Cognitive Networks Partners With LG To Bring Interactivity To Smart TVs

Advertisers and content creators want to complement TV shows and ads that people are watching with interactive features. Viewers could find out more about what they’re watching, get discounts, and maybe order pizza and other goodies directly from their remote controls. Cognitive Networks plans to help them create these experiences, with technology that the company has embedded in LG Smart TVs.

The enhanced features that Cognitive’s platform can provide are the result of a feedback loop that has been brought to viewers through a new generation of TVs connected to the Internet. Cognitive uses automatic content recognition (ACR) to figure out what viewers are watching and to serve up interactive ads and additional content targeted at what’s on the screen.

LG is the first consumer electronics manufacturer to partner with Cognitive Networks to make this happen. The technology will be supported on LG’s 2012 and 2013 smart TVs, enabling advertisers and content owners alike to “enhance” shows and ads with interactive features.

In addition to the LG partnership, Cognitive Networks is also announcing the availability of its Engage Enhanced TV platform, which partners will use to build those interactive features. The platform will enable viewers to see multimedia content during shows, participate in polls, and make purchases directly from the TV, among other things.

Already, Showtime is using the technology to provide additional content during its shows. Interactive elements pop up based on what’s happening on the screen, as content owners and advertisers can choose when to signal them.

The good news is that users will be able to choose when they want their content “enhanced” and when they just want to lean back and watch some TV. After all, not everyone wants to participate in polls when watching reality TV — some just prefer to yell at the screen.

Cognitive Networks isn’t the only ACR vendor in town — startups like Flingo are also seeking to enable more interactivity on the TV screen. Now the race is on to partner with as many TV manufacturers as possible and get on as many connected TVs as they possibly can.