Yahoo Television as an Interactive Experience

Imagine television as an interactive experience, where you can message friends, play games with them, access an electronic program guide, share ratings amongst members of a social network that you can join, receive ratings from experts and other information about television broadcasts, access shows on desktop PCs and handheld devices, search for broadcasts with specific actors or themes, and have personalized recommendations made to you.

That just brushes the surface of what is described in a new patent application from Yahoo.

Framework for providing ancillary content in a television environment
Invented by Michael Mills, Philip Mckay, Michael Hoch, Kumiko Tanaka Toft, and Rod Perkins
US Patent Application 20060184579
Published August 17, 2006
Filed on January 5, 2006

Abstract

The present invention provides functionality for retrieving ancillary content associated with the content delivered to a given user’s client device.

According to one embodiment, the method of the present invention comprises retrieving the context of a given user and identifying a plurality of characteristics associated with the user’s context.

The one or more characteristics associated with the user’s context are displayed to the user and the user may select from the displayed characteristics.

One or more items of content are retrieved based upon the user’s selection and presented to the user on the user’s client device.

Is this TV 2.0? Maybe. The patent describes more functionality that is presently seen in Yahoo!’s Go Tv Beta (now Yahoo Connected TV).

And, at the bottom of the Yahoo TV pages is this message:

Are you a software engineer who loves Movies and TV?
Yahoo! Entertainment is seeking experienced backend and frontend developers.

It will be interesting to see where Yahoo takes this.

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4 thoughts on “Yahoo Television as an Interactive Experience”

  1. I HAVE imagined this… and I can’t wait.

    Something else I would like to see is a bookmarking type feature on TV’s, such that if a certain show, character, actor, quote, commercial, product item, etc… interested me enough, there would be an icon or something that I could click on my TV that will “bookmark” that scene or word onto my computer… or if it gets advanced enough, advertisers would be able to link their page to the “bookmark” icon or some sort of content page would be algorithmically linked…

    They’ve already thought about this stuff, right? Or did I just give an idea away? :P

  2. Hi cK,

    I can’t wait either.

    The patent application describes some searching and indexing based upon what you want to see, such as certain actors, genres, geographic locations, and other information, the display of that information, and the possible use of a DVR to record shows that match your preferences, or the ability to view things like trailers for movies that might be pay-per-view.

    Being able to bookmark and record certain scenes would be awesome (anyone from Sunnyvale reading this?)

    Be fun to see what some creative TV folks (like the Lost crew) would do with something like this.

    I could see using the IM function with my sister, who lives about 100 miles from here, while watching something like American Idol.

    Cheers.

  3. Hi Bill,

    Great find! I’ve really been digging your work in reviewing patents lately. It’s great stuff and fun to write about :)

    I envisioned a similar scenario with Google awhile back when it was discovered that they were hiring for “an Interactive TV Product Manager and Sofware Engineers with experience in ‘emerging TV standards’ and ‘deploying robust, high-volume applications for consumer devices.’”

    I think one of the most exciting things for me is that by working in SEM I’ll eventually be working in television ;)

    Cheers!
    Garrett

  4. Hi Garrett,

    Thanks. I’ve been having fun uncovering some of these patents, and I guess one of the things that gets me really excited is when something like this comes out that merges a lot of ideas about existing technology into something new.

    The TV of five or ten years from now is going to be interesting to be involved with. I remembered the buzz about Google and television, and the advertisements for technical television positions. Thanks for the link to your article – it helps put what yahoo is working upon in perspective.

    Cheers.

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