The German media authorities want to find out whether the user interfaces of smart TV sets and set-top-boxes comply with the principles of transparency, non-discrimination, equal opportunities and user autonomy.
The media authorities’ department for licensing and supervision has therefore commissioned research institute Facit Digital with the systematic monitoring of user interfaces. The results are expected by the end of May 2017 and will be examined afterwards.
Through electronic programme guides (EPGs), portals and navigators of smart TV sets and receivers, viewers select the available channels and multimedia services. These gateways have great impact on the viewer access of programme content, according to the media authorities. For example, the preset order of the channel listing considerably influences the chances of content to be found.
The media authorities are currently only entitled to regulate the user interfaces of platform operators such as pay-TV broadcasters or cable companies. They have repeatedly called for inclusion of the user interfaces of smart TV sets and set-top-boxes into their responsibilities – with the aim of ensuring diversity for media users.