Personal TV: A Qualitative Study of Mobile TV Users
The study identified four primary use cases: at home; during the evening commute (both likely o be significantly culturally dependent); macro-breaks; and secret use. Barriers to use include: battery life; screen size; lack of compelling content; poor coverage and design implications are discussed. The study suggests that if the current barriers to use can be overcome Mobile TV is a viable competitor to existing forms of entertainment and media consumption. Actual usage suggests that Personal TV is a more accurate description for this kind of service than Mobile TV.
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Keywords: Mobile TV, Personal TV, Radio, South Korea, Seoul. 1 Introduction Digital Mobile TV is currently being hyped as the ‘next big thing’ for mobile phones. Given the difference between the mostly stationary television viewing habits and the inherent portability of mobile phone use what kind of user experience is possible? To answer this question a research team conducted a field study of Mobile TV service subscribers. Seoul was selected as a destination for the study because TU Media, the South Korean telecommunications operator launched the first commercial live Mobile TV service in May 2005. . 1 Background Seoul has an official population of approximately 10. Million; however when proximate satellite cities are factored in the size is closer to 48 million. The subway system is the easiest and fastest way to move around the city. The Seoul subway has good cellular connectivity and use of mobile phones is a common sight. These factors suggest this to be a prime location to understand the potential of Mobile TV. Consumers in South Korea have a number of ways to watch TV on their mobile phones: downloading via PC; streamed via web sites; video-on-demand; and via broadcast.
Many conventional TV programs are widely available for live streaming ND downloading from the internet shortly after being broadcast. From the user’s P. Cesar et al. (Deeds. ): Aureole 2007, LENS 4471, up. 195-204, 2007. Sponger-average 196 Y. Cue,J. Shipshape, and Y. Jung perspective the digital broadcast of live Mobile TV is similar to conventional TV prior to the personal video recorder (PAR) . Once switched on a TV channel, the user can switch channels but the pausing of content is not available . Mobile TV refers to live Mobile TV broadcast in this paper. . 2 Prior Research The literature was surveyed including: the VET Mobile TV trial , Mobile, DVB trials 3] and a few prototype systems [2, 5]. In a VET Mobile-TV project, a prototype system was setup in 4 WALL hot-spot areas. The user research found out: (I) Mobile TV was considered similar to television, rather than wireless multimedia; (it) users normally watch short programs or segments from long programs. (iii) it was used generally as a replacement for reading the newspaper; and (v) watching Mobile TV was a serial- solitary activity .
DVB Mobile TV trials showed that: (I) familiar conventional TV programs were the most popular content, followed by sports and news channels; (ii) that the primary intent where Mobile TV was watched was traveling on public transport; an that it was also a popular compliment to home TV watching . Knocked ran a series of experimental studies to explore questions of image resolution, video bit rate, and text legibility . He proposed that Mobile TV viewing was transient, involving low user commitment; that users were worried about being too absorbed and becoming distracted from other tasks .
The prior studies observed participants who were recruited to use the service for the duration of the study. In our understanding, this is the first study of actual bickerers of the commercial service . 1. 3 South Korea Mobile TV Field Study The aim of the South Korea Mobile TV study was to explore the range of factors that would affect the Mobile TV viewing experience from understanding whether it changes mobile phone use, and consider the aspects of the South Korean experience would apply to the broader context. Research Design The research study was conducted in Seoul, South Korea, in September 2005, 4 months after TU Media launched their mobile TV service. 2. 1 Methodology A major study in South Korea had already collected extensive quantitative data . We therefore decided to conduct contextual interviews and observations such as on public transport and combine these with home based in-depth interviews. All interviews were conducted in Korean by a native speaker and later transcribed, and translated into English. 197 2. 2 Study Participants 4 male and 4 female participants were recruited. The mean age was 24. Years old. 7 participants were not married, 6 participants shared their apartment with their parents. 5 did not have a TV set in their personal bedroom. Device ownership for all but one participant was from 2 to 3 months. One participant [Fl] had used live treating services for two years, and was included to provide a comparison. The average weekly use was 375. 5 minutes. 3 Drivers for Using Mobile TV 3. 1 A Desire to Kill Boredom Given the long commuting times public transportation and the widespread cellular coverage it is no surprise that Mobile TV was used at these times as tool to kill boredom.
Situations included extended waiting periods in a car whilst girlfriend is having a hospital appointment (Figure 1), waiting for friends in bars, plus use in the bathroom and whilst sitting on the toilet. MM: “… Wanted to watch real time TV orgasm when waiting for someone (having a hospital appointment), so I started to use mobile Fig. 1. Watching to kill time whilst waiting 3. 2 Novelty, a Desire to Be First The commercial Mobile TV service had been available for 4 months at the time of the study. All participants were early adopters of technology.
As well as the service, the sliding keypad in the SKY IAMB – 1000 was the first of its kind on the market. To some extent Mobile TV was considered Just another gadget they had to try. Whilst novelty is enough to draw people into using a service it may become the reason for the same seer to reject that service later on. 3. 3 Staying Up to Date with Popular Events As with prior studies [1, 2] a driver for adoption was that it enabled users to stay up to date with popular events, in particular via music and sports and game shows. However news was not mentioned by our participants as being a popular content type.
One possible reason for lack of interest in news content was that our participants were relatively young, preferring entertainment over more weighty content types. On the 198 as browsing the web at one of the many popular and oft frequented internet cafes. As MI “l can know the popular songs faster than others by listening to the audio channels of Mobile TV” 3. 4 Other Motivations TV channels that broadcast games such as Star Craft are especially popular with the younger generation of South Koreans and were noted by users as popular content. The game channel is available in the current Mobile TV offering. MM. After buying this Mobile TV phone, I only watched the game channel through the Mobile TV. I stopped the subscription to a paid Internet game site. ” 4 Context of Use The research team noted four main use contexts for Mobile TV. At home; during the evening commute; during macro breaks; and lastly secret use. We also note that the shared watching of Mobile TV content and lending the device for watching were not uncommon. 4. 1 Home Amongst our participants, home use was the most prevalent context for Mobile TV watching which is somewhat surprising given the alternative forms of entertainment that were available in the home.
Although larger televisions may be available in the home space participants had micro control over what was watched without the need to negotiate with other family members. Another explanation for the popularity of mom use is that the user can control where content is watched. Our participants mentioned watching from their bedroom suggesting that convenience (conducting other activities in the same space, having access to a power source), comfort and privacy to being important part of the experience. These factors are amplified when the rest of the home is under the control of parents.
None of the participants in our study mentioned viewing very personal media and we note that the bedroom is also conducive to its use. In addition to the above issues home use is different to other intents in that it supports a variety of viewing styles – such as lean back, lean forward and ambient viewing. MI. “… When my parents are in home, I cannot watch game channel from ordinary TV as they do not like me to watch it. This is the reason why I watch the game program on the mobile TV. ” Fig. 2. Watching Mobile TV in home while lying on bed 199 4. Commuting Mobile TV was used during the commute via bus and train (figure 3), in particular whilst driving. It should be noted however that experience of watching Mobile TV during the commute can vary considerably influenced by factors such as: the readability of Journey times, whether seating is available; the need to switch seats; whether morning and evening commuting, the weather and carrying, traffic and road conditions, lighting and noise conditions, and lastly the density of the commuting space and whether other passengers can see what is viewed.
IF: “When walking in the street, I usually listen to the radio channels. But I usually watch mobile TV in a subway on the way to home” Fig. 3. Watching Mobile TV while commuting on a subway 4. 3 Micro and Marco Breaks We use the term micro and macro breaks to refer to moments of time between leaned activities and tasks such as waiting for elevators to arrive, for friends to turn up, a few minutes at the end of a lunch break, plus cigarette and toilet breaks. Whilst the term micro break is commonly used we extend this to macro breaks to draw reader’s attention to the length of time required to setup Mobile TV.
This includes the time it takes to select a TV channel, for the device to receive the signals, channel changing and subsequent delays, the need to locate and use a headset. Mobile TV is more suited to longer, that is, macro breaks. Furthermore the user may be required o engage in other status information tasks during these breaks – including keeping an eye out for friends or the arrival of public transport. 4. 4 Secret Use Our younger participants (IF, MI) detailed situations where watching TV was not socially acceptable but was never-the-less carried out – situations we refer to as secret use.
Secret use was carried out in the classroom during classes (hidden in pencil or glasses case), in the library and supposed to be doing homework. We extrapolate from this that secret use is likely to extend to other contexts such as sitting through a boring meeting. Secret use may occur in any context where viewed content is not socially or legally acceptable (including during home, commuting or macro-breaks). In societies with high theft risk such as the I-J or Brazil, the user may also wish to minimize the visible exposure an expensive device.
Also watching TV implies that less of the user’s senses are devoted to watching over other valuables, thereby possibly putting other objects at a higher risk of theft. 200 MI вЂў “… A skill to watch mobile TV in class without being noticed…. A long press of a special key, and the screen becomes dark as the phone is turned off when mobile TV s still running… ” Contrary to prior research reports our study participants mentioned a number of situations where Mobile TV viewing was shared for co-viewing. As MI commented: “during the school lunch time I share my mobile TV with friends, usually up to four people”.
Involuntary or passive sharing is also possible – for example being overlooked by other passengers on a bus. Within our study sharing occurred amongst members of the same close social circle, but its possible that televised event such as sports are likely to be triggers for sharing with a broader range of people. Shared use implies a close physical proximity – dictated by the size of the screen and the angle at which viewing is possible and this echoes similar findings from a Finnish study . The need for close physical contact may support or hinder use depending on the context.
A flirting couple might enjoy the need to brush up against one another, but revelers siblings may not. The shared experience may not include audio content if the context inhibits audio output. When a headset is required the opportunities for sharing are further restricted. 4. 6 Device Lending Our participants also noted situations where devices were lent to others – for example to watch a particular sport event or to have a trial on the mobile TV feature. Device lending is limited to an even a closer social circle than shared viewing.
Our findings show that device lending has a strong influence on Mobile TV penetration. 3 participants claimed lending device enticed other people to purchase mobile TV. MM:”Sometimes my sister borrows my phone to watches Mobile TV, but I have never shared it with her because the LCD is too small to share” 5 Barriers to Adoption 5. 1 Lack of Decent Content None of participants in our study talked enthusiastically about Mobile TV contents which is unsurprising since popular content from other TV channels were not available via Mobile TV.
However radio channels available through the same application were considered popular and widely used. What makes content compelling is subjective, and in part down to alternatives sources of the same medium (downloaded TV programmer, terrestrial, cable & satellite TV, video rentals, video on demand, etc) and alternative media (web access, newspapers, music, gaming, people, etc). 5. 2 Battery Life Watching Mobile TV is a significant drain the phone’s battery. Whilst out and about the user may be forced to choose between viewing TV and staying connected.
A 201 number of our participants carried spare batteries, but their use is far from straight forward – spares need to be kept charged, if a spare has been carried for a while, they need to be taken out for charging and remember to place the battery back in the bag. Battery life is less of an issue in the home context where the device can either 5. 3 Phone Size With the exception of one model, the Mobile TV phones were considerably bulkier Han more regular handsets on the market.
Prior research suggests that a majority of potential Mobile TV users are willing to compromise on phone size in order to have Mobile TV functionality. However even if the relatively bulky device is carried the issue is where it is carried. Numerous research studies on where people carry phones,  suggest that women are far more likely to carry phones in bags, and men in front pockets. The bulk of the current crop of devices is not well suited for pockets suggesting that men are more likely to have to switch to using bags. . 4 Other Barriers Whilst the rapid changing of TV channels is desirable  the situation for our participants was far from perfect – and they complained that channel changing was too slow – delays of up to 10 seconds were not uncommon. Whilst participants acknowledged that the antenna accessory improved signal quality, none carried the antenna outside the home – it was considered too bulky to take on the off-chance that Mobile TV would be watched and that reception improvement was required. Discussion 6. 1 The Future of Mobile TV Motivations and barriers to use. The motivations why our participants tried mobile TV lilied few surprises beyond existing research. We noted that in some instances it could take up too minute to connect too TV signal after having selecting a channel to watch. This may be still acceptable for macro breaks but on a micro-break someone is going to have to be pretty sure that the content is desirable to watch before taking the effort to switch on. Compelling content.
Unique content was available for our participants but none considered it compelling must-watch TV. One bench-mark for compelling content is whether it is a stimulus for water-cooler conversations. The quality of the aerogramme available via TU Media was described by a local member of the research team as 3rd rate programmer available on free channels. Even if unique content is available there is unlikely to be sufficient market penetration for it to be a topic of communication. At this point the Mobile TV device is more a conversation starter than its access to content.
We surmise that to be a success Mobile TV will require both popular content from other medium and content generated specifically for this service. 202 Alternative forms of entertainment. As flash memory and hard disk capacities come cheaper and components smaller the ability to transfer content from other content stores e. G. PC or home server will be in the hands of more people. Whether Digital Rights Management tools will allow user’s to transfer content of their choosing 6. 2 Ubiquitous Mobile TV Viewing Home users.
A number of studies have shown it is relatively common to charge a mobile phone close to the bed [7, 8]. Satisfactory viewing of a Mobile TV screen may require a longer cable than if phone was being used for other tasks such as an alarm clock and any charging indicator light should be muted or disabled when the Mobile TV is on. The variety of viewing postures and the need to find and maintain a good reception somewhere in a room suggests support for multiple viewing angles. Multitasking needs to be supported, mostly to cope with communication requirements than tasks related to active mobility.
The biggest design opportunities are likely to be in the synergies between existing phone features and TV programmer. Visual radio programmers can provide links to programmer about to start on TV, Sums can notify users of upcoming content and can be saved as reminders in the phone’s calendar and audience participation can e extended via SMS voting. Out and about. Prior research suggests that mobile phones are carried and often used from waking in the morning to going to bed at night and all situations in between . Mobile TV can be watched when actively mobile – walking or moving around.
But the small screen size makes most content too difficult to watch and the sensory engagement required to watch conflicts too much with the task of walking to be enjoyable. Another reason is the weight and the bulk of the device – a posture for continued viewing whilst walking would require the phone to be held out arm slightly eased in front of the body. An arm outstretched it simply too much of a strain . Outside the home Mobile TV use was very much a lean forward experience. Leaning forward is driven by: the need to multi-task e. G. Text messaging, channel switching, minimal screen size, the need to physically support the device.
There are opportunities for lean back use in the home – where the device is placed in a cradle and watched. Secret use. Secret use may be better supported through: the ability to quickly turn off the screen; tools to narrow down the viewing cone/angle; directional sound so that he audio only encompasses the user; a remote control making interaction less obvious; small wireless headsets for the same reason; minimizing the possibility of accidentally turning on the TV, and enabling quick recovery if the device is accidentally switched on by having dedicated volume control keys.
A possible consequence of this behavior is that when Mobile TV functionality becomes more mainstream users may wish to highlight that they are not watching TV but are actually engaged in more ‘productive’ tasks. Sharing and lending. Sharing can be facilitated by use of a remote control to maintain a degree of control and distance during the sharing experience; allowing the user to silo personal content on the device – perhaps disabling features when the device is in TV 203 battery runs too low. Traditional TV is viewed in a domestic environment and often involves social sharing .
But the size of mobile phone and its nature as personal devices might create new practices of sociability while watching mobile TV. The proximity of the device and the cheek to cheek nature of the viewing experience means that it is not something you are likely to do with your colleague or an annoying monger brother. The upside is that close proximity might spur an occasional romance. 6. 3 Immersion vs.. Distraction During the study we wondered whether an immerses experience was possible with Mobile TV, and if so, was it desirable?
Our conclusion was that it is possible – ‘all’ it takes is wearing sound headphones and a reasonably moderate storyline, and in all but a few contexts desirable if the duration of the immersion is accounted for. Immersed watching risks leading to: personal danger to the user e. G. Risk of theft or and associated assault; minor inconveniences such as missing a bus stop; awkward ruinations between the immersed experience and the reality of the user’s context in particular in pubic environments, etc.
Not all TV requires the user’s undivided attention to be enjoyed and ambient watching, for example with the volume turned down is possible both at work and at home. But something more immerses will be desirable when lying in the warmth of a bed on a cold day. Given our desire to offer the user the best possible user experience how can we support immersion whilst keeping the user in control in these situations? One simple measure is the option to ensure the time is visible at all times.
Another is to be able to prioritize device based interruptions – a user may want to know about a low battery warning but cares less for SMS notifications until after a programmer has finished. We note that time-shifting capabilities put the user in control of when content is watched even if the pausing content is limited to a few minutes. 6. 4 Cultural Differences It is easy to understand that TV content is often targeted and segmented according to geographic territories and languages.
But the cultural difference is also reflected in usage context. In cultures such as the US people are more likely to have a TV in their editor and in these instances Mobile TV will need to compete more directly with regular TV offerings. Commuting habits also vary significantly between cultures – both in terms of the time it takes to commute, and the mode of transport. Approximately 75% of US commuting done in single occupancy cars so the opportunity to watch Mobile TV at this time will be considerably less that in Korea.
That cars are considered a viable source to charge mobile devices enables longer viewing in other contexts. In the study, the popularity of TV sharing and device lending very common in Korea can be partially explained by Korean collectivism ultra. We may not be expecting it happens so often in individualism cultures such as Finland or Japan . 7 Conclusion One consequence of having TV functionality on a mobile phone is that the device may be considered by peers to be more of a tool for sharing than a personal communication device.
Watching broadcast TV is non-exclusive activity – and (with the exception of battery use) having 1 person or 3 people watching a programmer makes no difference to the subscriber’s cost. In this sense the mobile phone loses gains some of the characteristics of TV which in turn changes what it is as a device. What does the future hold for Mobile TV? As with any service it depends on the user’s expectation of what is encompassed by that service. If, as in South Korea, Mobile TV includes radio use then it’s probably already considered a success.
One of the primary benefits of Mobile TV is that it provides the user with a choice of content in a setting of the user’s choosing. These and related findings have led us to believe that Mobile TV is more about personal experiences, than the need for mobility itself and we therefore consider Personal TV to be a better descriptor of this service. We note hat personal experience is not necessarily solitary, and the fact that Mobile TV is consumed on a device with a myriad of communications options suggests a direction for further investigation.
Acknowledgement Our thanks to Yonder university HCI lab researchers for their help in gathering user data from Seoul: Jingo Kim, Boredom Choc, Unseeing Lee, and Jejune Yon. References 1 . SГ¶deerГҐrd, C. Mobile television – technology and user experiences Report on the Mobility project (Rep. No. IPPP) VET Information Technology, 2003 2. Knocked, H. And McCarthy J Design Requirements for Mobile TV. In Proceedings of Mobile’05. Syllabus, Austria). ACM press, New York, USA. 69-76, 2005 3. Mobile TV Forum. KNOWS the time to create the future. Www. Mobility. Koki. Com/pilots 4. Taylor, A. & Harper, R. Switching on to switch off: An analysis of routine TV watching habits and their implications for electronic programmer guide design. Usability, 1 (3), 7-13, 2002 5. Knocked H, McCarthy J, and Sasses M. Can Small Be Beautiful? Assessing Image Size Requirements for Mobile TV. In Proceedings of ACM Multimedia 6-12, 2005 November 2005, Singapore 6. NOPE world. Mobile TV. Learning from South Korea. 2005 7. Chickasaws, F. , Shipshape J. , & Agrarian R. Where’s the phone? A study of Mobile Phone Location in Public Spaces.
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