September 18, 2012, 8:30 AM — Just yesterday I was talking about how Nintendo's TVii isn't quite as magical as Nintendo made it out to be in its recent press event. Even as I was writing that post, Shazam was announcing that it is moving into the TV space in a big way.
Until now, Shazam has primarily been a music discovery app. You hear a song playing, fire up Shazam which listens for a few seconds and then tells you what the song is, where you can buy it and so on. It's a pretty neat trick.
Now Shazam wants to also be your "TV Companion App." In the same way that you tap the app to listen to music, you can tap it to listen to something on the TV and identify what you're watching. Once it does that, it offers you a bunch of info about the show. That information might include a listing of the cast, trivia or news about the actors or the show, information about any songs that are part of the show's soundtrack, links to sites such as IMDB, wikipedia or the show's official website, and social connections such as a twitter feed for shows with 'official' hashtags and connections to your Facebook friends who also watch the show (while using Shazam, presumably). If you're watching sports, Shazam should show you statistics on the game you're watching.
This isn't a new idea for Shazam. There've been testing the system for a while. There've been a few shows on TV that prompt you to use Shazam in order to get access to some kinds of goodies (SyFy's Alphas series is the one I remember seeing it on). They've also been working with advertisers so that you can Shazam an ad and get...something. I've never felt the need to check it out, personally. I'm generally more concerned with getting past ads than I am with finding out more.
Part of this new functionality is available now, while some of the social stuff is 'coming soon.' In my testing I could tweet that I was watching a show, but the promised Twitter live stream wasn't there yet. According to an article over at TechCrunch, Shazam now can identify content from 160 U.S. channels, with the exception of some local programming.
So, another way for you to incorporate your tablet or smartphone into your TV watching, if that's something you feel the need to do. I still prefer talking about a show after I watch it, not during, but maybe that's just me.
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