The Trouble with TV
TV didn’t change much for many years, in-fact it barely changed from the early days until about 20 years ago. Even then the change was fairly simple — more channels, more content.
More recently you got things like Sky+ so you could make that content work for your schedule rather than the one predefined by the broadcasters. That was a good thing.
However, one problem brought about by the influx of channels and content remained — finding content that is actually any good and worth watching.
Now, deciding what content is “good” or “worth watching” is a very personal thing. What one person likes, another might hate.
In the past few years, “Cord-cutting” has been the new thing, with lots of new players like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu along with traditional broadcasters like HBO and the BBC getting in on the act.
These are great things, I rate the BBC iPlayer very highly — because it has a lot of great content and they are continuing to improve the user experience.
At the end of the day, the great Tsunami of content that washes around the globe each day has led to a LOT of crap TV with some great TV mixed in. For end users, there is no way to screen or filter all that content in a personal, easy and intuitive way so they can find that great TV content and not have to wade through the crap to find it.
For instance Netflix. Now I like Netflix, it has some great content. But now I feel like I have watched all the good stuff and cannot find anything worth watching. I have resorted to just watching random things — giving it 2 minutes and if it isn’t floating my boat it goes off and I try something else.
Sometimes this works and we find a real gem, but generally it is a waste of time. Another major issue with current solutions like Netflix, iPlayer and others is that even though I have watched various shows — I still have to flick through the thumbnails of those shows, to find new content. Why can’t we just hide things we have already seen??
Another example of how this would be great:
My 4yr old was watching Netflix and happened to open a kids cartoon that was for kids a bit older. There was a werewolf, my kid got freaked out and that led to a number of nights where bedtime was a struggle. I cannot just hide content that I don’t want my kid seeing. Netflix allows me to create a kids profile so only “Kids” content shows up — but that is it, you cannot filter the content or tailor the profile in any other way.Ratings and recommendations also suck. It’s like the two are not connected. Surely this is not a hard thing to do, if I like a lot of drama shows — why is Netflix recommending that I watch Mouse Hunt????
This is something we are trying to explore at Gourmet Pixel, our first and fairly simple experiment is Screen. This allows you to choose genres that interest you, the app then filters upcoming UK TV schedule to show you only content of the type you have chosen. You can then further filter the choices by removing certain shows, once removed you will not be shown them again. Ever.
As I said, this is an experiment and one that we are continuing to work on. Perhaps On Demand content might work better for this. Unfortunately Netflix closed their API, which is a real shame as with it I am sure we could do some great things.
We will continue to evolve the Screen app with more features over time, perhaps we could gain funding to enable us to push ahead full time on it — but in the meantime it will continue in the background whilst we make great apps for our clients.
If anyone reading this is interested in helping us fix TV, please do get in touch! I think it can be done in surprisingly simple ways.