The average TV in the not too distant future will not only provide the choice of hundreds of conventional TV channels, but also endless hours of video-on-demand, catch-up TV, YouTube and masses of other online-hosted videos and vodcasts, and the list goes on….

It already appears far too challenging for anyone with Sky to settle on one channel for any length of time (I find it tricky enough with Freeview), so multiplying this already generous selection of channels by hundreds if not thousands more choices doesn’t sound like a particularly useful thing to do.

But that’s progress.

So, Philips (along with, it has to be said, a large number of other technology companies) is trying to simplify how we access this mass of moving image content, in an attempt to streamline this impending mass of choice to a shortlist of things you might in fact want to watch.

I caught up with the company at IBC earlier this month to find out more about its solution for what it calls the “modern TV dilemma”.

Philips’ “personalised TV” technology, called Aprico, centres on the ability for viewers to make ‘personal channels’. The idea is you add the programmes you like into your personal channels and – using sophisticated, well defined metadata – Aprico begins to populate the channel with recommended content based around your favourites.

So, you could create a drama channel and throw in five or six examples of the kind of drama you like and the next time you access the channel it will have a growing list of similar dramas added to it.

During various consumer tests of Aprico, Philips says that, within 17 days, 90% of TV watching was being done via personal channels rather than scheduled TV.

Alongside channels set up by viewers, Aprico also includes channels filled with recommendations from well-known brands. It also provides the option to use social networking sites to share the personal channels you’ve created with other Aprico users.

Aprico will be built into many of Philips’ future TV sets and the electronics giant is currently in negotiations with set-top-box makers about incorporating it into their boxes. The first devices with Aprico have begun shipping elsewhere in Europe, though no release date has yet been given for the release of anything in the UK.

Staff Reporter

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