Posted tagged ‘Interactive TV’

American Idol Adds Fourth Judge

August 25, 2008

It was announced today that grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi is joining American Idol as a judge for its eighth season which begins in January 2009. DioGuardi has written songs for artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Santana and Faith Hill.

From the Associated Press:

Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi will sit alongside Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson when the eighth season of “American Idol” premieres in January, the Fox network said Monday.

“For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table,” said Mike Darnell, president, alternative programming of Fox, in a statement.

“With Kara by her side, Paula has some backup and now there is going to be a lot more `girl power’ on the show,” Darnell said.

“We are turning the heat up on `Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller in a statement. “She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America’s most successful songwriters. We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”

I’m not really a huge fan of the show, except for the season when Carrie Underwood performed, but it is definitely a pop culture phenomenon. Let’s hope that the addition of DioGuardi will help ease the load on Ms. Abdul. Thoughts?


Yahoo and Intel to Offer Interactive Widgets For Television Sets

August 21, 2008

Intel and Yahoo have announced that they are teaming up to bring Web-style interactive applications to television sets. The companies are working together to create software that will give televisions the ability to display the Web without interfering with the programming.

From Reuters:

After years of false starts aimed at bringing the Web to TV sets, Yahoo Inc said on Wednesday it is working with Intel Corp to create Web computer channels that run alongside TV shows.

The Web company and world’s largest chipmaker are working on what they call the “Widget Channel,” which will enable TV viewers to interact with and watch a dynamic set of TV widgets — small Web-based applications that complement TV shows.

Widgets will appear in the corner of a TV screen and work something like a picture-in-picture window of advanced TV sets. These small windows let viewers chat with or e-mail friends, watch videos, track stocks or sports teams or keep up with news headlines or weather by using a TV remote control.

Widget TV services are being designed to run on a new class of Intel chips for consumer electronics that enables high-definition viewing, home-theater-quality audio, 3-D graphics, and the fusion of Internet and TV features.

From the New York Times:

At Intel’s conference for developers in San Francisco, Intel unveiled a new “system on a chip” meant for consumer electronic devices like set-top boxes and digital TVs. Yahoo will provide a software platform that will allow small programs, called “widgets,” to run on those devices.

Yahoo already offers a software platform that allows developers to create widgets for PC desktops and cell phones. The small programs allow people to track news, weather or sports scores, receive e-mails, watch Web videos or photos, or bid on eBay auctions, for example. The software for the Intel systems will be based on the same platform.

From TechCrunch:

The two companies envision a library of small widgets that will be included alongside standard television content. For example, a user could use an eBay widget to monitor the current prices of their active auctions, or a sports widget to keep track of current scores.

The TV Widgets Channel continues to blur the line between a television and a computer with a big screen – it probably won’t be long before the distinction no longer exists. And while I could see some of the widgets coming in handy, they might also turn off a lot of users. For many people, television is an escape from the constant alerts and messages of today’s society. Interactive TV is a neat idea, but sometimes people just want to kick up their feet and relax.

New Integra5 Feature Allows TV Viewers to Chat

August 7, 2008

Integra5 has unveiled its MediaFriends TV Chat service which is blending television watching with social networking. The service will allow viewers to communicate with each other in on-screen conversations as they watch the same shows.

From the article:

With MediaFriends TV Chat, users are able to set up and manage buddy lists on their PC, which they can then access on TVs. Using their remote control, they can invite individuals or groups to watch TV programming together. Buddies can accept or decline the invitation; if they accept, their TV automatically tunes to that channel, and a live group chat is visible on the screen. Viewers can then participate in the group chat by sending text messages via their mobile phone to the phone number displayed on the chat banner.

MediaFriends TV Chat will be in beta testing by the end of the year and is scheduled for availability in early 2009. While the current version uses mobile phones for texting messages, future iterations could have virtual keyboards.