Defining Interactive Television: It's a Process
Throwing humility aside for the moment (a student crowned me so it has more meaning)...
Let's go back to school! Which of the following is not an example of "interactive television:"
- Google Video
- Web site supporting TV channel or program enhanced television
- Two-way video and audio teleconferencing
- Ordering items directly from television via your remote control (think "As Seen on TV!")
- Viewer control of program content (i.e., choose an ending of a dramatic program or select different camera views of a sporting event)
- Viewing a PBS documentary while additional information about the topic is downloaded to your TV set's DVR or other memory storage device
- Video on Demand (digital version of Pay-Per-View systems from the last)
- A child jumping up and down in concert with playmates on television
The trick for any definition is to make it precise enough to be meaningful and robust enough to really include any form of interactive television. School's about to start so my daughter and me only have a few days left to enjoy the pool, and today's one of them. But I really want comments on the definition of interactive television than includes actual offerings in service today or planned for the future. For the moment, audience control of the viewing experience keys my personal attempt to define interactive television.
Of course there is an iTV dictionary, but the site appears to be growing into a tower of Babel. That's not meant as a negative criticism but rather an acknowledgement of all the activity that is now ongoing that appears to be "interactive television."
Readers, take me on! Critique my definition above so we can make it better. The earliest definitions of interactive television come from the education literature as information technology school specialists saw the incredible potential for linking students with a myriad of interesting contacts outside the school.
You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!