According to a survey of nearly 2000 UK digital TV viewers, commissioned by Microsoft's Connected TV Business, over a quarter of digital viewers rely on flicking through all the channels to choose what to watch, apparently wasting more than 1 week a year channel surfing.

On average, Microsoft says digital viewers in the UK spend between 2 and 3 hours each day watching TV with a quarter of that time actually spent deciding what to watch.

This is all to highlight Microsoft's Mediaroom software and service, used by BT for BT Vision, that offers search functionality for the IPTV services.

Christine Heckart, of Connected TV at Microsoft said, "With so many digital channels to choose from as well as growing volume of digitally recorded and on-demand content it’s not surprising viewers find it difficult to decide what to watch. To get the most out of your TV service you need to be able to find what you want to watch, when you want, quickly and easily".

"That's why we made search a key feature of Mediaroom, which is used by BT for its BT Vision TV service. Microsoft has been studying and refining TV search with input from consumers around the world for over nine years."

Search on the TV works in much the same way as internet search. You enter a keyword such as a programme title or actors name and the system searches the entire programme guide together with the recordings on your DVR and on-demand library to find what you are looking for.