Social TV: Architectures, Technologies, and Deployment
Date: July 8-12, 2013 | Tuition: $3,500 | Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 2.4
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Anyone who has argued over what television program to watch, wrestled with a sibling or spouse for the remote control, or gone to a pub to watch (and support) their local sports team knows that television viewing is a highly social experience. TV was always social: the original technological design, content programming, and business model of television relied on it being a social medium: TVs were too expensive to be personal. They were designed for thousands (if not millions) of people to be watching the same program at the same time, and the programming was funded through an advertising model that demanded shows be popular to the masses, hence becoming part of the cultural and social landscape.
But TV has changed and is still changing. YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu have changed the viewing landscape for TV consumers as their choices have multiplied beyond the traditional offerings. “Television” has gone from the living-room to the living-space and more and more portable mobile devices. It has evolved from a controlled distribution system and single stream to increasingly connected and social experiences. As more and more content migrates to the Internet, “personal” video is becoming the norm, not the exception, and this is changing the concepts of the TV channels. The immediacy and social aspects of TV are being integrated into better experiences. This is disrupting the business of operators, content providers, and advertisers alike. The impact of socialized content to the home and video distribution and content consumption landscape is still difficult to evaluate but there is obviously no turning back. For the most part, technological advances have driven a wedge between television and its function as a social center in the living room. Decreased costs in receivers have made it possible for each family member to disappear into their own room; IPTV, cable, and satellite have multiplied the viewing choices and pushed “video on demand,” further weakening the commonality of experience; the personal video recorder (PVR) has freed people who watch the same show from watching it at the same time; multiple websites and blogs related to TV content have replaced the traditional water cooler. The personalized TV experience reaches back to its original social roots.
So what is next? In this course we want to plot the next 10 years and apply the current disruptions in the TV industry to answer the question: "How are new technologies changing the way we will view and define the television of the future?" We want to briefly address historical television concepts and technologies to emphasize how the Internet and the mobile network are radically changing the notion of TV itself. The last 5 years have shown us that TV is not a device or a technology or even specific content anymore but a platform for innovation in video production, distribution, and consumption. We will address specific topics that relate to the creation and delivery of this next generation TV, such as novel display technology, connected and collaborating devices, content creation in a social context, community viewing challenges over heterogeneous networks, and business cases. There will be a particular emphasis on the place of television in a social context at the center of one’s converging communication and entertainment ecosystem. Collaborative filtering and recommender systems as well as some novel technologies will be addressed. The class will use a systemic approach to cover the end-to-end elements of a Social TV implementation as well as showcasing existing projects and presenting demos that illustrate the different modules. In addition, we'll have team-focused exercises and discussions, culminating in each team developing an idea for a novel approach to television within a 5-10 year timeframe.
Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings and tools (30%)
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (40%)
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (70%)
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (20%)
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (10%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (25%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (25%)
The Internet brings to bear on TV a curious combination of social and anti-social forces and of traditional and novel viewing behavior. It completes the trend toward individual screens and isolated viewing experiences on a variety of devices and at many locations inside and outside the home. At the same time it helps viewers form new social groups based on shared interests rather than proximity and democratizes media production and distribution, giving many more people a voice in what they want to watch and when. It is influencing how video technology is now developed, with connectivity in mind, and how content is developed for the small to large screens that are all being used.
- Assess the impact of new technologies as TV moves everywhere, viewing behavior evolves, business models face disruptions with traditional TV on one side and the web-world on the other, and conflicting viewing habits as lean back/lean forward meet. These include new compression algorithms and networking concepts like content-centric distribution and network coding as well as new displays and 3D.
- Review Social TV deployments, including existing offerings and platforms and academic projects that allow the TV experience to move beyond the traditional confines of entertainment into a more holistic media and content experience.
- Define connected TV and 2nd and 3rd screens social experiences and how widgets enhance the TV experience, moving interactivity away from the large screen to phones and tablets, and how social networking sites become TV clearinghouses.
- Learn about emerging business models for the video ecosystems, industry partnerships, and user involvement.
Who Should Attend
This course is appropriate for television professionals (including equipment manufacturers, content developers, technologists, and cable/satellite/IPTV service providers), web video producers, product developers, second screen application developers, user experience professionals, internet video technologists, video product managers, and storytellers (including journalists).
Day 1 – am: What is “Social” in TV
The first morning will review the history behind social television as well as defining major components of a social viewing experience. This will include defining what makes television social, the impact of the social networking sites, and the evolution from interactivity to social engagement.
Day 1 – pm: Evolution of the Viewership Behavior
In this section of the class we will review how the viewers' expectations of the TV experience have evolved with the changes of the TV landscape. This will introduce many of the topics to be addressed in more details in days 2 to 4 but also cover collaborative filtering and recommender systems.
Day 2 – am: The Multiscreen Revolution and Convergence
With the rise of the smartphones and tablets, this section of the class will address the new media services enabled by the multiscreen as well as the impact of fixed-wireless convergence in the TV industry. This will include distributed compression algorithms for wireless viewing, collaborative distribution, and content protection.
Day 2 – pm: User Experience
User experience is key to the social viewing experience. In this module we will review perception of video content, quality of experience parameters, gesture based systems, and remote controls. It will include a review of the most recent compression algorithms as well as network enablers for social connectivity.
Day 3 – am: Television and Internet Enabling Technologies
Day 3 will most likely be the most technical day, starting with a review of the traditional TV production chain and how it is changing with the introduction of Internet technologies and different flavors of wireless technologies (from cellular to Wifi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee). We will also review Internet protocols for video distribution as well as novel approaches to localized caching and dissemination based on network coding principles and network virtualization.
Day 3 – pm: Review of TV and Web Platforms for Social TV Development
The afternoon of Day 3 will review some of the software and hardware platforms for social TV creation as well as emerging standards in the W3C to enable cross-platform development.
Day 4 – am: The Social TV Business Landscape
In this module we will assess how social and connected TV is changing the television value chain from linear to planar and identify the disruptions in the industry based on some data points from music and VoIP.
Day 4 – pm: Review of Existing Commercial Initiatives
The number of commercial initiatives is growing every day. This session will look at some major projects (Zeebox, Miso, GetGLue, etc.) and technology offerings (AppleTV, GoogleTV, Boxee, Netflix), as well as a selected set of new startups, some of them local (final selection TBD).
Day 5 – am: Hands-on-Exercises – Create a Social Viewing Project Proposal
On the last day of the program, the class will be divided into 2- or 3-person teams that will work on a theme from the class discussions to define a concept for social viewing and engagement around TV concepts. The goal of the exercise is not to develop a full-fledged idea, but to put together some essential concepts and prepare for a short presentation.
Day 5 – pm: Project Round Table and Discussion
The afternoon of Day 5 will be dedicated to the presentation of the projects and discussions. It is planned that all project ideas will be archived and made available to the teams.
Course schedule and registration times
Class runs 9:30 am - 4:00 pm on Monday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday, and 9:00 am - 3:00 pm on Friday.
Registration is on Monday morning from 8:45 - 9:15 am.
Special events include a Networking Luncheon on Monday for course participants and a poster session on Thursday. All activities are included in tuition.
About The Lecturers
V. Michael Bove
V. Michael Bove holds an SBEE, an MS in visual studies, and a PhD in media technology, all from MIT, where he is currently head of the Object-Based Media group at the Media Lab, co-director of the Center for Future Storytelling, and director of the consumer electronics program CELab. He is the author or co-author of over 60 journal or conference papers on digital television systems, video processing hardware/software design, multimedia, scene modeling, visual display technologies, and optics. He holds patents on inventions relating to video recording, hardcopy, interactive television, and medical imaging, and has been a member of several professional and government committees. He is co-author, with the late Stephen A. Benton, of Holographic Imaging (Wiley, 2008). He is on the board of editors of the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and associate editor of Optical Engineering. He served as general chair of the 2006 IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC'06), and is a member of the board of governors of the National Academy of Media Arts and Sciences. Bove is a fellow of the SPIE and of the Institute for Innovation, Creativity, and Capital. He was a founder of and technical advisor to WatchPoint Media, Inc. (now a part of Tandberg Television) and is technical advisor to One Laptop per Child (creators of the XO laptop for children in developing countries).
Marie-Jose Montpetit works in MIT's Research Lab of Electronics (RLE) Network Coding Group and also the Media Lab's Information Ecology Group. Her work at RLE is in advanced network coding for video and the MIT Media Lab Class on Social TV. Montpetit studies the technologies to make TV mobile in terms of content, social in terms of devices, and IP based; the work involves multiscreens and both seamless and collaborative network as well as novel approaches to networking in heterogeneous ecosystems.
Montpetit's Ph.D. in EECS is from the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada and she is a member of the IEEE Standing Committee on DSP and a collaborator to the ETSI BSM working group on aspects of convergence. In 2007, Montpetit was the recipient of the Motorola Innovation Prize for the development of a multi-screen and multi-network video mobility system. Occasionally, Montpetit reviews proposal papers in the wireless networking and future Internet fields for the European Union as well.
Henry Holtzman has been a member of the MIT community since 1981, joining the Media Lab as a researcher when it opened in 1985. Currently, he is the Lab's Chief Knowledge Officer, co-director of the Digital Life consortium, and director of the Information Ecology research group. In addition, Holtzman co-directs the Lab's CE 2.0 initiative, a collaboration with more than 40 Media Lab sponsor companies to formulate the principles for a new generation of consumer electronics that are highly connected, seamlessly interoperable, situation-aware, and radically simple.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please contact the Short Programs office for further details.