Abstract. This paper uses the well-established ?uses and gratifications? theory in order to understand and categorize viewers? needs in the context of digital TV applications. The results of this analysis unveil that such needs can either be ritualized or instrumental. Furthermore, the uses and gratifications theory was applied in order to formulate a questionnaire to which 68 current users of digital TV responded. The results of this empirical study reveal that applications most suitable for the interactive television environment should aim at the gratification of ritualized needs, such as entertainment and communication. Therefore, applications that appeal to instrumental needs, such as information and transactions should be included as add-ons to entertainment and communication services. Finally, the implications of this analysis for the design of interactive television applications are exploited.