US20170150223A9 - System and methods of communicating between multiple geographically remote sites to enable a shared, social viewing experience - Google Patents

System and methods of communicating between multiple geographically remote sites to enable a shared, social viewing experience Download PDF

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US20170150223A9
US20170150223A9 US13/857,995 US201313857995A US2017150223A9 US 20170150223 A9 US20170150223 A9 US 20170150223A9 US 201313857995 A US201313857995 A US 201313857995A US 2017150223 A9 US2017150223 A9 US 2017150223A9
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television
sites
system
plurality
show
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US13/857,995
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US20160192010A1 (en
US10321192B2 (en
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Emanuela Zaccone
Fabrizio Capobianco
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Toktv Inc
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Toktv Inc
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Priority to US201261621464P priority
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Priority to US13/857,995 priority patent/US10321192B2/en
Assigned to TOK.TV INC. reassignment TOK.TV INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: CAPOBIANCO, FABRIZIO, ZACCONE, EMANUELA
Publication of US20160192010A1 publication Critical patent/US20160192010A1/en
Priority claimed from US15/731,249 external-priority patent/US20170257652A1/en
Publication of US20170150223A9 publication Critical patent/US20170150223A9/en
Assigned to TOK.TV INC. reassignment TOK.TV INC. CHANGE OF ADDRESS Assignors: TOK.TV INC.
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/478Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application
    • H04N21/4788Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application communicating with other users, e.g. chatting
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/20Servers specifically adapted for the distribution of content, e.g. VOD servers; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/21Server components or server architectures
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/20Servers specifically adapted for the distribution of content, e.g. VOD servers; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/25Management operations performed by the server for facilitating the content distribution or administrating data related to end-users or client devices, e.g. end-user or client device authentication, learning user preferences for recommending movies
    • H04N21/258Client or end-user data management, e.g. managing client capabilities, user preferences or demographics, processing of multiple end-users preferences to derive collaborative data
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/4104Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices
    • H04N21/4126Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices portable device, e.g. remote control with a display, PDA, mobile phone
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/81Monomedia components thereof
    • H04N21/8166Monomedia components thereof involving executable data, e.g. software

Abstract

A system providing for selective management of program display system services involving display devices located at geographically remote locations relative to one another. The system includes a display device, located at each of a plurality of sites, that is capable of receiving and displaying a transmitted show. A control device, also located at each of the plurality of sites, enables managed control of the display device through the execution of a client application. A cloud service interacts with the client applications as executed by the control devices to manage select associations of the plurality of sites.

Description

  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 61/621,462 and 61/621,464, all filed Apr. 6, 2012.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention is generally related to the remote distribution and playback of television programs and, in particular, to mechanisms for enabling a shared, social viewing experience between sites that are geographically remote from one another.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • The world of television is about to change. For 70 years, the television box has been completely disconnected from the rest of the household. With the advent of wireless networks, connected set-top-box and tablets, our old television is now about to be integrated in our daily life.
  • For example, we can watch a movie and check information about that actor on an iPad sitting on our laps. The so-called “second screen” can augment the vision of the show we are watching, allowing us to enjoy it even more.
  • Watching a show on television with an iPad connected to the world allows for a completely new scenario, where television can become (or return to being) social. We all get together for a great game, to watch it with friends in front of the television. However, in most cases we are unable or unwilling to travel, but we still would love to chat about a show with our friends, live, while the show is on television. With the support of a second-screen device, this is finally possible: we can communicate with all the people watching the same show we are watching, just because they have an iPad on their laps too.
  • The opportunity is incredible, because making television social means changing the way we watch television. Once you give a user this capability, there is no turning back. There is nothing more depressing than watching television alone. Once you are able to share the experience with friends—even if they are far away—you will never go back: watching television alone is going to be a thing of the past.
  • This scenario opens up a new opportunity for advertisers, who are investing $200B every year to show commercials on a box, without knowing if the consumer is actually watching the show, or what she likes, or giving her any ability to interact with the ad. With a second screen, the advertiser will be able to target the user and deliver ads that become interactive, not on the television, but on the second screen: I see a commercial about a tennis shoe on television, and I have the ability to buy it on the tablet. This is the holy grail of advertising.
  • As of today, a few players in the market have tried to tackle this enormous opportunity. However, all have failed to create an experience that actually takes advantage of the dramatic shift happening to our favorite pastime. Most the Social television applications have been focused on so-called “gamification”, providing check-in systems with badges as rewards for the viewers, and on delivering textual chats and feeds aggregation. In essence, they are trying to create a game around an emotional experience, forgetting that the emotion is actually coming already from the television. On the other side, they are forcing users to type on a keyboard to interact with the rest of the world, losing focus of what they are watching on television (taking away from the pleasure of actually watching television). Lastly, they are engaging the audience as a whole, not considering that people like to watch television with friends, rather than a million of strangers.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Thus, a general purpose of the present invention is to provide a shared, social viewing experience between sites that are geographically remote from one another.
  • This is achieved in the present invention by providing a system that selectively manages program display system services involving display devices located at geographically remote locations relative to one another. The system includes a display device, located at each of a plurality of sites, that is capable of receiving and displaying a transmitted show. A control device, also located at each of the plurality of sites, enables managed control of the display device through the execution of a client application. A cloud service interacts with the client applications as executed by the control devices to manage select associations of the plurality of sites.
  • An advantage of the present invention is that, by operation of the cloud service and local system controller, individuals at each site can enjoy a shared, social viewing experience even where the various participating sites are geographically remote from one another.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a general block diagram illustrating a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides a system that enables a shared, social viewing experience even where the various participating sites are geographically remote from one another. In the following detailed description of the invention like reference numerals are used to designate like parts depicted in one ore more of the figures.
  • A preferred embodiment of the present invention is implemented as “Tok.Tv”, a “Social TV Platform”. As implemented in the preferred embodiment, Tok.Tv enables a social amplification of the intimate viewing experience of a typical living room by sharing it with a limited number of friends or people with similar interests. Tok.Tv is ultimately a software application that can be accessed on the “second screen” in front of the TV (i.e. a mobile devices, like a tablet or a smart-phones, or a laptop), or directly on the television itself—for Connected televisions. Tok.Tv allows users to invite people to join a viewing party: sport, television shows, movies, any event can be viewed on television (or any other device which offers this kind of consumption) can be augmented by launching the Tok.Tv application. The application offers a participated experience which recreates—in a digital environment—a real shared viewing experience. In a word, it is like watching television with friends sitting on our couch, even if they are far away.
  • With Tok.Tv, the user can find out who is actually watching the game or the show and invite people over to its “virtual living room”. As it happens in everyday life, you can just invite people you actually know or meet others who live around you and share your interests, and you can also share emotions with them while watching television, talking and augmenting your voice with sounds (like a clap, a boo, a burp . . . ).
  • Tok.Tv recreates the living room atmosphere and the pleasure of watching television with others even when you are alone. There is no need to text or type, or even to hold a device in your hands. Voice is the key interaction delivering the social experience. Exactly as it would be on the couch in your house.
  • However, the application also delivers additional content, which is related to the show we are watching. The additional content can vary from statistical real-time information during a baseball game, premium content, polls and anything that could add to the television show. The content can be produced by the broadcaster or can be created by the viewers themselves.
  • With Tok.Tv users can choose, among the wide television offering, what to view with friends and other people sharing the same interests. They can then talk to them, while watching the show.
  • The application shows not only highlights stats related to what people are watching, but it also gives the possibility to discover which of our friends are online. Moreover, it allows the user to find the users available to “TOK” who share our interests: they might cheer for our same team, or living nearby, or being of the same sex or age. In a way, it allows us to talk with our real friends, but also to discover new ones.
  • The “Living Room Host” will choose what she wants to watch, by picking a show it on her television (or directly from the second screen, controlling the television). Knowing what the user is watching (because of a deliberate action by the user or by understanding what the user is actually watching), the application will immediately deliver content (stats and more) related to the show to the user, augmenting the content streamed by the television set. The Host will then invite other users to share the experience. Some of the friends will join the TOK and the voice conversation will start. The users will be able to talk to each other while watching television and enjoying insights and statistics offered by the application. The participants in a TOK chat will be able to enhance their experience by sharing the sounds included inside the application (claps, burp, boo, etc.).
  • Many customizations will be available to the Tok.Tv users. First of all, every user will be allowed to customize its living room in order to make it more comfortable and personal, as they would do in real life. Users will be able to change colors, add furniture or personal items, change the sounds of the room and customize their own look (avatar) adding clothes and more. The user will be able to create a virtual living room to its taste, by choosing or buying clothes and items offered by third parties.
  • Tok.Tv is not a common shared viewing experience application. Unlike most of the conventional Social television applications, Tok.Tv does not offer an aggregation of Twitter, Facebook and in general Social stemmed conversations. All the other players in social television field are focused on three main areas:
      • Deliver premium content—generated by users or brought by television market players—on a second screen, somehow synched with the television show
      • Allow check-in and public textual comments on television shows, sport matches and movies
      • Aggregate Twitter textual conversations and integrate them with chat systems
  • Tok.Tv represents a complete innovation in Social television field. In the market there is no application that offers an intimate viewing experience by recreating the living room context. Users can participate in conversation on Twitter around a show (e.g. using a precise hashtag) or read what has been discussed, but they are not allowed to recreate a personal viewing space. No application in the market allows a user to actually talk to her friends, as they would if they were sitting next on the couch. Text is the only form of interaction. One that forces the user to focus its attention away from the television. Not something you would ever do with a friend sitting next to you.
  • While most of the other applications are focused on what users are watching, Tok.Tv is focused on “whom are you watching it with”. The question Tok.Tv gives answer to is not “Do you want to join the conversations around the show” but “Do you want to watch television with friends, even if you are at home alone?”. In order to do this, Tok.Tv is designed to offer an experience, which is as similar as possible to a real life experience.
  • After launching the application, users will not be forced to hold the device in their hands while watching television. Thanks to the use of technology to eliminate noise in the background and enhance the user voice, the user will be able to simply drop the device on the side, if she wants. The microphone will still be on, allowing friends to ear each other and commenting on what they are watching.
  • We want users to have the chance to talk and comment on television with people they know or whom they share similar interests. While the focus of most of the Social television applications and platform is to “open” the viewing experience to the world (seeing what the rest of the world says about what we are watching, thus losing the intimate context which characterized television consumption forever), we want to give users their old experience back. If it is true that Social is about sharing and communication, we want to enhance this sharing experience by offering a new television consumption shared with a few trusted people.
  • Tok.Tv is more than an app: it is a bridge between users and all the other people who do not want to watch television alone. Tok.Tv is the ideal guest on your couch, a connection between users and their friends. Our aim is to allow the user to recreate the experience of inviting friends to its own living room, not to change the television interaction dramatically. We want to offer the old Social television experience in a new paradigm, taking advantage of what a connected living room now can offer. It is a new old way to watch television.
  • Tok.Tv—System Architecture
  • The Tok.Tv system architecture includes three primary components.
      • a Television set, with or without set-top-box, at each participating site;
      • a second-screen mobile device sitting on the lap of the television viewer (tablet, laptop, computer), at each participating site; and
      • a shared cloud service, which is controlling the interaction between the participants in the chat.
  • This preferred embodiment is depicted FIG. 1.
  • The architecture may also include a set-top-box, a device attached to the television set, which could interact directly to the second screen. This scenario is quite common, in particular with older not-connected television sets: the set-top-box is the device connected to the network, delivering the content to the television set based on instructions coming from the second screen.
  • An additional case is the absence of the second screen device, where the application is installed directly on the television set or on the set-top-box. In this case, the cloud service would be interacting directly with the television set or the set-top-box.
  • The Television box could be our old analog television, or a more modern digital or HD television, but also a computer or mobile device capable to show live or recorded video. In many cases, a set-top-box is actually the device delivering the content to the television, and capable to interact with the rest of the network (in particular, with the second-screen application). The television or the set-of-box can be capable of DVR (Digital Video Recording). In this case, the show can be paused and restarted through the use of a remote control or through remote APIs (for example, from the second screen device). The ability of remotely control the show is the basis of Tok.Tv ability to synchronize all the shows for all the users of the application, eliminating the risk of delays between the audio of the users, which could potentially ruin the experience to the users.
  • The second screen device is a control device preferably in close reach of the television viewer. It can be a tablet, such as an iPad, or a laptop computer. The Tok.Tv application runs on the device, provides additional data to the television viewer (synchronized with the television show) and—if possible—synchronizes the shows for all the viewers connected in a Tok.Tv voice chat.
  • The device is connected to the network over wireless connection (e.g. Wi-Fi) or wired connection (e.g. Ethernet). It interacts with the cloud service to receive the content that enhances the television experience (synchronized with the television show), it provides the voice interaction with the other Talk.television users connected to the same virtual living room, and it controls the user television to synchronize it with the show of the other users (based on commands received by the cloud service). The second screen device needs a network connection capable to transmit one audio stream (4KB per second) plus the additional content and control signals coming from the cloud service (an additional 1-4 KB per second).
  • Alternatively, the Tok.Tv application can be installed directly on the television set or on the set-top-box. In this case, the cloud service would be interacting directly with the television set or the set-top-box.
  • The cloud service operates to control the interaction between the participants in the chat. The cloud server preferably consists of a series of servers, which provide system-wide services, such as:
      • authenticate the users and allow new users to sign-up for the Tok.Tv service
      • parsing the additional content received by third party feeds, and deliver it to the connected clients
      • provide capabilities to manage friends of users, also importing them from external social networks
      • provide presence of users to friends, so that a user will be able to know which of her friends are watching the same show she is watching
      • multiplex the audio channels coming from different users in a chat (optional, it could be done by a single second screen device in a peer-to-peer modality)
      • synchronize the television show between different users, by receiving audio or video of the show currently watched by each user in a chat, determining the delay between them, and command the individual clients to pause their televisions accordingly
      • providing a marketplace for virtual goods, such as additional noises, virtual furniture for the user living room and clothing for the user avatar
      • serving ads to the clients, optionally synchronized with the television ads
  • Thus, the present invention provides a cloud service and locally executed application that enables individuals at each site to enjoy a shared, social viewing experience even where the various participating sites are geographically remote from one another.
  • In view of the above description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, many modifications and variations of the disclosed embodiments will be readily appreciated by those of skill in the art. It is therefore to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described above.

Claims (1)

1. A system providing for the management of program display system services involving display devices located at geographically remote locations relative to one another, said system comprising:
a) a display device at each respective one of a plurality of sites, said display device capable of receiving and displaying a transmitted show;
b) a control device at each respective one of said plurality of sites, said control device capable of controlling said display device, said control device being further operative to execute a client application; and
c) a cloud service operative to interact with said client applications as executed by said control devices to manage select associations of said plurality of sites.
US13/857,995 2012-04-06 2013-04-06 System and methods of communicating between multiple geographically remote sites to enable a shared, social viewing experience Active 2033-04-25 US10321192B2 (en)

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US201261621464P true 2012-04-06 2012-04-06
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US15/731,249 US20170257652A1 (en) 2013-04-06 2017-05-09 Systems and methods to remotely synchronize digital data

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