Report: Catch-up TV voted most important tech development in last decade

The ability to watch TV content at a time to suit the viewer has been hailed as the most important technological development in the last decade, according to a poll by Freeview to celebrate its 10th birthday.

Catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD (36%) and the availability of digital TV recorders such as Freeview + (14%) were UK consumers' choices for the most important technological TV developments.

Digital Switchover, giving mass access to free digital channels across the UK also scored highly, with one in ten (10%) stating this was the most important development of the period. The launch of 3D TV ranked eighth of the ten options (5%), with mobile TV in 9th place (4%), according to the poll.

Ilse Howling, MD of Freeview, said: "The rapid pace of technological change has offered viewers greater choice in how and when they choose to watch their favourite programmes, and dramatically improved the viewing experience. Our focus for the next decade will be to continue to bring people vibrant, and high quality TV for free, in the format they want by making technology accessible."

Freeview's survey also explored the biggest developments in programming since the service launched in 2002. The revival of period drama on British TV (19%) and rise of British comedy shows were voted as the best programme developments.

ITV's Downton Abbey headed the list of best new programme to have launched in the last 10 years, just ahead of Channel 4 comedy The Inbetweeners and BBC crime drama Sherlock.

When asked to select the three most annoying TV developments of the decade, scripted reality shows (54%), the rise in the number of talent shows (47%) and the growth in celebrity formats (25%) featured most prominently.

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