Do you want Twitter on your TV?


For more than a decade manufacturers have been trying to bring the Internet to the television. And while many ventures have been quite meaningful (online gaming, video streaming), most text-based content has been out of place. In most cases, it’s just not suitable for the 10′ lean-back, couch-based experience. Not only can it be hard to read (and type), somehow it also seems to be lacking intimacy. But that hasn’t stopped both Verizon FiOS TV and the Xbox 360 from bringing Twitter and Facebook to their platforms. While I’m all over Twitter (and struggle with Facebook), I just don’t have much use for this. Am I alone?

21 thoughts on “Do you want Twitter on your TV?”

  1. A better use of Internet content and connectivity, other than the obvious video and gaming services, that many folks have suggested over the years is a way to easily share TiVo suggestions or Now Playing lists, etc. Perhaps Twitter could be one mechanism to get that done along with a URL shortening service that allows me to add your show recommendations to my queue. Hm.

  2. I don’t want twitter, facebook or any other social network on my TV. But I could see some sort of use for integrated instant messaging or “games” during live events. Say during your favorite reality TV show IM’ing back and forth to make the show less boring :) Or perhaps an armchair QB game during a live football game ala NTN.

    But I don’t see a need for twitter or anything else like that on my TV most of the time. I have enough distractions as it is and the laptops in our laps during shows handle that much better really.

  3. So I thought that I would love it when Verizon FIOS came to the set top box. Well, not so fast. The Twitter and Facebook widgets are there and you can access them after giving a DNA sample but Verizon missed the mark.

    Instead of making it an integrated experience while you are watching your favorite programs – it’s a painful experience. Granted I only used it twice but that was enough. I was watching True Blood and wanted to comment through the Twitter widget but was unable to. All I could do was watch the public time line.

    With that said – Verizon does not offer you a keyboard of some sort of input device. The remote that ships with FIOS is a very poor substitute. I just don’t think Verizon thought this through or they just don’t get it.

  4. This hasn’t hit my Xbox yet. What happens when you click on a link to a website on the 360? Or are those links disabled?

    Obviously you’d need the Xbox 360 keyboard for this to work. If my 360 ever became as central to my living room as my TiVos are, and if I had that little keyboard, I could see myself using it. More likely I’d use it in a TiVo that had a browser included.

    The thing is, you never know what people will come up with. I like the idea of it being there as an option to see what happens.


  5. Hmm, maybe not twitter specifically, but I kinda do want Growl on my TV. In fact, since my TV is hooked up to a Mini, I often have it. Just need the DVR to play along.

  6. Zandr, the Xbox 360 has a Growl-like feature in optionally flashing alerts when friends come on, achievements that have been reach, etc. Usually it’s pretty cool, sometimes it can be distracting (like when watching a movie).

    What DVR software do you run from your Mini? I’ve contemplated the Mini as a TV solution a few times, but not sure EyeTV is suitable for primary DVR functions. But if everything (like Hulu and Boxee) also plugged into Front Row nicely, I’d feel more comfortable with it.

    Dale, I think we’re still a few weeks away from the Xbox Twitter & Facebook release. They did confirm it’s going to be a Gold option. Not a problem for online gamers who already pay the $50/yr, but they’re obviously trying to expand the allure and audience of Live.

  7. God help us if we had Twitter on our TV. I guess I’m old now or something, but Twitter is the most useless bit of technology to hit in a long time. Why do I care about what you’re wearing, where you’re dining, or when the cable guy is coming to your house?

    Fad, man. We’ll look back at this in 5 (1?) years and realize how ridiculous the whole thing was.

    Oh, and no, not on my TV please. Even if I can easily avoid it.

  8. No, no, no, no. Did I mention NO? I don’t even like twitter on my computer, I sure don’t want it showing up on my TV.

  9. I dont know that I agree with John or Frank…I think like Dave said, the ability to share TiVo Suggestions or new season passes etc would be an amazing feature for TiVo/Twitter to bring them into the social networking

  10. This idea seems like it may be a few steps ahead of the adoption curve. Look at the Digital Transition and the amazing number of U.S. households that were still stuck in the analog wasteland with rabbit ears. Look at the number of businesses that misunderstand and misuse social networking because they think it is the silver bullet that will kill their business demons. While it’s a neat concept that may end up hitting the scene in the not too distant future, we could probably keep improving some of the basics in the viewer experience before brief gratuitous messages join the ranks of programming.

  11. Frank, you might want to look at Twitter again. You are regaling us all on what John Stewart says Twitter is, not what it actually is. Fire it up and follow Dave, myself and the rest of the ZNF crew and I guarantee you you’ll never see us tweet about clothes, what we are eating etc. We tweet about tech. For the same reason you read ZNF, you’ll find Twitter equally engaging for following your passions, interests and hobbies – if you follow the right people that is.

  12. Frank, look at Dave’s ‘Twitter Microblog’ section in the column to the right (scroll up a bit). That’s what Dave has most recently posted on Twitter. Do you see him mentioning what he is eating or wearing? ;)

  13. ramon – The FiOS twitter app has been improved since it first came out, try it again. It now works well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one wants to use it.

    If you have a laptop or a PC by your TV, then it’s probably not your cup o’ tea, but I could see it being handy for families with only 1 PC at home or other non-early adopter settings.

  14. I have Twitter via the DirecTV widgets and really enjoy it. I don’t use Twitter to follow “friends” as much as I use it for a news source. Before a game I can see who’s starting, I can check the local news, I also can get an update via DirecTV’s twitter if anything is new or coming. I can check wtih my local homeowners asoc has any upcoming events I should be aware of. I think Twitter has somewhat had a bad name becuase it gets lumped in with facebook and myspace, when in truth I don’t think it’s anything like either of those. You only need to look at the CA fires happening, you can follow local fire depts or even Cal Fire and get quick updates.

  15. Text on the TV never works. That is the whole problem with all those programs for internet on the TV. Twitter is for phones.

  16. Dale, I think you took my comments a little too personally. While Dave was rambling about his cable cards or tech or something, there are -plenty- of folks who post nonsense.

    So you don’t? Great. But I have this wonderful tool called the ‘internet’ and also ‘RSS Feeds’. I can read what I want, when I want. I’ve seen this microblog or whatever you call it, and I hate to break it to you, but there’s nothing in there so monumental that I MUST know immediately. Dave wants some True Blood episodes? Riveting!

    He does mention twittering about his meals, I assume in a light-hearted jab at these comments, (maybe not), but even so, why on earth do I need to know what Dave is thinking? Being interested in a tech blog and having a psychotic infatuation with you or Dave are two different things.

    Look, nothing personal, but

  17. PS – not sure where that ‘Look, nothing personal, but’ line came from, but I was done ranting/replying….. (why don’t you Tweet or Twit or whatever about this comment system…..)

  18. Frank, it was. ;) I read every ZNF comment. And over the weekend I was really tempted to tweet a picture of celery root from a restaurant. I had no idea it was a food item. I respect your perspective and desire to abstain. To each their own. (And I used to feel the same as you. Melissa still does, finds it entirely ridiculous that I use it and that thousands of people care what random 140 character thought I have.)

    A few years back I used to post links of interesting stories on ZNF which I didn’t have time to cover or were slightly off topic – Twitter has filled that role for me. Regarding True Blood, you can’t buy episodes. I was a subscriber of HBO at the old place, I’m a subscriber at the new place. And the only option to get the episodes I missed while transitioning service is by “stealing” them from BitTorrent. I don’t care enough to blog it yet, the tweet was sufficient (though probably unclear) for now and related to ZNF topics.

  19. I do not see the use of twitter. Or why it has become such a big thing. I can not go to a webpage anymore without seeing a twitter logo or follow us on twitter. It is very annoying to me. I do not see the use of twitter on tv.

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