One of the great promises of Internet TV is the ability to facilitate real-time conversations about what we're watching right alongside the show itself. Social media apps help connect TV viewers with a larger audience, well beyond the living room, so to speak. By checking in and talking to other viewers and fans, particularly right as we're watching, we're able to share our reviews and recommendations - not to mention, our banter and commentary - in ways that help increase our enjoyment and engagement with what we watch.
Here are some of our recommendations for apps to make your TV viewing more social.
This post was brought to you by Samsung Electronics America. The amount and types of Apps available on Samsung Smart TVs vary depending on TV Technology and Model. Make sure to check www.samsung.com/apps to see a complete list of apps available on Samsung Smart TVs and which apps are available on specific models. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Samsung Electronics or its partners.
GetGlue is a service that allows users to check in while watching TV shows and movies (as well as while reading books and listening to music). GetGlue's apps also allow you to "like" and review these shows, and the service blends both semantic technology with human curation to help you discover new movies and TV shows based on your preferences. GetGlue has grown rapidly this year, with over 10 million check-ins per month, giving the service a sizable user population and likely an active following for the shows you watch.
Tunerfish is Comcast's social TV startup, a social discovery engine for TV, movies, and online video. Tunerfish asks you "what are you watching?" and then uses that data to help you and your friends find shows to watch. Tunerfish not only makes it easy to engage in conversations about a show, its social recommendations help viewers escape from endless channel-surfing in the hopes of finding something.
Philo lets you connect with your friends around TV viewing, so you can see what others are watching and saying about shows. The app - available for Web, Android and iPhone - lets you check in or tune in to TV programs, then discuss shows in a Twitter-like newsfeed while you're watching. The app shows what's trending with friends to help with discovery. And you can determine via the app when those shows are playing locally.
Fanvibe is a social networking tool geared towards sports fans. The site enhances the way you experience sporting events by providing real-time scores and game highlights. As with many of these other apps, you can check in to sports games. But arguably one of the key things about Fanvibe is its devotion solely to sports. And as such, the social network is a great place to cheer on your team with other fans, and of course, trash talk those on opposing teams.
TV is often denigrated as passive and solitary, but our television viewing habits have always had an active, social component. Until recently, this has often taken place "around the water-cooler," as we discuss prime-time TV at work the next morning. Although the Internet has long provided a place for fans of certain shows to participate in online forums and message boards, social media has made this even easier. New apps that are integrated with or designed to run alongside TV are poised to make our viewing even more social.
Illustration by hberends