Q: What is the TV Watcher?

A: "The Ultimate Couch Potato" :-)

Recent trends in computing and entertainment technologies have enabled users to gain access to an overwhelming amount of media. A system to support the automatic capture, filtration, categorization, correlation, and higher level inferencing of streaming data from distributed sources based on user interests is needed to combat the growing problem of information overload. We have designed a distributed framework, Symphony, to facilitate the real-time analysis of high-bandwidth media streams.

TV Watcher is a specific application utilizing Symphony to help television viewers find content of interest by performing real-time analyses on live television streams.

System Overview

Symphony enables computationally intensive analyses on many live media streams by distributing the computation over a cluster of workstations. Its architecture allows for distributed capture and analysis of high-bandwidth media streams. There are five basic entities of Symphony:
  1. Capture servers are media providers which can dynamically enter or depart the computation.
  2. The stream server is a registry for static and dynamic meta-data related to the currently available media streams.
  3. The media analysis system (running on a cluster) performs application-specific distributed computation on available media streams.
  4. Clients are entities in the system which view media streams or request media analysis operations.
  5. Finally, the distributed programming framework provides a substrate by which components of Symphony can communicate.
Symphony Architecture

TV Watcher uses Symphony to distribute correlation of live television streams. Using audio, video and closed captioning text, TV Watcher performs multimodal real-time correlation to suggest content related to a viewer's current interests. The current closed captioning text correlation system is not computationally intensive as it uses the standard IDF/TF (inverse document frequency / term frequency) algorithm, but vision-based analysis of the video content (under development currently) is computationally significant and relies on Symphony's ability to distribute media analyses.

The TV Watcher user interface currently features two different modes of operation. In preview mode, the client allows a user to preview content of interest from all available media streams. Once a correlation target stream is chosen (the stream of interest), the system enters correlation mode. In correlation mode, the system scores the other streams based on the results of the current correlation operations and displays the results.  TV Watcher also includes a web results client that periodically displayes web search results on the keywords used for correlation from the target stream.


Animated Screenshot

Click here for a video of the TV Watcher client in action.  We are working to provide this video in other formats for easier viewing from this page

TV Watcher - Preview Mode
TV Watcher - Preview Mode

TV Watcher - Correlation Mode
TV Watcher - Correlation Mode

TV Watcher - Web Results Client
TV Watcher - Web Results Client

Ongoing Work

The current Symphony prototype is built upon D-Stampede and supports the proposed system architecture with few limitations. The current TV Watcher prototype uses closed captioning text correlation and vision-based correlation methods are currently being integrated.

Future work for TV Watcher includes using additional vision-based correlation methods and audio-based correlation, as well as more advanced forms of media queries. Future architectural work for TV Watcher and Symphony includes adding stream persistence for historical correlations and using Grid-computing for intelligent resource management. In addition, the Symphony prototype can be retargeted to use the more advanced MediaBroker architecture instead of D-Stampede.


Related Basis Work