Comcast Invention Combines Smart Lightbulb With Smart TV

With more consumers purchasing smart light bulbs in rooms with smart TVs, Comcast may be able to differentiate its Xfinity X1 product by using “dynamic lighting” to add effects such as flashing police lights during a car chase scene in a TV show or movie.

CookComcast, which announced a pact with Osram Sylvania in 2013 that could see it market smart light bulbs to Xfinity customers, recently won a U.S. patent for an invention titled, “Dynamic Ambient Lighting.” VP of Technology Michael Cook is named as inventor on the patent.

Abstract: Systems, methods, software, and data structures that provide dynamic ambient lighting synchronized to a video program being watched in a premises are described herein. A video program may be associated with a predefined lighting scheme that specifies or identifies a time-sequenced set of lighting effects (e.g., flashing police lights, sunrise, explosion, etc.) that are to be performed by the dynamic ambient lighting system time-synchronously with the video program. Components of the dynamic ambient lighting system may extract the lighting scheme from video data, parse the lighting scheme into individual lighting effects, and then control a single-color or multicolor light source associated with each of a plurality of light channels (e.g., front right, rear right, front left, rear left, center, and burst channel, among others) based on time-sequenced lighting primitives defined by each lighting effect. Light sources may be wirelessly controlled, e.g., using an IEEE 802.15.4 or ZigBee-compliant wireless system.

Patent

Claims:

  1. A method comprising: decoding, by a computing device, an MPEG stream; pairing, by the computing device, with one or more unpaired light sources; outputting video based on the decoded MPEG stream; and outputting lighting instructions derived from the MPEG stream to one or more of the paired light sources, wherein the lighting instructions comprise: a first data field identifying a light channel of a plurality of light channels, wherein each of the plurality of light channels is associated with a location; and a second data field storing a lighting instruction for a light source associated with the identified light channel, wherein the second data field comprises a plurality of discrete sub-fields, wherein each of the plurality of discrete sub-fields stores an intensity value for a different one of a plurality of colored lights associated with the identified light channel.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the lighting instructions further comprise a third data field identifying a period of time during which the lighting instruction in the second data field is maintained by the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of discrete sub-fields comprises three sub-fields corresponding one each to a red light emitting diode (LED) strand, a blue LED strand, and a green LED strand comprised within the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 3, wherein the plurality of discrete sub-fields comprises a fourth sub-field corresponding to a white LED strand comprised within the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the second data field stores a lighting effect identifier, wherein the lighting effect identifier is not directly usable to adjust an output of the light source associated with the light channel identified by the first data field, wherein the lighting effect identifier indicates one of a plurality of lighting effects stored in a memory of the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field, and wherein each of the plurality of lighting effects indicates a plurality of time-sequenced lighting instructions directly usable to adjust an output of the light source associated with the light channel identified by the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the pairing comprises: receiving input at one of the light sources to enter a pairing mode; and responsive to the received input, pairing the one light source with a particular light channel.
  1. The method of claim 6, wherein the particular light channel is selected based on user input.
  1. The method of claim 6, wherein the particular light channel is selected based on hardware encoding on the one light source.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the pairing comprises executing an RF4CE ZigBee protocol.
  1. A method, comprising: generating, by a lighting controller, a lighting instruction for a light source associated with one of a plurality of light channels, wherein each light channel is associated with a location; pairing, by the lighting controller, with one or more unpaired light sources, wherein each light source is associated with one of the plurality of light channels; generating a lighting control message, the lighting control message having a first data field identifying the one of the plurality of light channels, and the lighting control message having a second data field storing the lighting instruction, wherein the second data field comprises a plurality of discrete sub-fields, wherein each of the plurality of discrete sub-fields stores an intensity value for a different one of a plurality of colored lights associated with the light channel identified in the first data field; and outputting the lighting control message for wireless transmission to the light source associated with the one of the plurality of light channels identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 10, wherein the lighting control message further comprises a third data field identifying a period of time during which lighting instruction in the second data field is maintained by the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 10, wherein the plurality of discrete sub-fields comprises three sub-fields corresponding one each to a red light emitting diode (LED) strand, a blue LED strand, and a green LED strand comprised within the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 12, wherein the second data field stores a lighting effect identifier, wherein the lighting effect identifier is not directly usable to adjust an output of the light source associated with the light channel identified by the first data field, wherein the lighting effect identifier indicates one of a plurality of lighting effects stored in a memory of the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field, and wherein each of the plurality of lighting effects indicates a plurality of time-sequenced lighting instructions directly usable to adjust an output of the light source associated with the light channel identified by the first data field.
  1. A method, comprising: pairing an apparatus with one or more unpaired light sources, wherein each light source is associated with one of a plurality of light channels, and wherein each light channel is associated with a location; determining a lighting instruction for a paired light source associated with one of the plurality of light channels; generating a lighting control message comprising a first data field identifying the one of the plurality of light channels and a second data field storing the lighting instruction, wherein the second data field comprises a plurality of discrete sub-fields, wherein each of the plurality of discrete sub-fields stores an intensity value for a different one of a plurality of colored lights associated with the light channel identified in the first data field; and transmitting the lighting control message via a wireless transmitter to the light source associated with the one of the plurality of light channels identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 14, wherein the lighting control message further comprises a third data field identifying a period of time during which lighting instruction in the second data field is maintained by the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 14, wherein the plurality of discrete sub-fields comprises three sub-fields corresponding one each to a red light emitting diode (LED) strand, a blue LED strand, and a green LED strand comprised within the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 16, wherein the plurality of discrete sub-fields comprises a fourth sub-field corresponding to a white LED strand comprised within the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 14, wherein the second data field stores a lighting effect identifier, wherein the lighting effect identifier is not directly usable to adjust an output of the light source associated with the light channel identified by the first data field, wherein the lighting effect identifier indicates one of a plurality of lighting effects stored in a memory of the light source associated with the light channel identified in the first data field, and wherein each of the plurality of lighting effects indicates a plurality of time-sequenced lighting instructions directly usable to adjust an output of the light source associated with the light channel identified by the first data field.
  1. The method of claim 14, wherein the wireless transmitter is an IEEE 802.15.4 compliant transmitter.
  1. The method of claim 14, wherein the wireless transmitter is a ZigBee-compliant transmitter.