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Pulling Related Web Content into a Live TV Stream

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Andrew Littledale Andrew Littledale | 18:00 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

(This is a cross posting from the Backstage blog, featuring the work of our AHRC sponsored projects- Ant)

Like everyone else, we have been wondering what set top boxes connected to the internet will look like for the user. What kind of interfaces will work best when TV and the web become bedfellows?

We decided to mock up a prototype application to play around with some user interface ideas.

The most useful application we could think of was something that would provide web content that was relevant to what was being talked about on TV.

So we created a Flash application that pulls in live subtitles from an IRC channel and places them underneath a live feed of News 24. Thanks very much to Andrew McParland and his team in R&D for making the subtitles available.

As the subtitles appear on the screen they are sent off to a natural language processing API and relevant concepts are extracted from the text (and in our case returned as DBpedia terms).

When the concepts come back from the API they are placed over the EMP on the left of the picture. We've mapped these terms to BBC News content and clicking on them reveals links on the right. Clicking on these opens up the web page in a new tab.

It needs a bit of work. Sometimes the concepts returned are a little random and it would be good to filter them. We also need to come up with a scalable way of using the subtitles. Both things are doable.

It would also be possible to tailor the application to link to specific parts of bbc.co.uk. At the moment we are just linking to News but it could be that we linked to GCSE Bitesize so that students could find Learning content that was relevant to stuff they were watching on TV.

With Google TV launching in the Autumn and Canvas next year expect to see more interfaces like this soon.


This video shows the application working with a live stream from News 24

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Further information

If you would like more information about this prototype please contact andrew.littledale@bbc.co.uk. We hope to demo it at the The Media Festival Arts next month.

Please visit us at https://backstage.bbc.co.uk/data_art/


  • Comment number 1.

    An interesting concept and demo.
    Potentially a totally new breakthrough in the use of IPTV

    Occasionally it could be useful to have links which effectively are to previous BBC new items relevant to a current live news topic.

    However I see information overload being a problem.
    Possibly the concept would actually work better with say a play again news summary programme that could be paused, whilst links could be reviewed or bookmarked. (No point in generating the links if they can not be stored)

    Another big flaw could be the quality of the links generated.
    How good is even the recently enhanced BBC search for finding useful and relevant information?
    However well results are filtered, and 'random' results rejected, they are only as good as the database and the search methods available.

    And of course some news is new and only general information will be available then it may be far better to have a search producing results from say Wikipedia or Google results rather than just the BBC database.

    You mention specifically Google TV, & presumably if Google do something similar an advanced customisable search, with many filtering options would be available.
    The data searched would not only be previous news items but also general information on a topic or maybe any cross references with another chosen set of topics.
    (Say bitesize &/or engineering for the example you provided, but what is needed is to search within another live or dynamic results set using the data from the subtitles / voice recognition; or whatever tags, or live information is produced.)


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