CableLabs eyes NFC, RFID tags to deliver personalized programming and advertising

CableLabs has developed technology that could help members such as Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) deliver personalized programming and advertising by relying on mobile devices used by subscribers that contain RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags or NFC (near field communication) chips, according to a recent patent application.

The application also details ways that programmers and advertisers may be able to determine how engaged a viewer is, by using "facial recognition, presence detection, movement detection or other device driven means for detecting movement, behavior, stress, biometric information or other features of the viewer that may lend itself to determining engagement with the media," CableLabs states in the patent application, which was published on Feb. 27. 

Pay TV distributors such as Comcast and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have disclosed in previous patent applications approaches for using NFC technology to deliver personalized programming to viewers based on the profile related to a mobile device that is tapped to devices such as remote controls and set-tops. NFC can also be used to authenticate which subscribers have rights to access subscription video content.

Much of the patent application focuses on strategies for measuring viewer engagement, which CableLabs notes can be determined by tracking when the volume up or down button on a remote control is pressed. "Volume down or mute on "American Idol" means more than on a Charlie Chaplin movie or nature program with aquatic footage," inventor Jean-Francois Mulé writes in the patent application.

Mulé was senior director of engineering at CableLabs. He left CableLabs last summer to join Apple Computer (NASDAQ: AAPL), where he was named director of engineering.

For more:
- see the patent application

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