Two Screen TV


What do you do when you’re watching tv? It’s old news that we multitask — using our laptops, ipads, and phones, and do all sorts of stuff. So it’s interesting to see these recent iPad apps that try to build on that activity — giving viewers a parallel track of information to accompany what’s on the tv.

Disney is using their Second Screen technology to accompany select DVD releases. Running on an iPad, the apps sync with the tv to give at-the-right-moment background information about characters, concept art, and behind-the-scenes info.

Joey Interactive has a similar, although expended, concept demo, for an advanced TV Remote Concept called GOAB. Here, users can get data on live events (like sports and news), play along with game shows, and shop for what characters in shows are wearing. It has echos of the information-rich experiences Quokka was developing in the late 90’s.

And last year ABC had an app that accompany their show “My Generation.” It let users vote and do polls in real-time while the program aired. But the reviews weren’t especially kind — saying it felt didn’t make the experience social enough.

What’s unclear is how much we actually want to engage with content that’s related to the program we’re watching. I’d argue that most of what we do is separate — we’re emailing, chatting with friends, and surfing the web. These apps seem more about trying to discourage multitasking, than to support it. Almost old-fashioned. Still, the technology is pretty cool. Maybe the real killer app is yet to come.