Becoming interactive, TV is replacing traditional ‘passive’ TV platform through the increase of active participation by the viewers, substantially influencing people’s experience with television and their TV-related social behaviour.
However, during recent years industry continuously failed to understand and forecast users’needs and expectations in sectors which are normally characterised by innovation-driven approaches such as iTV. Many companies developed programs and applications for iTV (or prototypes for interactive cinema) using inappropriately ICT resources that imply massive modifications in users’ habits and perceptive/cognitive overload. Consequently, the market’s response to investments in developing new products and applications for iTV and interactive cinema has not been positive to date.
On the other hand, users’ adoption of powerful handhelds with multimedia features together with an increasing interoperability between platforms (making communications pervasive) is resulting in expanding the iTV consumption beyond the domestic context (mobile iTV is already operating in Europe, USA, Canada and South Korea). However, we envisage that the future of mobile and pervasive iTV and that of pervasive multimedia systems in general cannot just be traditional content broadcast on handhelds in the format we know it now. It will be crucial instead to take advantage of all the potentiality of mobile phones not only as highly creative and interactive multimedia tools but also in terms of mobility, context awareness and sociability. Mobile phones are suitable interfaces for contextualized applications, that is, services which are correlated to the specific user experience. This feature might compensate the intrinsic limitations of this small device (screen size, data transmission and processing speed autonomy and memory) if compared to traditional multimedia interfaces such as TV and PC.
Moreover, recent technological advances in new areas such as Virtual Reality, interactive environments (spaces and installations mediated by information and communications technology) and other immersive environments open new possibilities for the development of new digital and interactive media and therefore deserve to be exploited further.