When one screen is just not enough

tv_notebook_love Convergence is where it’s at.

A recent article over at Mashable looked at some Nielsen statistics regarding the concurrent use of television and a computer. The general trend indicates that households are growing more comfortable with the idea of using a computer (most likely a notebook) while watching their favorite programs. The surge of real-time social media (like Twitter and Facebook) is probably a big factor.

There have been some neat experiments with convergent programming such as sporting events delivering stats and alternate views during games, adding additional content to repeated shows and of course the ever-present user interaction on Twitter and show bulletin boards.

As multi-platform viewership continues to grow, how will networks and companies take advantage of it?

Some interesting stats from Nielsen:

  Dec 2009 June 2009 Dec 2008 % Diff Yr to Yr
% of persons using TV / Internet simultaneously 59.0% 56.9% 57.5% 2.7%
Estimated number of persons using TV / Internet simultaneously 134,056 128,047 128,167 4.6%
Time spent simultaneously using TV / Internet per person in hours:minutes 3:30 2:39 2:36 34.5%
Average % of TV time Panelists spent also using the Internet 3.1% 2.7% 2.4% 29.7%
Average % of Internet time Panelists spent also using TV 34.0% 27.9% 29.9% 13.9%

Robot Film Crew Knows What Sports Fans Like

SPORTS fans need never miss a match again, thanks to software that could automatically film games and so allow broadcasters to cover them more cheaply by losing camera crew.

Dubbed the Autonomous Production of Images based on Distributed and Intelligent Sensing (APIDIS), the system combines the video stream from several cameras, says Christophe De Vleeschouwer at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), in Belgium.

Tracking a ball across various video streams is relatively easy, says De Vleeschouwer, but viewers also want to see what the players are up to. So APIDIS aims for a shot of the action that is a compromise between focusing on the ball and wider views of the pitch by tracking the ball and players simultaneously, calculating which camera captures the most detail (Computer Vision and Image Understanding, DOI: 10.1016/j.cviu.2010.01.005).

APIDIS can be tailored to viewers’ demands, says De Vleeschouwer, by giving preference to shots containing particular players, for example. It has been tested on several basketball matches, a game chosen because of its fast pace. The resulting footage was good enough to attract interest from the US sport broadcaster ESPN, claims De Vleeschouwer.

APIDIS could also be useful for surveillance, when it could track groups of people on CCTV networks, says De Vleeschouwer.

See the original article at New Scientist.

5 reasons 3-D video will come to our living rooms

image Let’s face it, there are some skeptics out there when it comes to 3-D.  Some point to competing standards, others to the kitsch factor, and almost all point to the glasses. But not everyone’s a hater. In fact, Sony and Panasonic see the technology as a savior for their living room business. So will 3-D make it in the home?  Chances are it will, and here are five reasons why:

1. 3-D will become a standard feature. TV makers will put a premium price on anything 3-D in the next few years (much as they did with HD), as Alfred Poor points out in his new 3DTV report at GigaOM Pro (subscription required); but over time, the technology will become just another standard feature. Chances are in five years we’ll see $799 50-inch 3-D TVs from Vizio at Costco.

2. Invasion of the 3-D movie theaters. 3-D movies are bringing in higher per-screen revenues than their 2-D counterparts, and by the end of this year there should be 7,000 3-D screens worldwide. Hollywood has caught 3-D fever, and it’s logical to think the big focus on 3-D in the theater will migrate over time to the living room.

3. Those crazy gamers. Gamers have been enjoying crude 3-D effects since Wolfenstein 3-D, and more and more are being pulled into a new dimension with the latest 3-D technology.  Sony has stated that existing game catalogs will be 3-D upgradeable through software, which could build the library of content quickly and justify the cost of accessories such as glasses.

4. Cheap glasses. While active shutter glasses would set you back at least 50 bones today, prices will fall through the floor once they’re manufactured at scale.  Think four-packs at Wal-Mart for $25 in about five years.

5. Kids. 3-D’s secret weapon, really. I have to wonder how many 3-D skeptics are child-less. Just as tens of millions of parents came down with Wii tennis elbow in recent years, so will they be donning 3-D glasses in the future.

3-D in the home will continue to be a source of both skepticism and excitement in the coming years. But make no mistake, as both the DVD and HDTV gravy trains continue to slow to a crawl, TV makers and Hollywood are seeing an extra dimension.

See the original article at GigaOm.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the new season of Dancing with the Stars

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be among the 13 competitors on the new season of Dancing with the Stars, US television network ABC has announced.

The Strictly Come Dancing-style show will feature a range of entertainment and sport figures and former competitors from the show.

The roster includes singers Jewel and Belinda Carlisle, rapper Lil’ Kim, and 17-year-old Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson.

The new season will start 9 March.  [ed]Oh no! Please, please don’t let him incorporate any kind of technology into a dance routine![/ed]

See the full article at BBC News.