Former NBCU CTO Building Stealth Streaming Video Startup

Look for a launch announcement in the coming weeks from Vizbee, a New York-based technology firm looking to make a business of making it easier for consumers to view online video through connected TVs and streaming video set-tops.

Feher
Darren Feher

Vizbee CEO Darren Feher is a former chief technology officer of NBC Universal. Feher, who was CEO of Internet video platform provider Conviva before forming Vizbee last year, left NBCU a few months before Comcast announced plans to acquire the company from General Electric in 2009.

While Vizbee hasn’t yet announced its product offering, The Donohue Report obtained a recent patent application, titled, “Mobile-to-TV deeplinking,” which names two members of Vizbee’s leadership team as inventors.

And Feher offers an overview of Vizbee’s strategy on his LinkedIn profile. “Vizbee makes it simple to watch online video on any connected TV or streaming box. With Vizbee, mobile content apps automatically detect TVs and with one click, stream to the TV from their phone ‘remote control.’ Viewing is also enhanced with synchronized commerce opportunities and personalized companion content on the phone. Content brands benefit from 10x longer viewing on the big screen without needing to deploy TV apps and viewers benefit from easier discovery and access on any screen,” Feher states.

While Vizbee hasn’t yet disclosed the names of investors, it’s worth noting that Feher also serves as managing director of private equity firm Central Park Financial.

Prashanth Pappu
Prashanth Pappu

Vizbee co-founder Prashanth Pappu is a former head of product marketing at Conviva, and he also worked previously for Cisco and Unicorn Media, which was acquired by Brightcove in January 2014 for $49 million. Vizbee VP of technology Gary Kumfert is another Conviva veteran, and he is also a former principal investigator for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Pappu, Comfert and Daniel Rubenstein are named as inventors on the “Mobile-to-TV Deeplinking” patent application, which was published on Nov. 26.

A New York-based firm called Clasp.TV is named as the applicant on the patent application.

Clasp.TV Inc. filed a trademark application for the brand Vizbee on April 10. Goods and services Clasp.tv said it wants to market through the brand include “downloadable software for mobile devices to enable users to launch, synchronize and stream online and mobile video content for larger-screen viewing,” and “providing platform as a service (PAAS) services featuring a cloud-based computer software platform to enable users to launch, synchronize and stream online and mobile video content to long form big screen views.”

Domain registration records show that the domain name Vizbee.TV was purchased anonymously in February. “Vizbee is deployment with early customers,” the company states on a landing page.

Web surfers that sign up for e-mail updates from Vizbee will receive a message that states, “We will notify you of our launch soon.”

Clasp.TV filed the “Mobile-to-TV Deeplinking” patent application in May.

Gary Kumfert
Gary Kumfert

Abstract: System and methods for performing a particular action on a second device directed from a first device. In some implementations, the methods include receiving, from a first device, a hyperlink corresponding to associated content, and a user input on the first device enabling the hyperlink; in response to receiving the user input on the first device enabling the hyperlink, parsing the received hyperlink to extract information embedded in the text of the hyperlink; determining, based at least on the extracted information embedded in the text of the hyperlink, and the associated content corresponding to the hyperlink, a particular action to be performed on a second device, wherein the particular action is configured to be viewable to a user providing the user input on the first device; and providing, to the second device, an instruction to perform the particular action on the second device.

Patent Application

Claims:

1. A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving, from a first device, (i) a hyperlink corresponding to associated content, and (ii) a user input on the first device enabling the hyperlink; in response to receiving the user input on the first device enabling the hyperlink, parsing the received hyperlink to extract information embedded in the text of the hyperlink; determining, based at least on (i) the extracted information embedded in the text of the hyperlink, and (ii) the associated content corresponding to the hyperlink, a particular action to be performed on a second device, wherein the particular action is configured to (i) be viewable to a user providing the user input on the first device, and (ii) operate in a control plane without interfering with data plane traffic; and providing, to the second device, an instruction to perform the particular action on the second device.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the first device is a mobile computing device and the second device is a display device.

3. The method of claim 1, comprising transmitting, to a server computer, a request including the extracted information embedded in the text of the hyperlink.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein operating in the control plane comprises performing a particular action, on a cloud network, configured to operate where the physical transfer of the associated content and any related constraints such as security, monitoring, content quality, can be adhered to as if transferring the content associated was initiated from the second device without the first device.

5. The method of claim 2, wherein performing the particular action to be performed on the second device comprises displaying the associated content on the screen of the second device.

6. The method of claim 2, wherein performing the particular action to be performed on the second device comprises installing software on the second device that is necessary to display the associated content on the screen of the second device.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein after installing software on the second device to display the associated content on the display of the second device, displaying the associated content on the screen of the second device.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the text of the hyperlink comprises an instruction to either (i) direct the particular action to be performed on the second device, or (ii) restrict the particular action to be performed on the second device.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the instruction is statically embedded in the text of the hyperlink.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the instruction is generated in response to receiving the user input enabling the hyperlink, wherein the instruction initiates an intermediate particular action performed before the particular action to be performed that either (i) directs the particular action to be performed on the second device, or (ii) restricts the particular action to be performed on the second device.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the intermediate action is executed on a server connected to a wide area network.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the intermediate action is executed on the first device.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the first device and the second device are both observable to the user.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the first device and the second device are connected over a wireless or wired local area network.

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the first device and the second device are connected to the Internet, the second device remote from the first device.

16. The method of claim 6, comprising: restricting access to performing the particular action based at least on the instruction.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises providing a method of authentication for a user providing an input to enable the hyperlink.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises designating the second device as a permitted device that may perform the particular action to be performed.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein restricting access performing to the particular action comprises: designating the first device as a permitted device that may transmit the instruction to the second device; or designating a user of the first device as a permitted user that may transmit the instruction to the second device.

20. The method of claim 16, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises designating a time period only when the particular action to be performed is performed.

21. The method of claim 16, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises limiting the number of times the particular action to be performed is performed.

22. The method of claim 7, wherein the hyperlink may include promotional information from a content publisher, the promotional information containing at least one of a content discount, a share-with-friends feature, or an access to other links with additional features.

23. The method of claim 1, wherein the hyperlink is displayed to the user in at least one of a document, an online advertisement, or a paper advertisement.

24. The method claim 1, wherein the hyperlink is embedded in an email.

25. The method of claim 1, wherein the hyperlink is embedded in a webpage.

26. The method of claim 1, wherein the hyperlink is embedded in a mobile application.

27. The method of claim 1, wherein the hyperlink is displayed to the user as a bar code.

28. A system comprising: one or more computers; and a non-transitory computer-readable medium coupled to the one or more computers having instructions stored thereon, which, when executed by the one or more computers, cause the one or more computers to perform operations comprising: receiving, from a first device, (i) a hyperlink corresponding to associated content, and (ii) a user input on the first device enabling the hyperlink; in response to receiving the user input on the first device enabling the hyperlink, parsing the received hyperlink to extract information embedded in the text of the hyperlink; determining, based at least on (i) the extracted information embedded in the text of the hyperlink, and (ii) the associated content corresponding to the hyperlink, a particular action to be performed on a second device, wherein the particular action is configured to (i) be viewable to a user providing the user input on the first device, and (ii) operate in a control plane without interfering with data plane traffic; and providing, to the second device, an instruction to perform the particular action on the second device.

29. The system of claim 28, wherein the first device is a mobile computing device and the second device is a display device.

30. The system of claim 28, comprising transmitting, to a server computer, a request including the extracted information embedded in the text of the hyperlink. transmitting, to a server computer, a request including the extracted information embedded in the text of the hyperlink.

31. The system of claim 29, wherein operating in the control plane comprises performing a particular action, on a cloud network, configured to operate where the physical transfer of the associated content and any related constraints such as security, monitoring, content quality, can be adhered to as if transferring the content associated was initiated from the second device without the first device.

32. The system of claim 31, wherein performing the particular action to be performed on the second device comprises displaying the associated content on the screen of the second device.

33. The system of claim 31, wherein performing the particular action to be performed on the second device comprises installing software on the second device that is necessary to display the associated content on the screen of the second device.

34. The system of claim 33, wherein after installing software on the second device to display the associated content on the display of the second device, displaying the associated content on the screen of the second device.

35. The system of claim 33, wherein the text of the hyperlink comprises an instruction to either (i) direct the particular action to be performed on the second device, or (ii) restrict the particular action to be performed on the second device.

36. The system of claim 34, wherein the instruction is statically embedded in the text of the hyperlink.

37. The system of claim 34, wherein the instruction is generated in response to receiving the user input enabling the hyperlink, wherein the instruction initiates an intermediate particular action performed before the particular action to be performed that either (i) directs the particular action to be performed on the second device, or (ii) restricts the particular action to be performed on the second device.

38. The system of claim 36, wherein the intermediate action is executed on a server connected to a wide area network.

39. The system of claim 36, wherein the intermediate action is stored on the first device.

40. The system of claim 28, wherein the first device and the second device are both observable to the user.

41. The system of claim 28, wherein the first device and the second device are connected over a wireless or wired local area network.

42. The system of claim 28, wherein the first device and the second device are connected to the Internet, the second device remote from the first device.

43. The system of claim 28, comprising: restricting access to performing the particular action based at least on the instruction.

44. The system of claim 43, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises a providing a method of authentication for a user providing an input to enable the hyperlink.

45. The system of claim 43, wherein restricting access performing to the particular action comprises designating the second device as a permitted device that may perform the particular action to be performed.

46. The system of claim 43, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises: designating the first device as a permitted device that may transmit the instruction to the second device; or designating a user of the first device as a permitted user that may transmit the instruction to the second device.

47. The system of claim 43, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises designating a time period only when the particular action to be performed is performed.

48. The system of claim 43, wherein restricting access to performing the particular action comprises limiting the number of times the particular action to be performed is performed.

49. The system of claim 34, wherein the hyperlink may include promotional information from a content publisher, the promotional information containing at least one of a content discount, a share-with-friends feature, or an access to other links with additional features.

50. The system of claim 28, wherein the hyperlink is displayed to the user in at least one of a document, an online advertisement, or a paper advertisement.

51. The method claim 28, wherein the hyperlink is embedded in an email.

52. The method of claim 28, wherein the hyperlink is embedded in a webpage.

53. The method of claim 28, wherein the hyperlink is embedded in a mobile application.

54. The method of claim 28, wherein the hyperlink is displayed to the user as a bar code.