Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Why Are Online TV Interfaces So Bad ?

I can't be the only person in the world who has linked my mobile, tablet or PC to a big screen to watch telly instead of using the 'smart TV' option and its dearth of apps or content (my LG doesn't have 4OD, ITV, S4C BT Vision or Sky: Chromecast and Apple TV have similar shortcomings.)

But connecting your mobile, tablet or PC to your big screen is easy - just a HDMI cable and maybe an adapter or using Mirocast or WiDi.

But here comes the first problem - some service such as Sky block the HDMI port. Considering I'm already paying top dollar for their service I onoy hope that this is a contractual thing with rights holders, otherwise it's just cynical and stupid.

Then comes the experience. Boy oh boy, trying to navigate the interfaces which are data heavy and slow to load as well as difficult and inconsistent to navigate drives me nuts...

Worst of all is the Clicks To Play metric. In my view this should be zero. If I access a TV I expect video to play. That's a CTP of 0. Irrespective of the fact that I'm on the web, I want the same experience for OTT, not click, click, click, username, password, click, click (this is BT Vision) or having to right click every time to load the Silverlight plugin on many services.

The whole experience stinks of a bunch of web designers trying to get to grips with telly and the results are shockingly bad for us users.

At TV Everywhere we're so fed up with it that we've decide to open source a framework for designing TV interfaces. It's based on a three column approach that adapts to a single column on mobile, two columns on tablet and three columns on larger screens with a big screen option.

It has login, comments, personal playlists and everything else you'd expect, but it's lightweight and totally customisable. And the first thing it does by default is play video at you. That's a CTP of 0.

You can find it here http://www.videoui.com. Our video mangement system allows you to build channels on VideoUI without any coding (or you can totally customise if you want to hand it over to designers and developers).

Now, can we please fix some of those bloated clicky interfaces out there...