Interact with your primetime TV with ABC’s My Generation Sync

Sep 28, 2010
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Every now and then, something innovative comes along that enhances our day-to-day experiences. The ABC network has done just that with its new iPad app, ABC’s My Generation Sync (free). The basic idea is to provide supplementary material in the form of cast bios, polls and quizzes while you watch a show. This material pops […]

Every now and then, something innovative comes along that enhances our day-to-day experiences. The ABC network has done just that with its new iPad app, ABC’s My Generation Sync (free). The basic idea is to provide supplementary material in the form of cast bios, polls and quizzes while you watch a show. This material pops up during specific times in the show, and is relevant to what you see on screen. For example, when a specific character is introduced on screen, his or her bio pops up on the iPad. Also, during a specific scene, a question will pop up on the iPad asking how you would react to that situation. The app knows what’s happening by listening to the audio. This allows for a live, interactive television experience that, with the right programming, can be exciting.

It’s important to note that the app will work either with a live episode, or a prerecorded one. So, you can still use it while watching a show on your DVR. Once you open the app, you’ll need to tap on the Sync button, and the app will start to listen to the show through its microphone. It syncs up fairly quickly, and remains synced throughout the show. The first episode of the show introduced each character, so the app provided bios and photos as soon as they showed up on TV. I wasn’t too impressed at this point, but it became more fun and interesting when the polls started to show up. The app would ask questions that pertained to something the characters were discussing on screen. For example, when one character found out he had a nine-year-old child, a question popped up on the iPad asking, “How would you react if you found out you had a nine-year-old-child?” After you make your choice, the app collects all the data, and provides you with a percentage of all the votes for each response. It might seem like it could get annoying to have to look down at your iPad every now and then, but it’s actually pretty interesting to answer the questions and see how other people responded. It’s definitely more fun to participate in the show, rather than simply watching it.

The app currently functions with only one show, “My Generation,” on ABC. This fact is why many people are giving the app low ratings. However, that’s not completely fair. The app might only work with one show at this time, but I’m sure ABC will start providing support for many of its shows as soon as possible. The concept is the important part. This application has so much potential for other types of shows. Just imagine watching a football game, and when a player makes a tackle, his information pops up on your iPad so you can check out his stats. Or, while you’re watching “American Idol,” you could rate each singer. What about adding Twitter functionality to have a conversation in the sidebar? You could add Facebook functionality so you can see how your friends answered quiz questions. Again, the potential is incredible. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

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