IBC 2014 Conference Preview: Creating an improved EPG through adaptive machine learning

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Q&A with Navneeth Kannan and Dinkar Bhat

 What are you going to discuss in your conference session at IBC 2014?

Navneeth Kannan (NK): We are presenting a method for a machine learning framework that simulates how we could develop a more personal viewing experience based on viewer behavior.

Video consumption behavior is evolving at a frenetic pace with the viewer freed from both the confines of the living room and the limits of traditional broadcast TV. While there have been advances in the user interface for over-the-top content, like catch-up and on-demand, interfaces for broadcast television need to catch up.

Consumer devices and network infrastructure have advanced to the point where channel navigation interfaces could, and should, be significantly improved from the traditional Electronic Program Guide (EPG). We believe we can harness the increased processing power of consumer devices to make machine learning techniques feasible.

You mention a machine learning framework. What does that mean?

Dinkar Bhat (DB): The adaptive user-interface takes advantage of content characteristics and viewership behavior based on the premise that though the number of channels available has increased, people are ultimately only interested in a certain number – i.e., we all have our favorite channels.

NK: The framework we’re putting forward allows for a platform that can accommodate multiple viewer profiles that orders channels based on the number of times a viewer opts for a channel and the amount of time spent once there. We’ve added in a few more factors with the ultimate aim to be able to learn viewer channel preference and even predict channel ranking for unwatched channels – something that could be done for alternative movie, sports or news channels for instance.

DB: We believe this adaptability is vital. Even if you have user interfaces that provide filtering features for large number of channels, they are not able to flex to changing user viewing patterns. 

Why are you recommending an alternative to the traditional grid-style Electronic Program Guide (EPG)?

DB: Program guides originated at a time when the number of broadcast channels was far fewer, and programming was limited to prime time. Newspapers and magazines published these guides as tabular grids, with channels listed as rows, time-slots listed in columns, and program information filling the cells.

The EPG came to replicate this structure, but as the number of channels vastly increased, this grid interface remained – despite developments in video delivery, the capabilities of set-tops and on-screen graphics, and that’s before we even begin to talk about metadata. Everything is still ordered by channel numbers, and that’s something we believe is far too limiting for today’s consumption habits.

Even recent advances at the headend that organize channels by genre are themselves still too rigid, in that they are unable to offer an experience personal to each viewer.

What benefits does machine learning have for broadcasters and service providers?

DB: This framework modernizes the EPG to bring a level of informed suggestion, flexibility and personalization to TV experience. By enabling better navigation, broadcasters and service providers can potentially benefit from an increased understanding of audience behaviour, which could be extended to create opportunities for targeted advertisements as well as cross-selling VOD or other high-value content.

It is also scalable and agile. Newer components can be added after initial development and deployment, making it possible to refine and optimize the navigation experience – something we think broadcasters and service providers will find valuable.

What are some ways to improve the user interface and make it more attractive to consumers?

NK: We believe that the user interface should be as streamlined as possible to let viewers get to the content they want to watch as quickly and easily as possible. Recent OTT players have made viewers increasingly accustomed to recommendation engines, and the framework we’re proposing speaks to that in a live broadcast sense. Viewers increasingly demand an immediacy with their technology, and having to scroll through over a list of a hundred unsorted channels makes little sense in this day and age.

Navneeth Kannan and Dinkar Bhat co-wrote “Adaptive Television User Interface using Machine Learning Concepts”, a paper that Navneeth will present at IBC 2014: Paper session: New consumer trends – the rise of social media and second screen technologies (11:30-13:00, September 12, 2014)

 

NEW!: ARRIS nDVR report in conjunction with Videonet

vnnDVR is poised to be the next big thing for both viewers and service providers. Leveraging network capabilities to store content remotely, in the cloud, means no more running out of space, no more lost recordings, and new possibilities for multi-content, multiscreen and multi-room experiences.

ARRIS partnered with Videonet to produce a report that discusses the potential of nDVR and the impact it could have on Pay TV. The report also delves into the technical aspects that govern the successful delivery of nDVR, and the implications for advertising and monetization of content.

As the tipping point for any service is consumer demand, we believe that nDVR is ready for the mainstream as evidenced by the results of our recent Consumer Entertainment Index.  We saw that 64% of respondents would like an nDVR service to store their entertainment to overcome issues of limited space. For service providers, these results could well be a source of growth and competitive differentiation as a third said they would be prepared to pay for an nDVR service and 62% of those interested in nDVR would willingly be shown a few ads in exchange for a free storage solution to save their content.

Now is the time for service providers, content rights holders and advertisers to collaborate and set the right strategy to give consumers what they want, at the price they are willing to pay. The full report is available here.

If you’re interesting in learning more about our position on nDVR, visit ARRIS at IBC 2014 in Hall 1, Stand D31. (IBC 2014 – September 11-16, Amsterdam).

ARRIS: INVENTING THE FUTURE AT IBC 2014

logo_ibc2014_smBinge-viewing, multi-screen usage and streaming are driving an era of ‘Entertainment My Way’, according to ARRIS’s fifth annual Consumer Entertainment Index.  At IBC 2014, ARRIS will showcase the latest in transformative solutions for the video delivery chain, from content creation to consumption. We will also launch some game-changing new products that help address these consumer trends.

Alongside new 4K set-tops, DOCSIS gateways and IP streaming solutions, ARRIS will also demonstrate the latest nDVR solutions, cloud platforms and discuss how a compelling content experience can be delivered in an ever-changing industry.

We hope you’ll be able to visit us in Hall 1, Stand D31 where we’ll also show how we’re helping service providers to transition to DOCSIS 3.1, and how they can capitalize on the opportunities of HEVC.

If you’re joining us in Amsterdam, don’t miss the opportunity to hear Nav Kannan, VP of Engineering, speak on a panel titled New consumer trends – the rise of social media and second screen technologies on Friday September 12 at 11:30. Also, Cornel Ciocirlan, our CTO in EMEA will speak in the SCTE Session on In-Home Architecture Issues on Monday September 15 at 14:00 where he will tackle the topic of extending service assurance in the 4K Wi-Fi home.

Everyone at ARRIS looks forward to seeing you for what promises to be a very exciting show.

Philly Tech It Out with ARRIS

WICTThis Thursday, join ARRIS and women from all over Philadelphia at this year’s WICT Philly Signature Tech It Out. This all-day seminar on August 21st is dedicated to Wi-Fi and how it’s changing the way we live.

Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) is an organization that’s helping to develop the industry’s next generation of women leaders. This year’s event features a rock-star line-up of industry leaders who are driving Cable’s ongoing transformation. They’ll chime in on Wi-Fi, connected experiences, and entertainment from their diverse areas of expertise.

ARRIS is a proud sponsor of WICT Tech It Out, and a few of our executives will be speaking at the event:

At 2:00 p.m. ET, join Eli Baruch, ARRIS Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management, for a panel entitled: “It’s the Experience! How to deploy the best Wi-Fi end user experience.” Eli will discuss creating effective carrier Wi-Fi networks and the components of successful deployment.

Then, at 3:30 p.m., join ARRIS SVP of Global Marketing Sandy Howe and Senior Director of Global Communications Jeanne Russo as they host “Anticipating Generation Next,” a game show exploring the changing ways that we’re consuming content all over the world, featuring the results of our 2014 Consumer Entertainment Index.

We look forward to seeing you there!

ARRIS @ The RDK Technical Summit

The RDK Technical Summit: three days of technical training on RDK for 150 engineers. The goal: learn how to create the future of entertainment using the growing RDK ecosystem.

RDK (Reference Design Kit) is a software-based framework for creating new video and entertainment experiences on consumer premise equipment (CPE). ARRIS is one of its leading supporters. This year’s summit brought in representatives from SoC vendors, System Integrators, OEM vendors, and MSOs to learn about everything from porting RDK to different silicons to writing applications on RDK.

ARRIS was invited to share insights on RDK coding with student attendees. Our own Anton Avtamonov, Senior Manager, Software, Digital Video, and Nav Kannan, Systems Engineering, CPE presented on how to write HTML5 Applications in RDK. They used a case study to illustrate the various components of creating an entertainment environment, including basic controls and animations, playback on multiple formats, and CPE integration.

Thanks for Anton and Nav for providing leadership and education in our industry’s future formats and standards.

Keven Adams’ CCAP and DOCSIS 3.1 Presentation

Now that CCAP hardware is a commercial reality, the question is how cable operators can make the best use of it.

On July 16th, our Director of Product Management for CCAP and CMTS Platforms, Keven Adams dove into the origin and fundamentals of CCAP and outline best practices for the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 at the CCTA Technical Training in Puerto Rico.

The CCAP portion began with a general review of CCAP for operators, and then discussed the benefits of the latest hardware, finally touching on IPv6 and its implications for tomorrow’s connected services.

Keven reviewed developments in DOCSIS 3.1, going into the industry’s inevitable shift to the new standard due CCAP platform support and its potential performance benefits for bandwidth in Hybrid Fiber Coax networks.

Check out his presentation: CCAP EVOLUTION AND DOCSIS 3.1.

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