Televisions running the Roku TV streaming video software now can automatically detect what viewers are watching, possibly by using audio content recognition technology.
Roku OS version 7.6, released in April, includes a new feature called “More Ways to Watch.” If activated, the feature can detect the programming a user is watching on cable, satellite or via an antenna, as reported by The Verge.
Once More Ways to Watch identifies the program, the feature informs the user whether the program can also be viewed on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. This gives users more viewing options, such as allowing them to rewind programs they are currently watching back to the beginning. The feature could also allow Roku TV to present a menu showing other episodes of the same show the consumer is watching—or provide suggestions of similar content that might interest the consumer.
More Ways to Watch initially will be available on Roku TV. The company’s set-top boxes don’t support the feature. Roku will roll out More Ways to Watch as part of an online upgrade that will be finished in June.
Support for 4K televisions will be available sometime during the summer, according to The Verge.
Roku describes More Ways to Watch as an automatic content recognition feature. However. the company so far hasn’t divulged what type of automatic content recognition technology it is using for the feature, Variety reports.
Other companies in the market are using audio content recognition to perform similar tasks. For instance, Silicon Valley-based Audible Magic Corp. conducts automatic content recognition by identifying perceptual characteristics of audio.
Major content companies, such as record labels, have been employing audio content recognition techniques to identify music for enforcement of compliance and rights. For example, these companies have been using audio fingerprinting technology to monitor the use of songs in content posted on social media channels. When usage of their copyrighted music is detected, these companies can use this information to have the content removed or to pursue royalty agreements.
Another firm, Nielsen subsidiary Gracenote, offers audio content recognition technologies that compare digital music files to a database of music information, enabling song identification. Gracenote’s technology is used in consumer music-identification systems, including in the automotive market. In such systems, when a CD is placed in a car player, Gracenote’s technology can recognize the disc’s songs and artist and present that information to the driver on the vehicle’s dashboard display.
In addition to helping users find new viewing options, Roku’s More Ways to Watch may provide another benefit to viewers: With the feature always gazing at what’s on the TV, viewers will have the comfort of knowing they never have to watch television alone.
Stephan Cunningham is vice president, product management at Veritone. Working in concert with core internal teams including industry-specific general managers and engineering as well as directly with clients and prospects, he leads the disciplines and business processes which govern the Veritone Platform.