With the growth in OTT services and platforms, one can get quite lost in the sea of content options. One can easily spend more time hunting for the right show or movie to watch than actually watching it. One way to ensure you get content recommended based on your preference is personalization. Amazon recently revamped its UI on the third-gen Fire TV Stick (review) and the Fire TV Stick Lite to offer personalization based on the user. It can support up to 6 different profiles, and you can learn more about it here. However, another smart TV UI is looking to offer personalization to its users - Xiaomi with its PatchWall UI.
Digit had the opportunity to sit down (virtually) with Eshwar Nilakantan, Category lead - TV, Mi India and Sudeep Sahu, Senior Product Manager, Mi India. During the course of the conversation, we spoke about a lot of things, including Xiaomi’s TV journey in India, the evolution of PatchWall as a UI and Xiaomi’s plans in the TV space.
When asked what the next big feature coming to PatchWall is, Sudeep tells us “We are constantly working on what to bring as the next feature. There are a few areas where we would obviously like to focus on—one being, personalization, where people can personalize based on the Mi ID. So, currently, we already have a log-in for signing in using the Mi ID, and the team is working to bring that feature (personalization)”. You can catch this part of the conversation at the 11 minutes, 13 seconds mark in the video below.
Xiaomi’s Mi TVs offers the best of both worlds - Vanilla Android TV UI for the techie in you and the PatchWall UI for those that want a seamless content experience. The biggest USP of PatchWall is that it presents content before the streaming services. With more than 25 content partners, the PatchWall UI is filled with content from a mix of service providers gunning for your attention. While Xiaomi’s TV UI has features like “Top 10 in India” and “recently added” the one thing that’s missing is recommending content based on user preferences. If I like action movies, or I am a documentary buff or enjoy standup comedy, imagine the volume of content options I can get from Xiaomi’s partners without worrying about which service provider the content is available on. It could really be the next big step for the UI.
PatchWall has evolved to offer interesting features over the past few years. Let’s look at some of them. A feature called Collections gives users access to curated movies across genres, actors, etc. On the Mi QLED TV 4K (review) Xiaomi also introduced a dedicated space to find HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision content making it easy to find content mastered for the specific HDR formats.
Xiaomi has ensured that Kids Mode is safe even when searching for a word like War. You can go back to our interaction and learn about Kids Mode starting at 9 minutes and 40 seconds. Eshwar Nilakantan Category lead- TV, Mi India tells us, “Just to give you an example if you use ‘War’ as a keyword you will get war documentaries or any content related to war. Or even the recently released movie, War. And if you do the same search (War), in Kids Mode, we will show Star Wars and other cartoons which are age-appropriate. Same search words, different results.”
Personalization is the future of content consumption on Smart TVs. Google is looking to revamp the Android TV UI, and you can learn more about it here. LG is also revamping its WebOS and gave us a glimpse of the same at CES 2021. You can learn more about LG’s new UI here.