As Ultra HD definition screens come to market the user experience is likely to change in ways manufacturers and service providers may not have anticipated.
Researchers Actual Consumer Behaviour (ACB) are embarking on just that project, although they stress that their findings are preliminary.
“Critically, it is the placement of channels and the interface that will determine the likelihood of any 4K channels or content being viewed,” said Sarah Pearson, managing partner at ACB.
She even suggests that commercials should be designed to indulge the viewer “with super-creative experiences that can support the explosion of 4K/Ultra HD in consumers’ conversations.”
If, as expected, TV providers build in overlays of content or options on the side of a screen consumers may find it disruptive.
“Viewers are unlikely to want to give up any screen real-estate for anything other than the programme unless it was integral to the content,” she warned.
Potential capabilities of the larger UHD screens could include interaction with content outside the frame of what’s being viewed. But the makers of Game of Thrones may prefer not to spend $14 million an episode to have overlays or permanent interfaces of other content masking it or competing for eyeballs.
“They may like to have their content in a slim box to the right hand side of the EPG warning the viewer to their new series or promoting their app, cueing up viewing in time for the appointment to view the programme and the viewer might find this helpful,” said Pearson. “This will need more genuine research as the content will have to be right and the consumer may find commercials darn irritating.
“We do need to flag up the initial irritation factor and how disruptive this may be seen by most viewers,” she continued. “ACB consistently remind clients of the social etiquette that surrounds TV viewing, which highlights the importance of manufacturers to consider the social and private barriers as well.”
She added: “An intelligent, informed consumer-focused conversation needs to happen soon that embraces knowledge from all fields to deliver the best compelling and future focused product on this very powerful screen.”
Viewers may have a much lower tolerance for poorer quality content as the experience of what level is ‘acceptable’ is raised, ACB found. The challenge will be how routine viewing in the home can make that work with 4K.
“Certainly the larger the screen the more potentially immersive the experience is, until you have to start moving your head to get around the screen – arguably we might assert this still needs more work,” she said.
Picture: Could too much information be a distraction?