[Social] XMPP specs for TV / media centre remote control

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Wed Aug 26 10:24:34 CDT 2009

Hi Dirk,

(Cc:'ing the XMPP Social list, ... to be , well, social. And in case
others are interested...)

We talked briefly at FOSDEM during the q/a for your presentation on
the XMPP day. I was wondering if you'd be interested to collaborate on
specs for remote control APIs mediated by XMPP. I understand you've
been focussing mainly on cross-cutting infrastructural issues
(security, device pairing and authentication). My day job is part of a
3 year EU project "NoTube" based on exploration of relationship
between TV and various Web technologies, particularly around user
profiles, personalisation, richer metadata.

One thing I'm trying to encourage the project to do is to explore XMPP
as a general information-bus between users, devices (handheld and TV /
media centre). I've bounced some ideas off of Ralph  Meijer at
MediaMatic here in Amsterdam, and the rough idea is that a TV or media
centre would have a full Jabber JID, whereas user apps on a mobile
phone (EPG / programme guide / ratings and recommendations) might sign
into the XMPP world on behalf of their primary human user. But it's
clear from your slides you've given more thought to all this than I

For querying a program guide, I think we'll probably explore using W3C
SPARQL query language, either via http or if xmpp makes sense then
along lines of http://svn.foaf-project.org/foaftown/jqbus/intro.html
.. the project includes the BBC as partners, and they have some SPARQL
databases for program content already, and we're using SPARQL to
access most other data within the project too.

My hope is that - during the NoTube project which runs 2009-2011)
we'll see some simple spec for folk like Boxee, MythTV, Freevo, maybe
even Tivo, ... such that those media centre apps could attadch
themselves to a Jabber/XMPP network and allow suitably authorised
parties to play/pause/rewind, browse content listings, send
recommendations/ratings, navigate on-screen menus etc.

So far I'm pretty much in fact-finding mode - much of which is
bookmarked via http://delicious.com/danbri/notube -

I did make a quick-and-nasty mockup using Boxee, since that offers a
localhost http: API, such that a remote XMPP account could send
pause() messages that toggle playing state of the media centre. I also
made a *lot* of screenshots of relevant iphone apps to get a sense for
what exactly is out there in terms of remote control smartphone apps,
TV listing apps, control-your-desktop apps, etc. I'd hope an
XMPP-based proposal for basic play/pause/forward/back etc could be
made which allowed more such functionality to be exposed but using
XMPP as the layer that connects smartphones to devices. The main
advantage I see here is that there's some potential to move from
device to device pairing, towards more social permissioning. Rather
than my TV being bound to your (current) iphone, I'd hope that my TV
could understand that I've given you (and hence *all* your devices)
permission to browse my video files, turn the TV over, etc.

If this broad direction makes sense (to dmeyer, to anyone!), I'd
appreciate advice on how/where to continue such a discussion in a way
that best fits with the XMPP community's habits...

thanks for any thoughts,



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