Mobui Audience Chat: Socialize while watching TV

Mobui launches an app that lets TV watchers participate in real-time conversation with one another and with the shows.

If you're a couch potato, there's now a way for you to exercise your brain and socialize, a little bit, while watching TV.

Mobui, a mobile-application developer that acquired Action Engine awhile back, announced Thursday the launch of Mobui Audience Chat.

Basically, this is a mobile app that television broadcasters and studios could utilize to engage audiences' participation in their shows in real time via their mobile phones. Think of this as how you've been voting for an American Idol, only that you now can engage in much more interactive conversations, rather than just send in your vote. Audiences can interact with the show or with one another in different chat rooms.

Mobui

The first station that's adopted Mobui Audience Chat is MTV Networks' VH1. You can use the application with popular shows "Top Chef" and "I Love Money 2."

The Mobui Audience Chat product is currently compatible with over 100 different phone models, including the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile-, Java-, and BREW-enabled devices.

Other features include:

  • Chat rooms that let broadcasters match their on-air programming schedules.
  • Celebrity-moderated chat rooms in which the audience can interact with on-air talent while the celebrity's show is airing.
  • Audience members can set up their own chat rooms and invite friends and other fans to join. You can also create personalized user profiles, select avatars, and manage friend and group lists.

This seems like something that could change the way we think about watching TV, just as voice chat changed gameplay and turned something once branded as antisocial into a social experience.

Of course, this depends a lot on how many broadcasters and studios adopt the technology in the future.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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