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UK video search pioneer finds place in future of TV search

There’s little doubt that the best video search engine anywhere is blinkx, better even than the algorithms used to power Google Video or those in the


Published: 25 November, 2010


There’s little doubt that the best video search engine anywhere is blinkx, better even than the algorithms used to power Google Video or those in the specialist AOL company Truveo, but we’ve always wondered about its business model. Well one is emerging very clearly as Over The Top TV services begin to proliferate over Europe, and it could be a critical one for the development of TV.

UK based blinkx uses a combination of text search on words spoken in a video, along with words in any metadata found for web held video and the text around the video, which describes it. Additionally it can make statistical connections between these words, using technology from a sister company Autonomy, which creates low footprint profiles, which cluster together videos with similar content. That way when you look for soccer videos in the UK on a football web site, the search engine never thinks you are looking for American Football or Rugby Football, and it doesn’t give you pictures of the ball itself, it just knows what you are after.

But smart as this is, all the blinkx site has tended to do is index online video, and it started with building traffic and then sold web traffic and finally sold its indexing services to video sites. But managing the key search role for either free to air or Pay TV services, which are delivered over the internet, will mean that blinkx can bring its 35 million hours of video indexing to any TV near you.

It has made a habit of only indexing professional online video and can sell any subset of that which a pay TV provider might wish to offer. It can also offer the technology purely for searching an operator’s own content.

Last week blinkx put this new idea into practice with a deal with Amino, the UK based IPTV set top maker, when it said it would develop an integrated search, recommendation and personalization system for Amino’s hybrid/OTT set-top boxes.

Now it has done its first deal with a pay TV operator, Belgacom, on its IPTV service in Belgium. Blinkx will provide the power to search across Belgacom’s entire entertainment platform and the deal is an exclusive one in Belgium and neighboring Luxembourg.

There is not much difference in the search capability offered by blinkx and that offered by US DVR specialist TiVo, which will power the new Virgin OTT service, expected any day now in the UK, on the TiVo Premiere set top. Searches can be sent from a set top to the cloud, and run on servers there, without the TV owner knowing or caring, and the results and streamed video sent directly from the content owner’s site to a TV set.

Originally the Belgacom set tops were all provided by Nokia Siemens, but we imagine that it is perhaps those previously announced Amino set tops which will power this service going forwards, hence last week’s announcement, but no-one has actually said that yet. The TV service will also be viewable over broadband on handsets, tablets and PCs.

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