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Giving The Second Screen Experience A Chance

Last year at E3, we heard quite a bit from Microsoft about their mobile and tablet app SmartGlass. Representatives from the company told us it would be utilized in numerous ways, from displaying Halo stats and Madden plays to interacting with our favorite television programming. While I was initially intrigued by the possibilities of the “second screen experience,” I hadn’t really given it a shot until recently. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve started to realize what it can offer.

It’s not like I’ve been using it in a wide variety of games and apps. Rather, my experience has been relegated to watching Game of Thrones on HBO Go. As I loaded up a recent episode, I didn’t even realize it had SmartGlass compatibility until I saw the logo on the app’s screen. My iPad was sitting right in front of me, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Within a few minutes of the episode, I realized that I’d be utilizing SmartGlass whenever I watched the fantasy series in the future. If you’ve seen Game of Thrones or read the books by George R.R. Martin, you know that the series features dozens of important characters and numerous concurrent plotlines. I can immediately recognize big characters like the Starks, the Lannisters, and Daenerys Targaryen, but side characters quickly become “that other tough guy with the beard” in my head.

Watching with SmartGlass doesn’t distract from the viewing experience. Instead, it offers plenty of context about what you’re watching. Numerous times per episode, I glance at my iPad screen and am immediately reminded of a side character’s importance to the story. If I want additional context, it even allows me to pull up relevant scenes from the past or interviews with the actors and creators with the push of a button. Westeros is a large and complex world, and SmartGlass even allows me to pull up a map that lets me know where certain events are taking place.

With its implementation in one show, Microsoft and HBO have shown me the value of the second screen experience. It wouldn’t be ideal for every show, but it’s a perfect companion to a series as dense as Game of Thrones. If you have a SmartGlass-compatible device, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

 

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