iPad app throws TV games at your head
Makes telly better and more fun, somehow
A new iPad app listens to the television and presents interactive content to the understimulated viewer who can't be fully entertained by the programmes alone.
The free application is linked to an American TV show from ABC, called My Generation, and uses the iPad microphone to lock onto the television audio and present "polls and quizzes" not to mention "behind the scenes info", all synchronised with the on-screen action.
Pedants might point out that much the same effect could be achieved using a clock, but the My Generation app will also work with recorded shows, keeping the attention of a generation which increasingly finds TV to be too limiting a medium for their gnat-on-speed attention spans.
Not that it's the fault of the youth - TV shows increasingly have to cater for viewers whose attention is elsewhere, repeating themselves and labouring points to ensure that even the most distracted viewer can follow the plot. That bores the attentive viewer, who then seeks distraction: and so the loop repeats until all television descends into YouTubey moments that would have trouble maintaining the focus of a Buddhist monk.
So the TV companies are desperate to get some more of that attention, which explains why youth programmes are always telling their viewers to "check out our web site", and why the ABC network sees fit to launch an iPad app featuring massive technology overkill for a very limited market segment - the network is testing ways to keep eyeballs focused on the brand, if not the show.
A while back Google patented the idea of listening to your TV viewing, as a way of more accurately profiling you. ABC's application doesn't go quite that far, but it's certainly heading in that direction. ®
I think this is fantastic...
Very inventive, very clever.
OK, I hate what it says (hold a sec while I answer that..) about our (one sec, just have to read this text) society in general. But what can (click!) you do?
And I can find one great use for this - the BBC need to use this to present their web overview of the F1 driver's on-track positions during a race...and synch it to the TV broadcast! I tend to religiously watch F1....from a recording! It means that I always miss the simultaneous web stuff. With this though, I could get the true F1 multi-vision experience even off a recording!
A constant bombardment of stimulus prevents people from thinking clearly.
People who can think clearly are dangerous subversives, and make poor consumers.
A clock is not good enough
Timing from transmission is the only way to do these things because you cannot rely on everyone using the same clock. In the UK for example BBC1 on Freeview is a couple of seconds behind analogue, over Sky it will be up to 20 seconds later and Cable similarly.
Being able to sync what is on screen with the second screen is therefore molto tricky.
This looks like a good way to do it.
Whether it is a good thing or not, is a matter of taste.