Saturday, April 18, 2020

Interactive TV Essays - New Media, Science And Technology Studies

Interactive TV The Web and the Internet are the latest technologies to be harnessed by companies trying to develop interactive television. This paper reviews the efforts of technology companies and broadcasters to combine television and the Web in their products and activities, and how users are already using them both at home. It reviews some research on the way that TV and the PC/Internet are used at home, and suggests some way that the Web could be integrated with television use. Unlike earlier interactive television projects, where the innovation was largely conducted behind closed doors and among consortia of companies, the innovation environment in which Web-based interactive television is being developed includes a huge number of existing users, technology and content suppliers who play an active role the innovation process. The concept of social learning is suggested as a area of development of tools for understand the process of technical, social and cultural change around innovation of this sort. In particular the idea of poles of attraction is introduced to understand why a huge numbers of supply side players and users are orienting towards the Internet as a possible solution to interactive television. 1. Introduction Of all the visions of the future of television (note 1), interactive television (i-TV) is perhaps the most radical and powerful. In this vision the ubiquitous television set will change from being a device to watch television shows or films into a home terminal for access to and interaction with networked interactive technology, programmes and services. The possibilities and benefits of the technology seem self-evident, if only they can be made to work effectively and at a modest price. Many times we have been told to expect interactive television any day now. (note 2) However, after millions of dollars spent, and many pilots and service closures, most of us are still no closer to having interactive television than a few hundred searchable teletext pages, and some phone-in TV shows. In the efforts to create i-TV, numerous applications and technologies have been tried, with companies attracted by the possibilities of each new generation of technology, and responding to the continuous pressure to develop new products, be they technologies, services or programmes in order to maintain their share of consumer spending. The explosion of the Internet and Web is a new pole of attraction for interactive television developers that seems to solve many of the problems and uncertainties of earlier systems: all of a sudden the technologies, content, users and uses of interactive services are there and proving very successful, all that needs to be done it integrate them into television. For the analyst of new innovations in television, three issues arise as companies are attracted to the Internet and the Web as a solution to interactive television. 1. Instead of being controlled by a small number of corporate players, the technology and service of the Web and Internet are in the public domain, and changing fast. The innovation environment is diverse, heterogeneous, and involves a multitude of companies and most importantly users in shaping the technology and services, which makes management of innovation more complex and give the market a much stronger voice. 2. There is major uncertainty over the relevance of Web-style interactivity to the use of television. Many commentators believe that content and services on the Internet or designed for the PC terminal may not be relevant for many users of the television, while others bet on the explosion of e-commerce through TV Web terminals. 3. The television is no longer the only window for interactive services to the home. The PC is an increasingly common alternative, and is a more flexible and open platform or interactive services. The cheap web set-top box may restrict innovation and fix service and uses in a way that is frustrating to end users and service providers alike. What is more, there is an emerging paradigm in the technology industry of multiple 'low profile' terminals for interactive services. This could turn investment and attention away from both the PC and the television. What links these issues is the importance of the end users as active players in the innovation-diffusion process. It was end- and intermediate-users adopting the Internet and Web that attracted interactive television developers, and it is these users who are now directly involved in the innovation process. This paper uses social learning (S?rensen 1996) as an analytic framework of socio-technical change that includes an integration of end users in the innovation and diffusion process. Social learning goes beyond the development and diffusion of technology and content to include the

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