Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Review of Zeebox as a SecondScreen Experience

I had heard a lot of fanfare about Zeebox from UK colleagues and even saw them claiming to be the "Google of TV" in a recent article.  Having landed in the UK for the holidays, I thought I would give it a try.  Now to be fair, I am told they curate certain shows with syncrhonized content call "ZeeTags" (currently done for "Desperate Scousewives"), but I did not get to experience that yet (will try it out next Monday).  There is also the ability for it to control the first screen for some TV's (see further below), but I am still trying to find a television set with the right OS to sample that experience as well.

The overall experience is decent, though not yet up to the hype built around it (at least as compared to other existing apps out there).  There is a guide-level UX that sorts itself by either current popularity, your friends' views of the show, or by the normal channel line-up.  Unfortunately, it only recognizes Zeebox friends vs. recognizing content your friends have liked on Facebook via other applications.

The detailed show-level view is also well done, with a quick summary of the actors and relevant links to the deeper meta data surrounding the show.  It also has a Twitter feed and provides the ability for you to comment directly during the show.  However, the UX starts to get a little ugly here are the Twitter feed does not seem to curated and literally updated about once a second when I was trying it out, making it distracting to the viewing experience (as a  comparison example, TVplus has curates the feed and promotes the "best" Tweet about every 45 seconds which is more manageable).  It does have the concept of "Live ZeeTags" which seem to populated from the audio stream, but clicking on them generally yields useless information not really relevant to the show.

Simple.  I am told that for certain TV's, the experience of having the iPad app tune directly to what you find in the guide view is a good experience.  If I get it working, I will update the blog.  Low to Medium.

Social.  While there is a good attempt at integrating Twitter and Facebook, the UX of that capability has a ways to go.  It needs to be able to recognize your Facebook friends regardless of their sign-up for the app (same with content likes) and the Twitter feed needs to be curated (and if possible, recorded from the live broadcast so there are no spoilers).  Medium.

Seamless.  There is currently no feature that integrates anything but the live TV guide of your provider (Free to air, cable, satellite).  None.

Stimulating.  There is at least one currently synchronized show ("Desperate Scousewives"), an attempt at Live Zee Tags for relevant information, some more detailed information and links about the cast & crew, etc.  It is no where near the level of Fanhattan yet, but heading in the right direction.  Medium.

Discovery.  I did not see evidence of a real discovery feature, but there was some rudimentary genre filtering based on friends recommendations, etc.  None to Low.

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