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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. ®

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