March 12th, 2011, Evening Time | permalink

Press the red button, ubiquitous for interactive TV in the UK. The interactive TV revolution began in August 1999 when Sky Sports broadcast an interactive version of Arsenal vs. Manchester United that allowed viewers to change camera angles and later added a fans commentary stream, since then a whole slew of sporting events have been made better by the red button.

Wimbledon? Choose which court you wanted to see. Golf? Watch pairings or individual holes. Champions League? Choose which group match you wanted. Olympics? Choose your event. Cricket and Rugby? Choose camera angles and commentary. Super Bowl? Choose if you wanted the US or UK commentary. The list goes on and on…

I’m currently watching the Wales vs. Ireland 6 Nations match that comes with no fewer than 5 commentary streams, one of which is the referee’s mic which makes for interesting hearing at times. It got me thinking that interactive TV wasn’t really as ubiquitous in the United States, at least not in my experience. The closest thing was DirecTV’s channel mix which pulled feeds from separate channels rather than having it all on the one feed. Instead of flipping between feeds it just bumped you to that particular channel.

NBC offers an interactive experience on their website, they offer multiple camera angles for Sunday Night Football Extra and the opportunity to watch 4 streams at once or picture in picture during the Olympics but as it’s on their website it can’t really be thought of as interactive TV.

I’m very surprised, we’re entering our 12th year of interactive TV in the UK, but yet it hasn’t quite gotten any traction stateside, I thought they would be all over thise…