Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

TV should be effortless

Conference Analysis By Kate Bulkley

IBC 2011

13 September 2011

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Dan Danker: Make the customer experience simpler

Dan Danker, general manager of BBCiPlayer, threw down the gauntlet to TV industry manufacturers to make the customer experience simpler. Using the example of his 67-year-old mother who struggled to set up her new Blu-ray disc player, Danker said that manufacturers need to "completely redesign" TV remote controls and make accessing interactive content on connected TVs "effortless".

If this is done he believes that a "huge lost opportunity" can be redressed in terms of people who are not accessing interactive content because it is too difficult. "Why are we allowing our end-users to stitch together the parts in our organisation that do not talk to each other?" he asked the audience at the Devices, Devices Everywhere session.

"In the UK alone, 50% of people are online and eight out of 10 of those have yet to access BBC iPlayer. That's 28 million people," said Danker. "By 2017 nearly every UK household will have a connectable TV, according to industry forecasts, but whether they use it or not is down to us."

Jaime Fink, senior vice president of technology at Pace, agreed that service providers are not traditionally good at helping consumers. "We have found that through our work with service providers that some 90% of product returns have no problem found. That is operators replacing their own products because they don't know how to diagnose them."

However, Dan Saunders, head of content services at Samsung, agreed there are problems but defended the industry saying that the connected TV out-of-box experience is "already pretty good".

"It is not the typical PC experience. Manufacturers have been keen to recognise that people don't want to go into detailed instruction manuals to get these devices to work. It's not perfect but it's not God-awful either."

Danker said he disagreed: "I think if you have to do a firmware upgrade on your new TV device then we haven't quite gotten there yet. We need to be a little more determined in what we are trying to accomplish here. We can't say it's good enough when you have to enter a WEP password... we have to set the bar higher."

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