Re: DAP rechartering discussion

On Mar 22, 2011, at 5:50 PM, Matt Hammond wrote:

> On Mon, 21 Mar 2011 19:23:42 -0000, Mark Watson <>  
> wrote:
>>> In my experience from writing EPG apps though, I have to say that  
>>> having some baseline search and metadata interoperability would be  
>>> very, very nice. This doesn't have to be all-powerful (that's too hard  
>>> a problem to solve) but at least some minimally common parts  
>>> (navigating categories, simple full text search) helps a lot.
>> In the interest of provoking debate, I'd say that I'm not sure the  
>> concept of a universal "EPG" is valid in the "web&tv" world at all.  
>> There is no "Electronic Web Guide" for the web. We have search engines,  
>> but these are 'as thin as possible' to get you as fast as possible to  
>> the site you want: they do not constrain sites to be described in some  
>> particular metadata format, but there are tools for sites to describe  
>> themselves to search engines if they wish. If you know what site you  
>> want, you go can straight to that and, either way, the site then has  
>> control of your user experience when you get there.
> ...
>> One can imagine the "discovery and security" layers of a UC API being  
>> baked into the device, but once you've discovered a service you get a  
>> link to a resource which is hosted by that service itself - i.e.  
>> service-specific web app code on the device, enabling direct interaction  
>> between service specific client and server rather than having that  
>> interaction mediated by a standards-defined layer baked into the device.
> I believe the essence of the point you make is that the user experience  
> should be controlled by the individual service. I think the model you  
> describe is an interesting one and would not suggest forcing interaction  
> to be mediated by a single route, especially for connected-TV internet  
> delivered services.
> The TV seems, to me, to be becoming a hybrid device, with access to both  
> broadcast and internet delivered services. At present there is no means of  
> content discovery for users that cuts across all services available to it.  
> A 'search engine' approach (as a possible solution to this) is going to  
> have an uphill struggle: the available content and services may vary from  
> one user's device/subscription to another or between the user and the  
> search-engine; and in this model, that data may only be available from  
> apps/services hosted on the TV itself.  I would like to think that this  
> might be an opportunity for us to do better :-)

Absolutely. What I meant by the search engine analogy was that the 'unifying' layer across all content stays as thin as possible and, yes, as you summarize, the services have control of the user experience. This maximizes the space for independent innovation by each service. Certainly, a text search box on the TV screen is nobody's idea of a good UX.

The current metaphor for cross service discovery seems to be that each service exposes a catalog of content items: hence the need for a standard metadata format - but this hands search and merchandising to the device's built in sw and the device manufacturer is not the one with the incentive to excel at those (either TV or remote). Witness the wonderful UIs we have on most STBs here in the US (</sarcasm>). On the TV the user very often does not have a good idea what they are looking for until they find it - making this a very difficult problem.

There could be other metaphors, enabled by web technologies, in which these aspects are delegated to the services on the TV, so that people can quickly experiment and innovate around the UI. We also shouldn't exclude the use of remote servers, even though the available content space is user- and device- specific.


> Matt
> -- 
> | Matt Hammond
> | Research Engineer, BBC R&D, Centre House, London
> |

Received on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 15:36:40 UTC