Friday, February 09, 2007

DVR InstaMeme

TiVo has its Trick Play option, which lets you rewind and pause live TV. I wonder how fast TiVo can measure "trick played" content? For the Super Bowl, TiVo released data about commercials the following morning.

Wouldn't it be great if TiVo acquired and used Trick Play data more quickly?

Think about this concept. You were watching "Heroes" last Monday and a little icon popped up in the lower left corner of your screen at the end of the show. That icon let you know that a bunch of people hit rewind sometime in the last ten minutes. You selected the option to view the clip and you saw the limo's license plate. Even better, the video paused to give you a nice clear look of the plate number.

At least that's the first implementation. You get an easy way to watch what others wanted to re-watch, and you get to watch it the way they re-watched it (on average). Pauses and all. Nearly in real-time. No more waiting to read blogs. No more waiting for somebody to upload a vid clip on YouTube.

Now you can start thinking about extensions to the concept.

I chose the "Heroes" example because many people didn't immediately get the "Star Trek" homage, but they did get the reference after hearing "Star Trek". Wouldn't it be great if TiVo also let its users text message a small caption and then did natural language processing to automatically determine the best caption? This way every viewer could've read the significance of the clip. (Plus TiVo can use the number of text messages as a way to measure the significance of the Trick Play. Many times I hit rewind, but I didn't see anything new or significant. TiVo only wants to present meaningful, Trick-Play clips.)

If this idea has any legs, I reckon that TV shows will be distributed with built-in InstaMemes. Writers often add "did you see that?" moments for shows like "Heroes" and "Lost." Why not give the writers a chance to write captions for their own easter eggs and provide a way to for them to communicate with viewers?

TiVo will like the idea because it can really advertise the personalized aspect of the feature. Each time you view an InstaMeme, you'll have the option to press Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. Your rating gets stored in a database along with all the viewers who originated (or text-messaged) the InstaMeme. Now TiVo can use these scores to determine whether or not you're likely to enjoy watching the next InstaMeme before offering you the option.

No comments: