I’m a Giants fan. I also work in the media industry. But up until Saturday, it pains me to admit that I was part of the 30% of homes that still don’t have a HDTV. Now it was a moral imperative to experience the game in the best way possible, at least from my own living room. After all, I had a responsibility to the TVB to make this some cutting edge viewing research.
The thing is, in 2012 watching the game on your living room HDTV isn’t the only “best” way to watch the game anymore. And by that I don’t mean that I didn’t spring for the full 3D TV experience. It’s bigger than that. Today, you can virtually have an “all-access” pass to the Super Bowl while still being hundreds of miles from the stadium.
So in addition to my “main” access hub to the game in all of its High Definition glory, I’m toggling my attention back and forth between not only a second screen, but a third.
First, I’ve got the NFL Mobile app on my 4G smartphone – which is streaming the game. And on my laptop, I have open NFL.com – through NBC Sports – which is also streaming. As an obvious homage to linear TV, the NFL.com feed offers “full DVR control.”
Additionally, I have another browser open to ConnecTV, the broadcaster-backed social TV site which syncs with the program that you’re watching to give you updated information about the program, along with the opportunity to interact with others who are also watching the game and are in the ConnecTV space. Naturally, I also have Facebook open, and am also monitoring Twitter.
In retrospect, I wonder if this is how air-traffic controllers feel while they’re on the job.
By my conservative estimation, I had the Super Bowl coming into my living room from six different sources. The net impact was that it had rendered watching the game – already an overstimulating event, especially when it’s “your” team involved – hyperstimulating.
Luckily, I wasn’t taking this viewing experiment on at a Super Bowl Party. This was just one man, alone with his thoughts. And six screens.
What I found out about the experience was enlightening.
First, even though each of the game sources was broadcasting/streaming live, there is a slight delay between each device. So I found myself quickly abandoning those auxiliary viewing sources in deference to my new widescreen HDTV. On their own, the digital viewing sources for free over-the-air television are each remarkable. However, “TV Everywhere” probably means “everywhere but in your living room.” This is clearly not intended as primary Super Bowl viewing – were this a party, no one’s crowding around a laptop to watch the game.
The ConnecTV experience was a good one – it was additive to the viewing experience rather than what might have been a distraction. I learned a few facts about some Super Bowl records, saw a few interesting comments along the way (after the Patriots gave up a safety on their opening possession, someone posted “Well, that will sure screw up the point spread!”), and surely would have made more than two new virtual friends had I spent more time there.
Just as I was settling in to the live social experience and about to take in halftime, my family returned from a neighbor’s Super Bowl party. My six-year-old daughter got to watch Madonna provide some moderately family-friendly viewing while I wrestled the remote and my smartphone from my toddler’s insistent grip, the computer crashed, and mayhem ensued. Halftime was now Bedtime, and I engaged with the seventh piece of technology which would be the most important one of all – the pause button on my Tivo remote.
The phone calls (ignored) and text messages (ditto) started coming in around 10:00. But it wasn’t until around 11:30 that I caught up to the rest of America and could celebrate another signature Giants nailbiter of a win. By the time I checked back in, ConnecTV had moved on, synced to the live broadcast of Jimmy Fallon by then, and I was once again just a man and his single screen.
Now there’s that last bit of unfinished TV business - just how many of us watched live, and how many more post-bedtime viewers like me would there be? Stay tuned for that final score, right after I unpause this report…
|Market||Live||Live + SD||Increase|
|1 Boston (Manchester)||53.2||56.7||7%|
|3 New York||47.8||49.7||4%|
|5 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn)||46.7||51.1||9%|
|8 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota)||45.8||49.0||7%|
|10 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn||45.3||49.6||9%|
|Market||Live||Live + SD||Increase|
|1 Boston (Manchester)||56.7||63.5||12%|
|4 Minneapolis-St. Paul||45.0||49.9||11%|
|6 New York||42.9||45.3||6%|
|7 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn)||42.2||48.4||15%|
Source: Nielsen Arianna, Live and Live+SD ratings, ranked by live rating