By Matthew Henry
SYDNEY: ABC TV in Sydney will soon offer consumers a new reason to switch over to digital television, with an electronic program guide (EPG) now in the pipeline to offer digital viewers detailed programming information at their fingertips.
The ABC will trial extended program information broadcasting on its main Sydney metropolitan standard definition digital TV channel, with program schedules and information up to three days in advance.
Apart from program times, digital TV viewers will be able to access viewer classifications and a brief synopsis of each program.
The EPG can be accessed by a remote control button on many of the estimated 1.5 million existing free-to-air digital set top boxes, digital integrated TVs and digital video recorders in Australia.
The trial could have a positive effect on sales of digital TV products through electrical retailers. According to a number of senior consumer electronics industry representatives, who recently responded to the governments new digital TV policy, more content and services on digital TV will provide greater impetus for consumers to invest in digital TV equipment such as set top boxes and integrated digital TVs.
If the new EPG is successful, the ABC will also roll-out the feature to its high definition and ABC2 channels nationally.
The ABC has not yet announced a starting point or a timeframe for the trial.
According to an un-named ABC spokesperson quoted in The Australian, other broadcasters may well follow the ABC’s lead, with some considering trialling their own EPGs.