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Episodic TV patent credited to Steve Jobs could be used for rumored Apple TV

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Among a batch of new intellectual property granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was a patent regarding a method of organizing episodic content, with the filing being credited to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In a series of newly-granted patents published on Tuesday by the USPTO, a filing regarding a method of TV episode organization was revealed that could potentially be instituted in a much-rumored Apple HDTV, reports Apple IP website Patently Apple.

Since Jobs was quoted in his biography as having "cracked" the secret to creating an intuitive HDTV, a not-so-quiet storm of rumors has been gathering momentum of a possible upcoming product release. Now, with the episodic TV patent credited to Jobs, the rumors are beginning to see some traction as the concept inches ever closer to reality.

The patent, one of twenty-two published, was first filed for in 2006 and includes an illustration of a TV episode hierarchy akin to the multi-level menu system found on the current Apple TV.

Specifically, the patent calls for:
The claim goes on to define limits on sorting metadata based on information received from the "content provider."


Episodic TV patent credited to Steve Jobs | Source: Patently Apple


Interestingly, the diagram displays shows and dates which could mean that the company is looking to include a recording or cloud-based on-demand feature in the future. This would jibe with what Jobs envisioned of a TV that "seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud."

Also in the filing is an illustration showing a block diagram of a sample device including a "data store" and a control engine and what appears to be the current Apple Remote.
post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... the menu comprising a list of menu items associated with the episodic content; displaying on the display device a sort interface arranged in the interface environment, the sort interface defining a plurality of sort options and being configured to receive a selection of a sort option and to sort the list of menu items based upon the selection ...

They left out:

- must sort TV episodes in reverse order
- must constantly forget sort order
post #3 of 22
Anyone else thinks this looks pretty much exactly like the Apple TV interface?
post #4 of 22
Now, we all "cracked" the TV.
In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
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In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
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post #5 of 22
Keep up the good work AI do Google's research for them. Steve would be proud of you.
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post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

They left out:

- must sort TV episodes in reverse order
- must constantly forget sort order

I found the missing manual, and it looks like you forgot:

- ensure that only a small subset of content is available at any given time

(On the bright side, it's going to make the sorting really responsive...)
post #7 of 22
The full patent description is listed here:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...S=PN/8,099,665

I extracted parts I thought were meaningful:

Code:

The media data can be stored in a data store 102, such as a memory device, and be processed by a processing device 104 for output on a display device, such as a television, a computer monitor, a game console, a hand held portable device, and the like, and/or an audio device, such as a multi-channel sound system, a portable media player, a computer system, and the like. The media processing system 100 may be used to process media data, for example, video data and audio data received over one or more networks by an input/output (I/O) device 106. Such media data may include metadata, e.g., song information related to audio data received, or programming information related to a television program received.

The media data and related metadata may be provided by a single provider, or may be provided by separate providers. In one implementation, the media processing system 100 can be configured to receive media data from a first provider over a first network, such as a cable network, and receive metadata related to the video data from a second provider over a second network, such as a wide area network (WAN).

In another implementation, the media processing system 100 can be configured to receive media data and metadata from a computing device, such as a personal computer. In one example of this implementation, a user manages one or more media access accounts with one or more content providers through the personal computer. For example, a user may manage a personal iTunes.RTM. account with iTunes.RTM. software, available from Apple Computer, Inc. Media data, such as audio and video media data, can be purchased by the user and stored on the user's personal computer and/or one or more data stores. The media data and metadata stored on the personal computer and/or the one or more data stores can be selectively pushed and/or pulled for storage in the data store 102 of the media processing system 100.

In another implementation, the media processing system 100 can be used to process media data stored in several data stores in communication with a network, such as wired and/or wireless local area network (LAN), for example. In one implementation, the media processing system 100 can pull and/or receive pushed media data and metadata from the data stores over the network for presentation to a user.

The remote control device 108 can include a rotational input device 110 configured to sense touch actuations and generate remote control signals therefrom. The touch actuations can include rotational actuations, such as when a user touches the rotational input device 110 with a digit and rotates the digit on the surface of the rotational input device 110.

In one implementation, the media engines 116 can include one or more content-specific engines, such as a movies engine, television program engine, music engine, and the like. Each engine 116 can be instantiated to support content-specific functional processing. For example, a movie engine to support movie-related functions can be instantiated by selecting a "Movies" menu item. Example movie-related functions include purchasing movies, viewing movie previews, viewing movies stored in a user library, and the like. Likewise, a music engine to support music-related functions can be instantiated by selecting a "Music" menu item. Example music-related functions include purchasing music, viewing music playlists, playing music stored in a user library, and the like.

In one implementation, a touch sensitive array is disposed beneath the surface of the rotational input device 110. The touch sensitive array can be disposed according to polar coordinates, i.e., r and ?, or can be disposed according to Cartesian coordinates, i.e., x and y.

Although shown as comprising a circular surface, in another implementation, the rotational input device 110 can comprise a rectangular surface, a square surface, or some other shaped surface. Other surface geometries that accommodate pressure sensitive areas and that can sense touch actuations may also be used, e.g., an oblong area, an octagonal area, etc.

In one implementation, the network 202 communicates with a wide area network 212, such as the Internet, through an I/O device 203, such as a router, server, cable modem, or other computing and/or communication processing device. The media processing system 100 processes the media data for output to one or more output devices 204. The media processing system 100 can receive the media data from one or more data stores connected to the network 202, such as computing devices 206 and 208, and a data store 210.

The media data is provided by one or more content providers and the content provider 214-2 may provide metadata related to the media data for processing by the media processing system 100. Such metadata may include episodic content, artist information, and the like. A content provider 214 can also provide both media data and related metadata.

In one implementation, the media processing system 100 can also communicate with one or more content providers 214 directly through one or more other communication devices. Example communications can include receiving sales information, preview information, or communications related to commercial transactions, such as purchasing audio files and video files.

In one implementation, the interface environment 300 includes a menu 302 and a menu title 304, e.g., "TV Shows." The menu items, can, for example, correspond to television shows that have either been recorded from a broadcast or purchased from a content provider.

In some example implementations, interface environment 550 can automatically sort the menu items corresponding to available content in reverse episode order, as shown by interface environment 550.

In one implementation, the date corresponds to an acquisition date, e.g., the date the content title was purchased from a content provider or recorded from a broadcast. In another implementation, the date corresponds to an episode order for episodic content, for example, the date the episode was aired, such as an original air date.

In some implementations, the menu items 402-412 can include television shows that are available for purchase from a content provider.

In another example, metadata stored in a data store (e.g., data store 102 of FIG. 1) might not include an episode number. Thus, media system 100 can include a corresponding media engine 116 configured to parse the stored metadata to extract a series title and an episode name and to retrieve an episode number associated with the series title and episode name. Episode number information can be retrieved, for example, from a content provider 214. Alternatively, episode number information can be retrieved from a metadata provider.

The example interface environment 550 corresponds to television content, and more specifically to a particular episode series title (e.g., "The Simpsons"). Interface environment 550 can, for example, appear as the end result of the transition from a higher level (e.g., closer to a "root" level) interface environment (e.g., interface environment 300 of FIG. 5) after selecting a menu item entitled "The Simpsons." A corresponding media engine 116 can, for example, be instantiated upon such transition.

In one implementation, the menu item abstractions 420, 422 can be a graphical representation of the content corresponding to the highlighted menu item or metadata associated with the content corresponding to the highlighted menu item. For example, the menu item abstraction 420, which corresponds to the sorted menu items, can comprise digital representations of television program art or television program stills for television programs that are stored in a library (e.g., a data store 102, 210, content provider 214, etc.). Further, menu item abstraction 422 can comprise, for example, metadata information associated with the highlighted menu item 326

In some examples, episodic content is filtered out of the available content to provide episodic content to the user. As an example, episodic content can be television content broadcast on a regular basis or available for purchase from a content provider.

The menu item abstractions 420, 422 can be associated with a highlighted menu item 402-412. The menu item abstractions 420, 422 can include, for example, promotional media (e.g., series art, series poster(s), production stills, etc.), metadata (e.g., series title, episode title, summary description, air date, actor(s), director(s), etc.) associated with content identified by the menu items 402-412.

Available content in some examples can include content captured based upon broadcast media, or downloaded (e.g., purchased, subscription-based, free, etc.). As an example, step 806 can be performed by one or more corresponding media engines 116.

In some examples, the list is intended to provide the appearance of organization of related content into folders. For example, all menu items 402-412 associated with the series entitled "The Simpsons" can abstracted out of the menu items 360-370 and replaced by a plurality abstracted menu items 360-370 (e.g., "The Simpsons").

Other program content can also be sorted and presented in addition to episodic content. For example, a sports team, such as a baseball, football or basketball team, may have a periodic broadcast schedule. However, the systems and methods described herein can likewise be used to sort recorded periodic events, whether purchased or recorded from broadcasts, according to original air dates or a scheduling number.



This sounds like the Apple TV channel/show/app ideas we discussed a while ago:

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...14&postcount=4

Shows are listed by name in episode groups and they can have branded sections inside the group with styles related to the show - the Simpsons episode folder can be styled yellow for example.

They are considering a touch remote but hopefully they don't go the circular iPod route. I think a touch rectangle pad would be a better choice.

It also has a data feature for looking up show info based on title so can e.g pull in Rotten Tomato reviews.

They discuss all content - streamed from computer, recorded from broadcast, subscription content etc - so this setup will be a front-end controlling hub for a wide variety of content. It seems unlikely that they are going to reinvent the distribution, which will be in the hands of the networks. It has processing to sync to multiple devices so presumably encoding TV shows for mobile devices and will need internal storage (cloud isn't fast enough).

It can at least categorise a wide variety of content including broadcast TV into a more convenient on-demand setup i.e you don't need to follow a schedule. If you have a menu abstraction for the Simpsons, when a new episode is aired, the hub will make sure it goes in there. You can have all your shows like House, Grey's Anatomy and so on and not have to worry about missing the shows and you don't have to navigate through a flat DVR listing, it's all sorted with metadata, reviews and so on, possibly with interactive features letting you review shows yourself.

This setup works for a television set if they wanted to make one as it's just a management hub, not a distribution restructuring and if they do it well enough, would act as a selling point over other TVs with a better profit margin than the ATV. They may discontinue the ATV if they do this though, which I think would be a mistake. If the ATV box does the same function, I doubt people will buy Apple's TV set.
post #8 of 22
can someone explain to me how this is new at all?

seriously...not making an offhanded comment about my discontent.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

can someone explain to me how this is new at all?

I'm curious as well. As the patent was filed in 2006, it's nigh on impossible that it has anything to do with the oft-mentioned "cracked the TV" foolishness unless the biographer was lying.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #10 of 22
It will be just a tv with built in apple tv with internet and the ability to control it with an ipad ot iphone
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

It will be just

Which immediately tells me that it won't be that at all.

Quote:
a tv with built in apple tv with internet and the ability to control it with an ipad ot iphone

We have that now. You're not thinking outside the box. You're thinking inside the box inside the box inside the box inside the box.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #12 of 22
The U.S. Patent system is dead - long live the U.S. Patent system!
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm curious as well. As the patent was filed in 2006, it's nigh on impossible that it has anything to do with the oft-mentioned "cracked the TV" foolishness… unless the biographer was lying.

Yep, red herring.
Meanwhile, Google have hundreds of programmers hard at work as we type, working around this patent just in case.
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post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

They left out:

- must sort TV episodes in reverse order
- must constantly forget sort order

All joking aside, 2006 was when we all thought TiVo was cool. Although I agree this is not the big thing Steve talked about near then end, it could still be a patent with worth for Apple.

P.s. your FCPX with data on iDisk work like a charm as long as you allow creation of proxy data in Prefs. Very cool,
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post #15 of 22
Unfortunately I patented useless drivel. So, it looks like Apple owes me money for this. So do a lot of other "tech" companies.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

All joking aside, 2006 was when we all thought TiVo was cool. ...

What do you mean "we all thought"? From where I sat, Replay TV was far and away superior to TiVo. It still mystifies me that TiVo stole the march on it. It was 2006 that Replay TV went in a new direction leaving TiVo alone in the dedicated DVR business.

I do agree that the patent ogglers missed this one. The new Apple HDTV [if there is a new Apple HDTV] will be bring new appreciation for the power and flexibility of iOS.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

it's nigh on impossible that it has anything to do with the oft-mentioned "cracked the TV" foolishness unless the biographer was lying.

Walter Isaacson wasn't lying, but he was quoting Steve out of context.
What Steve Jobs meant was he was moving his TV one day, and it slipped and fell to the ground...

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Walter Isaacson wasn't lying, but he was quoting Steve out of context.
What Steve Jobs meant was he was moving his TV one day, and it slipped and fell to the ground...

Groan!!!

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

can someone explain to me how this is new at all?

seriously...not making an offhanded comment about my discontent.

With all due respect to SJ, but this is exactly why the USPTO is an absolutely useless and incompetent branch of the US government, without even beginning to mention the whole issue of software patents per se.

There is absolutely ZERO innovation in a "sorted menu" structure for watching content. Alas, this kind of crap is granted in DROVES as a patent in the US and a few other jurisdictions - they probably forgot what prior art is anyway.

As for the comments on "AI helping" Google and Samsung with such disclosures: this is exactly at the core of the patent concept - publication and near-monopoly protection go hand-in-hand, along with a prohibition to reverse engineer such inventions; after all, these are not trade secrets...
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post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

the patent was filed in 2006, it's nigh on impossible that it has anything to do with the oft-mentioned "cracked the TV" foolishness.

Weren't some iPhone/multi-touch patents filed way before the 2007 launch? This patent was only granted this month despite being filed over 5 years ago.

Some of the details do sound like an older way of thinking. TiVo's UI isn't vastly different from the described UI either:



TiVo only has a single source of content and a simple touch remote would also be far better than the giant TiVo remote but there will have been a number of significant development since 2006 to influence the direction Apple takes in 2012.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Survivor Guatemala!

Now those were the days...
post #22 of 22
Looks like new licensing revenue to me.
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