This article presents a research project carried out at the BT Mobility Research Center with the aim of developing appropriate applications for pervasive iTV, paying special attention to the personal and social contextual usage of this media within the entertainment, work, and government environments. It prospects a future trend in the use of pervasive interactive multimedia systems in future communications scenarios for mobile and pervasive iTV, that is, the use of handhelds as interfaces to extend and enhance the TV experience outside the home boundaries. The new scenarios discussed in this article are based on the assumption that mobile phones interconnected with other surrounding interfaces (e.g., iTV, PCs, PDAs, in-car-navigators, smart-house appliances, etc.), will be decisive in the creation of pervasive interactive multimedia systems. With its recent development into becoming an interactive system, TV seems to increasingly replace traditional “passive” TV platforms through active viewers- participation (Lamont & Afshan, 1999). Moreover, interactive television gives viewers the opportunity to extend their UX of television for activities that currently occur more typically on the Web (Steemers, 1998). These activities are consequent to the enhanced communication possibilities that have been enabled by new media: users can browse information, personalize their viewing choices, play interactive games, carry out e-commerce activities (shopping, banking, voting, etc.), and play increasingly active roles in broadcast programs (to the extent of interacting with other viewers). At the same time, recent technological developments in handsets have converted them into tools for creation, editing, and diffusion of multimedia content. The last mobile phones are equipped with large screen, color display, photo and video camera, and with functionalities as MMS, video call, image, sound, and video editing software. As an intrinsic characteristic of these interfaces, all these operations can be done in any place, time, and environment. This freedom of action can lead to scenarios of pervasive multimedia interaction. In fact, a nomadic generation of users will benefit from pervasive interactive multimedia systems on many levels, not only by merely having access to TV broadcast on their handhelds or playing active roles in interacting with TV programs. The most challenging aspect of iTV is indeed the creativity and the one-to-one connectivity that this medium can enable. This attribute will allow users to become “multimedia-content producers”: They will create content in multimedia formats and share it with others. This research attempts to identify the mutual influence between technology and society. This phenomenon is particularly evident with social technology designed to integrate into household routines. Making effective predictions about new technology requires exploring the critical disconnections between the ways in which such technologies are produced and the ways in which they are consumed, or rejected (Fischer, 1992; Lee & Lee, 1995).
Becoming interactive, TV is replacing traditional “passive” TV platform (Spigel, 1992) through the increase of active participation by the viewers, substantially influencing people’s experience with television and their TV-related social behavior (Lee & Lee, 1995).
As shown in Table 1, several network operators in Europe, the USA, Japan, Korea, and Canada are starting to broadcast TV on handhelds. This is commonly defined as mobile TV (Figure 1).Table 1.
Commercial and trial mobile TV worldwide
|Sonera & Elisa||Finland||DVB-H||9||Trial|
|SK Telecom||South Korea||S-DMB||9||Commercial|
Key Terms in this Chapter
Social Awareness: Regards the ability of applications of providing consciousness to the users about their social surroundings (e.g., a map that visually informs about the nearby presence of friends by locating them).
Context Awareness, Contextual Usage, and Contextualization of Content: Is a term from computer science that is used for devices that have information about the circumstances under which they operate and can react accordingly. Context aware devices may also try to make assumptions about the user’s current situation.
Convergence of Technology: The coming together of two or more disparate technologies. For example, the so-called fax revolution was produced by a convergence of telecommunications technology, optical scanning technology, and printing technology.
Pervasive TV: It is an adaptation of the term pervasive computing, and it reflects the concept of accessing TV in different contexts such as home, the office, the auto, and outdoors thanks to the convergence of technology.
Mobile TV: Watching TV on a mobile phone. There are several mobile TV air interfaces competing for prime time. Digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) is based on the digital audio broadcasting radio standard; digital video broadcast-handheld (DVB-H) is the mobile version of the international digital TV standard, and forward link only (FLO) is based on QUALCOMM’s popular CDMA technology.
Pervasive iTV: An amalgamation between the concepts of iTV and pervasive TV. However, this term goes beyond the concept of traditional TV programs data stream and focuses on content personalization and users’ creativity, socialibility, context awareness, advanced interactivity, immersive environments, convergence (iTV, mobile phones, in-car-navigators, and Internet), and connectivity (one to one and one to many).
User Experience (UX): A term used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system. It most commonly refers to a combination of software and business topics, such as selling over the Web, but it applies to any result of interaction design. Interactive voice response systems, for instance, are a frequently mentioned design that can lead to a poor user experience.
Interactive TV (iTV): iTV is an umbrella term. Interactive TV is the content and services (in addition to linear TV and radio channels) which are available for digital viewers to navigate through on their TV screen.
Sociability, Social Usage: Regards the social character of the usage of TV, and it involves the identification of suitable applications and interfaces that support social use.