OpenTV Teams with Jinni to Incorporate "Mood"-Based Searches and Recommendations into Core2

--Jinni's CEO Is Cable/VOD-Industry Veteran, Mike Pohl

Interactive TV and advanced advertising technology specialist, OpenTV, and Jinni, a company that offers a semantic search-and-recommendation engine that it says is based on "content genetics and user psychographics," announced Tuesday a partnership that will see Jinni's technology incorporated into the next version of OpenTV's Core2 middleware, which is expected to be released in the fourth quarter.

According to the companies, Jinni's technology--which is billed as analyzing video content by moods and plots and as generating recommendations based on a unique approach to modeling personal preferences--will enable OpenTV Core2's integrated search to allow viewers to find content across multiple sources and to receive programming recommendations based on personal tastes. "This collaboration will change the way content is discovered on television," Tracy Geist, OpenTV's SVP of business development, said in a prepared statement. "Jinni's unique approach to search, discovery, and recommendations is the perfect complement to our middleware technology, allowing consumers to easily find what they really 'feel' like watching. By integrating the Jinni technology with the integrated search features of our Core2 middleware, we're enabling our customers to deliver a television-centric search product far beyond what is available today, and we believe this unique capability will be an exciting differentiator for our customers as they define their consumer experience." Added Jinni CEO, Mike Pohl (who was formerly president and CEO of nCUBE, a pioneering VOD technology provider that was sold to C-COR--which was itself subsequently sold to Arris--back in 2004): "We're thrilled to be bringing this functionality to the television with OpenTV. Finding a program you'll like has always involved a lot of guesswork: people are reluctant to explore. Choosing what to watch should be fun! Taking into consideration the personal and emotional aspects of choosing a movie, by reflecting how people think and talk about what they watch, we're making it easier for viewers to find the content they want without all the hassle."

According to the companies, the OpenTV-Jinni "mood-based" search functionality goes beyond basic searches for programming titles (i.e. searches where viewers know what they want to watch), by providing choices based on what viewers "feel" like watching. Thus, the companies say, if a viewer wants to watch a "thrilling, film noir, dark comedy," they can search for exactly that, without needing to recall exact movie titles as is the case with regular search implementations. Viewers can search using such "mood" descriptors as "funny," "dark," "suspenseful," or "gripping," the companies say, thus "removing the cumbersome middle step that often prevents people from using search." They can also add mood descriptors to more common search strings, such as "era," "actor" or "genre": thus, the companies say, a viewer could search for a "1980's mystery" or a "suspenseful Tom Cruise" movie.

Other features of the OpenTV Core2 search solution, according to the company, include:

  • "Integrated Search" functionality which goes beyond a simple "program title list" search, allowing viewers to search all program information, including synopsis, ratings and actor/actress information.
  • "Extended Search," which allows searches "beyond the set-top box" by including online databases. This, OpenTV says, allows network operators to store vast amounts of content, without the overhead of having to update and communicate an entire inventory to the set-top box.
  • Predictive text entry, making it easier to enter search strings via a standard remote control.

OpenTV plans to demo Core2's new search features in its booth (Hall 1 Booth C81) at the IBC show in Amsterdam next month.

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