APP WATCH: BBC launches Antiques Roadshow app

The idea of an Antiques Roadshow app from the BBC may or may not appeal, but the significance of the new app may be far wider.

The headline is, however, an Antiques Roadshow app. It's described as the 'first ever live, synchronous smartphone app' from the corporation and available to download now for iOS and Android devices.

In simple terms, 'synchronous smartphone app' means play along. In this case, the app lets users play a live multiple-choice valuation game, giving you the chance to guess the values and compare rankings with other 'players', ranging from 'novice' to 'expert'. Rather like the game people have been playing casually in living rooms for years.

Victoria Jaye, Head of IPTV and TV Online, said: 'We wanted our first live and synchronous companion experience to appeal to a mainstream audience and create a real event in the living room for families across the UK – the Antiques Roadshow mobile app does just that. It builds on our successful Red Button playalong quizzes which regularly attract millions of viewers a week.'

The technology could be the real story here though. The app uses inaudible signals which are embedded in the soundtrack of the programme and are picked up by the microphone of a smartphone or tablet. These are used to identify the episode and cue up a sequence of questions and answers. So you don't have to watch live, you can play on catch-up too. You can see how the know-how could be transferred to other audience participation shows in the future too.

The app is on offer now, with the first app-enabled Antiques Roadshow broadcast will be on Sunday 6 January. Might be a fun way to kill some time on Sunday evening.

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