The rumors are already flying
for that upcoming March 2nd TiVo event
, but a recently granted patent gives us one idea of what TiVo's been up to of late. The basic idea of the patent is to use embedded meta data in TV broadcasts, primarily the closed caption text, to create "event identification data" that makes the DVR -- when synced up against related data online -- smarter about the content. Example uses include overlaying interactive ads from the content provider, creating "tagged" video files for viewing on a portable device, extracting tagged clips, or even "sharing" segments with other TiVo users. Some of this info, like the commercial detection, is already in use, but the opportunity to "share" a sequence with a friend would be a powerful workaround for existing limitations from broadcasting companies that don't want users sending copyrighted content to each other. Using the TiVo to merely "tag" the relevant portion of something already recorded by a friend (hopefully with the addition of our helpful "OMG" and "LOL" commentary) makes a lot of sense, and even if we don't see it in this upcoming revision, it could be a pretty nice win for TiVo in the ongoing war between the well dressed, successful people who create our content and us schlubs who are trying to consume it conveniently.