Turner Turns to ACR, NFC to Ease TV Everywhere Authentication

Reading Turner Broadcasting’s latest patent this morning left me thinking about something Jeff Bewkes said in February 2012, when some pay TV distributors were resisting the idea of allowing subscribers to access programming from cable networks such as TNT and HBO on connected TV devices like Roku.

Bewkes
Jeff Bewkes

Bewkes, the CEO of Turner parent Time Warner Inc., called for both programmers and distributors to embrace a “TV Everywhere” distribution model. “By authenticating TV Everywhere … cable operators would be making the video subscription they sell to consumers enormously more valuable,” Bewkes said on a Time Warner earnings call in February 2012.

While Bewkes rallied the industry at events like the annual NCTA convention (now called INTX) to ease the TV Everywhere login (or authentication) process, engineers at Turner began developing a TV Everywhere solution that could automatically authenticate a subscriber.

On Tuesday, Turner won a U.S. patent for a TV Everywhere authentication system that it submitted to patent examiners in December 2012. The patent details how ACR (Automatic Content Recognition) and NFC (Near Field Communication) could be used to authenticate whether a viewer using a tablet, smartphone or IP-connected TV is a paying subscriber.

Turner Senior Director of Emerging Video Platforms Nishith Sinha, Director of Emerging Technologies Don Loheide and Senior Director of Emerging Technologies Matthew Giles are named as inventors on the patent, titled, “Method and system for TV everywhere authentication based on automatic content recognition.”

Abstract: An automatic content recognition (ACR)-enabled connected TV device may be operable to identify, utilizing an ACR system, a network which is being tuned to. An authentication may be performed by the ACR-enabled connected TV device for receiving content through a TV everywhere service associated with the identified network based on information identified by the ACR system. The ACR-enabled connected TV device may be operable to pair with a paired device utilizing a companion application downloaded in the paired device. The paired device may communicate with the ACR-enabled connected TV device using near field communication (NFC). In instances when the ACR-enabled connected TV device has been authenticated for receiving the content through the TV everywhere (TVE) service, the paired device may also be authenticated. The performing of the authentication may comprise identifying a set-top box (STB) coupled to the ACR-enabled connected TV device as well as determining a service provider.

Patent

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Claims:

1. A method, comprising: in an automatic content recognition (ACR)-enabled connected TV device, wherein: said ACR-enabled connected TV device comprises an ACR module that communicates with an ACR system that is external to said ACR-enabled connected TV device, and said ACR system assigns same interactive event identifiers to different sets of video fingerprints that are generated from same video content by different video fingerprint technologies from multiple vendors based on timing of assignment of the interactive event identifiers to multiple sequences of the video fingerprints that are generated from the same video content; said ACR module providing fingerprints to said ACR system for matching; and said ACR module receiving information and/or content from said ACR system based on said matching; identifying by said ACR module, utilizing the information received from said ACR system, a network to which said ACR-enabled connected TV device is being tuned, wherein said received information identifies one or more locations to take fingerprints of content being displayed on said ACR-enabled connected TV device; and performing by said ACR module, an authentication for presenting content through a TV everywhere (WE) service associated with said identified network based on information identified by said ACR system.

2. The method according to claim 1, comprising pairing with a paired device utilizing a companion application downloaded in said paired device.

3. The method according to claim 2, wherein said paired device communicates with said ACR-enabled connected TV device using near field communication (NFC).

4. The method according to claim 2, wherein said paired device comprises a tablet, a laptop and/or a smartphone.

5. The method according to claim 2, wherein said paired device is also authenticated for presenting said content through said TV everywhere (TVE) service when said ACR-enabled connected TV device has been authenticated for said presenting said content through said TV everywhere (TVE) service.

6. The method according to claim 1, wherein said performing of said authentication comprises identifying a set-top box (STB) coupled to said ACR-enabled connected TV device.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein said performing of said authentication comprises determining a service provider of said ACR-enabled connected TV device.

8. The method according to claim 7, comprising determining said service provider based on a logo on a program guide, wherein said logo is identified by said ACR system.

9. The method according to claim 7, comprising determining said service provider based on one or both of: a zip code obtained from an IP address of said ACR-enabled connected TV device; and channel lineup information identified by said ACR system.

10. The method according to claim 7, comprising determining said service provider based on local commercials run by said service provider during local ad breaks provided by a national programmer, wherein said local commercials are identified by said ACR system.

11. The method according to claim 1, wherein the one or more locations comprise coordinates in a video frame.

12. A system, comprising: an automatic content recognition (ACR)-enabled connected TV device, wherein: said ACR-enabled connected TV device comprises an ACR module that communicates with an ACR system that is external to said ACR-enabled connected TV device, and said ACR system assigns same interactive event identifiers to different sets of video fingerprints that are generated from same video content by different video fingerprint technologies from multiple vendors based on timing of assignment of the interactive event identifiers to multiple sequences of the video fingerprints that are generated from the same video content; said ACR module providing fingerprints to said ACR system for matching; said ACR module receiving information and/or content from said ACR system based on said matching; and said device is operable to: identify by said ACR module, utilizing said information received from said ACR system, a network to which said ACR-enabled connected TV device is being tuned, wherein said received information identifies one or more locations to take fingerprints of content being displayed on said ACR-enabled connected TV device; and perform by said ACR module, an authentication for presenting content through a TV everywhere (TVE) service associated with said identified network based on information identified by said ACR system.

13. The system according to claim 12, wherein said device is operable to pair with a paired device utilizing a companion application downloaded in said paired device.

14. The system according to claim 13, wherein said paired device communicates with said ACR-enabled connected TV device using near field communication (NFC).

15. The system according to claim 13, wherein said paired device comprises a tablet, a laptop and/or a smartphone.

16. The system according to claim 13, wherein said paired device is also authenticated for presenting said content through said TV everywhere (TVE) service when said ACR-enabled connected TV device has been authenticated for said presenting said content through said TV everywhere (TVE) service.

17. The system according to claim 12, wherein said performing of said authentication comprises identifying a set-top box (STB) coupled to said ACR-enabled connected TV device.

18. The system according to claim 12, wherein said performing of said authentication comprises determining a service provider of said ACR-enabled connected TV device.

19. The system according to claim 18, wherein said device is operable to determine said service provider based on a logo on a program guide, said logo is identified by said ACR system.

20. The system according to claim 18, wherein said device is operable to determine said service provider based on one or both of: a zip code obtained from an IP address of said ACR-enabled connected TV device; and channel lineup information identified by said ACR system.

21. The system according to claim 18, wherein said device is operable to determine said service provider based on local commercials run by said service provider during local ad breaks provided by a national programmer, said local commercials are identified by said ACR system.

22. The system according to claim 12, wherein the one or more locations comprise coordinates in a video frame.

23. A system, comprising: an automatic content recognition (ACR) system comprising: a fingerprint matching system; a plurality real-time fingerprint servers; wherein: the finger print matching system is communicatively coupled to the plurality of real-time fingerprint servers; and said ACR system assigns same interactive event identifiers to different sets of video fingerprints that are generated from same video content by different video fingerprint technologies from multiple vendors based on timing of assignment of the interactive event identifiers to multiple sequences of the video fingerprints that are generated from the same video content; and an ACR-enabled connected TV device comprising an ACR module, wherein said ACR-enabled connected TV device is communicatively coupled to said ACR system; wherein: said ACR module provides fingerprints to said ACR system for matching; said ACR module receives information and/or content from the ACR system based on said matching; and said ACR module identifies, utilizing said information received from said ACR system, a network to which said ACR-enabled connected TV device is being tuned, wherein said received information identifies one or more locations to take fingerprints of content being displayed on said ACR-enabled connected TV device; and said ACR module performs an authentication for presenting content through a TV everywhere (TVE) service associated with said identified network based on information identified by said ACR system.

24. The system according to claim 23, wherein the one or more locations comprise coordinates in a video frame.