Many viewers know the frustration when programme timings change and the ‘set-and-forget' feature, one of the best things about EPGs, is thwarted. Consumer organisation CHOICE tested a range of EPGs and found that about 25% of beginnings, ranging from a minute or two up to seven minutes, were missing, and approximately 33% of the recordings were missing their ends.
CHOICE spokesperson Christopher Zinn said that a standard called MHEG-5 is available with many new devices that will address the problem of matching up starting and finishing times between the device and the guide. "But it would also be good to see more meaningful information about programmes and a better search function."
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been monitoring EPGs provided by free-to-air television stations to ensure that the information is accurate and complies with the regulator's EPG principles.
"Two years of steady progress have seen all of the five networks reliably meeting three out of the ACMA's four key criteria for an adequate EPG" ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement. However, ACMA found that not all networks are providing accurate information about the present and following programs.
ACMA EPG monitoring will continue and the introduction of a mandatory parental lock feature in all receivers from next year will put the TV networks under greater scrutiny to provide a complete, accurate EPG.
The EPG principles outline that network broadcasting information is:
- free of charge and in a format that can be accessed by all free-to-air digital TV reception equipment;
- includes program information for a minimum of seven days;
- includes program classification;
- includes accurate information about the present and following programs being aired, including their start times.
What are your thoughts?
- Do you rely on EPGs?
- How accurate do you find the information?
- Which network is the worst offender in not providing programme information?