If exhortations to 'Push that red button now' are already growing tiresome, then watch out for a novel twist on interactive TV that will have as all chatting online while glued to the goggle box.

The idea comes from Japan, where a new service called Oshaberi Terebi has just launched as a public beta offering real-time chatrooms for TV fans.

After downloading the software and firing up a TV tuner, users are presented with the option to join separate chatrooms for each channel. They can then choose avatars and get chatty with anyone else watching the same shows.

PC only ... for now

As you may have guessed, Oshaberi Terebi requires users to be watching the mobile version of digital TV known in Japan as 1-seg, which can be added to a computer through a USB dongle for around £50.

At this stage the application – it means 'Chatterbox TV' in Japanese – is restricted to PC users, but could easily make the move to mobile phones or net-connected TV sets if it proves successful.