A Room With A View+: Ball State Launches Real-World Interactive TV Lab, Teams With Industry Players

At a time when Madison Avenue and the TV industry are still trying to get a handle on how viewers will respond and adapt to interactive TV features, a leading academic institution - Ball State University's vaunted Center for Media Design - is teaming with industry players to launch a new state-of-the-art laboratory for resting how consumer attitudes and behaviors are affected by new forms of TV.

The initiative, dubbed Viewing+, already has some high profile backers, including CBS, Time Warner, and industry interactive TV development community OEDN, and the school's Director of Insight and Research Mike Bloxham says other undisclosed media companies, advertisers and agencies are on board as well.

The breakthrough, Bloxham told MediaDailyNews is that the university has created a real-world testing environment - an actual house that is wired like a "cable head-end," capable of receiving any form of interactive TV technology or features that the Viewing+ researchers would want to test. While it may not be as natural an experience as people watching TV in their own homes, Bloxham said it's the next best thing, and that the group is looking at ways of expanding the system to cover a "wider footprint" of actual households.

To steer the initiative, Ball State has formed a Viewing+ advisory board, tapping industry expertise to guide projects and their research agenda.



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