Ofcom Launch New Consultation on Electronic Programme Guides

Following an initial consultation launched back in October 2016 and feedback from techUK, Digital UK and other industry stakeholders the second iteration of the Ofcom consultation on proposed changes to the code of practice on EPGs has now been released. This consultation impacts the feature sets for TVs, PVRs and STBs as well as the EPG meta data delivered via the Broadcasters.

This new consultation has taken into account some of the feedback received from industry in the first consultation and there are some changes to the original proposals.

In summary, the main recommendations for change include:
1) Previously the proposed changes were focused only on multi-function receivers (PVRs), now they will apply to all devices that display EPG (TVs are now in scope).
2) Previously it was proposed that ‘best endeavours’ are required to meet the changes, now it is proposed that ‘reasonable endeavours so far as practical’ are required. This suggests a less onerous 'comply at any cost' approach which would have proved problematic where it is not possible to enable compliance of current models/ chassis without incurring costs and/ or resource that could make the product uneconmically viable to continue to place onto the market.
3) Changes will come into force when the final statement is published, so this suggests that manufacturers will be forced to act quickly, possibly in 2018.
4) The changes required are :
a. Text to Speech rendering.
b. Programme highlighting where audio description is provided.
c. EPG magnification options.
d. Switching between default and high contrast displays.

techUK will be reviewing and responsing to this consultation on behalf of members. The techUK CE Strategy and Technology Group will lead on the consultation response drafting.

A link to the Ofcom consulation can be accessed below:

Ofcom EPG Consultation documents

For more information on how to get involved in this consultation contact:

Paul Hide

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