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usa-networkSAN FRANCISCO: Cable television service USA Network on Monday announced that it has enlisted Internet startup Yap.TV to tap into the hot trend of people "chatting" online while viewing shows.

Yap-powered applications will let people take polls, dish about actors, and more in online forums with friends simultaneously watching programs at other venues.

"Yap.TV gives our fans an innovative platform for personalizing their interaction and engaging with content in ways that allow us to continually evolve our Social TV experience," said USA vice president of digital Jesse Redniss.

San Francisco-based Yap.TV believes that whether shows are streamed over the Internet, airwaves, or cable lines people will always want to talk about what they are watching.

Yap.TV software for Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch devices lets show watchers engage in real time on Twitter, Facebook or the firm's own social network.

"We mated the television program guide with the Twitter stream and social networks to basically allow you to see what everyone in the world is talking about right now," Yap.TV co-founder Shawn Cunningham told AFP during an interview early this year.

"So when you zap into a show, you are immersed in the experience."

Yap.TV backers include former Apple executive David Austin, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is an advisor to the startup.

"We thought we could create a social world for television content, which people love to talk about almost more than anything else," Cunningham said.

"It was really things like the iPad that opened the gateway," he added. "A second-screen device perfect for this type of activity."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011

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