The line between television and online services is blurring, in case you haven’t noticed. Not only do smart TVs now feature apps and connections to Internet-based content such as YouTube, but broadcasting is slowly moving away from a passive experience and toward one where users can interact with the TV they watch.
One example of this evolution is the recently announced TokBox Spotlight broadcasting application.
While most broadcasting solutions are one-way experiences, even online, Spotlight introduces a multi-party broadcasting experience that can include party panels, video-based audience participation and two-way broadcasting between the broadcasting content and those who are watching it.
Spotlight use can range from two-party video chat broadcast to hundreds of viewers to enabling audience members to join in and become part of the show.
Once early Spotlight user is Fox Sports, which has built its Fox Sport Huddle around the technology. Huddle, a weekly live college football chat show on foxsports.com, uses the technology to enable viewers to contribute to the show and weigh in.
To make participation easy, Spotlight leverages WebRTC so participants can initiate video chat directly through their browser instead of needing to download a plugin or work from a specific platform or service. This makes participation exceedingly easy.
TokBox also has made development and customization easy, as well as producer workflow. Spotlight is easy to embed into web sites and smartphone applications, and customizing the user interface is easy.
Spotlight’s producer dashboard also makes it easy to control and mix together video. Producers can create high-quality, TV-ready content with built-in recording capabilities to distribute and share via various social media outlets.
TokBox’s Spotlight is an intriguing use of real-time communications as applied to broadcast television, one that makes sense and points the way for the future of TV. We know TV is evolving and getting more closely knit with the Internet, but so far we haven’t seen much in the way of true integration between the Internet and broadcast TV. Spotlight, however, could be an early foray in the direction of more completely integrated broadcast TV.