UPDATE: To hear AIL Creative Director and Research Fellow Geoffrey Long, Research Fellow Francesca Marie Smith, and Research Associate Alisa Katz's SXSW 2015 panel on the lab's New Screens findings and prototypes, click here! 

What Does It Mean to "Watch" TV? What Might It Mean to "Do" TV?

These were the two provocations that grounded the "Re-Envisioning the Home TV Experience" Think & Do event, held at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) on November 20th, 2013.  

The goal of this Think & Do workshop at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab was to come up with some solutions as to what defines the amplified experience of home entertainment. To facilitate that, we organized a day full of discussions, play, and high-speed creativity. Much of the day was loosely structured and largely shaped by the group of experts we invited to participate. In attendance were key executives from the TV business and strategy side, creators and producers experimenting with content, user experience designers and developers, and “wild cards” with an early appetite for repackaging and enhancing the television viewing experience. And as with all Think & Do workshops, USC professors, staff and students also contributed to our collaborative experience.

Ideas for possible prototypes that came out of this Think & Do included:

  • Tangible Toys. The concept here specifically focused on the use of 3D printers to provide audiences with the opportunity to experience a show and receive a ‘token’ or some tangible printable artifact upon watching content. The physical pieces would be collector’s items reserved only for fans who actually watched the show. Fans could be further incentivized to print tokens by using webcams, Kinect or other forms of machine vision to visually recognize the printed token and unlock additional VIP-type content (i.e. sneak peeks into the next week’s episode). (Note: this concept became our Spring 2014 Tangible Storytelling prototype.)
  • Google Glass POV. This group was fascinated by the idea of using Google Glass to offer complementary points of view to shows. Google Glass could break the restrictive borders of “watching” television through only one primary point of view, providing the opportunity to see a show through the lens of a secondary character or commentator-type character developed exclusively as a means of additional information. (Note: this concept became our Spring 2014 Augmented Accessibility and Augmented Storytelling prototypes.)
  • 360-Degree Stories. Participants in this group were thrilled by the possibilities of 360-degree viewing experiences with technologies like the Occulus Rift could provide for horror productions, namely FX’s original series American Horror Story. The element of surprise and suspense could be experienced first-hand with such tools. (Note: this concept became our Spring 2014 360-Degree Storytelling prototype.)
  • Emotional Wearables. With wearable technology providing new metrics associated to a person’s body and condition, opportunities for storytelling expands.  Wearables like the Jawbone Up or Fitbit might read your heart rate to determine if you will (in the show) be brave enough to go through with solving the crime or count your steps to determine if your character is physically fit enough to battle on. 



Related Materials

BRIEFING BOOK: View/Download USC Annenberg Innovation Lab's Think & Do: Re-Envisioning the Home Entertainment Experience Briefing Book, or click the image below.

RECAP: View/Download USC Annenberg Innovation Lab's Think & Do: Re-Envisioning the Home Entertainment Experience Recap, or click the image below.


Learn more about the prototypes and ideas that arose from this event:

The Edison Project: Augmented Storytelling

 The Edison Project: Tangible Storytelling

 The Edison Project: 360-Degree Storytelling

 The Edison Project: Augmenting Accessibility