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TiVo awarded patent related to commercial detection

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by drebbe, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. drebbe

    drebbe Carbon Blob

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    US Patent Issued to TiVo on April 9 for "Method and an apparatus for determining a playing position based on media content fingerprints"

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 9 -- United States Patent no. 8,417,096, issued on April 9, was assigned to TiVo Inc. (Alviso, Calif.).
    "Method and an apparatus for determining a playing position based on media content fingerprints" was invented by Amir H. Gharaat (Menlo Park, Calif.), James M. Barton (Alviso, Calif.) and Mukesh K. Patel (Fremont, Calif.).

    According to the abstract released by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: "A method for determining a playing position of media content based on media content fingerprints is described. In an embodiment, the playing of an advertisement may be detected by determining that one or more fingerprints of media content being played are associated with an advertisement portion of the media content. In an embodiment, an advertisement may be detected by identifying the persons associated with the faces in the advertisement portion of the media content and determining that the identified persons are not actors listed for the media content. In an embodiment, the advertisement may be enhanced with additional content pertaining to the product or service being advertised. In an embodiment, the advertisement may be automatically fast-forwarded, muted, or replaced with an alternate advertisement. In an embodiment, only a non-advertisement portion of the media content may be recorded by skipping over the detected advertisement portion of the media content."

    The patent was filed on Dec. 4, 2009, under Application No. 12/631,775.
    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8417096.PN.&OS=PN/8417096&RS=PN/8417096
     
  2. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    So, Tivo is finding a way to detect commercials based on facial recognition software? What happens if one of the actors happens to be a spokesperson for the product in the commercial? Seems like a roundabout way of commercial detection, but hey, if it works, more power to them. I'll be curious to see how this pans out.
     
  3. drebbe

    drebbe Carbon Blob

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    The patent application was filed in 2009 so for all we know the work has long since been abandoned. I share your skepticism on the approach. I was looking to see if a "Rube Goldberg" was listed as a co-inventor.
     
  4. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

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    Probably just another thing to sue Dish over.
     
  5. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Sounds about right. I think Tivo just files patents on anything they can think of just to keep their competitors from using it. If they do, then Tivo gets their lawyers involved to sue them for copyright infringement.
     
  6. moedaman

    moedaman New Member

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    The patent system is so screwed up. I feel that if you don't show up to the patent office with a working product, your application should be thrown out. Just think of how many patents science fiction authors could apply for!
     
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    These days you can apparently patent an idea or a concept without having to produce an actual working product. You probably just have to provide enough details to prove that your idea is actually viable.
     
  8. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    They're only using faces of actors as an example. They could almost use anything for a "finger print". One common technique I can think of is bug detection. On almost all programs there is a station logo in the lower right of the screen that goes away when the commercials start. That bug could be used as a "finger print" to determine when commercials start.

    That being said I've done a lot of research in this area and there is no full proof way to detect every commercial break. A combination of black detection, bug detection and audio volume detection seems to be the most reliable, but that's still not 100%. You might also be able to look at captions, since they are now required by law on all content here in the US, but caption sync is a bit of a problem so I'm not sure how reliable that would be.
     
  9. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Active Member

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    I don't know about patents, but I've been playing with the "comskip" program on my linux box (downloaded and built from source) and it is fantastically accurate with no manual intervention on my part (at least for the Doctor Who episodes I recorded from BBC America).
     
  10. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Yeah, the tech is already out there. It's the legal part that is keeping TiVo waiting to actually do it. Imagine how they could advertise that as a key differentiator from cable DVRs!!
     
  11. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Active Member

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    I always thought a good way to do it would be with a "social network". People who just happen to share their own custom list of times relative to the beginning of a program that should be edited out. TiVo wouldn't be doing anything but enabling individuals to share their custom edits, and those custom edits wouldn't actually have to be for commercials - shucks folks might want to share their edits of sports center that remove all the scenes of horrific broken legs (to pick a random example).
     
  12. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That wouldn't work because the broadcasts from different regions have slightly different time stamps. Plus you'd have to account for padding, clipping, signal loss, etc...
     
  13. replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

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    I don't know why Tivo is wasting time on such work. It bankrupted ReplayTV, is that what TiVo wants to be, another bankrupt company that only a odd bunch of reactionaries use any more?
     
  14. andyw715

    andyw715 Active Member

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    I think VideoReDo application does a great job for this.

    Prior to my main PC taking a dump, I would set it up to autmatically transfer a tivo recording to my machine, start a job that would have VideoReDo remove the commercials, then push the recording back to the TiVo.

    I don't think I ever got a content removed from a recording. Everyonce in a while I would get a commerical that slipped through though.
     
  15. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    The issues were legal. Charlie Ergen is clearing the path for TiVo, ironically enough, considering TiVo patent trolled Ergen.
     
  16. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    If by "patent trolled" you mean a small start-up company proving in court that their patented technology was knowingly stolen by a much larger competitor, then yes. But I don't think anyone really uses the term that way.
     
  17. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    We're working on making it better. Right now it only detects black. We're planning on updating it to take into account audio and possibly other things like bug detection.

    I have to agree here. Dish took possession of a TiVo prototype, held on to it for a while, and then told TiVo "never mind we made our own". They didn't just accidentally violate TiVo's patent. They specifically reverse engineered TiVo's prototype. The patent suit was the only way TiVo could fight back.

    Some of the other companies they've sued may have actually developed their own technology that just happened to run afoul of TiVo's patent, which might be considered tolling. But Dish blatantly ripped them off and deserved to get sued.
     
  18. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    The only argument against "patent trolling" you can make is that TiVo actually makes a product, and most patent trolls don't. Other than that, it was trolling a ridiculous patent against DISH through a broken system. What's next a patent of putting peanut butter and jelly together?

    Clearly, it is rocket science to dump digital video on a hard drive and read it back. :rolleyes: TiVo was an obvious step, they just took some computer hardware and threw a nice GUI on it.
     
  19. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Active Member

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    Pretty easy today - not so easy to do it all in realtime with affordable late '90s technology.
     
  20. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Still a good example of a broken patent system, but what else is new?
     

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