Costa Mesa, CA (Nov 10, 2008) - As reported earlier this week, NBA TV brought in CNN's John King to walk studio host Ahmad Rashad through the nuances of using touch screen technology. The NBA TV version of it is called TouchPass.
to give host Ahmad Rashad a demonstration on how to use the technology.
From what is seen in the video of the segment, there really is potential in how it is used. I have to disagree with Ken Fang of Fang's Bites that the segment was a train wreck. But it showed glaring weaknesses in how the technology has been introduced on NBA TV. Yes, it is pretty cool. But there is a big "if".
Like all technology, whether it be in the workplace or on the air, training, especially hands-on-training, is essential before the technology is rolled out. This is even more true when organizations are rolling it out on live TV. Rashad has received hands-on training with the screen, according to a Turner spokesperson. But it appears that Rashad has not been given, or taken, the opportunity to master the use of the screen.
While most viewers will probably relate to this as they have faced their own challenges using technology, one would hope that they would expect more from a television network or sports league. That is key to getting true production value out of the tool. If used poorly, it becomes a distraction on a show instead of an integrated, fluid element.
How does this happen? At the base level, once a disrupting technology is introduced, it takes a while to get used to using it effectively. In addition, the on-air interaction with the technology requires a very different skillset than sitting behind a desk reading off of a teleprompter or interviewing someone one-on-one.
As a result, Ashad comes across as inept and buffoonish when trying to use it. According to the turner spokesperson, this is his way of laughing at himself as he trys to master the technology. So it has the potential to be a very good tool if Rashad can and will continue to work with the system on his own time to get comfortable with it.
It is important for viewers to understand that it is a learned skill that does not always come naturally to people. Just attend any technical conference and watch "geeks" doing some presentations. A small percentage are very comfortable in walking around, talking to the audience and interacting with their laptops. The vast majority, however, hide nehind the podium or laptops, and do not engage the audience.
Unfortunately, NBA TV does not currently allow its videos to be embedded in other web sites. So if you want to watch and form your own judgment, you will have to watch it on the NBA TV web site.