The remote control has long played a central role in territorial battles waged in living rooms around the world. Yet this once fundamental entertainment tool is gradually being usurped by a bevy of shiny new apps that promise TV control and much, much more, all from the convenience of your mobile handset. This month saw SkyGo's new iPad app join the burgeoning ranks of TV technologies providing audiences around the globe with truly customisable TV experiences.
Sky's new tablet app allows its customers to control their TVs with their iPad, letting them pause and rewind shows, review their TV planner and add or delete shows without affecting the action on their TV. Whilst not the most sophisticated app on the market, its arrival is testimony to our growing appetite for a tailored entertainment experience and the two-screen viewing phenomenon.
This year Samsung estimates it will sell more than 22 million Smart TVs and around 20 percent of televisions shipped by manufacturers in Q1 had smart functionality, yet SmartTV's are just one part of a wider content revolution. While our 40 inch flat screen TV remains the best screen in our home, our mobile smart devices lets us pocket content and take it with us through the day and experience media in entirely new ways.
Take the aurasma app Aurasma for instance, this augmented reality app transforms our experience of static content, by serving users with video content that corresponds to a normal image. So for example, if you're reading a newspaper and spot a picture of Mo Farrah's Olympic victory, by hovering over the image with the app your phone would spring to life and serve you with the footage of the corresponding race.
Whilst these new apps will transform the way we interact with content in the years ahead, in all honestly we're probably a few years away from truly laying the remote control to rest. As it stands, both manufacturers and broadcasters have taken a largely siloed and protectionist approach to liberating content and truly putting users in the driving seat. Currently you need separate apps to access content on the various channels, one console to stream content from LoveFilm, another to access NetFlicks and the list goes on.
However, for those looking to dabble in a bit of mobile TV interaction, below is a selection of the apps vying for your attention in 2012:
1. View21 - This app isn't on the market yet, but it will allow you to view shows recorded on the company's forthcoming Freeview+ HD box on an iPad or iPhone screen.
2. Crackle - Sony's rival to Netflix this free app lets you watch film and TV from Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems and Sony Pictures.
3. Twonky Beam - Another free app that lets you liberate your media from the confines of the handset or web browser by beaming video or music to any web-enabled TV, media player (like Apple TV) or speaker.
4. Eye TV Mobile - This app needs to be used in conjunction with an EyeTV device, but it lets you watch, pause, rewind and record up to 8 hours of live TV on your Apple device, without needing an internet connection.
5. Zeebox - Not strictly a TV app, more of a social media programme that lets you check out what you're friends are watching, share your opinions and enter competitions.
Follow Rick E. Schwartz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/twonky