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EDITIONS
 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 10:08 GMT
Digital TV services need revamp
Jim Royle watching TV
Digital TV must be foolproof if it is to succeed
Consumer bodies have urged manufacturers to make digital TV easier for viewers to use.

It follows a joint survey commissioned by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Consumers' Association.

The research highlighted recommendations from viewers to make digital TV equipment more user-friendly and said the future sucess of the medium would depend upon easy to use services.

Putting fewer and larger buttons on remote controls and clearer labelling were among suggested improvements.

Delivery failure

This is not just a 'take it or leave it' technology and the government's switchover policy makes these issues all the more urgent

Michelle Childs, Consumers' Association
Clear and unambiguous menus on on-screen displays and standardisation between remote control buttons and on-screen requests were also needed, the research found.

User manuals should be easy to read, concise and jargon-free with more illustrated instructions. More information should be accesible on-screen suggested the research.

Michelle Childs, Head of Policy Research at the Consumers' Association believes it is crucial to take consumers attitudes and experiences of digital TV into account.

"It is now up to manufacturers and designers to learn the lessons of this research which shows that digital television is still failing to deliver for many consumers," she said.

Driving demand

"This is not just a 'take it or leave it' technology and the government's switchover policy makes these issues all the more urgent," she added.

The UK government is determined to switch off the analogue signal by 2010 leaving the population reliant on digital services.

Hugh Peltor, Director of Consumer Electronics at industry body Intellect, welcomed the report.

"We recognise the importance of user-friendly features when designing and producing digital TV equipment, which can do much to encourage digital take-up and benefit viewers and industry alike," he said.

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