SANTA CLARA, Calif.--One of the biggest problems for those interested in talking online about their favorite TV shows is the fact that few people watch live anymore.
What often happens instead is that conversations on Facebook, Twitter, or other online social services tend to take place even as some people are trying desperately not to come across spoilers before they watch their programs on TiVo or some other digital video recorder. And at the same time, conversations are disjointed and usually don't help fans get the best and latest information about shows they love.
These are some of the problems that the founders of a new service called Fav.tv, which is showcasing its offering at Demo Fall here this week, are trying to solve with their new platform, a custom social network built around television and geared towards connecting friends who share an interest in programs like "Entourage," "Glee," "Heroes," or just about any other.
With Fav.tv, users can see several things: first, a personalized TV guide that lists all upcoming episodes for shows they've said they like; lists of the shows that their friends are watching, whether or not they've seen them live or recorded; and discussion lists on which they can talk with friends and others about their favorite programs.
Fav.tv allows users to take part in discussion threads that bring in comments from their friends and others about specific shows, as well as relevant news articles about those programs. Each show gets its own thread, and users' posts made on the Fav.tv site--made using a Twitter-like interface--are filtered by show thanks to a system that looks for keywords related to individual programs.
So, for example, if a user posted something along the lines of "Loved eight seasons of Vince and the gang, will miss Entourage now that it's over," Fav.tv's system will automatically show that post, and any responses, in the service's "Entourage" channel. The service will also pull in a wide variety of articles, videos, teasers, and just about anything else related to "Entourage" and add them to the channel.
The idea here is that TV fans will look for and follow channels on the shows they like. And because the system lets users select episodes of a show that they've seen already, it is kind to those who haven't yet seen an episode by offering a "spoiler alert" symbol about any piece of content that would tip off unwanted plot points.
And while the service has been running a private Web-based beta since earlier this year, it is now ready to launch iOS and Android apps that allow users to control the service from their mobile devices.
Fav.tv is hoping that it can develop partnerships with content owners based on the fact that the data it collects on its users could be useful to networks and studios interested in finding out how people watch their shows. Indeed, while the company hasn't yet said who it is--or will be--partnering with, it is hoping that such deals could be a key source of revenue.
That's important, because Fav.tv, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., and which has six employees, is currently self-funded.