The Antiques Roadshow gets even more interactive

Published February 28, 2013

Disappointingly, I wrote this post last month and - thanks to having to get the screen captures off the iPad and general forgetfulness - have only just remembered it was tucked away in my drafts. It is still interesting though, so let’s just wind back and pretend it’s the 27th January rather than February.

It’s not every day that you see a tweet from your significant other waxing lyrical about Antiques Roadshow, and when that occurred to me last week, I had to investigate further.

It turns out there’s a new app that lets you play along with the “guess the value” game, and it’s really quite cool.

Antiques Roadshow

I’m not massively familiar with Antiques Roadshow. I know the theme tune but I didn’t really know there’s a game that people play, although it’s obvious in hindsight. I also hadn’t really grasped how freakishly popular this programme actually is.

So, in all my cluelessness, I was presented with this new app to try and found the latest episode of the Antiques Roadshow on the iPlayer. There is at least one other app that lets you play this game but the rather snazzy thing about this is when that oh-so-recognisable theme music plays out, the app listens, selects the correct episode, and syncs so you are in time.

It was like some kind of crazy app-magic, my device actually listening to the TV and making decisions based upon what it has heard. The concept there is not unusual, Shazam has been recognising songs for a long time. I think it was quite so mind-boggling because it was obviously hearing something I wasn’t - to me, it was the same old theme tune.

Antiques Roadshow

Once the program began, there was a good ol’ bit of waffling while I impatiently waited for the game to begin. Eventually we got there - for each item that appears, you get a choice of four values, and a timer telling you how long you have to make your decision. It tends to cut off before they say something revealing, like “Actually, these aren’t the Beatles’ signatures, they are probably your mum’s.”

I played for a bit, marvelled at the technology but then had to admit I was bored. Antiques are not my thing at all, and particularly in the episode we were watching, there were some terribly ugly things! Nevertheless, I love the idea, and getting interactive with your TV is something I can get on board with.

The potential for this idea being expanded is great - more TV quizzes could let you play along. I know that Only Connect has been touting the “play along with the walls online” thing, but that only works when you are watching live, which we rarely are. There are heaps of studies that show the number of people watching TV with a second screen is growing, so it’ll be interesting to see if this interactive fun increases too.

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