Comcast patents technology for recommending alternative TV programming to subscribers

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A U.S. patent issued to Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) shows how it may use interactive overlays displayed on TV screens to recommend TV shows and movies to subscribers based on factors such as ratings or viewer profiles that could determine the programming they are most interested in.

Comcast patent

Image source: Comcast

Comcast Search & Discovery senior director of product management Brian Curtis said in December that the MSO was using its Augusta, Ga., cable system to test ways to deliver personalized TV recommendations to subscribers, including a "My TV" section that would be added to its interactive program guide. A patent Comcast was issued last August for "methods and systems for displaying recommended content alternatives" shows another approach Comcast may pursue.

Comcast has patented the idea of running an on-screen overlay that would display programming alternatives without forcing the subscriber to change channels or navigate to a full-screen menu or IPG. "The compact guide display could show top recommendations across all content, or across a single genre. It could receive its recommendations from a conventional rating or recommendation engine. The recommendation engine could use user profiles to determine appropriate recommendations for the user," Comcast says in the patent, which was issued on Aug. 16.

Comcast rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) currently uses a "What's Hot" feature through its FiOS Interactive Media that allows customers to view the top 16 programs that subscribers are watching in local markets in real time. The Comcast patent could allow the MSO to offer its subscribers a similar feature.

DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) has also looked at recommending content to subscribers based on viewing habits through a "My DirecTV" feature that it may add to its IPG.

For more:
- read the Comcast patent

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