Short messaging service on the networked television environment : a thesis presented to the academic faculty under the supervision of Dr Hokyoung Ryu in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Information Systems, Massey University, March 2007

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Massey University
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Television has long been a source of entertainment for the population. Recently, with the advent of interactive television (iTV), new features have been added to the current TV viewing experience to extend its experience in a more interactive way. For instance, subscribers to iTV now have access to information including sports news and information about the weather. They can also play along with their favourite game shows and cast votes. Shopping through TV is now a reality, with phone operators being replaced in favour of handling orders straight through an iTV application. The iTV feature that this study focuses on is the communication activity between iTV viewers. TV viewers have traditionally communicated during and after TV programmes, using the contents of programmes to fuel discussions and maintain relationships. They might communicate face-to-face if they happen to be watching TV in the same location, or they might use appliances like the telephone as they are geographically distant. People now have the ability to communicate in real time through the TV thanks to iTV technology. This research consists of developing an application called TxtTV that offers this feature of real-time communication through the sending of instant messages. Evaluation of the new iTV application was carried out by having people try out the application and also trying to communicate using the telephone and mobile phone while viewing a TV program. Usability data was collected then from a survey that asked about how the participants felt about the new application, a quiz on the TV programme contents to test understanding and a survey to measure cognitive workloads. This data was used to make two investigations into the usability and usefulness of the TxtTV application compared to the telephone and mobile phone. The resulting analysis indicates that TxtTV or communicating in general using text messages through the television is a viable feature that could be important in the development in future iTV applications. A couple of paradoxes do arise and generally indicate that there are usability issues that have to be solved. Yet, the results are encouraging for human-to-human communication while watching TV.
Text messages (Telephone systems), Interactive television