There are plenty of apps that provide a social ‘second screen’ experience to watching TV, allowing users to check-in to TV shows, share commentary with friends, earn badges and more. But these apps don’t actually combine their social functionality with your TV guide or remote control. Enter BlinQ, a new mobile iOS app that reorders the channel lineup on your cable system into most to least popular by your location.
The app, which was developed by Ryz Media, basically reorders your channel guide from numbers to what are the most popular shows on. You can click the channel on the phone and change channel immediately from the app itself. Ryz previously launched My TV Remote, which was a earlier iteration of BlinQ.
You can also see updates on the programs your friends are watching in the moment. Viewers can not only post and view posts from other viewers within and outside of their own networks, but can also invite friends to join virtual viewing parties to watch their favorite TV shows together.
In terms of hardware, you’ll need Ryz Media’s infra-red emitter, known as the “Q”, which plugs into the headset jack of any iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad device to transform the device into a universal remote. The app is free, but the infra-red emitter costs $9.99 (including shipping).
I don’t think I’d choose to have BlinQ replace my TV Guide all together but it is certainly a technology I’d use in addition to the TV Guide or channel guide. Another drawback is that the BlinQ app shows popularity of TV shows by people who are using the app. I’d rather see popularity of TV shows by people I know and trust (i.e. some of my Facebook friends). And I wonder how hard it would be for a cable company to implement a similar experience in the channel guide; similar to a ‘what’s trending,’ by show, but for TV sets.
Though there are some flaws to BlinQ’s technology, I do think that the company is on to something that could shape the future of TV watching (for those of you who still have a cable box and haven’t cut the cord). It will be interesting to see how cable companies can or will incorporate social into cable television. We’ve already seen Comcast’s efforts with Tunerfish. The fact is that combining social with cable programming is a lot tougher than combining social with programming on the web.