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Technology for the Couch Potato

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

What do you buy your blogger friend who's also a couch potato? Well in a couple of years maybe you can buy them IBM's proposed new auto-blogging remote control so they can blog and tweet from their couch!

IBM has been working on technology that will enable you to blog or tweet straight from the remote control of your TV. The company has filed a patent for this technology with the United States Patent Office. The patent was filed last year but with the multi-year US patent process, a process that gives new meaning to the word bureaucracy, the information only recently surfaced on the Patent Office website.

The patent talks about a networkable remote controller that can “send a blog posting to a blog,” which can be set up to send posts automatically. The raw patent language says:

"A method, system and apparatus provide for automatic blogging of media viewing using an enhanced remote controller having networking capabilities that support social networking and blogging. The enhanced remote controller, suitable for use while viewing media programming and content, allows a viewer to autoblog about currently experienced media programming in real-time without having to resort to direct interaction with a computer to perform the autoblogging."

Translated this indicates the ability to comment on the shows you’re watching. It also mentions posting automatically to microblogging services, which would be a service like Twitter. Imagine tuning in to a show from the couch and letting your blog subscribers, Facebook friends or Twitter followers instantly know what you’re watching, all done through remote controller.

In the patent IBM talks about "...more than ever, people wish to be able to share their comments with others in real-time as they experience life. In the case of television, for example, one of the joys of watching television is discussing with one's friends the juicy bits of a favorite show or the latest television program."

According to the details of the patent filing, this remote would allow a TV viewer to not only communicate with a blogging service but also display responses to and from other bloggers.  So even while watching the TV, your mates could be sending you an @reply or direct message with their opinions on the show (and the actor or actress) and you’d be able to view the responses simply by using your remote control.

So while you can't yet buy this for your favorite couch potato, it’s a big stepping stone on the road to socially-enabled television that gives us yet one more way to communicate over the internet - the computer, the phone and soon the TV.

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