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November 23, 2005

TiVo Sees RFID-enabled personal video recorders

TiVo Inc has a notion that RFID may be used, at some future point, in clothing, jewelry or under the skin in order to help a personal video recorder recognize the viewer and tailor content accordingly.

By CBR Staff Writer

The company recently filed an application for a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a mobile personalization system that uses RF tags and a DVR.

The system would include a remote control that recognizes the RFID tag closest to the PVR, which would then notify the DVR and link the viewer’s preferences to the system.

This would help solve the problem of current DVRs not distinguishing between a single user and a family of users, or an adult family member or a child, said the patent. It also would mean viewers who travel frequently would be able to transfer viewing or operational preferences to other devices in, say, hotels.

TiVo said it may provide a list of viewer preferences to hotel chains so when a user checks in the hotel server could make a sub-list of programs and scheduled recordings for the duration of the user’s visit. The patent also implies that hotels may be able to implement customized commercials.

A unique aspect of the system that the patent proposes is simultaneous operation of the DVR, so that a user can watch a pre-recorded program stored on the device while it is recording and storing another program at the same time.

The number of programs being recorded and stored on the storage device is extended to the number of tuners or sources available in the system, according to the patent application.

The device would identify the viewer using an RFID tag that is attached to a key ring, necklace, watch, in his wallet, or even a sub dermal tag inserted somewhere in the user’s body.

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The patent application by Alviso, California-based TiVo referred to both DVRs and MP3 players.

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