Intel’s Widget Channel

Intel will debut its widget channel concept at CES 2009.  Unfortunately, since I’m unemployed, I will not be able to go to CES in January (no credentials — bloggers blew it last year — and no extra money) so I won’t get to see this first hand and ask the reps questions.  So… I’ll just have to follow the tech blogs from the media.  Anyhow, I’m not quite sure of what to make of this.  It sounds like it’s a toolkit to put extra advertising content into a TV broadcast, though, I’m not sure whether it’s an additional “frame” around the broasdcast content.

With regards to interactive TV … recently, we’ve noticed our Tivo asking for input and if we would like to view the additional ad content it’s downloaded.  After the third or so time this happened, I became numb to it and I now ignore it.  As for social activities like chatting during a show … well, I suppose that could be fun, though, I imagine it would be a distraction from viewing.   Therefore, it’s probably something to be done during a commercial break.

I think what I would like most of all is a bookmarking feature built into my viewer so I can tag scenes to get more information or to document my thoughts on the matter.  For instance if I like an actor’s outfit, then I would like to bookmark the frame with the actor and save the available metadata so I can query later.  The question is, what sort of information would people want to know about what they are watching and how would they access the additional information.  There’s the standard show documentation that is displayed in the credits.  These can be termed into tags that can searched on the internet.  There information on sponsorship, products in the scene, the location of the scene, time data, and so on and so forth.   I can see the bookmarked frame itself becoming a piece of metadata.  I recall Sling having something like this in which viewers could mark frames or small snippettes of content and microblog or chat about the content.  The last I heard though, is that they ran into copyright issues, which is sad because it goes to show that media companies still don’t understand that loyalty is built when the content becomes their viewer’s possession.   This is the nature of virality silly executives …  Sigh…may the old business models hurry up and die so we can get on with it …

Then there is the matter of viewing the additional content and doing the Internet search.  For many people the TV and the computer have not yet converged.  To be honest, for those people that aren’t hip to this, I don’t know if having the extra content would make a difference.  But to someone who watches most of their entertainment online already, the added functionality would be welcomed.  That said, people who already watch their entertainment online are primed for this type of service.  For those that are not converged, I think the articles author raises a good point about the TV experience.  Your TV doesn’t ask for updates.  This goes along with the thought that you don’t expect your TV to crash to the Windows “Blue Screen of Death.”  So, for those people, TV should look and feel like TV.  Understandably, that is where the set-top or cable box aspect comes in.  Still, I know many older consumers for whom even these devices are over their heads.  They just know how to and want to flip channels and newfangled remotes confuse and scare them.  It’s really sad that nobody has made the converged products drop dead easy to use.  On the other hand, though, is it worth the trouble to try to use new methods to advertise to them?  That would be an interesting study … Are legacy methods more affective for non-tech and technophobes?

Anyhow, I look forward to seeing what Intel has in mind.  Hopefully it’s something that can also be easily configured by consumers too, so they can pull what they want from content rather than having more advertisement pushed at them.

Here’s a link to the article about it.