Researchers from Motorola, BT, and Intel are developing ways to combine social networking technology with TV viewing. The goal is to get as close as possible to physically sharing the viewing experience. "The one huge key is trying to make it not like instant messaging or a PC on your TV, but like it's sharing an experience," says Motorola Social Media Research Lab's Crysta Metcalf. "What we're working on right now is a version in which people can see what their friends are watching — not Facebook friends, but people you're close to and would really want to watch TV with."
The popularity of social networks has made this idea much more realistic. "It's very clear that social networking will become part of the TV viewing experience," says Edelman Digital's Steve Rubel. Several startup companies also are designing new technologies aimed at bridging the gap between social networks and TV. For example, Boxee makes software that enables the user to easily access Internet video content, such as YouTube videos, on TVs.
Meanwhile, Motorola researchers are experimenting with software that would make smartphones the interface between users and their TVs. Both BT and Motorola are in the advanced stages of testing and claim that the first fully integrated social TV system will be available to consumers sometime this year.
From Technology Review
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