Tag: second-screen

Why we use our mobile devices while watching TV?


Sports scoreboard app

The smartphone as a companion to one’s TV watching

The Couch Potato is Extinct | The Digital Den (Seagate)

My Comments

When we watch TV or video content, we keep our smartphones or tablets with us and, in some cases, use them. A very common time when this happens is during the commercial breaks on real-time TV, which isn’t just a time to go to the kitchen or bathroom.

Why do we do this?

Communications with other people

We would use the smartphone to check on email or social-network activity; or place one or more phone calls. This may be including the idea about giving our friends a running commentary about what we are watching, something that would happen a lot with reality TV or a drama series.

A resource to verify facts

IMDB Android

Check out which other movies or TV shows they starred in

During a sportscast, we could use a scoreboard app to verify sports scores or use apps like that scoreboard app, Google or Wikipedia to chase down facts about the contestant who is participating in the game itself or facts simply about the game. This may include the rules of the game, where everyone stands in the game or the league itself.

During other entertainment, one could use Google, Wikipedia or IMDB to find out more about an actor such as what other TV shows or films they appeared in. This may be a way for one to settle an argument with someone who thinks they are the armchair expert on the particular kind of content. You may also want to know more about a particular concept that is being featured in the show. For example, you may want to use Wikipedia to find out about a legal concept that is applied in the country where the show is but isn’t applied locally or applied in a different manner, or a medical condition or procedure highlighted in that TV drama.

How did that match go?

How did that match go?

Even during the advertisements, we may want to check the veracity of an offer that is being advertised. This may include finding out where there are better offers or learn more about the products and services that are being touted by the barker on the commercial.

In a lot of cases, some of us may want to “make hay while the sun shines” in relation to the advertisements. This could be to claim a coupon, enter a sweepstakes that is part of the advertising campaign or simply take up on the offer being advertised.

How is this trend being capitalised on by the TV industry?

Shazam for Android

Shazam now used by some TV advertisers as a gateway to offers

Increasingly the TV industry is exploiting the mobile device as a “second-screen” to provide varying levels of interactivity in relation to the content. This is because most TV-viewing setups aren’t conducive to interactive-TV because of factors like inconsistent implementation or restriction of users’ control experiences.

One path that the TV industry are using to capitalise on us using mobile devices while watching TV is to interlink social media with TV shows. This is typically with public affairs shows, panel shows, reality TV and the like where selected comments from one or more social-media feeds are read out by the compere or shown on screen either as a dedicated slide or, more often, as scrolling text at the bottom.

Another path that is being exploited by cooking-themed TV shows, whether they be magazine shows of the “Better Homes And Gardens” ilk or competitive reality shows of the MasterChef ilk is to make the recipes and other information available on the show’s website. Here, people can then read further on that show or obtain the recipe’s details so they can cook whatever tantalised their tastebuds.

Other shows exploit this by providing such resources as extended-length interviews, factsheets, resource lists and the like to benefit the viewers who want to follow up on the show and what it was talking about. Even drama and comedy shows make use of their Webpages to provide a way for users to become familiar with the show’s characters and main storyline or simply for fans of these shows to link with it.

Some advertisers are exploiting Shazam and similar software as a tool to link the mobile display to the ad they are running at the moment. It would include such things as access to downloadable resources related to that campaign or simply a persistent “show-more-details” Webpage. This is to ascertain the effect of their campaign and which market segments it is touching. This may also be used be people who are watching broadcast content that is recorded on a PVR and may choose to act on certain campaigns that were recorded as part of the TV show.


The smartphone and tablet are now considered as companion devices for your TV viewing even if you are viewing it on the big screen.

Netflix makes your smartwatch a control surface


Netflix official logo - courtesy of Netflix

Netflix – the sign of on-demand video’s progress

Android Wear Can Now Control Netflix | Tom’s Guide

My Comments

Just lately, Netflix issued an update to their Android client software. This has functionality that was provided as part of the iOS variant like the ability to have your smartphone work as a remote control for the TV or set-top-box client software, along with the ability to share a recommendation on Facebook. But this implements a feature that may be seen as giving that platform the “edge”.

Samsung Gear Live Black Android Wear smartwatch press image courtesy of Samsung

This smartwatch to be part of your TV viewing courtesy of Netflix

Samsung Gear Live Black Android Wear smartwatch press image courtesy of Samsung

This smartwatch to be part of your TV viewing courtesy of Netflix

Here, they have baked Android Wear functionality in to this software to make your Android Wear smartwatch work as a control surface for the program. You may think that the smartwatch may be irrelevant when you are wanting to watch “House Of Cards” or “Lilyhammer” but it isn’t as far as they are concerned.

When you watch “Lilyhammer” for example, you can use the smartwatch as a remote control to stop the movie when you need to visit the kitchen or bathroom and start from where you left off when you are comfortable. This avoids the need to “dig out” your smartphone at these occasions. There is the ability also to share what you are watching on Facebook at that moment if you wish to do so, along with the fact that your smartwatch would show the artwork associated with what you are watching.like Frank Tagliano’s face.

This concept could allow platform-based smartwatches to serve as part of the “second screen”. For example, it could mean that during a TV reality show, you could cast votes for the talent on that show or find out a bit more about the talent. It would also be about having the smartwatch serve as part of a sports scoreboard app by showing the current scores for the match you are following.

A bit more effort and the smartwatch could play a role in the concept of multi-screen TV viewing.

“Borgen” is now augmented with a virtual-reality tour of that famous Parliament House

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Google Europe

Denmark’s “Borgen” goes live on Street View

My Comments

For a break, some, if not a lot, of you may been enjoying the Danish political thriller “Borgen” which is set around Denmark’s Parliament. Here, Google had taken this interest in the high-quality European TV drama and provided a virtual-reality “walk-through” of this famous Parliament house (Christianborg Palace) for you to enjoy.

You have the ability to detail in on the artworks as well as effectively walk through this famous building and it can work with most browsers including what is on your regular computer or on your tablet. Treat yourselves to this as part of watching that series.

The PS4 to benefit from a companion mobile app in November


PlayStation companion app for iOS, Android due in November | Internet & Media – CNET News

Sony to Launch PS4 Companion App in November | Mashable

My Comments

Sony is intending to add value to the PlayStation 4 platform by releasing a companion app for the iOS and Android mobile platforms that works with this console.

But what benefits will it offer to the gamers who use this app and associate it with their console? One would be to exploit the smartphone’s or tablet’s screen as a second screen which would come in to play with a wide range of games. For example, the screen could be used to show a leaderboard or scoreboard for a game while using the big screen just for the gameplay activity. Some adventure-based games may implement this second screen as an always-displayed map of either the game’s whole world or area of local relevance so as to help with fulfilling a particular quest.

The other main benefit is to have the mobile device serve as a controller, which I would see as improving the gameplay experience for some games and players. The touchscreens offered by these devices could allow for intuitive positioning of players in a sports game or could make it real for a strategy game to be played on a console.

Sony is also intending to make these devices become a path to the PlayStation Network online gaming service such as to see what others are playing and how they are performing as well as buying games and downloadable content using the mobile device for delivery to your PS4.

What I like of this is that various gaming tasks can be made more intuitive for more players by exploiting the touchscreen rather than hammering D-pads and buttons to configure a game’s participant. Similarly, it could open the path for other games types to be playable on consoles rather than just on regular computers or mobile devices.

Similarly it could open up the games consoles to user classes other than the teenage or young-adult males of this world by making them easier to use by older people or women.

The second screen is now becoming relevant for console-based video gaming


PS4 to get companion social app for tablets, PS Vita |Engadget

My Comments

Just today (21 February 2013), Sony was premiering the PlayStation 4 games console at their press event in New York City. They were promoting advanced “polygon-free” graphics which yielded realistic game views as well as support for “cloud-driven” console gaming.

This included various social-gaming options including the ability for an experienced astute player to help a novice player by effectively adding “dual controls” to the novice player’s controller. It is a feature that could have come in handy during a time when a friend of mine brought around the original PlayStation and rented a cricket game to play on the console. A person who lived with us had very keen interest in cricket and showed interest in this game but needed assistance with the video-game implementation of the sport.

But this console supports the new trend of the “second screen”. This option, which is implemented using apps on mobile-device platforms, is being explored by broadcasters and others with regular programmes but is being taken further by Sony for the PlayStation platform.

Most likely this concept would be positioned for social gaming, persistent scoreboards / inventory lists, alternate views such as overview maps, and similar activities to gain more out of the game. Of course, there will be the doubters that will say that the second screen is irrelevant especially for first-person shooters and similar games.

It will also be interesting to observe how much “in-sync” with the gameplay the second screen hosted on a separate device connected to the home network would be especially if extra action is to be viewed on this screen. Personally, I would make sure that you have the proper bandwidth available to your tablet when you want this function to work properly with the PS4.

A good idea would be to make sure that the Wi-Fi is strong to the games room and this could be achieved through the use of an access point with the wired network backbone. For that matter, most of the HomePlug AV wireless access points also have the Ethernet connections which can make this task easier with the PS4 connected to an Ethernet socket on the HomePlug access point while the HomePlug AV segment serves as the backbone.

Of course, this new console has a lot to be expected for its role in the lounge room, or the games room.