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LinkedTV: Semantic TV comes home

The big brains at the Fraunhofer Institute have turned their attention to imagining how a converged web search and TV content might be experienced in the living room of the 2020’s.

Visitors to the IBC Future Zone can make themselves comfortable in a living room simulation and, while watching a TV programme, explore more information and content about concepts and topics via a companion app. The technology, which makes this programme enhancement possible, is targeted at broadcasters and OTT content providers and runs under the name LinkedTV.

“We will show this for two genres where further information exploration is a typical interest of viewers: a newscast by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg and a documentary series of the Dutch TV station AVRO,” explained Lyndon Nixon of the Institute’s Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) department.

“We think that viewer interest is sometimes lost or frustrated because it is not possible to easily find everything we see on TV: how do I Google for the painting I just saw on the wall behind the presenter when I don’t know the name of the artwork nor the artist?”

The institute is working with 11 partners from seven countries on the project. Software scans the contents of a show prior to its broadcast via speech analysis and image processing for topic-related content from the web. Since the software provides a great number of unfiltered hits and semantic links, the researchers have developed methods to narrow down the results according to certain criteria.

“For example, content will be displayed only if it complies with laws for the protection of minors and for which the copyright is no problem,” said project manager, Heike Horstmann. The editorial team adds the final touches, checking suggested content for relevance and eliminating any duplications from the hit list.

“Unlike one-size-fits-all second screen enhancements, LinkedTV incorporates viewer profiling to enable personalised enhancements, highlighting concepts they are interested in and adapting the additional information and content to them,” said Nixon. The automated LinkedTV workflow permits a lower cost scaling up of TV programme enhancement for broadcasters and OTT providers.”