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Semantic TV

The always read-worthy Scott Kirsner writes in the Boston Globe today (note: Globe links rot) about Gotuit Media, a company that “indexes” video. Indexing in this case means that it divides video content into chunks tagged by its content so that you can choose to watch “just the highlights, or the ‘best hits’ or the top plays by Tom Brady, or even a 20-minute Reader’s Digest condensed version” of a football game or any other video. It takes software and humans to tag the video, an expensive proposition but perhaps worthwhile to cable providers and others who will sell the smarter content to the likes of us. (Gotuit also has a branch doing TiVo for radio.)

I wonder how much of this could be done right in a TiVo box. I don’t know what metadata is embedded in the video stream, but Pinnacle Studio, among others, does a good job of figuring out when scenes have changed in a digitized video; I assume it looks for a significant change in the pattern of pixels from one frame to another. If TiVo increased its processing power, it too could offer scene selection. Speech recognition would let it find all the plays in a game where a particular player is mentioned. If it has access to closed captioning, then it could do some text indexing as well. And if it had some high-end visual pattern recognition software it could to the thing that traditionally has driven entertainment technologies: it could automatically find the nude scenes in any movie.


Scott also reports on a lawsuit brought by Pause Technology charging TiVo with infringing on a 1995 patent held by Jim Logan and a partner.

Pleeeease don’t let them take my TiVo away!

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One Response to “Semantic TV”

  1. “And if it had some high-end visual pattern recognition software it could to the thing that traditionally has driven entertainment technologies: it could automatically find the nude scenes in any movie.”

    Brilliant. I’m going to start working on that, as soon as I finish my set-top box that automatically removes Robin Williams from any movie.

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