In a sign of things to come for interactive television, DirecTV will offer multiple screen options to viewers of the Masters Golf Tournament in April. DirecTV subscribers will be able to select up to four different camera views through their remote control. The camera view options will be located on a “Masters Mix” channel, where subscribers can select the view of their choice in real time. Both HD and SD feeds will be offered. DirecTV will also be offering an interactive leader board “widget”, where viewers can access scores and stats, a top five leader board, Masters trivia and Tournament history by clicking on a small menu icon that appears on each channel.
These developments offer a glimpse into the promise of interactive television, and the competitive differentiation it can bring. DirecTV is being creative with this option, by “simply” providing different broadcast options (ESPN, CBS), a highlight channel, and continuous coverage of two separate course holes, all simultaneously. The “holy grail” for this type of sports broadcast interactivity will be multiple camera angles, where subscribers can change the camera angle on the fly, acting as their own director. We’re a long way off from that, but at least DirecTV is making baby steps in that direction. DirecTV does similar interactive broadcasts with NASCAR. Competing service providers should take notice. It’s these types of features that may well provide the differentiation that they’ll need to effectively compete.