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Cable Companies Get in the App Game

Cable Companies Get in the App Game

In Monday’s New York Times, Saul Hansell examines new trends in cable menu development, trends that take its cue from Apple. Everyone, including the cable providers, agrees that menu functions need a major reboot. When consumers spend the mjaority of their day via Internet browsing and Web interfaces, the cable experience can feel downright prehistoric. Meanwhile, the Apple App Store has created a whole new market of incentives for hardware consumers, so why not borrow some of that ingenuity? Web browsing that includes Twitter, Facebook, and much more will be coming to your cable TV. Of course, it’s gonna get sticky once more online video content is available through your television, but for now, it’s all about using the Web to bolster your cable experience:

With people getting used to sophisticated electronic interactions, not just on computer screens but on devices used all day — car dashboards, cameras and especially cellphones — the industry is rethinking that theory. While viewers remain passive most of the time, they increasingly want the capabilities and information they come to depend on from one gadget with a screen to be available to them on all the other screens they use every day.

On FiOS, the Facebook application lets people see photos on their television screens that have been shared by their friends. The Twitter application shows a running stream of tweets about the show being viewed on the left side of the screen.

“The shows become a lot more fun to watch because there is a whole conversation going on,” said Shadman Zafar, Verizon’s senior vice president for product development. “For sports, it’s like bringing the rest of the sports bar into your home.”

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