• 08.11.10

How iPad Could Transform the TV-Watching Experience

The TV has untapped potential as a filter for everything we buy.

How iPad Could Transform the TV-Watching Experience

TV is, in many ways, a really dumb piece of technology: If you turn on a cooking show midway, you’re lost, and it’s essentially worthless to you. If you click on a football game at the wrong time, it could take 30 minutes to get all the info you want–such as how your fantasy-football lineup is performing. And if you’re watching any other show, the real motive (what with all those commercials carefully geared to your demographic) is to sell you stuff. But you can’t buy stuff on the damn TV.


All of those problems are addressed in a MetaMirror, a concept by Dublin-based design studio Notion. The project started as a response to a behavior so common you probably don’t notice it: Watching TV, with your laptop right next to you, so that you can get additional content as the program goes along.

MetaMirror aims to make TV watching and supplemental online content into one single cuddle puddle. “We live in a post-digital landscape, where being online is as natural as breathing for the new generation of consumers,” Ian Walton, a director at Notion, tells Co.Design. “Therefore to think of new products purely from a physical point of view is not a relevant approach.”

For example, you could watch a cooking show on TV, with your iPad, which has been synced to the show that’s on. The menu on your iPad tells you exactly what’s going on, and you can click on the ingredients to make a shopping list.

Or, when you’re watching a football game, you can see stats overlaid–as well as merchandising and online betting:


During a music show, you could get album details and direct links to iTunes and Ticketmaster:

Think about it: The TV is probably the best sales tool ever invented. And yet it’s still so distant from the actual sales. We can only imagine that TV execs, seeing flagging ad revenues, are drooling over this prospect.

For a somewhat similar experiment in immersive, augmented-realty TV watching, check out this.

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.