Columnist John Dvorak writes disparagingly in his opinion piece in PC Magazine on “The Return of Interactive TV,” drawing critical comments on his view that it is an invasive irrelevance.

“It’s assumed that the great benefit of interactive TV will be that the viewer can get more involved in the TV experience.” he writes. He goes on to argue that he already interacts with his television, by tuning it on and off, changing channels, recording programmes and pausing live television.

He then proceeds to dismiss interactive television as invasive television, suggesting “The American way is about one thing only: selling more junk”. He calls on his readers to dream up something useful that would benefit viewers rather than advertisers.

“The way I see it,” he concludes, “if the money that is about to be squandered on interactive TV were spent on producing better TV material, we’d all be better off.”

John Dvorak’s column has prompted a robust response from Lydia Loizides, recently appointed chair of research at the Emmy awarding Advanced Media Committee at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in New York. She writes that while in the past interactive television promised the ability to browse the web, read email or buy Jennifer Aniston’s sweater, this is not what the industry has evolved into almost a decade later.

Lydia observes that “Interactive television is not about getting viewers more involved with the television experience as much as it is making the experience more relevant and satisfying for the viewer.”

Commenting in Dvorak’s personal blog, Steve Scott, Managing Director of Mindhouse in the UK writes: “It is clear that the US is repeating the mistakes made here in Europe – interactive TV is patently not the web on TV and is not about people using it as a virtual shopping mall” as this does nothing to enhance their main reason for watching television, to be entertained.

Steve points out that Sky now makes more money from interactive television than from advertising on its channels, adding: “When that starts happening you know iTV has arrived.”