In this user study, we explored the application concept of Social TV, which aims at providing remote users with a joint TV experience. 15 pairs of friends watched TV in 2 separate rooms, using a social TV application. We found that the majority of the test users would like to use a social TV application in the future, especially for sporting events and TV shows. In our study we compared 3 different situations of jointly watching TV: a) remotely, using graphic symbols (e.g. emotions), b) remotely, using voice chat, and, as a control group, c) watching TV while co-located. Both the joint TV watching experience and social presence was significantly lower for the graphic-symbols condition than for the other conditions. Interestingly, neither the subjects' characterisation nor their behaviour differed significantly between the remote audio chat and the face-to-face condition. Empirical design guidance for audio chat and graphic symbols communication in the context of Social TV is presented.
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