Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Augmented TV

Most internet-to-TV boxes today (roku, dlink m500, xbox360, ps3, appletv, windows media center) act as a separate video source to the TV. They get content from several sources
  • stream from a commercial source (e.g. Roku, Xbox with netflix, amazon vod, hulu)
  • play from a local or remote store (e.g. Media Center, Tversity)
  • download from a commercial source to local media store and play (AppleTV + iTunes)
  • stream from a UGC source (YouTube)
  • stream P2P (watch webcam on TV, ustream)
  • videophone conf (no real support)
Each of these use-cases has a different setup and interface, different devices are needed along with different remotes. And of course, making this all work with the PRIMARY use-case (regular cable TV) of the TV is harder.

To make this work seamlessly, here's how it should work
- I have a Wifi set-top box into which DishTV, DVD, Xbox inputs go in. Output goes to TV.
- The set-top box has a built in media-server (Tversity?) with a webpage
- I can login to the webpage online and configure my channels.
- Channels are either sat://dishtv.com/ch302 or http://youtube.com/channels/mychannel or http://webcam_ip/ or http://netflix.com/..
- Each channel has a schedule that is time-variant (dishtv schedule) or just a further selector (VOD) with search OR just a single program (daddy's webcam).
- Each channel consists of :
- an array of entries which could be shown in time-sequence (broadcast) or just folder icon-style with categories/search (games) or just a list with search/sort (mp3)
You can then just select a channel from the regular menu and watch the right video.

One of the channels in the TV can be a meta-channel that allows you to view a directory
of public channels. Eventually there would be a "channel creation" ecosystem (much like
the iphone apps directory). People will create channels and post them in the overall channel directory. Folks can stitch regular Youtube videos along with ads in between.