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Video Users Want Open Access on their TV

TV browsers and applications such as rich media widgets were hot themes at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, but according to a recent Strategy Analytics market study consumers see open and flexible Video on Demand (VoD) services as the most valuable features of Internet TV.

The research, carried out for Oregan Networks by the Strategy Analytics Digital Home Obervatory, also found that downloading widgets and customizing TV screens with skins were seen as the least valuable features.

The study concluded that users expect TV browsers to be video-centric and offer quality equivalent to regular television.

Despite concerns about privacy, 91 percent of respondents wanted to be able to access any multimedia website via their TV browser. Seventy four percent of respondents indicated a preference for these sites to be specially adapted as TV web channels.

According to David Mercer, VP Digital Consumer Practice, "It's perhaps not surprising that TV viewers want to be able to watch video and TV on the big screen. But many of today's early web TV services are focusing too heavily on what they perceive as hot internet technologies such as widgets. Our research suggests these are a low priority for many consumers."

Apparently, Strategy Analytics believes that developers should focus on bringing TV viewers the total wealth of video content that is available on the web.

Perhaps, it's time to let the consumer customize the selection of content and the associated viewing experience -- essentially creating their own personalized open-access channel guide.

The survey was conducted in the U.S. in December 2008 with 500 mid- to high-tech consumers. Each respondent was given an introduction to the capabilities of TV-based browsers, including screen shots of the applications.

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