Note: This is a sponsored post. Samsung has asked SBNation's bloggers to post on the theme of "Enhance Your Experience" regarding the application of technology to sports fandom. Bloggers were not obligated to participate in the campaign, and were given broad freedom as to the actual contents of the post.
We've done some brainstorming about technology and sports viewing around these parts before. You'll recall that 18 months back I went to a meeting with Microsoft folks in Redmond to discuss this very topic. In fact, Citizen John R recently recalled that trip in a FanShot linking some other new sports/technology initiatives.
Personally, I've been awaiting the merger of the computer and television screens for a couple decades now. Certainly the most tech savvy among us have been accessing computer applications from TV screens, and/or watching TV on their computers, for many years now. But for the vast majority of consumers, these remain largely distinct domains.
The key of course would be to do more than simply transfer the entire display. If I have the ability to watch the game on my laptop, or read email on my TV, it gives me more displays to use for those purposes, but it hasn't really, as Samsung might phrase it, enhanced my experience - it's just relocated my experience.
I must admit, that I know precious little about an application like ESPN Next Level, which is available on new Samsung TVs (or so it would seem based on the ubiquitous ads). I'd love to know more about what the Next Level app actually does, but the information I've found is pretty vague. On the Samsung website, there's no description that I could find, only a series of screen shots with Eli Manning's mug. Not real helpful. Here's the description from the Best Buy web site: "The ESPN Next Level app delivers sports news, picks for the day's games and stats, including number crunching for football fanatics. Also, get access to select ESPN Insider content."
Stats is the real key there of course, but the description almost makes it sound like a separate app, not actually integrated with a game broadcast. That's too bad, and it's the logical next step. When I'm watching the game in real time, I have my lap top open and a box score and play by play up at all times. I don't want to wait for the announcers to tell me how many rebounds Blake Griffin has, and why should I? These types of stats, accessible on the same screen, would be invaluable. I envision a picture-in-picture type of interface, where the box score (or some other information you want) can be expanded or shrunk using your remote.
One thing we discussed the last time is that to be really useful, this information would eventually need to understand time-shifting. If I'm watching the game on the DVR after it's over, the last thing I want is the final box score. Ideally, any statistical features would be synced to the time stamp on the DVR play back and the stats as of that point in time. I can almost guarantee that such a feature won't be available until the Next Next Level (at least), but that's when it gets interesting.
What do you citizens do to "Enhance Your Experience" using technology? Obviously a lot of you have the blog running during games and chat with other fans, and that would be an obvious add on to the TV experience. Mobile access is another huge area for technology, and advancements are taking place continually there. What else?