Interactive TV Wish List

NOON -- Over the past couple of weeks, I've had the opportunity to see live demos from both AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) of some of the interactive services they have planned for their TV offerings. (See AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks and Verizon Previews FiOS Future.) So, borrowing an idea from The Philter, here are five interactive services I didn't see that I would want as a subscriber to U-verse or FiOS TV.

  1. Interactive Ratings: Not that there's any practical use for this, but I think it'd be really cool to see stats on how many subscribers in my neighborhood or city are watching the same program as I am. Or see a top ten list of what everyone is currently watching. I guess that's the nosy side of me talking.

  2. Interactive Sports: I know DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) has a very limitted version of this, but while watching a sporting event, I'd like to be able to retrieve whatever game-relevant stats I'd want on-demand. If Derek Jeter steps up to the plate in a big spot, I'd want to be able to push a button on my remote and see every stat there is on him, including what supermodel he's currently making it with. Also, networks have dozens of cameras aimed at the field when covering a game -- shouldn't I be able to watch the game through whichever one I want and not whichever one the producer chooses?

  3. This is quite simple, and not really interactive, but I'd want to be able to set my own channel lineup. The only channels I watch with any regularity are CNBC, ESPN, CNN/Fox News, regional sports channels, and Seinfeld re-runs on TBS. So why can't I make those channels 1-5 on the set-top box?

  4. Customizeable news tickers: I really hate the tickers that news networks are obsessed with running at the bottom of the screen. They almost never show information that is relevant to the individual watching the program. So why can't I tell CNBC which stocks I want scrolling across the bottom of my screen for all eternity? Or tell ESPN that I feel the Devil Rays should be contracted from MLB -- I sure as hell don't need to know whether or not they beat the Royals and which no-name pitcher won the game. Or better yet, why can't I watch ESPN or that Seinfeld re-run and have my CNBC stock ticker at the bottom of the screen?

  5. A more intelligent DVR: It's nice that I can have my DVR record a Seinfeld re-run every time it airs. But I want to to be more specific. Sometimes I'll flick a channel mid-program and see something really interesting to me, but wish I could have caught the rest of it. Why can't I tell my DVR to record that exact episode the next time it airs on any network?

Got any bright ideas of your own? Do you love or hate some of mine? Let us know on the boards below.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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