NTT Makes Embedding TV Broadcast To Your Smartphone Possible

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By Judith Aparri | February 22, 2014 10:28 AM EST

Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) has created a technology of digital watermarking to embed data in television broadcasts which can be accessed by pointing the smartphones at the TV screen.

The watermark is invisible to the eye, but can be captured by the smartphone's camera which has in it a special app. The pattern is then converted back into text data and link to a website which downloads the information to be displayed on the phone.

From television to smartphone

In recent years, we saw the expansion of various services which utilize video contents like picture outside picture (POP), video transmission through Internet or television as well as digital signage in public and commercial facilities. As media becomes more diversified with the emergence of internet shopping and social media using mobile devices, the need for an effective way to watch video and retrieve data is likewise increasing.

Under these circumstances, the TV set is focused as it has been a major touch point of daily lives.

Where might this innovation be used?

This technology is expected to be used in the days ahead, for different image media. Sports programs aired on TV can be watched on smartphones too. Companies which advertise on TV could direct the viewers to the shopping sites. This innovation likewise works on giant video displays outdoors, thus, municipalities could utilize it to give information to foreign guests. The best thing is that the downloaded information could match the smartphone's language setting.

Technical viewpoint

Digital watermarks are embedded in television programs. The viewers should have an app on their smartphone that allows their mobile to read the code to access the related website just by pointing the device at the TV screen.

The watermarking technology is not solely used by NTT.  Mitsubishi Electric and Fujitsu are likewise developing the technology while Dentsu, the advertising titan has its own for connecting TV ads with smartphones.

What is the difference between NTT Media Intelligence Laboratories' watermarking from the others? The answer is versatility. The watermark pattern can capture and process the information from the TV to the smartphone as quickly as a second, even in an angle of 60 degrees to the TV's side.

NTT wants this technology ready by 2015. It will be marketed to private firms and municipalities with a production fee to embed the video footage's watermarks.

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