Mobile phone network Orange entered the social TV app fray with the launch of TVcheck. But does it compete with Zeebox and Get Glue? TQS were invited to meet the team behind the app for an exclusive demo and Q & A session. Here’s what we learnt:
What is it?
TVcheck is an App for iPhones (Android and iPad versions coming soon) which enhances the live TV watching experience by allowing users to check in to their favourite programmes and connect with friends to create a “fun and social TV experience.” TVcheck currently works with 25 free-to-air channels in the UK, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
How does it work?
Now this is the clever bit. Using its unique TV image recognition technology, you simply need to point your device at the screen and TVcheck quickly and accurately recognises the television programme from your camera and registers that you have ‘checked in’ to the programme. Trust us, it’s impressive and despite numerous attempts we couldn’t fool it. No annoying buffering screen either, the recognition is almost instant.
Once you have checked in to a TV show you can make use of the app’s features to engage with what you’re watching. You can participate in live quizzes, earn badges (not dissimilar to Get Glue’s stickers) or challenge other viewers to become ‘top dog’ (TVcheck’s version of a FourSquare Mayor) of a specific programme or channel. Additionally, the app provides a seamless connection to social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter allowing you to chat and send messages about your favourite programmes while watching TV.
As well as the ‘big two’ there is also an in-app stream of commentary that you can follow and join so your entire social network don’t have to read all your thoughts on the latest episode of X-Factor.
What do you think?
We like it. However, the success or failure of this app will completely depend on the quality of the content and exprience it can add to the programme. At present, the quizzes are pretty basic and feel a bit hollow, however TVcheck launched in France last year with some pretty cool features, such as: behind the scenes footage, the chance to win tickets to the show and presenters asking their guests questions from the in-app commentary.
A couple of content ideas for UK shows we’d really like to see:
The Apprentice: Who would you fire? A simple poll that aggregates and displays results instantly.
Question Time: A live approval meter where viewer sentiment and approval is charted on the second screen.
Any other feature ideas? Would you bother with an app like this? Do you even use a second screen when watching TV?
To download the TVcheck app, visit: http://bit.ly/TVcheck_UK6
By Jamie McHale