Live Experimental Interactive Television

Shawn Van Every
Fall 2011
Tuesdays 6:30 to 9:00

Important Resources:

Syllabus (this page):


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:

Tuesday from 3:00PM 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: Senior Director, Advanced Video Strategy Time Warner Cable and founder of CableDev
Single Screen Interactive Television - Cable Industry Efforts
Mobile Phone/SMS Based Interaction
Week 2 Notes
Write a blog entry getting down some of your thoughts after the talk with Will Kreth.
Working in groups, come up with 3 ideas that use SMS to allow viewers "interact" with a 5 minute program. You'll be producing one of the ideas for homework due on week 4. Groups are listed here:

Week 3

PHP 101
Mobile Phone/SMS Based Interaction Continued
With your group from last week, execute the idea that you came up with that you like the best. It should be a 5 minute program that allows viewers to iteract via SMS. I would use "canned" media (produce it yourself or pull it in from somewhere online).

Week 4

Guest: Jury Hahn and Mark Yackanich from Megaphone
Show SMS Projects
Critique your project from last week. Explain it, describe what portions were successful, which weren't? How could those that aren't be fixed?

Week 5 - October 4

Two Screen Interactive Television
Using AJAX for Synchronous 2-Screen Content, Live Chat and More
Week 5 Notes
Working in your groups, build a web (could be mobile web) interface to allow viewers "interact" with a 5 minute program. We will be running these programs in class week 6 (October 18). (Groups listed here:

No Class - Fall Break - October 11

Week 6 - October 18

Show Two Screen Projects
Using Max/MSP/Jitter as video platform
Remote Video Aquisition using Flash
  • Critique your project from this 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 7 - October 25

    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 8 - November 1

    Midterm Assignment Presentations
    Interactive Netword Objects
    Final Project Group Formation
    MNN Facilities Tour

    Week 9 - November 8

    Final Broadcast Workshop - MNN Studio Training

    Week 10 - November 15


    Week 11 - November 22

    Live Broadcast (Group 1)

    Week 12 - November 29

    Live Broadcast (Group 2)

    Week 13 - December 6

    Live Broadcast (Group 1)

    Week 14 - December 13

    Live Broadcast (Group 2)