Therefore has designed a set-top box and interactive remote control for TVcompass, as part of the technology company’s bid to build a significant market share in the digital terrestrial-television arena.
The launch comes in the wake of a shake-up within the digital TV market, which saw ITVDigital go to the wall and its licenses awarded to the BBC, Sky and Crown Castle consortium.
TVcompass chief executive officer Stephen Voller says it was this restructuring which acted as the catalyst for the product’s launch.
‘We’ve been working on the product for some time, but now feel digital terrestrial has had the shot in the arm it needs,’ says Voller. ‘Take-up rates of Sky have reached saturation point and we expect the free-to-air digital terrestrial channels to be available by next spring.’
The product, which launches in spring 2003, is a wireless remote which will offer access to applications such as shopping, research and SMS messaging through any TV set without the need for a cable or satellite return path.
The consultancy was briefed to deliver a design which offered a familiar interface to consumers and was easy and obvious to use, says Therefore product designer Stephen Mayall.
‘The biggest challenge was designing something that didn’t just look like a remote control. We wanted to deliver something iconic in appearance, that wasn’t too generic, but also wasn’t intimidating to use,’ says Mayall.
The consultancy was appointed earlier this month on the basis of previous work for NEC and Psion.
TVcompass plans to offer set-top boxes to consumers for £29, compared to the current price of £99 and generate income through commercial services.