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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 26, 2013

Jinni Grants You the Power to 'Watch What You Wish For'

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Managing Editor

The cable industry has been changing at a rapid pace over the last few years, but the one that that has barely changed at all is the onscreen guide. We have hundreds – even thousands – of channels plus on-demand content, and personalization of all kinds. Why, then, is the guide trailing so far behind?

One company I met with at The Cable Show in Washington, DC, has decided to let the genie out of the bottle and wish for a new guide, complete with better content classification. That company is Jinni, and its slogan says it all: “Watch What You Wish For.”

What the folks at Jinni have done is to reverse engineer the intention of the scriptwriters and director. It uses artificial intelligence to look at, say, the script of The Departed, and the Jinni software sorts it into many specific categories that are far more detailed than “drama” or “comedy.”

In addition, Jinni takes the personality and preferences of the viewer into account as well. It identifies the different tastes of different views, learning what you like and building channels based on your tastes, organizing the world around your personality. It can recommend titles outside of your comfort zone, and even give you a numerical prediction as to how much you’ll like something based on your previous input.

There is a social aspect to Jinni as well. It can connect with your social networks and lets you see which friends synch up with you, based on other Jinni profiles or Facebook (News - Alert) likes. Jinni also uses natural language understanding to interact with you. You can simply ask it what is on or tell it to find you something to watch and it will do so.

The new Jinni.com will debut in August and an iPad app is coming in December. Until then, you don’t need to rub a lamp, but you might want to stock up on popcorn.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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