Live Experimental Interactive Television

Shawn Van Every
Spring 2010
Tuesdays 6:30 to 9:00

Important Resources:

Syllabus (this page):
Listserv: | Subscribe


What happens when interactive technology is used live by hundreds or even thousands of individuals simultaneously? How do you create engaging and interactive content through television which is traditionally a passive, lean back medium? Through this class, we will be exploring those questions by developing live television shows. In the first part of the semester we will do a series of experiments using emerging technology for audience interaction with live broadcast content: sms, chat, phone calls, video conferencing, networked objects and the like. Particular attention will be paid to how these technologies may be used in the context of a live show with a large audience. The second portion of the semester will be centered around the development of a live program from concept to broadcast and beyond. Students will be working in small groups to develop and produce a live broadcast television show.

Weekly Breakdown

Week 1 through 6

Explore technology for interaction with live TV: SMS, Mobile Web, Web Chat, IM, Live Video Feeds, Call-in, Network connected objects

Week 8 through 10

Live show development: Show concept development, Television production, technology development and integration, Rehearsal

Week 10 through 14

Live Broadcasts on Manhattan Public Access


Office Hours:

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:00PM to 5:00PM


25% Assignments
25% Class Participation/Attendance
25% Final Project
25% Midterm Assignment

Assignments and Blog:

We will have weekly assignments that are relevant to the previous weeks material. Assignments must be documented (descriptions, photos, screen shots, code, thoughts, and so on) on your blog (see below). They are required and turning in an assignment late will adversely affect your grade.

It is expected that everyone in the class will create and maintain a blog for their assignments as well as other related material. You are welcome to reuse an existing blog but please make it clear which entries are for this course (perhaps with a category). If you don't have a domain or feel comfortable installing your own blog software, feel free to utilize the blogging software that ITP has setup here:

Mid-Term Assignment:



This class is very participatory in nature and discussions will certainly take place outside of the classroom. The primary vehicle for these discussions (as well as administrative issues) will be the listserv. You are required to join.

Final Project - Live Broadcast

Class will culminate with final group projects in the form of a live television broadcast. We have 4 half hour broadcast slots at the end of the semester. Each group will use one of them. Other students in the class will be required to assist in the production of the program.

Being that this is a group project, it will be difficult to work on a thesis project as the final project for this class. Combinations with other classes that you are taking (aside from thesis) are encouraged.

Class Participation

This class will be highly participatory, you are expected to contribute to discussions and give feedback to other students. This (along with attendance) is 25% of your overall grade.


Mandatory, unexcused absences will affect your final grade. If you are going to be absent, please let me know ahead of time if you can.


Excessive lateness will affect your grade. Don't be late.


Laptop use is prohibited while other students are presenting or during discussion. While I am lecturing you may use them for note taking or class related work. In other words, respect your fellow students and don't check your email.


There will be assigned periodic readings. Generally they will be online though occasionally I may hand out a hard copy. These readings are required and are very valuable in class discussions.


There are quite a few blogs and other websites that track the interactive industry and related things. These along with what we collectively find (use the tag itp-leit) are good starting points:
Interactive TV Today - Has a good daily newsletter
FierceIPTV - IPTV News, IP Videos, Quadruple Play, STB
Mark Cuban Weblog
Broadcast Law Blog

Weekly Rundown:

Week 1

Introductions: Discussion, Syllabus, Examples, Planning
Week 1 Notes
Watch a live television program, think about what types of interaction would work with the show. Describe how it would work and how it would influence the programming in a blog entry.

Week 2

Guest: Will Kreth: Director, Product Managment - iTV Time Warner Cable
Single Screen Interactive Television - Industry Efforts (EBIF/OCAP)
Mobile Phone/SMS Based Interaction
Week 2 Notes
Working in your groups, use SMS to allow viewers "interact" with a 5 minute program. I would use "canned" media (produce it yourself or pull it in from somewhere online).

Week 3

Two Screen Interactive Television
Using AJAX for Synchronous 2-Screen Content, Live Chat and More
Week 3 Notes
  • Critique your project from last week. Explain it, describe what portions were successful, which weren't? How could those that aren't be fixed?
  • Go through example from this week. Make it work on your setup (computer, server account, etc). Add one piece of functionality - could be design, could be database implementation, could be a modification to core functionality.
  • Checkout any 2-Screen applications that you can find for the Superbowl. Do a quick write-up on your blog.

  • Week 4

    Guest: Dan O'Sullivan
    ITP's Interactive Television History
    AJAX Synchronous Content Continued
    Week 4 Notes
  • Working in your groups, build a web interface to allow viewers "interact" with a 5 minute program LIVE. You will have to concept this program and have someone or multiple people interacting with the live audience. We will be running these programs in class next week.

  • Week 5

    Guest: Rick Mandler: Vice President, Digital Media Advertising Digital Media Group, Walt Disney
    Remote Video Aquisition using Flash
    Week 5 Notes
  • Critique your project from last week. Explain it, describe how it was successful and how it wasn't. What would you do differently next time?
  • Start brainstorming ideas for final projects. Have discussions with classmates about what interests them and what they are thinking about. Start think about who you may want to work with and bring your ideas to class next week.

  • Week 6

    Catch-Up: Remote Video Aquisition using Flash
    See Week 5 Notes
    Final Project Ideas
    Planning Live Interactive Shows
  • Midterm Assignment: Take your idea from last week and fully plan it out. Include in your planning the following elements: Script with time indications, Storyboard with time, camera, source notes, Wireframes for Audience Participation and a technical diagram on the system used for harnessing audience input. Keep in mind things such as lower thirds, intro animations and music.

  • Week 7

    Midterm Assignment Presentations
    Using Max/MSP/Jitter as output platform
    Example Max/Jitter Patch

    Week 8

    Final Broadcast Planning
    Interactive Netword Objects

    Week 9

    Final Broadcast Workshop - Facilities Tour

    Week 10


    Week 11

    Live Broadcast (Group 1)

    Week 12

    Live Broadcast (Group 2)

    Week 13

    Live Broadcast (Group 3)

    Week 14

    Live Broadcast (Group 4)