E VRT: Interactive television pilot in Flanders
For the moment, the
Text: Content Editor
journalists working
for the E VRT project
are separated from
Publication
the other newsrooms
Engine
VRT websites
but it is planned, in
the beginning of
2003, to merge them
Video: interfaceTV
with the teletext
newsroom. Television
and radio journalists
TeleText
are not involved in
the project, though
Videoserver
content written by
them can be re used.
In August 2002 the
VRT announced
 vrt.nieuws.net , an
Source: VRT
initiative to distribute
its news via different
platforms (e.g. broadband Internet and mobile, i.e. GPRS & SMS). A special editor
has been appointed to lead a team of  digital  editors reusing and aggregating the
content delivered by the TV  and radio newsrooms.
4
Digital technologies do not imply, however, that the costs of content production will
be reduced, though there will be changes at the qualitative level.  The production of
content in a digital context remains as expensive as ever, however the quality and
creativity increases. Also, the entry barriers for new, niche based TV stations are
enormously low compared to ten or twenty years ago because you hardly have to
invest in transmission installations. Now and in the future, your costs will consist
mainly of access fees to the different networks . 
Obviously there are also the huge investments in digitizing the VRT archives. Most
productions today are already digital, but only on digital tape. For the DBV T, they
need to be tagged (meta data) and compressed as well. 
Apart from developing and implementing a multi channel publishing engine, the E 
VRT had to put a lot of effort into programming the set top boxes. High importance
was also attached to developing a user friendly user interface. The desktop
Graphical User Interface was thought to be inappropriate for people without PC
experience. Usability tests were done with  grannies . The tests highlighted the fact
that people got lost easily with the first interface prototype. As a result, a small
image of the running television programme remains in the top right corner when
users browse through the menus.  It is important to keep the TV environment as the
main point of reference. People can always go back to the current TV programme
easily. 
Surfing on the Web via the television is possible but sometimes Internet websites do
not automatically adapt graphically to television screens. A full webpage can not be
displayed completely on the TV screen. Therefore, E VRT adapts the VRT websites
to the television display and offers links to other TV friendly sites. 
4. In the future, special contents produced for the DHP forum may also be re packaged and sold as 
a complete CD/ROM, for educational purposes for instance. 
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