OTT and the User Interface

by Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein | May. 18, 2011

Today's television services throughout the world are provided with at least a non-interactive EPG, consisting of a menu of information on scheduled linear TV programming. Operators or broadcasters deliver these menus as a dedicated channel, broadcast by specialized systems located in the provider's central distribution facility. Customers can tune into these specialized channels in order to view all of the available linear TV channels and the current and upcoming programs available on each. These guides scroll through the channels sequentially in a continuous loop. The benefit of these guides is that they require no special software on the set top box beyond what is required to watch any TV channel. However, consumers must wait for individual channels to appear in order to observe what content is available.

Where possible, many providers upgrade their set top boxes to provide greater interactivity in the program guide, allowing consumers greater control over the discovery process and improving their overall satisfaction with the TV service. In order to provide interactivity, the operator must have a mechanism for two-way communication. The program guide moves from a broadcast channel to an interactive application that resides on the set top box. As a result, the features and complexity of the guides, often referred to as interactive program guides (IPGs) are dependent upon the computing capabilities of the set top box, the program guide software, and any supporting systems available through the TV/video service provider.

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Tags: OTT, set top

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