In a Swedish setting an audience orientation is applied to investigate public service TV in the ongoing development of terrestrial digital television. Focus is on institutionalized politics and public service TV companies Sveriges Television (Swedish Television) and Utbildningsradion (Education Radio). In a case study through a multitude of material, emphasizing policy documents and interviews but also including media coverage, it is explored how and why the audience is involved in public service digital TV development. Is it an operation in the public interest, and what does this mean for public service as a media policy principle? The empirical result indicates a complex and problematic audience, which is not constantly prioritized but always present. The audience legacy is threatened in public service TV by a consumer orientation. Concluding implications are on the one hand that feedback from the audience can not only be based in ratings and market analysis. On the other hand there is a need for an attitude towards public service legitimacy as utopian realism.