Friday, 10 April 2009

When will the UK 'get' IPTV?

The UK has been slow in the take up when it comes to IPTV services. Tiscali TV has only managed to get 100K customers, and BT Vision - which takes its mainstream channels from a Freeview decoder and the rest via IPTV - hasn't been that much more successful.

The question for me is whether the usability of such services has been the barrier rather than, as Guy Clapperton suggests over at The Guardian, whether customers 'get' the service - which I really don't think is that much of an issue as the Facebook generation that are used to services via the TV, the web and mobile phones that overlap.

Clapperton talks about the next generation of devices and how IPTV is being integrated into them - games consoles, DVD players and even onboard on the TVs which are becoming ethernet capable. Given that people are happy to buy DVRs, it's really not that much of a leap of faith to adopt these services like consumers are happy to do so in Germany and France - but how usable have they been made to the UK consumer?

The likes of Apple, who are legendary for their usability, are yet to break through the adoption barrier with their Apple TV service, but there's every chance that they might yet.

The elephant in the room though is clearly Project Canvas, which the BBC are trying to push forward as a standards-based open environment for Internet connected TV devices. If they have anything like the success that the iPlayer has had though, they will be on a winner.