The patent, US20230336818A1, titled "METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SHARED VIEWING OF MEDIA CONTENT," by Rovi Guides is designed to enhance the experience of watching television content together in an online setting. It aims to replicate the experience of group viewing when physically present in each other's company, and the social interactions that inherently come with it.
Virtually watching films, shows, or sporting events as a group has become increasingly prominent, but the communication alongside these activities largely falls short. Often viewers need to rely on peripheral tools like emails, text messages, or group calls to share their reactions and comments about the content they are watching. This divided experience dilutes the jovial atmosphere of groups reacting together to content, creating a sense of distance between viewers.
Rovi Guides' patent aims to bridge this gap by imbuing online shared viewing with a sense of live interaction. Instead of relying on other communication tools, this patent envisages systems that can detect viewer's reactions through cameras, microphones or similar sensory devices. These reactions can then be relayed through sound, image or even text to the rest of the viewers, providing a real-time experience similar to a physical space watch party.
Imagine the experience of watching a suspense-filled thriller with friends: the gasps, laughs, and wide-eyed surprises that typically fill your living room would be virtually replicated. No reaction is too subtle, as the patent accounts for the assimilation and demonstration of everything from the softest gasp to an explosive bout of laughter, reminiscent of watching your favorite team score.
Or consider the case of the nail-biting climax of a sports event. Common reactions like the collective hand-waving celebratory dancing, or the shared somber silence of a loss, would be detected and translated across the shared viewing networks. This will significantly ramp up the social bonding during shared media consumption by allowing us to react together, despite geographical separations.
However, while Rovi Guides’ patent paints an exciting picture of group viewing’s future, it is important to remember that the granting of a patent doesn't necessarily mean this technology will reach us soon, or even at all. It is simply a secured right for this company to develop this product or technology. Future market appearance is dependent upon many variables outside the scope of a patent. So, for now, all we can do is wait to see if our online group watch parties get the technological boost they've truly been lacking. But one thing is for certain, should this come to fruition, our virtual hangouts are destined to become more expressive, engaging and a heck lot more fun.
P.S. This research stems from the patent document for invention US20230336818A1 by Rovi Guides. As is the case with all patented technology, there is no absolute certainty it will become an accessible or marketable product in the future.