After a five year process, Chyron Corporation has announced the approval of one US patent, with two others pending, for technology enabling the integration of live television graphics data with a broad range of interactive media platforms and consumer electronics devices, writes Andy Stout.
"All together they cover the embedding of metadata and triggers into the video signal by the character generator," explains Jim Martinolich, VP product development. "The graphics that you would normally just overlay you can recreate or reapply downstream in a different device. Either for the purpose of generating the graphics locally, say as in a STB or on a cell phone, or for the purpose of putting different kinds of graphics onto different types of receivers."
The first patent approved covers the generation of the metadata, as well as content and positional information. Its genesis lies in the company's investigations into interactive TV technologies back in 2000, but as CTO Bill Hendler commented, "A lot of the same advantages that we had back then for generating iTV content also apply to mobile TV. And not just the content, but providing the live automated synchronisation which is already embedded in the television production control workflow without having to add additional personnel or spend a lot of time in post."
"Personnel are expensive and television workflow is very sensitive to change," he adds. As a publicly listed US company, Chyron can't and won't make forward looking statements about the details of its technology and how it applies to mobile beyond a corporately bland: "We're in the early stages of exploring applications with our partners, equipment providers and our customers who are interested in doing this." Likewise, the company is wary of overselling the implications for the patent approval when asked if it is going to grant it a significant competitive advantage.
"We'd like to think so, but it's so hard to say with new technology," says Martinolich. "We're still working on the solution. It certainly shows that we have the technology, but where that's going to fall out in terms of being an advantage or not is hard to tell. There are a lot of new companies looking at this market, but some of the basic concepts here are very important in the field and we'll see what happens."
Either way, the company is expecting to unveil more details and discuss further the possible implications out in Vegas.