Interactive digital Television

September 17, 2016

The popularity of Interactive Digital Television (IDTV) applications has grown in recent years, playing a significant role in today’s society. This new type of television allows users to access interactive applications in order to look for information, for communication or educational purposes, or just for fun. Most of these applications require text entry and many users expect a user experience similar to that of computers. Although the most common device to interact with television is the conventional remote control, other devices available on the market may be used in this context. Thus, in this article we aim to evaluate and compare different text input methods for IDTV applications using devices alternative to conventional remote controls. We have carried out an empirical study with 52 participants. We analyze entry speeds, error rates, and subjective impressions for six different entry methods, taking into account the particular characteristics of the users. As devices we have used a full-sized keyboard, a palm-sized keyboard, a gyroscopic remote point-select, and a modified touchpad. The fastest method is the standard keyboard, but in an IDTV context many users report discomfort and problems under low lighting conditions. Also, error rates are considerably higher with both keyboards when modifier keys need to be used. The results obtained with the gyroscopic remote and the touchpad are similar. Nevertheless, while users complain about fatigue problems with the former, their feedback about the latter is very positive. We have also observed that age is a major factor affecting the performance of the users. We expect our results to contribute to the design of new text entry methods for IDTV.

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