TV shows regular offer viewers a Twitter hashtag, but how can viewers use the medium to share content with their friends.
Over the past couple of years social TV has become an increasingly significant element of the viewing experience. In many ways its little different from sending off a postcard to an address in W12, except that the response is so much quicker, and with the added dimension of viewers also being able to interact with each other.
Conversations that once took place around the water cooler the following morning now take place while the programme is being transmitted, much to the annoyance of anyone saving the show on their PVR, no wonder the live event show is such an important part of Saturday nights.
Reaction to shows depends on the genre. For the X-Factor the discussion takes place during the ad breaks’ viewers to Strictly Come Dancing want to connect with the celebrities, while those connecting with the political discussion show Question Time prefer to contact their friends.
But if you’re watching a less well-known show, or want to point out a particular clip, how do you tell your friends about it?
The BBC has been experimenting with a number of of prototypes built in order to enable users to share content across a social network such as Twitter in an automated fashion and set out in a white paper by its R&D Division.
A Universal Control API is used to extract information about what programme a user is watching on their connected television. The extracted information is then used to automatically ‘pull’ programme-relevant content to a companion device such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
Although its possible to achieve this in part with audio watermarking, the paper suggests this is an expensive option.
This binds further the link between the personal TV and what still largely remains the shared device of the family TV set.
The methods of handling personalization are already shifting now that the relevant services are being deployed. The idea of facial recognition to see who is using the TV or taking a thumbprint on the remote – both ‘introduced’ to avoid the TV viewer having to log in – have been consigned to science fiction and a few discarded PowerPoints