The UK Government has set targets for its services to be available online by 2005. It is hoped that electronic public services will improve quality and efficiency of delivery, enhance public access to essential services, and achieve cost economies. While attention initially focussed on the Internet as the key platform for online public service delivery, digital television may eventually become the platform of choice. Television's wider penetration and familiarity gives it an edge over the Internet. A number of pilot projects and initiatives have been instigated by Government to explore the potential of digital television (DTV). This paper presents a review of early evidence to emerge about DTV services and public opinion from DTV pilots. While DTV can provide wider access than the Internet in terms of demographic reach, its limited interactivity and the relearning that viewers will need to undergo may limit its initial applications and adoption. Significant problems remain with the usability of basic DTV services, resulting in certain sectors of society being excluded. This exclusion is more pronounced when considering the most complex applications of DTV, such as interactive services. Widespread acceptance of the digital switchover will require a shift in mindset of the television audience as a different paradigm of television use comes to the fore.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited