From The Los Angeles Times:
A Silicon Valley executive whose previous venture was synonymous with Internet piracy has found a way to play nice with Hollywood.
BitTorrent Inc. co-founder Ashwin Navin is working with television networks and consumer electronics companies on a new technology called Samba that aims to deliver enhanced viewing on Internet-connected “smart TVs.”
Navin said his experiences with BitTorrent and the backlash engendered by the file-sharing pioneer spurred his decision to work in collaboration with the entertainment industry — instead of pursing a path of business disruption.
Navin’s San Francisco company, Flingo, draws from the same body of academic research for Samba that underlies the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s face recognition technology to teach smart TVs to “see” the images flickering on the screen.
Like an infant opening her eyes for the first time, the software is trained to recognize actors’ faces and objects on the screen. It uses these visual cues to identify a show in real time by comparing it with a database of hundreds of channels of content.
Once Samba determines what a viewer is watching, it delivers contextually relevant content, such as casting information or social media conversations, directly to the TV — as well as to other screens in the room. The software synchronizes the devices automatically, via the Internet, so the consumer doesn’t need to download a special application. The supplemental material is available through a Web browser running on a tablet, smartphone or the TV itself.
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