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The most successful film directors – Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas and so on – all have a deep understanding of the tools of their trade. They know how to get the most from lighting, the effect of different types of film stock and how to use editing for emotional effect. With this thorough understanding of the technical potential and limitations of the medium, film directors can push the creative and commercial boundaries.

The same can be said to be true for interactive television. The technology can look formidable, but focused research into this fast-changing area can bring great creative rewards.

The main challenge with interactive television is that different platform operators use very different technologies and standards are not widely adopted. Furthermore, most of the technology is still at a relatively early stage of development: problems are still being solved and products are constantly being upgraded. And to add to the challenge, interactive television technologies have not simply replaced traditional television technologies: the two are deeply intertwined.

This may change. As interactive television technologies are standardised and production tools perfected, production will become much more straightforward, like regular television. But this is likely to take several years. For the time being, like the best film directors, interactive television producers with an understanding of interactive television technologies are the ones who are best equipped to create the best possible final results.

There are a number of technologies involved in interactive television, all of which can have a dramatic affect on how the end product looks and works:
  • The television set.
  • The transmission network or platform.
  • The set-top box.
  • The production tools.

To find out about the different types of interactive television technology, there's a detailed but easy to understand description in the the book Interactive Television Production. Alternatively you can try the links to sites that have information about interactive television technology.

KEY LINKS: INTERACTIVE TELEVISION TECHNOLOGY

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