What are second screen apps?
They're an emerging type of app that run on your smartphone or tablet and allow you to interact with what you're watching on TV.
Last month, we blogged about Microsoft's NUads interactive TV concept, which allows you to interact with TV programming via the Xbox 360 Kinect. But second screen apps make the process a lot easier.
"Over 2011, second screen apps have continued their push into the living room," writes Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb.com. Watching TV used to be a passive activity, but now the Web and devices like Android phones and the iPad have made it interactive."
A January 2011 Yahoo! poll found that 86% of mobile Internet users used their mobile device while watching TV. Of those, 25% browse content related to the show they're watching.
I'm one of those people. If I like a song playing on a TV show and I don't know what it is, I'll Shazam it immediately. If I forget an actor's name on screen, I IMDB the movie I remember him from.
But what are some second screen apps that people are using?
- GetGlue is a "social TV" app with over 1 million users that allows you to "check in" to a TV show you like and talk about the show with other people watching it.
- Twitter is where a lot of the real-time social networking happens around TV shows.
- WiO lets TV viewers get information about products and services advertised on screen, both in commercials and the TV shows themselves.
Internet TV offerings like Google TV, Roku and Boxee also connect to second screen apps. "It's worth noting that these services are steadily eroding the audience of cable television, so in that sense they are becoming increasingly important to second screen apps," writes MacManus.
Since I'm already using the mobile web to interact with what I'm watching on TV, I'm interested to see what second screen apps become more popular in the coming months and maybe give them a try.