Internet-based interactive TV is an emerging field that is affected by advances in various research areas including communication, interactivity, network efficiency, content management and aesthetics. Despite constantly reducing costs in the area of broadcast infrastructure development, this new medium has yet to claim its market position and recognition. Various reasons may be identified for this lack of penetration in today’s markets. The large market-share of existing non-interactive technologies is a governing factor, followed by quality of service issues and the absence of a widely accepted standard for interactive broadcasting that will enable the development of devices that allow interaction in an out-of-the-box user-experience.

Various independently developed software-based technologies such as Joost, Babelgum and VeohTV have explored to certain extent the interactive and social aspects of streaming media, including live user-to-user chat, dynamic content search and the formation of user-groups. On the experimental forefront, various educational institutions are exploring continuously the capabilities of high-bandwidth networks and experimental interactive content in order to set the standards for new digital services, transforming the two-way broadcasting experience. For particular types of content such as interactive installation art, games and multimedia presentations that require synchronised content to be communicated, such technological infrastructures offer an alternative method of deployment, presentation and interaction.

In this work, we are mainly concerned with the development strategy of the interactive TV system, the integration of existing technologies under a common environment, user-related usability issues and aesthetics, all being factors that affect the cost of interactive TV. We present the design and issues that arise and discuss the development issues that affect the end-user experience, while the cost minimised due to the use of open-source technologies.