Farnsworth Enters the Digital Era with “PHILO” iPhone App

Philoapp  News started percolating last week of a new iPhone app named for Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of (modern, electronic) television.  

The app is called — appropriately enough "PHILO", and professes to bring "social networking" -type interaction to TeeVee viewing. 

According to the app's website, 

Philo helps you enjoy TV with your friends and other viewers around the world. Just watch TV, tune-in on Philo, and join the conversation.

You'll see what all of your friends are watching and what they're saying. And, of course, you can contribute your own comments to the real time stream, which will update your status on your favorite social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

The very popular tech-and-social network monitoring blog Mashable describes the combination of check-in and commenting functions in the PHILO app as "Twitter + Foursquare for TV Fanatics." 

The app shows you what’s trending among your friends, and you can use it as a discovery engine to find new shows. You can then determine when those shows are playing on your local cable or satellite TV provider. When you do have something to watch, your updates can optionally be broadcast to Facebook and Twitter so your friends can see what you’re watching and what you think of it.

You know, I have thought for years that Philo T. Farnsworth is something of the 'proto-geek,' i.e. a tech icon whose standard should long ago have found a high among the modern digerati as a model of the kind of brilliance and determination it takes to transform the world.  It's nice to see somebody finally taking notice in a way that also finds some value in the TeeVee experience. 


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Paul Schatzkin

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