As Dave reported earlier, ABC and Nielsen have teamed up to develop an iPad app that supports the new series My Generation. Users run the app while watching the show -- either live or recorded -- and it will stay synced with the section of the episode you're watching by "listening" to the audio from your television, using the built-in microphone.
From there the app will present you with polls and quizzes related to what you're watching, along with other interactive elements. You can get a sense of how this new form of interactivity will play out by watching the video above. [Yes, it's Flash; sorry, but ABC's hosting it and that's the only way to get at it. –Ed.]
While you're watching TV, the iPad is actually watching you, in a manner of speaking; the app serves as a tool for Nielsen to understand viewing habits, as they will use digital watermarking to track user behavior. With such a small percentage of viewers likely to be using the app during the show, it's hard to tell just what kind of data they'll get. But it is an interesting experiment.
My Generation doesn't premiere until September 23. I tried it out on the screener (preview copies available to media and reviewers) of the pilot, and it wasn't able to sync, so hopefully that just means the app's just not ready to go live yet; either that, or the Nielsen audio encoding wasn't embedded on the screener but has been added to the broadcast version.