Active Participation for Television

ABC recently announced a new app for the iPad. Its called My Generation Sync. In a nutshell, this app syncs to the show that’s playing on the television and as the show is going on, the app will pop up questions or polls. It can also provide character bios and information pertaining to the show. From researching ABC’s promotional page, I think the app is nifty.

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What is really interesting, is where this technology could take active participation in the television market. A couple of years ago, one of the sports websites (I can not remember for the life of me) had an interactive tool online during football games that let you guess the next play that the team would run. You could follow along to see who correctly picked the most plays during the corse of game. But this is when laptops were still quite expensive and so most people could not sit on their couch and participate. Now with this technology, participation during a show could rise very high.

I love sports, and love watching them on TV, but I feel as if what I can get out of the experience is limited to what the broadcast company wants to provide. Baseball fans love their stats. Often during the game, the broadcast uses graphics to display players stats and biographical information. But what if you are watching one evening and a new player that is playing in his first Major League game comes up to bat. The only information that can be provided is the little information that the announcers and graphics can display during the off moments of the game.

In steps in the sync app. The app can notice that a new player is up to bat, and display biographical information, previous teams, earlier stats, and people’s opinions in real-time. There are already apps that accomplish this task, but not synced with the game that is being presented live, the apps are always lagging behind.

Although ABC is implementing this technology into a show, not a sporting event, I believe this is a start. I would love to sit on my couch and watch a sports broadcast with an app that gave me real-time stats and information about the game. This would enhance the TV broadcasts greatly.

There are many ways to implement this technology, from sports, television shows, and to shows like American Idol where voting is a key part of the show. Imagine voting during the show and being able to see real-time results. It would create a whole new experience for the show and its viewers.

Active participation seems to be the way the television market is headed. Moving to 3D televisions that put viewers “in the screen.” This can only lead to good things for the market.


About Kyle Judkins

Student at the University of Texas at Dallas blogging about Social Media, Social Platforms, Technology, and my own thoughts on all of the above. Find out more about me and my interest at
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3 Responses to Active Participation for Television

  1. I would definitely agree that active participation in television is a great and growing trend. As the type of person who enjoys being actively engaged and seldom sits in front of the television without a couple of other things to do, I think that with more active participation I might enjoy watching television more. As it is right now, just sitting in front of the screen doesn’t appeal to me much (unless I am watching a movie). I’d like to see more shows find ways to implement this technology.

  2. I remember when ABC first did something in this vein some time ago. When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was first on television, they had a thing called “Enhanced TV” that let you play and answer questions along with the contestants. While fun, Enhanced TV didn’t have the same level of information provided and social features that this seems to provide, nor did it have as much advertising data and revenue potential for ABC. I might download this just to see what they’re doing with it (though that would involve finding something I actually want to watch on TV first).

  3. Oh, wait, just for this one show. Might try it, might not, then.

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