This is how often the following features and functions appear in video user interfaces across platforms. The data is based on recent benchmark tests we've run against 474 VOD products.
Content Discovery & Recommendation
01. Featured content
'Featured content' is often the first page or section that viewers see when they visit a video website or app and is a simple way of showcasing new material. Also known as 'Recommended', 'Pick of the Week' or even just 'Featured'.
Virtually every video service, on any platform, organises its content using some form of categorisation whether by type (shows / movies), genre (comedy, drama, sport etc.) or length (clips / full episodes).
03. Category homepage
When you choose a category does the video service load up a new page with content just from that category?
04. Most popular
Does the video service have sections that are explicitly marked "Most Popular?"
05. Recently added
Does the video service have sections that are explicitly marked "Recently Added?"
06. More episodes
When you touch or click on a TV show does the video service also display "More Episodes" of the same show?
07. Content recommendation
Content recommendation actively suggests videos based on the user's preferences, previous viewing choices or, by integrating with social networks, what their friends are watching.
08. EPG (Electronic Programming Guide)
EPGs (Electronic Programming Guides) are particularly common in video services created by television channels which outline transmission schedules.
Does the service offer a tool to search through their content?
10. Predictive search
Predictive search means that the video service starts showing you content as you type - it predicts the content that you're looking for.
11. A-Z page
Does the video service you're looking at organise content by A-Z?
12. Social Sharing (Outbound)
"Social Sharing outbound" means that you can a) click a Facebook 'Like' or Twitter 'Follow' button or, b) open Facebook / Twitter windows inside the video service so that messages can be published to those (or other) social networks.
13. Social sharing (in-service)
"Social Sharing in-service" means that you can see (and add) user comments inside the video service itself.
14. Video description
What content is the viewer about to see? Video description can be a single line, a neat summary or detailed information including cast and crew and director, producer and writer credits.
Does the service offer trailers for its video content?
16. Shuffle buttons
Does the video service offer a feature that randomises the order in which the content is played?
17. Voice control
Is it possible to control the service by means of the human voice?
18. Ratings & metadata integration
Does the video description feature ratings or reviews from other parties? E.g. IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes.
19. Surprise me
The Surprise me functionality offers the users something to watch at random, without them having to search for the content themselves.
20. Extended Archive
Does the video service show only "catch-up" content (usually from the last 7 days) or does it also give you access to a larger archive of TV shows and movies?
21. Social content recommendation
Social content recommendation means that you can link your video service to a social network. The video service will then display the content that your friends have watched and which you might like to look at too.
22. Customised video player
Video services, on any device, use either the device's own native player or a customised player. Customised video players are usually more colorful and have more features. You should easily be able to spot the difference.
If you scroll down or leave the page with the video player, does the content continue playing in a small preview window?
24. Cellular viewing
Can you watch the video content when you are out of reach of Wi-Fi using only your mobile data?
25. Adaptive bitrate streaming
Adaptive bitrate streaming means that the video service adjusts the quality of video you're viewing based on the bandwidth of your internet connection. When you play a video does it start a little bit blurry or undefined but then becomes sharp and clear? If so, the service is probably using adaptive bitrate streaming.
26. Live Restart
Missed the start of a TV show? No problem. Click on "Live Restart" and the video service will start the show from the beginning. We've currently only seen this feature on the BBC iPlayer on Web.
27. Live Viewing
Many video services have been created by broadcasters (e.g. BBC iPlayer, NBC etc.) and have live viewing (aka simulcast) on devices enabled.
- 28. Favourites
You add individual episodes to your "Favourites" which then typically stores your preferences for easy retrieval and viewing.
- 29. Sign in / Register
This gives you the ability to register on a given service, and then to sign-in which will store your preferences.
30. Social sign-on
Some video services allow you to sign in using your Facebook / Twitter / other social network account.
31. Parental controls
The simplest mechanism asks for a PIN number to be set up and re-entered before content can be viewed.
Does the video service send alerts and / or notifications to its users?
33. Title stacking
Does the service allow you to put multiple videos in your own order in which they will automatically play? E.g. YouTube's 'Watch later'
A video player feature that plays the content automatically - when one episode finishes, the next one starts playing without the user's input.
35. Device synchronisation
Trying watching a video on your Device #1 (the device you're taking screenshots on). Pause the movie or TV show after a few minutes. Now try watching the same video on Device #2. Does the movie or TV show start where you paused it on Device #1? If so, the video service has device synchronisation.
36. Download to device
Can content be downloaded to your device for offline viewing?
37. Last viewed
See which programmes you have watched recently
- 38. Resume after stopping
Watch a movie or TV show on your device. After a few minutes, press stop and choose another movie or TV show and watch that one for a few minutes. Finally, go back to your original movie or TV show. Does it start where you paused it?
- 39. Help
The "Help" section might consist of FAQs to help a user with any problems they might have with a service.
- 40. About
An "About" section can give the user information about the version of the service they are using or a description of the company
- 41. Contact
A "Contact" page gives the user the option to contact the service.
- 42. Accessibility
Accessibility means that the video service uses subtitles (or closed captions), allows for text to be re-sized (made bigger or smaller) or includes "audio-described" shows.
43. Watch on other platforms
A growing number of video services tell users that their service is available on other platforms.
44. Audio-described Shows
"Audio-described shows" are those where a narrator is telling viewers about the on-screen action.
45. In-app purchasing
Does the service allow purchases within the app itself or does it redirect the user to a browser?
Best in Class
When you subscribe, youï¿½ll be able to see the breakdown for individual platforms (like Web, Tablet, Smartphone etc.) and find out which existing video services display the greatest range of functionality.