Home Network / Media Center / Gateway
A new way to profit from simultaneous media use now
CoTV can be provided by linking the TV and the PC in the home, and using
a CoTV Web portal as to manage the coordination acting as a combination
of context server and special Web portal/search engine.
The CoTV Web service provides a viewer-specific focal
point to organize and promote all PC-based user interaction related to TV viewing,
including direct access to enhancements to any and all programs as they are viewed. Unlike
conventional, dumber forms of "sync-TV," it fully coordinates with channel
changes, VOD, DVRs, trick-play, and addressable targeting.
- Advertising enhancement smart-sync - fully
synchronized windows for direct response and supplementary content related to ads (with
full activity tracking). Advertiser funded incentives can be offered to stimulate regular
- Program enhancement smart-sync - fully synchronized
windows for content and interaction. Coverage can be phased in special-interest
channel/program genres aimed at groups of heavy interactors:
- News (general, financial, etc.)
- Games, Reality, Kids, etc.
- Smart Electronic Program Guides (EPGs)
- presented in high-resolution format, under viewer control, including power grids,
sophisticated program discovery tools and organizers, and rich magazine format
alternatives, using advanced personalization with 100% private filters and intelligent
agent / recommender functions, and with direct linkage to TV tuning
The CoTV Web service can operate much like an ordinary Web portal
(and can be seamlessly integrated into an ordinary Web portal) -- it simply adds support
to relate Web pages to TV-context (and vice versa).
The Web service/portal can do this based on linkage of the
TV and PC over various forms of home networking. The TV link need only
report and respond to channel changes that can be done using digital TVs,
set-top-boxes, DVD players, game players, media adapters, or gateways like the Media
The Media Center PC is particularly attractive
because of its open, extensible software platform (Windows XP Media Center Edition and
soon Vista), and its presence in millions of homes, growing to tens of millions.
Improving PC technology (such as Intel Viiv) improves the suitability of this platform for
living room use, and the dynamic entrepreneurial nature of the PC software business
ecology promise to make this into a powerful entertainment platform. (This also
applies to other PC software platforms such as Apple and Linux, and to other PC hardware
sources such as AMD.)
An example of an advanced gateway configuration using the Media
Center Extender is as shown below.
This builds on the standard function of a Media Center PC, which
acts like (or with) a set-top box to power TV viewing (whether to a PC monitor or to a
larger TV screen), as in the upper portion of the diagram. The Media Center Extender
permits driving a TV that might be across the room, or even multiple TVs in multiple rooms
driven from a central gateway server. It supports the TV with the remote
control as a "lean-back" (or "ten-foot") user interface.
The addition of CoTV to the Media Center
gateway enables additional PCs in each room (such as wireless laptops) to be coordinated
with the TV in that room, as shown in the lower portion of the diagram.
- This offers the viewer coordinated use of both a
"lean-back" (or "ten-foot") user interface, and a
"lean-forward" (or "two-foot") userface.
- The PC could be the Media Center PC itself (possibly with
multi-monitor support to drive both a TV and the PC monitor), or preferably a separate
laptop or tablet
- This can be used in a single room (with a standard Media Center PC
without need for an extender).
- This can also support multiple users (or groups of users) with TVs in
multiple rooms (using multiple extenders), each coordinated as an independent group
by CoTV software.
Note how this adds an entirely new dimension to the Media Center
- Typical use cases for the Media Center PC make use of just a single
screen at any given time. If an across-the-room TV monitor is used, it is routinely
controlled using the "ten foot interface" that appears on that screen, and the
PC screen is generally ignored. Thus it behaves much like a standard TiVo, using
only the TV screen.
- With CoTV, in contrast, the suggested use case is with a separate
laptop that can interact with the Media Center PC over WiFi. Thus the viewer has
simultaneus use of both the "ten foot" interface primarily for viewing the
video, with the additional fucntionality of the "two foot interface" on
the laptop. In such cases the laptop can serve as a primary interface for rich
"remote control" interaction with the Media Center (for both video control and
for coactive Web browsing). Of course, the "ten-foot" TV screen interface
can continue to serve, secondarily, for quick, casual interactions when desired.
- And, for your next Super Bowl party... Extend this to
multiple laptops (or mobile phones, etc.), belonging to each viewer, each of whom can
interact with supplementary information, replays, etc. without any interference with the
TV viewing of the others -- but retaining the ability to put replays, or other content,
onto the big screen when desired.
Similar home network based services can be driven using CoTV
software with DVRs such as TiVo, or with intelligent network media
The user experience of the CoTV Portal is
simulated in a Demo
Benefits to Media Center PC/gateway providers
- Adding value to the PC/gateway by enabling advanced
services that may be superior to those offered by cable or satellite operators using
proprietary set-top box/gateway systems
Benefits to Portal operators
- Control of smart-sync information enables a unique
ability to offer a wide range of Web-based services that others cannot match.
- Advertiser fees can be obtained for smart-sync
services, and substantial t-commerce revenue or performance-based fees
can be generated by direct response to TV ads.
- Allied Web-based services can achieve high margin by
leveraging viewer interest and activity relating to TV and the CoTV Portal
- Subscriber fees might be obtained for smart-sync
services, once consumer awareness of their value is established (such as after a trial
- No customer premises capital expense is required,
since no new customer premises equipment is needed. Proliferation of wireless laptops, PC
tablets, and Media Center PCs/gateways, along with WiFi networks (driven by demands other
than CoTV), will encourage increased usage.
Benefits to viewers, programmers, and advertisers
- Viewers can obtain powerful TV-related Web features
that exploit their Web-savvy and minimize interference with TV viewing, with almost no
added effort. The CoTV Web Portal coordinates seamlessly with the TV to create a
powerful, user-centric control center for TV-related Web features -- one that supports
serious interactivity and flexible multitasking. (And smart-sync data privacy can be fully
contolled.) See Why I want my CoTV.
- Advertisers can achieve the full benefit of rich
interactivity and direct response to make their expenditures far more productive and
accountable, and can leverage current Web skills, standards, and back-end systems.
See Integrating TV and Web Advertising.
- Programmers can develop a full range of enhancements
to build audience involvement without the severe constraints of one TV screen, and can
leverage Web skills and standards. Traffic to programmer enhancement sites will
increase as users are automatically linked to relevant enhancements, without need to know
of their existence and their URL (and without need for costly on-air promotion).
No barriers to crossing the chasm
There are no fundamental or steep hurdles to rapid deployment and
contagious growth to scale.
- CoTV Web Portals can be introduced with basic EPG and
smart-sync advertising features, possibly starting with a content focus such as movies or
sports, and grow as usage and content explands
- Millions of households already have all needed equipment, and many
more will soon.
- Subscriber growth will be facilitated by proliferation of wireless
laptops and tablets, as well as the gateway devices, and home networks
- Peer exposure and word of mouth can produce viral demand that is
- National reach can be achieved from day one
- Advanced features are fully supportable: VOD, DVRs, trick-play, and
- Adoption of basic "two-screen" CoTV service can
stimulate demand for "one-screen" interactivity on the TV screen, as a fully