasking.  Most importantly, it means that it’s not interrupting other people’s TV viewing.

Having the guide on a companion device, with its own connection to the Internet and a richer interaction model also opens up new possibilities for what the guide looks like.  Imagine “zooming in” on a programme to find out more about it, as if the detailed information about the programme is just another part of the main guide grid.  Imagine having that tied in to a recommendation engine, or personal recommendations from friends via Twitter that suggest programmes you’d like.  Imagine having it integrated with catch-up TV services, or VoD services, or the iTunes store so that you can buy the movie or TV series to keep.

With the rich metadata that is now available, the combination of advanced TV services and a companion device with an easy-to-use user interface means that are we now in a position to make the best use of that new data to improve our EPG and help us to more easily find what we want to watch.

No comments: