Predictions for 2011 – 1. Home entertainment embracing the second screen

So, the naugties are over and we’re heading straight into 2011. Over the next five days, I’m going to writing about what I think will be the next big tech trends this coming year.

1. Home entertainment embracing the Second screen

CES 2011 has already seen titles like “tablet wars“. The iPad has made the tablet form factor /the/ latest gadget to have back in 2010, and this year, a whole pile of Windows and Android based tablets are coming out making them even cheaper and more accessible. What does this mean? Well, most people have commented on how iPads are the perfect sofa companion. Its pretty common nowadays that for people to watch tv and use a computing device at the same time, and here is where I think home entertainment will rise to a whole new level. At MEX in Nov, I saw a presentation by Sofafantics – a startup helping to connect fans watching football matches. They wanted to make watching football at home more social: creating a public space where fans could comment on a match as well as providing a semi-private space for friends to comment too. A few years ago this would have been seen as absurd, but now, with smartphones and social networking, the entertainment business has never been more social. In fact, one of my favourite things during X Factor last year was to log into facebook and twitter during the performances to read other people’s reactions.

Another non-social example of the innovative use of the second screen was in the show ‘This American Life’. The iPad app which accompanied the series sync-ed when the theme music was playing, and provided the viewer with information about the characters and side plots to enrich the story. Often these devices were used to create irony, or suspense or to provide more background information in other to further flesh out the storyline.

The second screen in the home has the potential to provide a richer, even more engaging medium for content creators. This year, I think TV companies will start embracing the second screen as a way to further engage audiences, especially at a time where TV advertising is falling.

Tune in tomorrow for the next trend: Gamification of everything …

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