Last week we reported a partnership between LG and Showtime that allows users of 2012 and 2013 LG Smart TVs to interact real-time with Showtime programs though a service called SHO Sync. According to Cognitive Networks, the developer of the data service and technology that enables this two-way transfer of information between individual LG Smart TVs and broadcasters, we can expect to see many more of these types of TVs hit the market from numerous manufacturers, particularly by next year. “We are working currently with three of the six major brands of Smart TVs, and expect 97 percent of all shipments next year will have our Automatic Content Recognition (ARC) technology built in,” says Michael Collette, CEO of Cognitive Networks. “By 2015 we expect 20 million Smart TVs with ARC to be connected to the Internet.”
Leveraged by Cognitive Networks’ Engage cloud-based service, broadcasters will be able to gather information about each individual Smart TV on the network and respond by transmitting useful information directly to the screen of the TV without interrupting the program. The data sent to the broadcasters through Engage goes much deeper than simply the title of the show you’re watching. The information is accurate to the second, meaning that broadcasters will know precisely where you are within the program and can send more meaningful information. For example, during an episode of The Big Bang Theory, your broadcaster will know that you’re currently viewing a conflict between Sheldon and Penny, and might respond by polling you and other viewers as to what you think the outcome will be (A. a peaceful reconciliation or B. Sheldon storms off, for example). During the show you might also receive an offer on pizza delivery from a nearby takeout establishment.
“The integration of Engage into the LG Smart TV platform opens the door to greater opportunities and fuels the growth of a more vital Smart TV ecosystem,” says Collette. “It’s a model where everybody benefits: TV manufacturers, broadcasters, advertisers and consumers.”
But don’t worry about your TV bashing you over the head with advertisements. It’s up to you, the consumer, if you want to launch the applications or not.