June 28, 2012
The television isn't the only thing that solely maintains our attention in the living room, according to research from Deloitte.
Sitting in front of the box is now busy work, writes Rod Easdown.
WE'RE big movie fans at our place, which means there's always discussion starting with, ''Wasn't she in …'', or ''Didn't this music win an Oscar …'' and so on. And that's when we grab the iPad and go to imdb.com, getting an answer without even having to hit the pause button.
It seems we're not alone. Second-screen technology is the new buzz in home entertainment. The television is still the chief source of entertainment in Australian homes but it's no longer the only screen in the room. Figures gathered by Deloitte suggest six out of 10 of us regularly use another screen, be it a tablet, a laptop or a phone, while plopped in front of the telly. A different survey by Nielsen suggests one in five Australians will own a tablet computer by the end of the year, and 75 per cent of us will have a smartphone. ''Five years ago we thought interactive TV was one screen,'' Nielsen's Radha Subramanyam says. ''Turns out it's a second screen.''
Yet, despite plenty of complementary offerings, most frequently the content on the small screen bears no relationship with what's happening on the big one. While we're watching television we're emailing, networking, surfing and even playing. Or, to use just one word, multitasking.
The clever tech companies are on to this and are predicting an increasing reliance on small screens for entertainment. And when you think about it, what better way to catch up with the overnight Olympics results than on the train to work?
Movies? The online library Quickflix has just announced an app for downloading its content to iPhones and iPads, and will have an app for Samsung's Galaxy devices ''very shortly''.
The networks are getting into it, too, inviting audience participation in reality television shows by way of online devices.
And released just in time, the Australian brand Strong has a new and very clever video recorder that's ideal for the Olympics. It lets you watch a program on the television while simultaneously keeping an eye on another program on a tablet or smartphone.
With it you can run the overnight recording you've made from the Olympics while also catching up with the news or keeping an eye on a favourite program. It is Strong's SRT7000, a $499, 500-gigabyte, twin-tuner digital video recorder with all the normal features that can stream television to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, and stream to and from an Android.
Downloading movies from the internet gained legitimacy when Quickflix, probably the nation's best-known movie-rental company, offered the service last year. Initially it was available only with Sony televisions, although it has spread to Samsungs and Panasonics.
Online movies accessed through iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches are set for the same growth, with Quickflix making its movies available for small screens. Existing subscribers to the download service can download an app, called Quickflix Watchnow, for accessing content on Apple devices.
It's Australia's first downloadable movie and television rental service for smartphones and tablets. The company believes Australians are turning from their big TVs to portable devices to watch movies and television.