Is NTL Interactive finally worth having?

Discussion in 'Cable TV & Virgin Media TV' started by Apnomis, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. Apnomis

    Apnomis
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    I've long come to except that NTL's so called "interactive" digital TV service is a woeful attempt at utilising the power of Digital TV and paled into insignificance when compared with the wonders that Sky could offer at the touch of the red button.

    I'm used to the fact when a show says "press the red button" that they are talking to Sky viewers and if you tried it on NTL you would get a "Link to this Interactive services not set up" or some lowly text-based webpage excuse for interactive content that in reality isn't much of a step above teletext, especially with the load times!

    Sky had multi screenings of a movie in one night, interactive sports services, and multi-screen technology. Take Big Brother as a basic example, on Sky you get multiple cameras, news, voting options etc. On NTL you got nothing, then after a few weeks they got round to putting up a webpage that gave basic info like whos up for nomination etc. Or the likes of the National IQ tests, Sky get a live TV overlay for a true interactive gameshow experience, NTL viewers pressing the red button saying "You cannot take part in the IQ test at this time, a version of it will be available via our Interactive service at the end of the show", what's the point in that, if I wanted to do a text based version after the event I would go to their website!

    However, is all that about to change? I was watching the Olympics today and by chance decided to press the Red button to see what naff subsitute for a real interactive service they decided to palm their customers off with this time. Well needless to say I almost fell off my chair when the Multiscreen option came up, and sure enough you had latest news and medals tables (laid out properly around the screen instead of taking you to one of their "webpages" with a poxy little TV picture in the top right), but most shocking of all you had the 5 view screens and the ability to quickly and seemlessly choose which of the featured Olympic events you wished to watch. Dare I say it seemed equal to Skys offering!

    So have NTL had an upgrade? Or is this just a one off by the BBC? It would be great to finally get a taste of what Sky viewers have enjoyed for so long. Is it finally worth pressing the red button on your NTL remote?

    I hope this trend is going to continue and we finally get a taste of the interactive content all the other channels offer. After all they keep sending out price increases saying they have to match Sky's wholesale prices, but really we're getting less of a service than Sky viewers get for the same price.

    When the digital services were first being launched in the UK the cable services promised to be the much more dynamic option and said their technology was much more geared to digital content, and the only way to get a true "Two Way TV" system. But in reality Sky has wiped the floor with them in terms of Interactive content.

    I hope this is a sign of things to come, and things to come soon. Because let's face it NTL's interactive "webpages" are quite frankly naff, where's the overlaying screens, the multiple start times, the join in at home TV shows, the different camera angles? That's what digital TV is about IMO, not having an almost Teletext style webpage list with a tiny little TV box in the corner that you can hardly see. For me interactive content should compliement the TV picture, or if unrelated work around it, it shouldn't replace it, otherwise whats the point.

    P.S. This turned into a bit of a rant, so sorry about the length! Can't for the life of me think why an NTL customer feels the need to rant!
     
  2. buzlightyear

    buzlightyear
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    I actually think its more to do with the BBCi rather than NTL, as it works on Freeview too. Wimbledon was also multi screen so you could watch other matches. But yes i agree Sky are way ahead on NTL on the "red button" features.
     
  3. scrapbook

    scrapbook
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    NTL had an upgrade about 4 months ago depending upon what region you are in. The BBCi content works great..normally. The Open coverage was excellent, choosing who you wanted to watch etc.

    For more info on cable stuff have a look at the 'cable' forums at www.digitalspy.co.uk
     

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