Consumers who haven’t already delved into the interactive wonders of augmented reality are about to be pushed into the immersive waters by market forces.

In the lead up to next week’s upfronts, an annual event during which TV networks work to woo advertisers with new shows and marketing techniques for their upcoming programming schedules, NBCUniversal took the wraps off its next big AR initiative.

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Similar to last year, due to the pandemic, the event, which is usually held in New York, is being held virtually this year.

In the case of NBCUniversal, the massive network revealed that it plans to offer AR-powered shopping options while viewers watch their favorite programs. The effort is being called @HomeShopping.

Image via NBCUniversal

Although the network didn’t show off a fully-formed demo of its new advertising interaction, it did produce a short video that gives us an idea of what it will be like when it’s deployed.

It appears to work like this: Viewers will watch a TV show, see an outfit or product on screen that they like, and then have the option to use a QR code to shop for and buy the item.

Image via NBCUniversal

The video also indicates that interactions such as viewing a celebrity or character as an AR visual in your home will also be an option, as well as making product buying modifications (color, etc.) via the QR code before hitting the buy button.

Back in 2019, we saw an early hint at this kind of future advertising meets broadcast TV and augmented reality via South Korea’s LG and its U+ AR Shopping app.

It’s not clear when NBCUniversal will launch these AR-powered TV shows and advertising units, but when something shows up at upfronts, it usually means we only have to wait until fall at the latest to see it debut to the public. And since most people now seem to watch TV with a smartphone or tablet in one hand, this AR evolution should be relatively seamless when it finally arrives in our homes.





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