Comcast Monitoring System Battles Viewer Distractions

Next-generation versions of Comcast’s X1 platform may be able to track distractions that occur during a TV program, and allow subscribers to quickly navigate to a time stamp where the phone rang, the doorbell chimed, or a text message caught their attention.

“It can be difficult to set aside an uninterrupted hour or two to enjoy a simple television program or movie at home. Ringing phones, knocking doors, instant messages, children, and a variety of other demands on a viewer’s attention can cause the viewer to miss important plot points of a show,” Comcast states in a patent application published Thursday. “There is, and will always be, a demand for useful tools to help keep an audience engaged, and to help users manage their content consumption experience.”

Comcast Innovation Labs Executive Director Joshua Seiden and Engineer Derek Johnson are named as inventors on the patent application, titled, “System and Method for Searching an Internet Networking Client On A Video Device.”

Abstract: A distraction monitoring system may monitor a user’s consumption of content, such as video content, and identify times at which the user is distracted from the content. The identified times may then be presented with a timeline for the video program, and the user may be permitted to view the distractions that occurred during the viewing of the video program. The user may select a distraction, and the video content may be played back from a corresponding playback point.

Patent

Claims:

  1. A method comprising: identifying, by a first computing device, a distracting event occurring on a second computing device during presentation of content to a user via the first computing device; and determining whether the distracting event distracted the user from the presentation of the content.
  1. The method of claim 1, comprising: identifying a second distracting event occurring on a third computing device during the presentation.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein identifying the distracting event is performed automatically by the computing device without user input.
  1. The method of claim 1, comprising: generating a timeline identifying a point in time when the distracting event occurred, wherein the timeline comprises an image associated with the distracting event; and storing the timeline identifying the point in time when the distracting event occurred.
  1. The method of claim 4, wherein the image comprises a screenshot from the second computing device.
  1. The method of claim 4, wherein the image comprises an image retrieved from a database.
  1. The method of claim 4, wherein the image comprises a graphic corresponding to a type of the distracting event.
  1. The method of claim 4, comprising: generating a list of available timelines each corresponding to prior presentation of content to the user; receiving a selection of the timeline from the list of available timelines; and generating a display comprising the timeline in response to receiving the selection of the timeline.
  1. The method of claim 4, comprising: predicting a system recording schedule based on the timeline identifying the point in time when the distracting event occurred.
  1. The method of claim 4, wherein the computing device automatically generates the timeline for display in response to a display associated with the computing device being activated.
  1. The method of claim 4, comprising: updating the timeline to include a second point in time when a second distracting event occurred during a second presentation of the content to the user.
  1. The method of claim 1, comprising: determining a type of the distracting event; and determining whether to continue the presentation of the content based on a determination of the type of the distracting event.
  1. The method of claim 12, comprising: determining whether the type of the distracting event is associated with an auto- pause condition.
  1. The method of claim 1, comprising: selecting targeted advertising for display to the user based on the distracting event.
  1. The method of claim 1, comprising: determining that the presentation of the content is to a plurality of users; determining that at least one of the plurality of users is not distracted when the user is distracted; and conducting arbitration between the plurality of remaining users to determine whether to pause the presentation of the content in response to the user being distracted.
  1. The method of claim 15, wherein the arbitration is conducted based on a plurality of distraction preference settings respectively associated with the plurality of remaining users.
  1. The method of claim 1, comprising: receiving a selection of an identification of a point in time when the distracting event occurred; and generating a display comprising additional information related to the distracting event.
  1. A method comprising: identifying, by a first computing device, a distracting event occurring during presentation of content to a user via the first computing device; determining whether the distracting event distracted the user from the presentation of the content; and storing information about the distracting event.
  1. The method of claim 18, wherein a source of the distracting event is an application being presented on a same display as the presentation of the content to the user, the application being different from the content.
  1. A method comprising: identifying, by a computing device, a plurality of distracting events occurring during presentation of content to a user; determining whether each distracting event of the plurality of distracting events distracts the user from the content; in response to determining that at least one of the plurality of distracting events distracts the user from the content, storing information identifying a type of the at least one of the distracting events and a point in time when the at least one of the plurality of distracting events occurred; and generating for display a timeline corresponding to the presentation of the content to the user, wherein the timeline comprises at least one indication identifying the point in time when the at least one of the plurality of distracting events occurred, and wherein the timeline comprises at least one image associated with the at least one of the plurality of distracting events.

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