back to article Punters want BBC iPlayer in TVs, not 3D

Brits want catch-up services from their tellies, not 3D, a survey carried out by Freeview has found. The digital TV brand asked 2000 punters to rank the telly technology they most want to see in their sets. Top of the list, appealing to 62 per cent of respondents: catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and 4oD. Compare that to …


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  1. Nya
    Thumb Up

    My perfect telly!

    Exactly. Stick in a built in freesat tuner, iplayer, 4od and whatever it is those things ITV and 5 use and also add on support for Netflix and Ilovefilm, a load of hdmi ports and usb for adding your own drive to record onto, and it'll be my perfect tv!

    3D pfft, not wanted!

    1. Ivan Headache

      Re: My perfect telly!

      Mine too.

      1. Chrome

        Re: My perfect telly!

        And if it's not made by LG Lovefilm might work occasionally!

    2. Neil 44

      Re: My perfect telly!

      I'd like the satellite tuner (not just Freesat - so I can watch RTL1 for formula 1!) AND the DTV tuners to be used without reconfiguration of the tuner.

      ALL channels' online players - not just iPlayer and capable of downloading programs to attached disk for repeated playback.

      Online movie rental is quite nice too but I don't know how often I'll actually use it. Too many a month and I'll blow my broadband cap...

      Better integration with home cinema / BlueRay boxes as the speakers on thin, flat screens are understandably dreadful.

    3. qwarty

      Re: My perfect telly!

      My perfect telly has good quality screen and speakers and a few i/o ports to attach a box or boxes that do the smart stuff. That way its not obsolete in three years time.

      1. kevjs

        Re: My perfect telly!

        Loads of HDMI ports would be neat - now there is HDMI Ethernet and CEC all we need now some way for boxes to add channels to the EPG (e.g. plug in a DVB-T2 tuner box and the HD channels on your pre-Freeview HD tv just appear the proper numbers) and for there to be power over HDMI (e.g. in five years time Lovefilm could roll out a new movie service using MPEG-5 over LTE2 and simply plugging a matchbox sized box into my TV with a HDMI cable would add that to the TV's on-demand menu)

      2. Audrey S. Thackeray

        Re: My perfect telly!

        I'll skip the speakers too, thanks.

    4. Simon Round
      Thumb Up

      Re: My perfect telly!

      Agree with the specification. Just need to add Wireless networking to enable access to online content and TV services without the need for Cat5 Cable.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My perfect telly!

      Got it mostly, no itv/5od yet though.. but freesat/Freeview HD built in, lan built in, netflix, ilovefilm, tons of hdmi, usb and the ability to record (though only what your watching, so thats the downside to it.

      Samsung smart tv, so it has 3d too, used it once in 6 months!

      Iplayer, used loads to catch up..

      All I need is a nice twin tuner HD HDD recorder to go with it that has a mobile app to control it remotely and a DLNA server built in...

    6. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: My perfect telly!

      And dont forget the teletext decoder for some hot pixel-on-pixel Ceefax action! Everyone's moaning about it getting switched off this week it seems!

      Paris 'cus she used to like phoning the chatlines that used to be advertised on page 345 on ITV teletext.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    People want a computer hooked up to a big screen. Who knew?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Computer

      Sir Clive Sinclair? ;)

  3. squilookle

    I just want a really good screen, good build quality, plenty of HDMI ports, and I don't want to pay very much. I'll happily provide all the other stuff (iPlayer, Netflix et al) myself with a separate box, media PC or games console, the advantage being that I can pick and choose the UI, the services, and upgrade them without upgrading the television.

    Having said that, I do think a freeview tuner should be standard. Just incase.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not quite perfect

    I want my TV to make toast and dispense ale.

  5. David Hicks

    So... PVR functions, like a lot of TVs already have?

    Mine (Samsung Plasma) offers to format any hard drive you plug in to use for PVR purposes. It wasn't a pushed or advertised feature, just something I found out later it could do, like playing mkv's over the network.

    Of course real iPlayer and 4oD integration would be better. Be surprised if there's not an app of some sort for that for newer ones.

  6. thesykes
    Thumb Up

    Already sorted then

    TV with built-in freeview and freesat, PS3 to provide everything else.

    3D? No thanks, been to see 2 films on 3D at the cinema, normal and Imax, and both times came out thinking the 3D added nothing to the films, and the glasses just irritated me (and I wear normal glasses every day without irritation).

    1. tmTM

      Re: Already sorted then

      I agree, it looks very fake and quite odd.

      It's not so much 3D as more obvious, I didn't feel like stuff was flying out of the screen at me, just like certain things were more 'in my face' while other stuff was annoyingly ever so slightly out of focus in the background.

  7. Piro Silver badge

    People want.. new content, not '3D' content?

    Colour me surprised, no really.

    The 3D gimmick is simply a way to make you buy a new TV when you really, really, don't need one. It's painfully obvious this time. At least with HD you could really see the difference, although admittedly for a long time everyone was just watching SD broadcasts and pretending it looked better. There was also a tragic period where everyone had 16:9 TVs but were watching 4:3 content stretched. God, those were dark days.

    3D is just a really costly version of that. Most content will be 2D.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: People want.. new content, not '3D' content?

      "for a long time everyone was just watching SD broadcasts and pretending it looked better"

      It does!

      ...but then if you're going from a 15 year old CRT TV to a big LCD it's bound to.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: People want.. new content, not '3D' content?

        > ...but then if you're going from a 15 year old CRT TV to a big LCD it's bound to.

        except for all those horrible skies and water scenes where the digital telly can't cope with the range of blues so you get all that dreadful banding. Apart from that they look better.

        PS, another me too for sod 3D and gives us good iPlayer support, our Freesat PVR box is bloody useless at iPlayer but the BluRay box does a brilliant job - weird, you'd think the toy with the storage capacity to swallow whole programs would be good at it.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          Re: People want.. new content, not '3D' content?

          "except for all those horrible skies and water scenes where the digital telly can't cope with the range of blues so you get all that dreadful banding."

          I've never found that to be an issue with a good source, only the low-bandwidth, low-rent digital channels like 5USA.

          I caught an episode of M*A*S*H on one of those channels recently and between the awful quality of the original video and the compression on the channel you had this odd situation where everyone's face appeared to have skin that was moving independently of their head.

          As it happens, I had the same episode on DVD so popped that in and found that the problem was clearly with the transmission. The video was still crap quality, but I couldn't see the same "crawling skin" problem.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freeview survey was prompted by...?

    Would it be the BBC, by any chance?

    - Who would probably not want to see 'free' iPlayer become more prevelant, as they want to move to a 'pay to view again' platform?

    Could it be the BBC, in turn, were prompted by their technology partner, Sony Corporation?

    That's Sony Corporation who:

    - Own a substantial part of the movie business, with acquired prior content that could be re-hashed for 3D rather than innovating and encouraging new storyline creativity?

    - Are the substantial patent holder and manufacturer in the 3D display market along with content delivery that can meet the capacity and data rates required to drive 3D (i.e. Blu-ray...)

    - "Partnered" the BBC to takeover BBC HD in order to perform a "3D showcase" of certain matches at Wimbledon, last year?

    I just wonder about that, of course?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Freeview survey was prompted by...?

      If it was, then Sony are going to be a bit upset that only 16% of people can see the emperor's clothes, er, I mean want 3D.

      You'd think they'd be better at rigging a survey than that.

  9. Chad H.

    So its becoming clear...

    I was right all along and that 3D will be back to being a "theme park only" technology in the next 6-12 months.

  10. Lee Dowling

    Content over gimmick.

    So people want content over gimmick when they sit down after a hard day at work in front of the TV to "switch off". The content they want, when they want, how they want, not on some arbitrary schedule and without adverts and junk they're not interested in interrupting it. And to pause it so they can use the loo, or watch last month's episodes that have mysteriously "disappeared" from everywhere else.

    Gosh. Who'd have thunk?

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    I don't see why it's 3D vs iPlayer

    Modern TVs have the ability to offer both. The SoCs they put into modern TVs have 3D support in them and TVs have the refresh rate to display the images. So essentially 3D is free these days and a standard feature of midrange sets just like 24fps, 1080p etc. became before it.

    The processors on these TVs could also handle the likes of iPlayer. Many already support streaming content. Its a matter of writing some front end to get the meta data and initiate streaming.

    But I really don't understand however why ANYONE wants iPlayer or Netflix or any other "smart" functionality in their TV. Who really thinks that Samsung, Sony, Panasonic et al are going to support their TV's firmware for years to come to ensure it functions as these services come and go.The more cloud / web service based functionality that goes into a TV the more likely it is that it will be bitrotten a few years hence.

    It would be far more sensible to confine the interactive functionality to a set top box or console where it is easier to keep up to date and maintain regardless of who the TV is made by.

  12. SteveK

    Personally I'd prefer to have the tuners and smart stuff in a small cheap box that is replaceable far more often than a decent quality display - at least unless there's a guarantee from the TV makers that they will support and update the apps (and can support changes to the TV tuner frequencies and encoding types as/when OFCOM decide to shuffle things around) in the TV for a reasonable period (minimum 5 years), and not just until they bring out the next generation model.

    Shame you can't easily just buy a decent monitor that's larger than 27"...


  13. I<3Coffee

    BBC HD Broken!

    What annoys me even more than wasting time/money/effort on 3D is that the BBC decided to swtich over to DVB-S2 last year. This prevented my perfectly good Satellite PC Card from receiving BBC HD broadcasts.

    Aparently they did this in time for Wibledon last year so they could "Test" 3D for the few people who actually use it.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: BBC HD Broken!

      Oh diddums. Oh well, for the people who do have a DVB-S2 Sat-card or compatible 3D TV, they'll get a better quality broadcast anyway for the like-for-like bitrate. Tech can't stop for no-one and glad to see broadcasters using the best codec available.

      On Topic: Surely the Raspberry Pi will be perfect to programme an open-source interface that can bond all these things together and fit nicely hidden away inside the TV?

      1. Mike Dimmick

        Re: BBC HD Broken!

        DVB-S2 allows the broadcasters to get more bits from one transponder at the same cost. HD transmissions targetted at the UK all use MPEG-4 AVC, aka H.264, for video compression, whether on a DVB-S or DVB-S2 transponder. The broadcasters have used the additional capacity to put the same number of services onto fewer transponders, rather than increasing the bitrate per service.

        In actual commercial receivers - particularly Sky's boxes, but also Freesat-branded boxes - MPEG-4 AVC support has gone along with DVB-S2 support, so for the vast majority of viewers converting the transponder from DVB-S to S2 made no difference at all.

        AVC encoders are improving all the time, so there may be quality improvements for the same bitrate - however, the experience generally with improved encoders has been that the broadcasters just cram in more services.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BBC HD Broken!

        "the Raspberry Pi will be perfect to programme an open-source interface that can bond all these things together and fit nicely hidden away inside the TV?"

        I reckon so too. Even if this year's Raspberry Pi can't quite do it all (it's not exactly this year's ARM technology, it's built to a budget), next year's ARM boards will do all you could want, and by that time it will have become very very clear to the vendors that (as others have already noted) what many punters want is a decent screen and a separate box with the smarts in it, without paying over the odds for either, with a UI and software that is relatively well designed, relatively bug free, and free of irritations like ads in the EPG. Two boxes so that they can be upgraded separately. And preferably still controlled with one single remote.

        Not expecting the TV vendors will "get it" though, and the £20-50 STB vendors with buggy UIs, buggy software and buggier manuals probably won't "get it" either.

  14. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    OptionalFreeview survey

    So since this was a freeview survey, I guess that it didn't include the options:

    1. That the picture doesn't break up into a hundred little mozaic tiles when there is fast movement on the screen.

    2. That graduated images such as the sky show a gradual change from one colour / brightness to another, rather than 4 solid bands of completely different colours with zigzaggy lines at their boundaries.

    OK, I'll get off my horse. I've already got my jacket, thanks.

  15. wibble001

    All I want.....

    is a decent TV signal, i.e. on that doesn't keep sticking big blue "No Signal" messages across the screen in the middle of the few things that are actually worth watching.

  16. adam payne

    Catch up

    I couldn't give a monkeys about 3D but catch is certainly something I want in a TV.

    I also want new content on TV channels not going to happen but we can't always dream.

  17. Andrew James

    Of course more people want catch-up than want 3D. Something like 10 million people watch Eastenders / Coronation Street. They dont care about watching it in 3D. They just dont want to miss an episode.

  18. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down


    Just give me the biggest and best 'quality' display possible with a digital tuner and plenty of connectivity at a reasonable cost. Everything else can go take a run and jump.

  19. hexx

    and bring F1 back to BBC!

  20. Jon H

    3D sure, but where's the media?

    I paid lots for my new TV last year. It has FreeSat HD, iPlayer, 3D and all the other buzz word features. iPlayer is great, I plug in a network cable and there it all is, doesn't cost me a penny more. But 3D? Apart from the final of Strictly Come Dancing that the BBC showed in 3D (and very good it was too), I can't access any 3D media. I don't have and have no plans to buy a 3D bluray player. I already pay Sky lots for the channels I do get but to get the 3D channel, you HAVE to subscribe to every channel they do but I have no intention on paying for their sports channels. Surely Sky could just scramble the 3D football to non sport subscribers but then make the 3D films watchable to the movie channel subscribers???

    If there was a 3D channel available that didn't cost extra to view it, 3D would have a good chance of gaining popularity. Without content, it's going nowhere.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heaven is a middling AV receiver with a set of 5.1 speakers, integrating a PS3, a Humax HDR-FOX T2 PVR and a Mac mini running Plex/iPlayer etc. The TV is permanently on one HDMI input with the sound turned off. It might just as well be a monitor. Upstairs an old, but perfectly good Philips 32" CRT has an oldish Topfield PVR driving it, as it is analog only. One day, the Humax will replace the Toppy and something with more integration will replace the Humax downstairs, but the TVs I hope will just keep going.

    A Harmony One remote with a bit of programming to pull all the functions together completes the picture.

  22. Fenton

    Just a screen is all I need

    AV amp has all the HDMI inputs and proper surround sound outputs I require.

    Just need a set top box with all those bits (maybe with integrated bluRay).

    Current bugger for me is. Apple TV and sky box don't have iplayer, but blueray player does.

    Bluray player does have media capabilities to stream from a PC but interface is crap.

    Not a problem for me but family gets confused which source they should use.

  23. Robert E A Harvey

    waste of money

    why run the survey? why did they not just read el-reg forums?

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