Future of TV developed in Martlesham

DO you watch the news wishing the sport would come on quicker? Have you ever been unhappy with the ending of a movie?Well one idea of the future of television could be just the thing for you.

DO you watch the news wishing the sport would come on quicker? Have you ever been unhappy with the ending of a movie?

Well one idea of the future of television could be just the thing for you.

A concept being developed at Martlesham Heath could today be shaping the way people the world over will watch television in years to come.

Researchers at BT's research hub Adastral Park are leading an international project to design new technology which allows viewers to dictate the content and order of programmes via text messages.


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ShapeShifted TV is the brainchild of the future content group at the Martlesham centre and being worked on by 13 partners from eight countries.

The technology is being touted as the way forward for the convergence of television and the internet.

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It allows viewers to text in during a programme and have their say on how a storyline should develop.

The technology has already been tested during a romantic comedy drama called Accidental Lovers which was aired by a Finnish broadcaster at Christmas and it has also been trialled on news programmes in Sweden.

Ian Kegel, the future content group lead researcher, said: “We've started something that has huge potential.”

The ShapeShifted TV project was conceived in September 2004 and is due to finish in August when the NM2 group hopes to convince commercial partners to pursue it.

The project has brought together technology experts with script writers and media experts to develop a new kind of television.

Programme makers create a series of potential storylines - in the case of the Finnish experiment a bank of 1,000 voiceovers was created - and viewers' text message dictate which ones go to air.

While more footage has to be shot, the programmes can be aired more than once and each time they will be different.

The technology can also be adapted for other uses, including news and documentaries, both for entertainment and educational purposes so that viewers can chose the information they receive.

Doug Williams, project director NM2, the team behind ShapeShifted TV, said: “It should be making it easier for people to find the content they want on television.

“This is as different for television as television is different for radio. It's about opening it up to an audience that wants to get more out of the TV.”

What do you think of this idea? Write to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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