Makers of HDD/DVD recorders and PCs continue to compete over how many hours of recorded video can be stored on their products. But while these devices may be able to store hundreds of hours of TV programs and movies, it can sometimes be hard for viewers to find what they want to watch. In response to feedback from users, NEC has developed what it claims is an unprecedented system that makes searching for specific content much easier and faster.Searching from a Vast Library
NEC calls this breakthrough “topic division technology.” Voice patterns from the audiovisual data of a program are analyzed, and all of the data related to a specific search term can be called up regardless of whether the data in question is related to politics, entertainment, or sports.

For example, when searching for Major League Baseball player Suzuki Ichiro, the technology uses keywords like “baseball,” “United States,” and “outfielder” to locate and play video footage of Ichiro. It can also pull up a specific story from a news broadcast for the viewer.

Overcoming Difficulties
Present technology for searching audiovisual content relies on keywords that can be found in the electronic programming guide or in the content itself in the form of subtitles. But in addition to the expense of generating this data, the search itself is simplistic, making it hard to access content in a disaggregated way.

According to NEC, these problems have been overcome with the development of topic division technology. Now that the massive amounts of audiovisual content coming over digital broadcast networks and the Internet can be searched, accessed, and viewed according to subject matter, both suppliers and consumers of content will be able to access and interact with it more efficiently. The company is looking to commercialize this technology in 2008 and also wants to use it in home computers in the future.


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