The new Premier League season is certainly starting well for Virgin Media. It's already guaranteed its customers can watch every match broadcast in high definition, by adding Sky Sports HD 1 and HD 2 to its service alongside the existing ESPN HD. And now, the provider is to launch a social networking online application that allows fans to chat together in a virtual stadium during TV matches.
The free app, Sofa Stadium, offers a virtual representation of the field of play, and allows fans of the same team to chat to each other, rate players and follow Twitter feeds that mention the action. It works in real time, while the match is on TV, so you can have it running on a laptop while you watch.
Fans can also post their comments onto Facebook, straight from the app/site, and there are sound files that can be played to the other fans logged in at the click of dedicated buttons.
It's certainly an interesting idea and one that Virgin Media believes will add much more to TV football enjoyment: “Sofa Stadium is the perfect place for armchair supporters, commentators and managers alike, to get actively involved in football, and a brilliant way to bring together the multi-screen entertainment experience", says Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media.
Sofa Stadium will be available to on its own dedicated site at www.sofastadium.co.uk as of the start of the Premier League season tomorrow - Saturday 14 August. The first match will be Tottenham vs Manchester City.
Will you be taking part? And would you turn down the commentators on TV, and rely on fellow fans instead? Let us know in the comments below...