Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dreams of interactive television

How can we watch "interactive television," and what does this mean for the viewer? I was reading Steve Kilisky's post on his Dynamic Media Blog and it got me reflecting about the increasingly blurring lines between television the Internet. It's funny how the last few classes I'm taking at UCSC all discuss ways in which electronic media merge, overlap, or displace one another; all this questioning leads to a (mostly) unpredictable future for Television 2.0--similar to a recent grad's?

Henry Jenkins analyzes this newer convergence culture, Lisa Parks talks about "microcasting" to niche audiences, and William Boddy adds to and interprets the results of the growing list of failed WebTV-like ventures. Where are we now? We have:

-user created content piped through a cable television station (Current TV)
-television distributed through the Internet & brought to your computer (Joost)
-content distributed through the Internet & brought to your TV (Apple TV)

We have all these different technologies grasping for similar goals. As Kilisky comments, much of interactive TV's poor adoption has stemmed by a poor user experience. Perhaps progress has been made, but it's difficult to tell. Newer technologies might encourage more "lean forward" viewing practices, but is that what the average television viewer wants? Is it even possible to successfully mix newer, Internet based technologies with the same old original television format?

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