Last night I watched a video on NineMSN News in which the reporter stood in the News studio with Peter Overton appearing in front of a Big Screen TV. Nothing unusual, except this one has touch.

Used to great effect in the US and especially UK elections, technology on TV broadcasts such as interactive screens, holograms and whole virtual studios where a report can walk around live graphics was phenomenal.

So, has Channel 9 made it first to the post with this groundbreaking technology?

read on for more…

I watched the video, and really didn’t believe it was a touch screen.  I discussed/debated this point with Ben Fordham, before being confirmed by Ross Greenwood – this IS in fact a touch screen, used for the first time over the weekend.

Channel Nine's Touch Screen

Used extensively by CNN during the US Elections in 2008, it has taken some time to hit our screens in Australia, however, an Election is the best time for it.  The question is, do they have the software and data behind it to make it really work like CNN did.

U-Touch screen technology used by CNN during the 2008 Election (Pic: I-Touch UK)

What I saw was a slow response on screen, used to do simple mouse clicks.  This is the learning stages, yes – however to impress it needs to be more than a mouse touch, it needs to be interactive, drawing on the screen, manipulating menus and data sets.  Channel 9 have less than five weeks to master it – They are in with a chance – what will be most interesting is what the other networks, notably Channel 7 and the ABC have up their sleeves for Election night 2010 on August 21.

This technology appears to come from U-Touch in the UK who on their website show as being the providers for CNN and others – That being the case, all looks well for Channel 9 – but how much did it cost?  I can only imagine.

U-Touch screen technology used by ITN in the UK (Pic: I-Touch UK)