Roku Explores Techniques to Display Ads on Connected Devices

Key Takeaways:

– Roku is studying methods to serve ads on connected HDMI devices.
– The company filed a patent in August 2023 with the system detailed.
– Ads would be shown while content is paused, using metadata to identify relevant ads.
– The technology has not yet been approved and no implementation timeline has been provided.

Roku, widely recognized for its smart TV sets, is reportedly working on techniques to display commercials on all gadgets linked via HDMI, including gaming consoles, PCs, and video streaming devices. This innovative push appears to broaden the current stage where the platform, known for its home, menu screens, and first-party video channels, primarily reveals its ads.

Roku’s New Ad Displaying Technique

Roku’s ad expansion endeavors were triggered by a patent spotted by Lowpass. The patent, filed in August 2023 and published in November 2023, outlines a system to display ads over any other device tied to a TV via HDMI. This discovery has generated discussion as it signifies a notable shift in Roku’s ad-displaying approach, although no definitive timeline for its implementation has been provided to the public.

The proposed high-tech method details how ads would be shown when the content is paused on any of the HDMI-connected devices. The innovative system would discern that the content is on pause using numerous signals such as a static video display, absence of audio, a pause symbol on the screen, or a pause signal received if the TV has an HDMI-CEC enabled feature.

Using Metadata for Relevant Ads

Once the system identifies that the content is on pause, it would then scrutinize the paused image, employing metadata to single out one or more objects within the video frame. The identification information would then be forwarded to a network. Consequently, a relevant ad would be fetched and placed atop the paused content depending on the information sent.

This approach implies that the kind of ads viewers will be exposed to will not just be random, but rather selected based on the theme, context, or content of the paused video. For instance, if a viewer pauses on a scene with a motor vehicle, one could reasonably expect a car commercial.

Potential Impact on User Experience

While the new capability under test is thought-provoking, users may have reservations about seeing ads on their televisions when they pause their content on any of their devices. The patent application doesn’t clarify whether users will have the ability to opt out of these ads. This unknown factor might stir some needless concerns amongst users regarding their user experience. However, it’s important to remember that the patent has not been granted yet, and Roku may consider customer feedback before implementing such a system.

In conclusion, Roku’s initiative to explore additional methods of displaying ads points towards an innovative yet expansive advertising strategy. While the HDMI interconnected ad system hints at a new frontier for advertising, its potential impact on user experience, privacy concerns, and user reception are yet to be conclusively assessed. The technology thrown in the spotlight by the patent is indeed an investment to watch out in Roku’s next steps.



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