TiVo Awarded Patent For Interactive Data

Earlier this week, TiVo was awarded a patent on the display of closed caption data on a DVR.  This patent uses both the closed caption data and metadata to create "interactive" events for their users.  Potential uses of this technology include the ability to "clip" time shifted program and then send that info to someone else whose recorded the show.  In the patent TiVo cites the ability to share with DVR friends highlights from a good action scene or pick their favorite plays from a football game as possilbe embodiments of the technology, but the most exciting embodiment would be if users started to encode the start and stops of commercial breaks and then automatically allow the rest of us to skip the commercials.  While the issue of whether or not it’s OK to patent technology that is legally required (closed captions must be supported on all digital receivers) should receive some understandable debate, some of the features mentioned in the filing could be really exciting if we ever see TiVo add them.


“DVR users can distribute their own sets of points of interest
for programs to other users. Users can further attach metadata to each
point of interest that may cause the DVR to display text to the viewer,
e.g., “Isn’t this a great action scene?” The user may also attach
metadata to a point of interest that tells the DVR to skip x seconds
into the program from that point of interest or display x seconds of
the program before skipping to the next point of interest. This allows
users to create their own condensed versions of a program that they can
distribute to their friends, family, classmates, students, interest
group, etc."