Product Spotlight: Set-top box face-recognition technology

Apr 30, 2001  •  Post A Comment

What it is: A technology that automatically indexes television images from programs captured by personal video recorders. It lets viewers choose footage of a specific character from a movie or the highlight play of a specific team player from a sports event by browsing through thumbnail portraits on the bottom of the screen and then displaying all pertinent video segments on demand.
Provider: The Netherlands’ Philips Digital Networks developed the computerlike TriMedia processing platform for the set-top box. Israel’s Media Access Technologies created the ChannelMate face-recognition technology and PVR-Mate visual indexing software.
How it works: Newly recorded programs are passed through proprietary video image-recognition engines that detect and recognize faces, sports scores and events, music video clips, news items, text overlays and program genres. Algorithms then translate the engines’ output into viewer events, and video index logic aggregates the events into index entries.
The technology is installed on the hard drive of set-top boxes that have massive storage capacity (such as the Philips TrimMedia-based box).
Your TV: Philips is offering the face-recognition technology to digital broadcast operators as part of its Personal TV applications (Your TV).
Other offerings on Your TV include customizable electronic program guides; t-commerce (with RespondTV); targeted ads (with ACTV); push video and content promotion; a digital photo album; and interactive health care. The last feature (with Agilent Technologies, which Philips is in the process of acquiring) lets viewers hook up devices like blood-pressure monitors to their set-top boxes to get an online analysis of their health.