TV software learns as you watch

New software turns a standard cable or satellite TV set top box into a personalised assistant that can automatically find and even record programs of interest for each viewer in a household.

Sarnoff Corporation has developed software that allows manufacturers to transform a standard cable or satellite TV set top box (STB) into a personalised assistant that automatically finds and even records programs of interest for each viewer in a household.

The SarnoffSmart software works behind an STB’s operating system and user interface, and does not need large resources from the CPU to do its job. The SarnoffSmart engine draws on model-driven search, data mining, machine learning, and anomaly detection technology.

In use, the software automatically observes what viewers watch and builds a set of preferences for each one.

Based on this information, it personalises the STB’s operation by rearranging standard on-screen program guides to list available shows in order of predicted viewer preference, instead of by channel number. It can also recommend shows that match viewer taste and schedule a personal video recorder to capture programs of high potential interest when a viewer is not watching, then announce their availability when the viewer turns on the TV.

Sarnoff believes that the new system also has applications in targeted TV advertising. By identifying viewer interests from their program preferences, it can help advertisers more accurately match their messages to target markets.

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