You know we've been huge fans of the Summer Olympics during the past couple weeks, keeping our eyes glued to the screen (we especially love Oscar Pistorius). But all this TV viewing got us thinking: there must be a better way to incorporate the thing we keep on us at all times, the iPhone, with the thing we enjoy watching after a long day of work, TV!
With a recent Pew Survey on "Connected Viewing," we learned that we're not the only ones who keep our phones around all the time, even while watching TV. Out of those surveyed, Pew reports that "38% of cell phone owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks in something they were watching" But, we have to ask, when will the two screen experience we've gotten used to really evolve into something useful? When will the phone and TV provide one consistent experience?
More than one third of us are using a phone while sitting in front of our TV? Why isn't there a better integration of what's happening on TV with what's happening on our smart phones? We already fantasized about the possibility of smart windows in our homes of the future, but what about the future possibility of a more interconnected and enjoyable "two screen experience" in our homes?
Why do we use our phones while watching TV anyways? Is it out of habit, compulsion, or just boredom? Whatever the reason, it's clear that second screen viewing is here to stay.
Chris Reif of Neiman, a marketing agency in Philadelphia, has the ideal future of second screen viewing nailed down in his latest blog post on connected viewing:
Imagine watching a show with a synced timeline on your device that gives an actor bio when he walks on screen. Or divulges that the helicopter shot you are viewing took ten days and $500,000 to shoot. Or allows you to see behind-the-scenes video of the 3d animation techniques utilized for a scene. Or lets you “get the look” by offering links to the tech products and fashion we see our idols use and wear each week. All without disturbing the content on the big screen.
Tech Crunch columnist Somrat Niyogi, founder of Miso, one of the original second screen apps begs "Please Don't Ruin the Second Screen" adding his own ideas for the future of a seemless TV/phone experience:
...the TV is no longer a dumb device. What this means is that in the future, we can have Bluetooth-like experiences with our TV.
You come home and turn on your TV, and your phone knows the TV is on and knows what’s playing. This enables a new level of seamless communication and messaging.
How awesome would that be? That's the future of connected viewing right there, folks! And while we love the ideas suggested above, we had a few of our own on how to make a unified TV/phone two screen experience even more awesome!
- Imagine admiring the clothes that your favorite actor/actress are wearing in a sitcom. Where did they get them? What brand are they? With a truly connected two screen app, you'd be presented with a link to Amazon or another website to buy their wardrobe as soon as they walked on scene!
- What if your Twitter app's feed automatically displayed a show's official Hash Tags when you started watching it? Many shows display a Hash Tag in the corner of their broadcast already, this would just make the process automatic.
Actually, there are already some apps, like Xfinity's TV guide app, that are allowing great, real time interaction between our TVs and phones, but there's certainly room for more innovation! Sports fans looking for an awesome second screen experience should rejoice over a Philly start-up called OneTwoSee. Available for your smart phone or laptop, the app shows real-time information for sports games on networks that partner with the company. A true sports fan would probably have a website open anyways while watching, so why not provide everything he or she is looking for right within an app? That's the thinking behind OneTwoSee, and it seems to really understand what users want in a cohesive second screen experience!
Are you one of the 38% using a phone while watching TV? If so, what do you find yourself doing with it? As people who take our phones everywhere, we're curious as to how everyone else uses them!
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