The application of this when we were talking about doing it was obvious – the Gulf War II was going on complete with rolling tv and web news from all sources. As an interactive broadband channel it would provide an up to date live feed while allowing detours into deeper information areas such as the military side, detailing weapon technology or geo-political backgrounds of neighbouring countries.
I worked out a bunch of interface elements in schematic form, allowing the user to see the flow of news items coming up, and to use that to keep track of the ‘live’ flow while exploring non-linear areas. As the flow was made up discreet elements, they became archive fodder the moment their time had passed, which allowed the ‘live’ flow to work in a similar time-shifting way to the live feed on a TiVo.
This approach would let the user dip back into the flow where they left off, receiving the the experience of continuing the live feed, while being aware of items now ahead in time that were available. At any time the user would also be able to jump right back to the fron of the flow – the live feed.
There were also plans to use live 3D data formats to show interactive terrain maps tied into news moments, another underused layer of the MPEG4 spec. It’s a great technology that deserves some real time and money spent on creating great content services like this. Lets hope it’s around long enough to receive it.