Tick off for DTT?

Intellect, the trade association for the UK’s technology sector, has called for a reduced role for government on Digital Terrestrial Television issues once digital switchover is complete, marking the end of the ‘digital tick’ symbol.

In its report – The future of digital terrestrial broadcasting –  Intellect warns that excessive regulation of DTT could stifle innovation and sales. The report also says that if DTT is to be compelling for consumers it has to connect to the UK’s broadband offering.

The report adds that during the switchover process customers have seen the tick as a guarantee that a product will take them through the switchover processes. However, there is concern that consumer may wrongly see it as an ongoing quality mark. Intellect argues that post switchover brands should be free to use their own methods to communicate that their products support digital services such as BBC iPlayer and Sky services.

Intellect suggests that the government role on DTT issues related to manufacturers should be reduced once switchover is complete as it is no longer ‘sponsoring’ the consumer’s decision to buy a device.

According to William Higham, Intellect’s director of consumer electronics, when switch over is complete, the DTT platform will depend on good communication to consumers from device manufacturers, shops and broadcasters. “You should be able to walk out of a shop without your head reeling, and with a clear sense of your choices,” he says.

The report also warns traditional TV broadcasters that in a broadband world, they will increasingly become one of many content creators fighting for space on the ‘dial’, with many of the groundbreaking innovations coming from TV manufacturers and other players who will be creating content and applications.

Colin Batten, digital media convergence programme manager, acknowledges that the switchover has been a success, thanks to the project management of Digital UK and others, but suggests that if the DTT platform is to remain competitive, it must integrate broadcast and broadband to seamlessly offer consumers choice of content and innovative services. “This should be shaped by clear consistent communication from the whole industry, with manufacturers free to innovate and sell consumers compelling products at a price people will pay,” he recommends.

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