Interactivity and DTV Broadcasting

ALEXANDRIA, VA. — Before television went digital, there were predictions that home TVs would soon allow interactivity to allow viewers to learn more about products and even shop from their TVs.

The digital future came and went, and that level of interactivity is still not available for broadcast television. There are two new-and-improved versions of DTV broadcasting on the horizon (ATSC 2.0 and 3.0), but the focus there has been on mobile TV and 4K broadcasting, and not so much on interactivity. If you want to interact with a broadcast today, you need a second device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.

People are working on that however, and some methods of promoting interaction have been tested on broadcast TV. A new one has been created by Walt Ciciora and Ted Hartson, who have long histories in television and cable operations. Their company, SymbolShifters, developed a way to put QR codes into the broadcast stream so that they can't be seen but can be detected by smartphones and tablets. This way, your mobile device can grab the code and then reach out on the Internet to get the associated information.

Ciciora and Hartson hope to present a paper on the subject at the 2015 NAB Show. In the meantime, you can get more information on the topic by clicking this link.

Bob Kovacs

Bob Kovacs is the former Technology Editor for TV Tech and editor of Government Video. He is a long-time video engineer and writer, who now works as a video producer for a government agency. In 2020, Kovacs won several awards as the editor and co-producer of the short film "Rendezvous."