Comcast forged a new partnership with media startup Zeebox today to infuse live broadcast TV shows with a dose of interactivity.

Traditional broadcast television is really good at providing a way for people to sit back and absorb what’s on a screen, but it doesn’t really allow viewers to participate in the experience — unless you count changing the channel. Zeebox, however, hopes to change that by taking advantage of smartphone and tablets (aka the “second screen experience”). While watching a live program, viewers can pull up information about the show, see related content, socialize with friends, and more.

Most people are already using their devices while watching TV, but Zeebox makes the added interaction truly supplementary.

In addition to Comcast (and it’s media company NBCUniversal), Zeebox is also partnering with premium channels HBO and Cinemax. Hundreds of TV shows appearing on these channels —  like Boardwalk Empire, The Voice, True Blood, and others — will now get an official set of second screen enhancements for iOS devices, Android devices, and the web.

And while consumers are clearly benefiting from the added supplementary material, so are the media companies. Zeebox also makes it possible to show advertisements related to specific programs and sell merchandise that appears on a show. This in turn translates to more revenue for content producers.

Founded in 2011 by former EMI executive Ernesto Schmitt and former BBC iPlayer CTO Anthony Rose, Zeebox has offices in London and New York.

zeebox The Voice