Some people watch television with a bowl of popcorn at their side, while others curl up with a blanket. Others still can't turn on the tube without their smartphone, laptop or tablet in their hands so they can Tweet and read others' Tweets as the action unfolds on the big screen.
But what about those time-shifted viewers - those Netflix and DVR devotees - who watch their shows at a different time but still want to see all those Tweets? TweePLayer offers a way to "take part in great online conversations synced with videos of your favorite events hours or years later, just like you were chatting live."
Watching TV while keeping track of Twitter isn't even just about talking with friends and strangers anymore. Not only are regular people tweeting about the show, but networks have taken to having in-show characters tweeting, in real-time, in an attempt to keep their viewers real-time too. It's an attempt to keep up viewer numbers and advertising dollars. (We explored how Glee does this and what it means earlier this year.)
TweePLayer records conversations around TV shows, sporting events, political speeches and more and allows users to play them back at their convenience. The service launched last month at SXSW and already has more than 9 million tweets for more than 5,000 conversations about TV shows and events.
How does it work? TweePLayer founder Mick Darling says there are a number of use cases, from podcasts to YouTube (which the service will sync to automatically) but that the most obvious user is the DVR home user.
"They missed a TV show, say Glee, and now want to watch it a day later on their DVR. The load it up on their DVR and load up that episode on TweePLayer and hit play at the same time," explained Darling. " As the DVR is playing and the TweePLayer stream of tweets that was harvested during the showings the previous night is playing the user may decide to tweet about a particular moment. They tweet using TweePLayer and we send that out to Twitter, soon with a bit.ly link back to the conversation, and we file the relative time of the tweet with regard to the TV show. So now the next person that watches that episode of Glee, using TweePLayer to follow the conversation, will see the new tweet from the first person."
Could TweePlayer have a future with Internet TV adopters? If networks continue to push Tweets around content, and that content can be time-shifted, it seems like a natural evolution that the Tweets also be time-shifted. What do you think? Are you interested enough in the Tweets to want to see them later?
Darling says he hopes to integrate TweePLayer with providers like Hulu, Viacom and Disney and "having TweePLayerwhite box players on their sites integrated with their viewer APIs so that no manual playing and time adjustment is required."
This could be a win for Twitter, networks, content producers and users alike.