My Entertainment

February 2, 2008

MoviesBack when I was younger, it wasn’t unusual for me to get reprimanded for daydreaming in school, imagine that as if daydreaming was bad or something… Besides those in the know call it brainstorming, not daydreaming but I digress. The point is I still brainstorm but these days it generally involves ideas for new products or ways to make existing ones better, which is exactly what I started thinking about while reading up on the DISH Network vs. TiVO decision handed down on Thursday.

Now, while the idea of assembling bits of media, custom tailored to your specific likes and dislikes isn’t new, I haven’t seen it implemented quite the way I’m envisioning yet, keyword yet, I’m sure someone will eventually. What I’d like to see looks like a channel, but that “channel” is really nothing more than a launch-pad for other media, i.e. I select my profile and tell the channel my likes and dislikes, TiVo’s thumbs up feature (or similar) would be a good way for additional preference input. For example, if I give ‘Goldfinger’ a thumbs-up it stands to reason I’d be interested in seeing ‘Goldeneye’ and so on and so forth.

The trick is while TiVo (and Vista Media Center with My Movies) already accomplishes some of this, I’m thinking larger scale and with more bits of media and most importantly at a provider level not third-party. I want to flip on my television and Comcast box (same principle could apply to satellite to some degree) and see the type of programming that I like immediately, with no need to flip though channels or tab through a day’s worth of program guides. We need the home video equivalent of this, surely that couldn’t be too hard right? Put me in charge of a room full of programmers and I can push this bad boy out in six months, or twelve, give or take.

Seriously though, take a look at Google’s personalized home page and think music, movies and concerts, that’s the channel I’m picturing. Just as Pandora uses a system of matching key components of a songs structure to find other songs you may enjoy, the same principle could apply to concerts and videos. Want a news ticker across the bottom of the page? No problem, just click on Fox news or CNN.

Now cataloging movies and recommending similar matches would probably require a ground-up solution (that is unless Netflix was interested in licensing their matching system) but in lieu of that system an old fashioned reviewer rating system would suffice for the time being. Oh by the way, if by some crazy chance Comcast, DISH and or DirecTV aren’t working on this as we speak, I’m available and willing to relocate.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Media Servers


Comments

  • Nic

    A good post with good comments. For swedes like myself, there’s a couple of cinema communities that base recommendations on your previous entered rating being “algorithmed” against the community’s taste and ratings to get you to see “the missed gems”. http://www.filmtipset.se are the biggest with 68000 members and I’m sure there’ll be an American site just like that 🙂 It’s not as easy and streamlined as your idea but the core functionality is there to get “TV ported”

    I.e. say you rate Kurosawa, Ozu and similar stuff high but Disney and Bruckheimer low, the site will find and match your unseen post-war Japanese movies based on users’ with similar taste. I actually sounds more complex than it is and it works very well for the most part. Most of the recommendations are within one grade (on 1-5 scale).

    Perhaps I’m just missing the point, but I had a long long day. 🙂

  • Nic

    A good post with good comments. For swedes like myself, there’s a couple of cinema communities that base recommendations on your previous entered rating being “algorithmed” against the community’s taste and ratings to get you to see “the missed gems”. http://www.filmtipset.se are the biggest with 68000 members and I’m sure there’ll be an American site just like that 🙂 It’s not as easy and streamlined as your idea but the core functionality is there to get “TV ported”

    I.e. say you rate Kurosawa, Ozu and similar stuff high but Disney and Bruckheimer low, the site will find and match your unseen post-war Japanese movies based on users’ with similar taste. I actually sounds more complex than it is and it works very well for the most part. Most of the recommendations are within one grade (on 1-5 scale).

    Perhaps I’m just missing the point, but I had a long long day. 🙂

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Rob, it really wouldn’t require anything more than clicking two buttons on the remote, (1) menu and the (2) icon you selected when you punched in your preferences. You could even set up additional filters or security if you really felt it was necessary.

    Remember all the same programming that we’d point to with this type of setup is already available; we’re just slicing through the bulk of the “other crap”. As far as the solitary or social aspect, again I just want to raise my chances of seeing something I like right away, vs. wading through a buncha crap, if it takes a little further fine-tuning no worries.

    As far as the privacy concerns, I’m afraid they’ll soon have that ability with or without the system I’m imagining. Comcast (and other cable providers) are moving to switched-node transmission system to regain some of their bandwidth, these switched systems are going to make our viewing habits pretty transparent. but lets be realistic, they’d have a pretty hard time using that data against you in a incriminating way as they don’t broadcast anything that could really be considered incriminating.

    Most importantly however, the system I’m imagining wouldn’t have to replace the current program guide, if all of those things truly were just too much hassle to be of any value, you could just elect not to use it.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Rob, it really wouldn’t require anything more than clicking two buttons on the remote, (1) menu and the (2) icon you selected when you punched in your preferences. You could even set up additional filters or security if you really felt it was necessary.

    Remember all the same programming that we’d point to with this type of setup is already available; we’re just slicing through the bulk of the “other crap”. As far as the solitary or social aspect, again I just want to raise my chances of seeing something I like right away, vs. wading through a buncha crap, if it takes a little further fine-tuning no worries.

    As far as the privacy concerns, I’m afraid they’ll soon have that ability with or without the system I’m imagining. Comcast (and other cable providers) are moving to switched-node transmission system to regain some of their bandwidth, these switched systems are going to make our viewing habits pretty transparent. but lets be realistic, they’d have a pretty hard time using that data against you in a incriminating way as they don’t broadcast anything that could really be considered incriminating.

    Most importantly however, the system I’m imagining wouldn’t have to replace the current program guide, if all of those things truly were just too much hassle to be of any value, you could just elect not to use it.

  • Rob Schultz

    I’m a custom A/V installer. In my house, and that of most of my clients, there are multiple people who watch the same one or two main TVs in the house.

    Having something that remembers the user’s likes and dislikes won’t work well in this circumstance, since my kids and I like very different things. And, in fact, I may not even want them watching what I watch (things that are violent or suggestive may not be appropriate for them – and I don’t want to be interrupted while watching my favorite shows because they accidentally watched something that’s giving them nightmares!).

    Even my wife and I have some very different tastes, as well as some very similar tastes.

    The most likely solution to this would be to have a “login” type of mechanism to know who’s watching – but seriously, what a pain!

    Your Pandora and Google examples are interesting, but I note that we typically either have separate logins or separate computers – computing tends to be a solitary activity, while watching TV, sports, and movies can easily be either solitary or social. Because of this, the Pandora and Google models would likely fall down.

    And of course there’s the privacy concern. Do I really want Comcast knowing exactly what I watch? Certainly they know for VOD, but for general channel surfing, many people would like to at least retain the illusion that they’re not being watched 24x7x365!

    I’d be very interested in solutions to the objections I raise here. I like the idea of having a user-oriented program guide (especially for VOD), but I can’t envision how it would work in practice.

  • Rob Schultz

    I’m a custom A/V installer. In my house, and that of most of my clients, there are multiple people who watch the same one or two main TVs in the house.

    Having something that remembers the user’s likes and dislikes won’t work well in this circumstance, since my kids and I like very different things. And, in fact, I may not even want them watching what I watch (things that are violent or suggestive may not be appropriate for them – and I don’t want to be interrupted while watching my favorite shows because they accidentally watched something that’s giving them nightmares!).

    Even my wife and I have some very different tastes, as well as some very similar tastes.

    The most likely solution to this would be to have a “login” type of mechanism to know who’s watching – but seriously, what a pain!

    Your Pandora and Google examples are interesting, but I note that we typically either have separate logins or separate computers – computing tends to be a solitary activity, while watching TV, sports, and movies can easily be either solitary or social. Because of this, the Pandora and Google models would likely fall down.

    And of course there’s the privacy concern. Do I really want Comcast knowing exactly what I watch? Certainly they know for VOD, but for general channel surfing, many people would like to at least retain the illusion that they’re not being watched 24x7x365!

    I’d be very interested in solutions to the objections I raise here. I like the idea of having a user-oriented program guide (especially for VOD), but I can’t envision how it would work in practice.