In a bid to promote its digital TV program guide, the creators of iceTV (http://www.icetv.com.au/) software have released a free desktop widget for both windows and Mac operating systems.
According to iceTV chief technology officer, Peter Vogel, the free widget is designed to increase general awareness of the program guide subscription service, and introduce potential customers to the full functionality of personal video recorders and media centre PCs.
The tool represents a cut down version of the iceTV subscription service, which provides program details and times, along with software that allows media centre PCs and personal video recorders to be programmed.
Without iceTV or a similar program guide service, personal video recorders would merely have access to information for the program immediately following the one being broadcast.
"There are a lot of digital personal TV recorders on the market, but without the program guide they are just glorified VCRs that can't be made to record programs coming up in the future," Vogel claimed. "The iceTV service provides a program guide seven days out, which enables consumers to plan their television watching."
Concerned the subscription service would limit the effectiveness of their advertising, broadcasters refused to come to the party and provide iceTV with programming information, so Vogel has had to build the service from the ground up.
A team of six media reviewers create program descriptions and present this to audiences through the subscription service.
"On its own it's a television guide service, but if it's used in conjunction with a personal video recorder or media centre PC along with the subscription service, customers can program their personal video recorder from their office, because they connect back to the iceTV server, " Vogel said.
While happy with the response to the iceTV service since its release in March, Vogel said there was still a long way to go before resellers or consumers fully understood the digital media market.
"A lot of resellers still don't really understand what a media centre PC is until they see it operating and customers are the same," he said. "No one is really used to the concept."