Interactive TV is when the viewer and broadcaster can communicate with each other, usually in real time. Normal TV flows in a one way path, from the broadcaster to the viewer, however interactive TV, usually includes a digital modem or other form of hardware that can return information or data from the viewer back to the broadcaster which can include either the cable operator, satellite TV operator or broadcast company.
Interactive TV sometimes referred to as iTV has been growing in popularity and today with new innovations in technology is already in many peoples homes. Three ways people can use interactive TV today are:
Control Your Programming
Many TV watchers can easily pause live programming, record shows or skip through TV advertisements. On some programs such as a documentary, there might be layers of information that a viewer might be able to access with just a click of the remote.
Many cable and satellite companies already include DVR's (digital video recorders) that can digitally store programming, so that you can pause your show, watch shows from different angles or skip through commercials.
Buy Products and Services from the Comfort of your Own TV Set
Another common feature that is making its way into the interactive TV market is the ability to purchase products and services via your TV set. Today, you can easily purchase a pay per view program with the click of the remote, but very soon, you might be able to watch a TV commercial and instantly purchase and pay for the product being advertised with just one click. Other possible features could be the ability to have pizza delivered or order other services.
Many cable or satellite services already include many services and products that you can buy with just one click of your remote, expect more to follow as the technology and demand improves.
Vote and Give Your Opinion
The third type of interactive TV technology that is available today is the ability to vote or cast you're your opinion via the TV set. Many television programming asks viewers to participate live with their show. This might be in the form of voting for a favorite entertainer, voting in a news poll or giving your opinion on a new show.
While there are plenty of great ways that viewers can interact with their TV, television and advertisers also benefit from interactive TV from what is called telegraphics. Telegraphics is a term used to describe the collection and analysis of TV viewer and interactive data. Every time a viewer in a household interacts with their TV set by clicking on something to buy, pausing or skipping through commercials, entering their opinion in polls or voting, the cable or satellite company records the data for further analysis. In essence, the cable company will monitor you or your household's behavior through your interactive TV behavior and constantly modify advertisements, programming and market items to fit your needs.
Interactive programming benefits both the viewers and businesses involved. For viewers, there are more choices in programming than ever before and you can do much more with how you view your TV. For businesses, interactive TV helps them market products and services that a specific viewer or household is interested in. Interactive TV is here to stay and you should see much more uses for it in the near future.