At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Interactive Video?

Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

Interactive video is a term that describes any kind of video technology allowing users to have some level of interaction. For example, the video may offer the user choices so that he can change outcomes in future parts of the footage, or the video could use technology so that Internet users could click on areas of the picture and open links. The idea of interactive video originated with early videodisc technologies and was eventually applied to everything from computer systems to video game machines.

One of the main purposes of interactive video is educational. These videos are sometimes used in a way that’s similar to books in terms of basic teaching methods. For example, a book may have a passage that a student must read followed by a questionnaire to determine if the student understood the passage. Similarly, an educational interactive video can be broken up into sections that viewers can watch, and then it can ask the viewer to answer questions by clicking a remote control or picking a choice by directly clicking the video through a computer.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Another major use of interactive video is through interactive stories. Some people have explored the idea of creating films that allow the audience to make choices for the characters. These choices could potentially lead to different branching outcomes so that everyone’s experience with the film would be different. This would also create more reasons to watch a film repeatedly.

Video games on both computers and console systems have also taken advantage of interactive video. In some cases, gamers weren’t entirely pleased with the results of these games because they weren’t considered interactive enough. Many of the games were designed in a similar way to the interactive film concept, but they usually implemented more interactive functionality than simply making choices. These games became particularly popular right after the development of compact disc technology, and eventually, their popularity waned due to user dissatisfaction.

Some experts think that advertising can be revolutionized through interactive video technology. Most of these schemes revolve around creating links inside videos that people can click through a computer. For example, one area of a video could change when people moved their mouse over it, and then if the person clicked it, a webpage could open. Many marketing executives see a wide variety of ways that interaction can be mixed with advertising to generate more consumer interest in products.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


Museums use this a lot now, the modern ones anyway. It's usually focused on children though and is slightly game like, but still fun to tinker with.

They'll have touch screens around exhibits with different options that lead to video, puzzles, stories, etc.

I've even seen massive screens that allow people to interact with them collaboratively to create a group work of art or story.

It's a nice way of getting people to relate to relics that might not seem to have much relevance in modern life.


There's a really good example of possible future interactive advertisements in Minority Report. The main character walks into a mall and is greeted by name by a holographic projection who knows what sorts of things he is likely to buy.

One side of this technology is already around, with many companies collecting information by GPS and sending targeted ads to your cellphone. Like if you walk past Starbucks, they can send you a voucher. All they need to do now is dress it up with a pretty hologram or video character and bingo, we're in the future.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Woman with hand on her hip
      Woman with hand on her hip