I get caught out

Andrew Rowland | 16 June 2016 | 0 comments

In an earlier blog I talked about how we will need to change our habits as the result of BBC 3 becoming online only. But I didn’t expect it to affect me personally. BBC 3 is aimed at people a lot younger than I am so I don’t really miss it. But the series Witless got a good write-up in TV Choice and I thought I would have a look, so I headed over to BBC iPlayer. Those of you who follow my blog will know that I record almost everything I watch. See Watch better television and save money. I set the timers on a Saturday morning and from then on only browse my recordings when I sit down in the evening. So I found the programme in iPlayer and tried to record it. But you can’t. Not with the player in a YouView box, anyway. (You can download programmes using iPlayer on a computer, but I use the set-top box for my viewing.) So the way I have done my viewing for the past fifteen years suddenly looks broken. Witless won’t be findable by being listed with my recordings.

So it was that it was over a week before I remembered to watch the programme, and by then I had forgotten its title and couldn’t find it again. In future I will mark something I might want to watch as a favourite in iPlayer, but it will still be the case that I have to look in two places now. (So much for YouView’s integration!)

This probably won’t affect most of BBC 3’s target audience, many of whom watch everything online. But it illustrates the challenge facing both viewers like me and the designers of set-top boxes. I have commented on how YouView to a great extent has failed to integrate the different delivery methods – the Search function doesn’t cover recordings as well as catch up and broadcasts, and the Discover feature only covers catch-up and on demand. No doubt there is a deliberate move to de-emphasise recordings in favour of catch-up, not least because that way the broadcasters can force advertisements on you.

The EPG did integrate traditional over the air channels and Internet channels, but BBC 3 has now left the EPG altogether. If another channel goes the same way, for example ITV 2, we could have complete fragmentation where you can only view your list of programmes by visiting BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. I always thought the emphasis on the EPG was a misstep; now it is obvious that we need a more imaginative solution or TV will find itself losing out more and more to online resources like YouTube and services that do a good job of making their offerings available in one place. Yes, Netflix and Amazon Prime could be the future and channels as we now understand them fade away.

And I still don't know—was Witless any good?

© Andrew Rowland 2016

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