Help for Watching TV

For television programmers, one screen is no longer enough.

The biggest broadcast and cable-television channels are racing to launch tablet apps linked to their broadcasts and used simultaneously with the TV shows. The hope is that viewers will tune in live and interact.

The offerings include apps from NBCUniversal’s Bravo and News Corp.’s Fox that present material such as photos, quotes, polls or background about particular scenes as a show plays. Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. have apps that display updates about shows from Twitter or Facebook in real time.

USA Network’s TV comedy-mystery series “Psych” has an app that asks users to enter keywords that flash during the show’s graphics to unlock content like behind-the-scenes footage and games.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik