29 January 2010 1 Comment
T.V. was a bit rubbish the other night despite the many channels we now get through Sky and Virgin cable (lots of channels does not always mean lots better content) so I downloaded BBC’s iPlayer onto the Wii (which is network connected via a USB Ethernet connector to the broadband at home) and we watched some episodes of Silent Witness that I’d missed the previous week.
I was blown away by the simplicity of the installation and use (I know a lot of work has gone into that simplicity) and I was also pleasantly surprised by both the smoothness of the streaming (it only rebuffered once in the whole two hours and very little jerkiness) and the quality of the picture. As a geek and a YouTube advocate of course I’m familiar with this type of interface now as are many people these days.
..so…we have what I believe is something a bit special. A ubiquitous and relatively cheap technology for gaming that already exists in most living rooms which is being used to provide on demand TV content delivery. The XBox 360 has similar simplicity and ease of use for Sky content and my colleague used that last week for TV content, so we now have a number of devices on which on demand TV content can be delivered. The next step of course is to make the experience more fully interactive, knitting together the content and websites and providing content based on feedback and user interaction, also mixing and blending together sophiticated games and TV content seamlesslessly, then of course there is the 3D experience which is due to be big this year.
Coming back to the here and now the main big thing for me is that the BBC is now really mining the area of rich mixed media environments through providing its iPlayer on so many different platforms and devices and through blending different media types and delivery mechanisms to explore new ways to tailor delivery to suit the individual. I think this is putting the BBC in a very strong position and I admire the work they’ve begun to explore this blending of online and broadcast content and tailored delivery.
It shouldn’t all be about consumption though and the idea of people, for example, sharing ratings on programmes, giving recommendations, having back channel chats and peer group discussion around a programme seems like a concept that could be tapped into to provide a more interactive experience for those that want it. I look forward to seeing how this develops.