Roku's HDMI Patent Aims To Play Ads On Your TV When You Pause A Game Or Video

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Television and streaming device manufacturer Roku recently filed a patent detailing how it can serve up ads to customers by keeping tabs on HDMI devices. The company already displays ads in several different ways, with ads being placed throughout the user interface and now popping up with the included screensaver. This patent is a logical outcome of a company looking to monetize its user base however it can.

Janko Roettgers of Lowpass spotted the patent, which details how Roku plans on monitoring HDMI devices to detect when an ad should be displayed. The plan hinges on grabbing frames from the video feed for comparison to determine if the user has hit the pause button, which is an opportunity to display an ad. However, it goes a step further by also grabbing the audio feed to detect silent moments to ensure that there is actually a pause in the content.

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Of course, in the current landscape ads need to be targeted. Random ads appearing aren’t valuable to Roku’s ad business. Roku wants to use content recognition technology to see what data it can extract from the HDMI feed to display an appropriate ad. Although, the company doesn’t want to lose visibility to HDMI devices that do more than video, such as video game consoles. For that, Roku wants to use the “game mode” built into the TV to show ads it thinks gamers want to see.

As always, just because a patent exists doesn’t mean a company will implement a specific process or technology. However, Roku has a track record of deploying ads in every way imaginable on the devices it sells. With this new patent the company will be able to gain visibility in a way it hasn’t before and may not be able to resist the temptation of tapping into a new revenue stream.

It's also worth noting that Walmart recently acquired Vizio for $2.3 billion, a deal that sent Roku's stock reeling at the time. That's because a big part of Walmart's motivation for the deal is to generate more ad revenue via Walmart Connect, the retail giant's closed-loop omnichannel media business.
Tags:  Television, Roku, Patent, HDMI, Ads, TVs