Tech savvy culture vultures can now use wireless PDAs to receive real-time commentary of concerts as they are played onstage.
The Concert Companion, or CoCo, uses a Wi-Fi PDA to offer concert notes, alternative views of the performers and information about the composer's work.
CoCo was demonstrated at the Association of British Orchestras conference. It was developed by Roland Valliere, a former executive with the Kansas City Symphony, after he noticed that interactive displays were increasing the number of visitors to galleries and museums.
The technology is being trialled in the US, and initial reports have suggested that users liked the device.
"The most common reaction from listeners who liked the device is that they want to hear the piece again, because now they know what to listen for," stated the report from market research firm Audience Insight.
"They feel more connected with the piece. Repeated use of the device might help people gain confidence in their ability to understand and appreciate classical music."
The report estimates that concert goers would pay about $8 to hire the device for a performance. It also eliminates the sound of paper brochures rustling as the screen is touch sensitive.
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