Last week at the 2012 NAB Show in Las Vegas, talk of "the second screen" was everywhere — from the opening remarks of NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith to vendor press conferences, from many booth exhibits even to concession dining areas.
The second screen — a term that clumps together media tablets, such as iPads, smartphones, laptops and netbooks — it turns out is giving people a portal to a TV-related interactive experience. Sitting in front of the television holding their tablet or smartphone, millions of Americans are browsing the Web, interacting with friends on Facebook or via Twitter, or are chatting away with friends and family via instant messaging. Much of this activity is related to the show they are watching.
This phenomenon gives OTA broadcasters a long-desired, but previously unobtainable quality, albeit in a roundabout manner. The second screen opens TV to audience interactivity via the back channel of the Internet.
At NAB, the Mobile500 Alliance, one of two competing groups of broadcasters working to make Mobile DTV a reality in the United States, brought a second-generation MDTV system to the convention that melds OTA Mobile DTV reception via an iPad dongle receiver with the social media interactivity of Twitter.
In the following interview recorded at NAB, Colleen Brown, president and CEO of Fisher Communications and chairwoman of the Mobile500 Alliance, and Brian McHale, Fisher Communications VP of Technology, discuss the new system and where Mobile DTV is headed.