Interactive TV

Enhanced television programmes, and digital data services ago-go.

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The BBC iPlayer button that does nothing

Posted on 7 June 2011 in BBC, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Whilst writing on the exciting topic of train-ticket-collection-usability, I was reminded of my own recent example of useless usability.

When delivering video by the internet, there's always the chance that the users connection will drop so when building the Freesat (and now Freeview) version of BBC iPlayer we built a function that would detect for if the internet connection disappeared and, if it did, show an error message.

The error message is rather simple. It appears, tells the user there's a problem and invites them to either quit (by going 'Back to TV') or "Retry". The thing is, pressing "Retry" actually does nothing at all.

Error screen from Freesat version of BBC iPlayer

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Wimbledon - an anatomy of a service

Posted on 8 July 2009 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Work (No comments yet - be the first!)

If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes for big red button services like Wimbledon, well there's now a little video to watch over on the Press Red Blog.

Wimbledon - an anatomy of a service

It's been put together by some colleagues of mine who put some time and effort into making happen, and explains how the video is transmitted, how the matches are chosen and includes a clip of Rob Curling. What more could you want?

And, after reading the credits, you wonder what an Executive Producer does on a video like this, well I can also explain.

The answer is not very much because I was on holiday when it was filmed´┐Ż Still, I did "commission" it for the blog, and was the one who spent ages trying to get the relevant JavaScript and XML working so that it would play in the BBC's embedded media player. And if that's not an excuse for a grandiose credit, I don't know what is.

Anyway, what are you still doing here? Go watch... watch...

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The Trials And Torments of Twittering On The TV

Posted on 27 May 2009 in Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

I recently had a go using a new TV. Not that special except that the TV in question had an Ethernet connection going into it, meaning the world of internet delivered content was available. The presence of a back channel meant that communication to the viewer was no longer one way.

What’s (Not) On

Posted on 10 October 2008 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (4 comments)

Yesterday, BBC Red Button’s What’s On section was closed down to make way for other new content.

Fishy cables - new post at the BBCi Labs blog

Posted on 1 July 2008 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Over on BBCi Labs right now, you’ll find my first contribution to that blog.

BBCi Labs Live

Posted on 24 June 2008 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

BBCi Labs is a new blog from the team I work in and will be a space for the team to write about what we’re doing, show off some of the things we’ve done and various other stuff.

Everywhere you go, always take the BBCi Freesat Weather Service with you

Posted on 29 May 2008 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (4 comments)

I seem to be making a bit of a habit of missing the BBCi Freesat launches. After being away for the initial launch due to being on holiday, I missed the launch of the new Freesat Weather service on Tuesday due to being ill with a chest infection.

BBCi on Freesat Launched!

Posted on 9 May 2008 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (8 comments)

So if you’re the one person who has been eagerly awaiting a detailed blog post about it all, well you can now have it.

Building BBCi on Freesat

Posted on 4 December 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (3 comments)

I don’t know what anyone else thought, but when I read that bit of the Freesat FAQ about interactive content on Freesat, I thought that the author was being just a little cagey - that they weren’t really telling me much.

Freesat Website

Posted on 27 November 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Television (30 comments)

Well the secret is out. Well right now as I type, it’s not hugely out because the website hasn’t been out for very long. But anyway, the Freesat website is now live, so you can find out all about it, and why you’d want it. Or not want it. Or something.

Latest BBCi goings on

Posted on 15 September 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

CBBC extra goes bright green, and cable-land gets a radio service

Bouncing bugs

Posted on 18 July 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

The end of last week saw the launch of yet another raft of BBCi changes that I’ve been involved with. In fact it was a huge, chunky, bit-of-a-nightmare of a release, with most of the changes being behind the scenes so you’d never even notice, which isn’t really the most encouraging thing in the world!

An Award Winning BBCi

Posted on 20 April 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Work (No comments yet - be the first!)

Tthis week, BBCi won the International Interactive Emmy award for Best Interactive Television Service. Woo!

100% Increase In Video Choice! (a.k.a BBCi News Multiscreen on Freeview gets a bit bigger)

Posted on 24 February 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

It was great to see the new look BBCi News Multiscreen launch on digital terrestrial television at around 11:10 on Thursday morning - now with 100% more video options! (well four choices instead of 2 is a 100% increase!)

Number or No Number?

Posted on 21 February 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

I mentioned the other day that all but four pages within the new BBCi weather service had page numbers and that I was contemplating adding in those extra four. Whether to do so or not turned out to be an interesting decision.

Changes to the BBCi Weather service

Posted on 17 February 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Urgh, thank goodness it’s the weekend. It’s been a particularly long week due to the launch of the revised BBCi weather service on digital terrestrial and satellite which, for us, wasn’t quite as smooth as I would have liked - hence why I was still at work last night at 8pm. Especially annoying given I’d worked late the previous night and had hoped to go home early on Friday to compensate! Still the changes are done and the service is up there for people to see.

Weather and Sport joins the BBCi News Multiscreen

Posted on 10 February 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

A while ago, someone emailed me to ask what was going to replace the old quarter screen BBC Parliament service on digital terrestrial television (aka Freeview). At the time I just said that something was coming, and that I couldn’t say more.

Three closures, one opening and some snow

Posted on 11 January 2007 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

I feel a bit like the grim reaper having recently been the person who took the life away from two BBCi sections which closed this week.

A tale of some brown holly

Posted on 30 December 2006 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

This year we added a bit of brown holly to the front page of BBCi on satellite. Some people may wonder why it’s brown. Some might wonder why only on satellite. So here’s why.

A Brief History of BBC Parliament on Freeview

Posted on 28 October 2006 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

Well the news is out - BBC Parliament on DTT/Freeview will be going full screen in November, rather than the horrible quarter screen format that it goes out in now.

Spot the difference

Posted on 26 September 2006 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Work (No comments yet - be the first!)

Today was another big day in BBCi land thanks to the latest launch from one of the projects I work on. Although you probably won’t notice any difference…

No Video. Just a big blue box instead.

Posted on 17 July 2006 in Interactive TV (1 comment)

You should always know what your competitors are up to. Which is why I spent some time the other morning flicking around between Sky Text and Teletext on my Freeview box at work.

BBCi Happenings (Part 2)

Posted on 24 November 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

It feels like just as I’m winding down slightly at work in preperation for having next week off (hurray!), the launches and the changes have been ramping up! Yesterday it was removing TV and Radio listings, today it was improving them as we relaunched our What’s On Service on DTT (or Freeview if you must).

BBCi Happenings (Part 1)

Posted on 24 November 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

On Wednesday we killed off the TV and radio listings on the satellite version of BBCi.

Finally Rebranded

Posted on 13 November 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

I totally missed this cos no one actually told me, but finally it’s complete. Yes, the new BBCi bridge launched on NTL’s Bromley network on Tuesday 8 November - a whole six months after it went out on Telewest.

Going Digital (Text)

Posted on 27 July 2005 in Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

There’s now an indepth report on the analogue TV switch off trial that recently occurred in Ferryside, Wales. It’s quite a long document but it was the small section on digital text services that caught by eye - especially the user reactions to them in a world where they’d be unable to get Ceefax.

Crossing The NTL Bridge

Posted on 16 June 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

NTL’s customers in the Langley region got our new look BBCi just over a month ago. Well on BBC One and BBC Two anyway. Until yesterday when they finally got the almost full suite with all the other BBC channels now having access to BBCi when the user presses their red button. Except on BBC Parliament - technical problem or somet.

Teletext on ITV

Posted on 6 June 2005 in Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Today saw the end of one of the great usability problems of digital text. Yes, you can now press the TEXT button on ITV1 and something actually happens.

A Half Sense Of Closure

Posted on 18 May 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Today I got a sense of closure. Almost. A project we all stopped working on nearly two months ago, finally went up. Well almost. Yes, today half of NTL got the rebranded bridge.

We’re going to do WHAT?!

Posted on 20 April 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Is it really a year ago that the BBC’s statement of programme policy proclaimed that we’d launch something called QuickCodes on an unsuspecting world?

SuperCeefax and BBCi Page Numbers

Posted on 5 April 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

A friend who obviously has too much time on her hands pointed me to a discussion on Digital Spy’s forums where posters were asked the question, which is better - BBCi or Teletext?

Screenshot Puzzle

Posted on 29 March 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Staying on a BBCi theme, some random lunchtime surfing found me on Sky Digi Online, a site covering news about Sky and associated channels and services, who had a piece about BBCi, with a rather puzzling screenshot.

There’s No I In Team (BBCi Freeview Rebrand)

Posted on 29 March 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Over the last few weeks we’ve been steadily rolling out the new rebranded BBCi, and today it got to stop three - Freeview. And that launch, along with the others, wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been a good team of people working away on it.

Post Launch Mayhem

Posted on 24 March 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

On Tuesday, the old launch seemed to have gone reasonably smoothly. Yesterday and today on the other hand…

BBCi Rebrand Goes Satellite

Posted on 22 March 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

It’s pretty hard to celebrate something when at the same time all is doom and gloom thanks to redundancies, budget cuts and so on. So internally, the relaunch of BBCi on satellite probably wasn’t on the cusp of many peoples minds. But relaunch we did, and I got to write another email to tell everyone how wonderful they are.

BBCi Rebrand Comments

Posted on 13 March 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Whenever we launch something at work, I like to have a look around and see what people are saying - hoping of course that it’s good feedback!

BBCi Rebrand Hits Telewest

Posted on 8 March 2005 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

It’s all change to BBCi as we relaunch on Telewest with a new look and a new logo. Warning - contains several large images!

Sky Text On Freeview

Posted on 14 December 2004 in Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Today Sky launched Sky Text on digital terrestrial television. The service was originally a traditional text service, has been on satellite in a ‘digital’ form since 2000.

More BBCi Page Numbers

Posted on 6 December 2004 in Interactive TV, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

Less than a month (just!) after BBCi launched page numbers on satellite, at around 4:20 today, they went up on the DTT/Freeview version as well!

To Tweak, Or Not To Tweak

Posted on 13 November 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Here’s an interesting problem. You have a 30 year old concept. It’s established and everyone knows what it is, and how its used.

Page Numbers Are Go

Posted on 10 November 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Just after 2pm today we launched page numbers on BBCi on satellite.

Don’t Panic! Teletext have got page numbers first! Don’t panic!

Posted on 6 November 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

With page numbers about to launch on BBCi, I spent some time this morning lurking around some of the more ‘opinionated’ (read ‘full of know-it-alls’) message boards, seeing what people have been saying about the idea coming to the service.

BBCi Page Numbers

Posted on 3 November 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV (No comments yet - be the first!)

Well the press release has gone out. It could only mean one thing. Page numbers will be hitting BBCi very soon.

Should that be 179?

Posted on 23 September 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

In the week that Ceefax turns 30, it’s kinda appropriate that on Monday I did something which a couple of people probably did 30 years ago.

BBCi Zooms Along

Posted on 28 July 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

Today the new and improved BBCi launched on DTT (digital terrestrial television - the platform also known as Freeview).

Why is BBCi so slow?

Posted on 5 July 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Television (2 comments)

Mention that you work for BBCi, the BBC’s digital text service and you may regret it as you’ll get told 500 things that are wrong with what you work on. And the big gripe is speed.

Key dates from BBCi history

Posted on 14 May 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Television (1 comment)

Key dates from the BBC interactive text service history.

Internal Project Names Unleased To The World

Posted on 29 April 2004 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Work (No comments yet - be the first!)

Don’t you just love it when internal project names end up on big documents that are released to the public?

Code navigation for digital teletext

Posted on 14 January 2004 in Interactive TV, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

Pretty much ever since it was launched, people have been moaning about the lack of page numbers on digital teletext services. But wouldn’t it be interesting to add a little more of a link between the numbers and the content they point to?

Teletext Future

Posted on 26 November 2003 in Interactive TV, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

Teletext has been in a bit of a limbo land on digital and questions had to be asked as to whether it could even survive in the digital land. Recent developments do seem to give it a chance…

Interesting Digital Television Launches

Posted on 21 October 2003 in Interactive TV, Radio, Television (No comments yet - be the first!)

The BBC has launched News Multiscreen, and EMAP seems to have some big plans, but what they’re not saying. Interactive services on Freeview are really getting interesting.

DAB Text on BBCi Radio Stations.

Posted on 26 September 2003 in BBC red button, Interactive TV, Radio, Television (1 comment)

The BBC stations on DTT/Freeview now have an updating text feed. It’s cool.

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