Unique features liven up TV battle


2 Feb 2005

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Three new TV technologies are vying for consumers’ attention but there is a greater awareness of high-definition television (HDTV) than video on demand (VOD) or digital video recording (DVR), a new report from Forrester suggests.

In the US, these products being promoted by a combination of cable providers, consumer electronics manufacturers and TV networks. As all three TV technologies start to become mainstream, Forrester said that the industry must find ways to make consumers more comfortable with them.

Although HDTV has the highest profile of the three, DVRs have more of the features most desired by consumers, Forrester said. HDTV boasts better quality sound and a sharper, high-resolution picture. Almost 60pc of consumers said they knew what it was and 7pc said they had used it.

Less than 5pc of the consumers surveyed use DVRs, and only 12pc said they had seen one. Despite its low levels of awareness, the research firm believes DVR is likely to succeed because it features regularly to the list of enhancements people want from their TV. These include the ability to skip through adverts, record one programme while watching another, easily record all the episodes of a certain show and pause live TV.

By contrast, VOD fared poorly in the survey; only 19pc of consumers tracked by Forrester said they had seen it and it received far less media attention than HDTV last year. A quarter of consumers polled said they were interested in its primary feature, movies on demand, but this ranks well below what’s on offer from HDTV and DVR.

For all that, their reach into homes is currently low, all three technologies reach a varied audience, Forrester found. “In contrast to other consumer technologies in the early adopter phase, they don’t appeal exclusively to extremes in income, technology optimism or TV spending,” the research firm said.

By Gordon Smith