Last week the USPTO published a patent application (20070143776) from Scientific Atlanta for Viewer Data Collection in a Multi-Room Network. The title says it all. It's all about data collection.
Here's the abstract:
Viewer data collection in a multi-room system. A TV viewing log is created for each user or each device in a multi-room system. The log can be used to limit or monitor the amount of television watched in the household. The log allows more accurate viewer data collection to be collected, compressed, and then sent to the headend at off-peak hours.You can already see SA's marketing strategy too. Scientific Atlanta will charge you more for your set-top box and tell you all about the great features for you. You'll be able to "limit or monitor the amount of television watched in the household." They'll market that feature to parents. You'll be able to peruse your own TV viewing log to see what you recently watched. Maybe you'll even be able to share or compare your TV viewing log with friends or other community.
That's all great marketspeak, but the reality is simple. Your next set-top box will provide greater value to Scientific Atlanta than to you. SA will be able to sell its data for a pretty penny.