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)

 

Summer Streaming Made Easy with 802.11ac Wi-Fi

With Netflix’s summer premieres heating up, such as murder-mystery series “The Killing,” SBG6782-AC-heromaintaining a flawless connection is crucial. And what better way to make sure you are getting the most out of your home bandwidth than utilizing the fastest 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

802.11ac is currently the fastest way to deliver seamless streaming to your wireless devices in the home—whether that’s a gaming console, tablet, or TV. The ARRIS SBG6782-AC is the first gateway to incorporate this technology, and it’s a game changer for your connected experience.

As Netflix looks to launch the final season of “The Killing” on Aug. 1, make sure your home is ready to handle the binge-watching across all devices. And let us make it even easier on you – as you can find the SBG6782-AC @Best Buy and Amazon .

Also check out our latest video on the SBG6782-AC here.

Entertainment on our terms: the case for personalization

The 2014 ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index reveals that content personalization, access, and control is not only growing in popularity among consumers, but is a vital pathway for the evolution of entertainment.

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Sandy Howe, SVP Global Marketing

This year, we surveyed 10,500 people from 19 countries to get a pulse on how people around the world are engaging with content. Here’s what we found:

Mobile device usage around the world is growing exponentially. These devices are increasingly more powerful, personalized, and connected. That, combined with better access to high-speed broadband is fueling a new multiscreen ecosystem. The result is a fundamental change in what people expect from their entertainment.

In short: consumers want entertainment on their terms – the ability to control what they watch, when they watch it, and where.

This is a natural outgrowth of the connected lifestyle enabled by services like DVR and OTT, but now we’re seeing consumers take the next step towards personalized and boundary-less entertainment. It represents a global opportunity to develop services, features, networks, and experiences that not only align with these trends, but anticipate the way they will evolve.

Here are some of the more poignant findings from this year’s study:

Broadcast TV is here to stay

  • 96% of global respondents watch at least 1-5 hours of Broadcast TV each week.

The living room remains the center for entertainment, but consumers are branching out with mobile devices

  • 41% now use tablets in the bedroom, 22% in the kitchen
  • 40% use smartphones in the bedroom, 25% in the kitchen

Binge TV-viewing is at an all-time high

  • 80% have binge-viewed content. One in four 25-34 year-olds binge-view once a week.

Traditional TV advertising is irritating, but storage is a bigger concern, and second-screen merchandising may be the next way in

  • 60% download or record a TV program just to skip the ads
  • 62% of those interested in using a remote storage solution would watch a few ads in exchange for room to save their content
  • 30% used second screens to buy an item featured on the TV program they’re watching

For the full results, visit www.arrisi.com/arriscei.

We’ve reached a global inflection point in how we deliver entertainment that truly engages consumers. Service providers have an unprecedented opportunity to address the many ways that people are consuming and interacting with content on a variety of devices, across the home, and around the world.

ARRIS has a long history of uniting the technology, expertise, and innovation to anticipate tomorrow’s consumers. We’re collaborating with our customers, partners, and industry to succeed in this new era of entertainment. Together, we are inventing the future.

Cheevers Talks Home Infotainment and the Future of Wireless Tech

Charles Cheevers, CTO, Customer Premises Equipment

Charles Cheevers, CTO, Customer Premises Equipment

This week, thousands headed to San Francisco for the annual Parks Associates Connections Summit. Attendees discussed everything from new business models and industry challenges to technological trends and the latest R&D.

Our very own Charles Cheevers, CTO of CPE at ARRIS, presented on the evolution of device technology and the ever-changing network landscape of home infotainment. Cheevers provided insights  into current home device usage analytics — as well as emergent trends and technologies that will quickly become the norm among consumers in the next three to five years.

In a recent interview with Parks Associates, Cheevers noted that Wi-Fi™ technology and wireless connectivity throughout the home present the biggest challenge and opportunity for ARRIS. Consumers enjoy the freedom that wireless connectivity brings and expect their devices to utilize the full bandwidth of their in-home Internet…not just a fraction of it. However, now that consumers have access to speeds as fast as 100MBs (and moving to GBs in the future), they will expect their devices to operate using the maximum bandwidth available. Meeting this demand presents a significant challenge for service providers, as well as solution providers like ARRIS; it spans not only good hardware designs but now software solutions to maximize the airtime.

ARRIS is working diligently to overcome the challenges that come with increased home bandwidth and wireless devices, so stay tuned for updates following the Connections Conference.

Personalization and Perfection: The Language of Romance

Romance is all about personalization.

Just ask anyone with pollen allergies who’s ever been gifted a dozen roses.

Everyone has a preference—the secret to our hearts is knowing what we want.

In a recent survey of UK consumers, we found that more than three out of four people avoid romantic Valentine's Viewing Habits comedies altogether if they’re alone on Valentine’s Day. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if your service provider knew that? Then you wouldn’t have to wade through cheesy romantic comedy movie after cheesy romantic comedy while you surf through TV guide waiting for your better half to return from work.

Well, when it comes to entertainment, ARRIS thinks that your selection of shows, your video recommendations, and how they look on the screen should be just as unique as you are.

That’s why we developed technology like our Merchandiser platform, which allows your service provider to know your movie preferences, so that they can have your top choices waiting for you on the front page of your guide as soon as you flip on the set.

Our survey also found that while a whopping majority of people head for the comfort of the living room on Valentine’s day to watch TV on the big screen, viewers also are taking their favorite characters around the house with them—nearly a tenth of 18-34 year olds like watch a TV series while taking a hot soapy bath! Today, our technology helps service providers give you the choice—freeing your entertainment to your favorite screen, wherever you are. Romantic, no?

Here’s another statistic for romantic nights in: over a third (38%) of UK consumers prefer to watch a movie that they know and love, while 22% choose scheduled TV programming, and only 13% go for streamed or downloaded content.  

We’re all different, but with the right technology, romance is easier than ever.  

What would be your perfect Valentine’s viewing experience? Leave us a comment or Tweet us on @ARRISEverywhere!

Six Reasons to Make Your Cable Modem Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is the time to show love and appreciation for that special someone in your life. Graphic_crop But don’t forget that behind the scenes, it’s your cable modem that’s working hard to let you place last-minute flower orders, score bulk candy purchases, and expedite make-up gifts this February 14th. There are so many reasons to love your Motorola-ARRIS modem. Let us help you count the ways…

  1. Plays well with others. Have a tablet? Gaming console? Connected TV? Check, check, and check. These and all your favorite connected devices work right out of the box with your modem. It’s the kind of interoperability that lets you kick back, relax, and watch, click, surf, and play the latest media to your heart’s desire.
  2. Ultimate speed.  Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, Netflix aficionado, or that person who’s always sending PowerPoint presentations, you’ll be thrilled with the incredible speeds that Motorola-ARRIS cable modems deliver, especially with the blazingly fast new  802.11ac Wi-Fi, letting you game, movie marathon, and hustle better with Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1,800 Mbps.
  3. Saves money.  Why rent when you can own? Take the $72 in annual savings and buy your loved one a couple dozen long-stem roses… or a gym membership (we kid)… or throw it into the savings account for a rainy day.
  4. It’s ready for the future.  Be future-proof.  With support for DOCSIS 3.0, which provides download speeds of up to 343 Mbps – speeds that are well beyond today’s maximum cable speeds — you’ll be good for some time to come.
  5. Your cable provider knows SURFboard® by Motorola-ARRIS.  The SURFboard® suite of products work with ALL major cable providers (i.e., Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, Charter, Cablevision and more) so your home network stays the same, even if you switch providers.
  6. The leading brand. The SURFboard®  line represents one of the fastest, reliable, and most diverse set of cable modems in the world. We’ve been making Surfboard modems for more than 20 years and have sold 80M+ units. So when you’re looking for innovation you can trust, the choice is simple.
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