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.
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.