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TV still bigger than the web in people’s lives, cautions Intel

TV still plays a larger role in most people’s lives than the internet, according to Genevieve Bell, chipset vendor Intel’s and director of interactive and experience research.

In the US, people watch 20% more TV than they did 10 years ago, and TV is still a dominant force in the way we organise our lives and our furniture, Bell told the Cable Congress in Brussels yesterday.

Bell said that TV use had evolved and people had more screens on which to view TV.

“Television is here to stay,” said Bell. “People love their televisions. It’s an enduring thing in people’s homes.” Unlike other devices in consumers’ lives, TV can allow people to sit and passively consume entertainment, requiring little input on their part, she said, and this was part of its attraction that service providers should remember. TV remains more central to people’s lives than computers and the internet, she said.

Bell said that over the last few years people have begun to use smart devices in front of the TV. Over the last two years, she said, people have started to use PCs and then iPads to interact with the content on TV rather than to check their emails.

“One of the big challenges we face is that the main TV doesn’t know which other devices are being used in front of it,” she said. Second screen are being used to view supplementary content that couldn’t be put on the main screen.
Bell said that Intel’s study of consumer habits had found that, in many homes, the places where content is cached are not controlled by a single person, and often people in the same home bought the same piece of content multiple times.
Search and recommendation for content had become an increasingly frustrating experience for viewers, said Bell. She said that there had been interesting experiments with EPGs and social networks, especially in Europe and particularly in France, to make search easier. However, this brings its own issues, she said, with the problem of family and social group friction being engendered when people ignored the recommendations and recordings being placed in front of them by family and friends.

Bell said that search strategies based on use habits were failing to “surprise” viewers, which was something many looked for from the TV.

She said voice was unlikely to work as an input mechanism for TV commands because there is often more than one person present in the room competing for control of the device. Use of the remote control solved this problem because only one button could be pressed at one time, she said.

TV is also expanding its presence, appearing in many new locations and increasingly appearing in public spaces, at least outside the US, said Bell.