Digital video will learn your taste in TV - and banish the schedulers

The job of television scheduler, planning what programmes to put on to maximise audiences through the day, is virtually dead. Two technologies announced this week will allow viewers to escape the tyranny of what is on the television now, in favour of what may have been on at any time earlier in the day.

The job of television scheduler, planning what programmes to put on to maximise audiences through the day, is virtually dead. Two technologies announced this week will allow viewers to escape the tyranny of what is on the television now, in favour of what may have been on at any time earlier in the day.

Users of the systems may even become unaware of what channels they are watching - negating the efforts of the scheduler to tie people to a channel and make them watch new programmes; and, on commercial channels, the adverts.

Homechoice, whose "TV on demand" service began operating this week, will go head-to-head with the TiVo, a "digital VCR" arriving in shops this weekend. TiVo learns your preferences in TV programmes and can also pause, speed up or slow down live pictures - and then restart where you paused them, so that you do not miss a moment of the action and can watch at your own pace. "When people sit down they will always have something they want to watch," said Howard Look, the vice-president of TiVo Studios. "We are really about changing the way people think about their televisions."

Simon Hochhauser, the founder and chief executive of Homechoice - which provides a mixture of free and pay-per-view programmes over high-speed internet connections on phone lines - said: "The days of being tied to TV schedules that dictate programme times, and struggling to set the VCR or having to return rented videos in the rain to avoid fines could be over."

The two systems are radically different in approach, but similar in effect. Homechoice offers a huge range of programmes, available at any time of day. Some "channels" are free, but there is a basic subscription of £6 per month, with individual films costing between £1.99 and £3.50. Viewers can then watch any of the programmes available on any of the Homechoice channels at any time.

TiVo, by contrast, aims to capture programmes now on television. Each of the £399 boxes contains a huge computer hard disk, which breaks the television signal into digital bits and stores them. This signal can then be reassembled into a video signal and output to the television as wanted.

The TiVo's hard disk is big enough to hold between 12 and 40 hours of video - higherquality recording uses more space. But that also means that the onscreen action can be paused and then restarted while the disk is continuing to fill up with the live action. This can then be "fast-forwarded" at up to six times normal speed.

Ted Malone, TiVo's director of market development, said advertisers would have to work harder to get people's attention, but the advert was not dead. "People are more aware of brands when they zip through an ad - I once watched my wife go back and forth over the same ad 10 times."

The TiVo also has a facility, available for £10 per month (or £199 for a "lifetime" subscription), which lets viewers choose programmes from any channel they can receive and set them to be recorded. Using a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" system of preference (between one and three thumbs to indicate strength of feeling), the system can be taught which programs to look for in the schedules - and may even record them when youare out.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star