We are HUGE fans of bringing video to the living room using IP. We talk to existing and potential clients about this each and every day. We have dozens of devices, from the original Apple TVs to new ones, from old Roku’s to the newest ones (which are pretty awesome), Boxee, and most recently, the Google TV. An amazing assortment of devices, each with its strengths and weaknesses.
In experiencing the different plays on “interactive television,” the one thing that I am certain of is that bringing social streams (twitter, flickr, facebook) onto the big screen – especially while watching video with others – is broken. It’s out of place. It distracts from the social experience of television.
As my wife and I watch some of our favorite shows, we each have some sort of computing device open. Perhaps we each have our own laptop open. Or iPad. Or mobile phones [Yeah, our house is sort of crazy like that]. Regardless, each of us is able to interact with a variety of services while we watch the “big screen” together. This is key – my wife would get very frustrated watching my twitter or facebook stream on screen. She would go insane trying to follow my ADHD brain as I bounce through IMDB and Wikipedia trying to track each actor.
If interactive television, however, is to connect my personal device, be it an iPhone, iPad, Android or laptop, together with the programming on screen, than we have a HUGE WINNER. I can follow my own whims while my wife can have her own interactions. However, the social aspect of us watching Glee together remains. We can both sing along. We can laugh. We can pause the video and comment. It is an experience that has been with us for our entire life and is comforting.
A couple of Castfire clients are about to launch products that will incorporate behind the scenes footage and additional video on iPads, iPhones and Android at the same time as it is airing on broadcast. The audience can be fully immersed with not only the broadcast, but can explore additional streams in conjunction. An amazing first step.
The future however, will utilize IP delivery and the processing power of the set top device (or directly in the television) to enable audience members to move content from the “big screen” to their personal device. It will keep “companion” apps in sync with the big screen, pushing relevant information to those who display interest. Want to learn more about that Lexus advertisement? How about being able to open a driving simulator on your own device. Want to purchase that same shirt that the star is wearing? What if the Gap store opened in conjunction on your laptop? Want to find out Tim Lincecum’s stats for pitching to left handed batters? Want to know how your fantasy football league is doing in real time? And on and on and on…
In the near future, the majority of people will carry a touch device with an internet connection. These devices should be leveraged to provide the interactive in interactive television. These devices should be the connection between both the content creators and the advertisers with the audience. These devices will allow us to enjoy the television experience together while connecting to our different circles online.
Television is social; social media is personal. Don’t confuse the two.