The dramatic pace of technological advances in television does not leave its audience unaffected. Television, especially with the introduction of interactivity, is moving toward new forms of communication that bridge the different worlds of broadcasting and telecommunications. In the UK particularly, 2012 is to be the digital switchover year, after which analog signals will no longer be broadcast. Creative industries will need to compete for an ever-shrinking mass audience, producing specialized products to appeal to many user groups.
Economic, social, and technical obstacles represent barriers to audience entry in the use of interactive digital media. Consumer-based production and semi-automated service creation must overcome the barriers, making interactive TV more accessible to design specialists, other non-technical related professionals, and ultimately users.
This article will focus on the technical aspects. It will present key findings from two empirical studies investigating users’ perceptions of interactive television and a suite of service-prototyping tools that address some of the technical barrier issues. The tools make the technology more transparent to the digital media and design community and thus enable its members to participate in the service development process.