THE BLOG

Who Said Catch-up TV Was the Death of the TV Set? It's the Making of It

19/03/2014 13:24 GMT | Updated 19/05/2014 10:59 BST

When catch-up TV first started gaining traction some heralded it as the death of the TV set. Why would anyone invest in a new TV set when they could watch the programme of their choice on their laptop or smartphone, and for free?

Well those people were wrong. Just as those who thought TV would be the death of the radio were wrong. And just as those who thought VHS would be the death of cinema, were wrong. You really think we would have learned our lesson by now.

Most families still have the desire to congregate around the TV set and flop around on the sofa after a hard day's work. Ultimately this desire is rooted in a human behavioural truth: we like to gather in groups to feel connected, as well as entertained

Ninety one percent of UK adults view TV on the main set each week, up from 88 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, 91 percent of parents agree their family has a good time when they're together. And, contrary to popular belief, 77 percent of children aged 6-11, and 73 percent aged 12-17, say they really like spending time with their family.

So where does catch-up TV fit into this equation?

Well, in addition to wanting to watch TV together, modern families cite time as the biggest strain on enjoying entertainment together. Catch-up TV services, viewed through a smart TV set, maximise precious family time by allowing us to rewind and watch what we may have missed or get a content recommendation for something that pleases all the family.

Over the past 18 months our appetite for more flexible TV viewing has seen the launch of YouView, which offers free-to-air digital terrestrial TV channels, as well as TV on demand via a set-top box. Most recently, Freesat launched Freetime, which offers a similar free-to-air service over satellite.

Freetime offers viewers all the major on-demand services - BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand5 - as well as programme recommendation service Showcase and a backwards TV guide that lets viewers simply scroll back through the last seven days viewing.

Freeview- and Freesat-enabled TVs seamlessly integrate the Freetime experience, since there's no need to switch away from the TV set to watch catch-up and there is no need for a satellite dish, since Freetime can now be accessed through the aerial.*

Video on demand is now the most sought-after aspect of smart TV and the most used smart TV function is BBC iPlayer.

Rather than being the death of TV, catch-up TV services, viewed via a smart TV, are bringing the TV set into the 21st Century, allowing it to keep pace with the desires and demands of the modern family.

*TV also needs to be connected to the Internet