Consumers find interactive content on TV a turn off

Less than one in ten digital TV owners use interactive content, and only half are aware that they have access to it

Only a tiny fraction of those with digital TV are using the service to access interactive content, according to research. The research will come as more bad news for a government determined to wire the UK.

Labour is keen to push interactive digital TV as an alternative platform for Net access, as part of its commitment to provide universal access by 2005. TV is seen as a more likely access mechanism for the Internet, especially for poorer households or for those that never intend to buy a PC.

But according to Continental Research, only 0.9 million people out of the 12.1 who now have access to digital TV are using interactive services of any sort. Over half -- seven million -- did not even know that they had the potential to access interactive content.

According to Continental Research analyst Dave Chilvers it is going to be a long process to get people online via TV. "The main reason that people get digital TV is for a wider choice of TV channels and better quality picture," he explained. "Not many people get it for the interactive service."

Research firm Jupiter MMXI is more optimistic, predicting that by 2005 more people will access the Net via TV than PC, driven by gambling.

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