Back in June of 2008, I wrote a post detailing a vision I had for Apple tech working with television for enhanced viewing. Well, ABC Television just released the My Generation Sync app for iPad which behaves pretty much how I imagined it. The video does a better job of explaining it than I can:
Of technical interest is how the app syncs with the show. It uses the microphone in the iPad to listen to the audio signal from the television. All shows are broadcast with an audio "watermark" which can't be heard by humans, but can be interpreted by machines. The My Generation Sync app listens for queues in that watermark and makes calls out to the network to get content (polls, character data, etc.). I am curious how this plays out in noisy environments (and would, I'm assuming, not work if you were watching with headphones), but it's an innovative use of existing channels and technology rather than requiring additional hardware or connectivity.
The only thing missing is the content/context-aware search function. My dream is becoming reality faster than I thought.