Apple TV patent turns iPads and iPhones into remote displays, supports reverse AirPlay mirroring

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2014
Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for displaying media streams on portable devices in synchronization with content being played back on a fixed system, suggesting the company is thinking of remote viewing capabilities for its Apple TV line of products.




The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,918,822 for "Displaying a synchronized instance of content on a portable electronic device," which lets iOS device owners view an Internet video stream synchronized to an identical stream playing on a fixed position device, like an Apple TV. Additionally, the invention supports mirroring from an Apple TV to an iOS device without entering service provider passwords.


Apple's patent describes remote streaming from an outside source (top), as well as Apple TV-to-iOS device mirroring. | Source: USPTO


Apple imagines a familiar scenario in which a group of people gather to watch a movie or TV show provided through a streaming service such as Netflix or Apple's own iTunes store. When someone leaves the viewing area, the group may pause the stream until they return, or keep the presentation going and let the person miss out on programming.

To solve this less than ideal user experience problem, Apple proposes a system that uses a portable device to locate the source, name and timestamp of media being streamed to a streaming device, then plays back said content in lockstep. In some embodiments, viewers must manually search for and input media streams, while other implementations conduct the process automatically in the background, allowing for immediate and seamless playback whenever it's needed.




In a primary embodiment, the system does not rely on Apple TV to serve up content, but instead routes data requests regarding current playback position and source information to retrieve the stream independently. If after gathering the necessary data an iPad or iPhone determines it can access the stream directly, it will begin synchronized playback.

A second embodiment covers situations in which a viable source cannot be accessed. For example, the party leaving the viewing area may not have proper service provider credentials or has not downloaded a third-party app that supports synchronized playback. In these cases, a user device can request a synchronized mirrored feed directly from an Apple TV unit.

As applied to Apple's patent, mirroring is essentially a reverse implementation of current iOS-to-Apple TV AirPlay technology. Currently, AirPlay allows connected devices to stream video, photos, games and more to a television via Apple TV. In addition, peer-to-peer AirPlay functionality allows guest devices to connect with Apple TV without passwords.




It is unclear whether Apple plans to integrate remote viewing technology into Apple TV's feature set, but a working solution could potentially be rolled out on the back of AirPlay. Mirroring from Apple TV onto unregistered devices may be more of an issue, however, as content rights owners are generally reluctant to expand secondary user viewing beyond existing standards.

Apple's synchronized remote content streaming patent was first filed for in 2012 and credits Devrim Varoglu and Swapnil R. Dave as its inventors.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Could be useful in education I think.. like when a professor, with 100 plus students, needs everyone to see the content more closely than many projector systems might now allow.

    or in hospital env where a doctor wants a specialist to follow during surgery.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    adrayven wrote: »
    Could be useful in education I think.. like when a professor, with 100 plus students, needs everyone to see the content more closely than many projector systems might now allow.

    or in hospital env where a doctor wants a specialist to follow during surgery.

    Any kind of preso to a large group ...

    A personal viewer as opposed to a shared large screen TV/Monitor/Projector/

    Once you break the barrier of personal vs shared -- many, many exciting possibilities -- personalized bookmarking, annotating to name just 2!
  • Reply 3 of 20
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    This makes a lot of sense as a direction for AppleTV. AppleTV is the cable-box like link to the media, with iPads/iPhones/Macs being the screens which users in the home watch content with, not dissimilar to what many are using slingbox and other similar products for.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,779member
    Reinforcing the iPad as the perfect toilet toy.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post



    Reinforcing the iPad as the perfect toilet toy.

    I keep a rack of iPads in my bathrooms for guests.  They are much more popular than Readers' Digest.  There might be a germ issue, but I haven't really thought about it.

  • Reply 6 of 20

    On another news .... Larry Page's screaming like a girl why google dumb engineers didn't come up with this idea first! :smokey: 

  • Reply 7 of 20
    disturbia wrote: »
    On another news .... Larry Page's screaming like a girl why google dumb engineers didn't come up with this idea first! :smokey:  
    Why? They will just use it and fight it later.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    I want this NOW!
  • Reply 9 of 20

    The WiiU already does this. I wonder what the difference would be between Nintendo’s patent.

  • Reply 10 of 20
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,458member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by genovelle View Post





    Why? They will just use it and fight it later.

     

    Too busy with the self driving car.

     

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/12/22/google-self-driving-car-prototype/20768935/

     

    "The next big thing"

     

     

     

    /s - or who knows in the years to come...

  • Reply 11 of 20
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Great if you have a porch or a backyard.
    As an apartment dweller - useless.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    malax wrote: »
    I keep a rack of iPads in my bathrooms for guests.  They are much more popular than Readers' Digest.  There might be a germ issue, but I haven't really thought about it.

    Gross.
    iSmear.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    I think he's using a version of the "three shell" method. Supposedly that's very comfy once you figure it out. ????
  • Reply 14 of 20
    I suspect the real put of this is mirroring for control functions (a remote app that controls more than itunes) and second screen content
  • Reply 15 of 20
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member

    Why is AirPlay no longer working with iOS 8?

  • Reply 16 of 20
    Seems like extended content would be more interesting.

    Actor/director Bios, Credits.
    Scifi shows could have spaceship/weapons specifications.
    Nonlinear programming interface. (think Dragons Lair)
    Camera Angles
    Replay without interrupting primary stream.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member

    Too bad a new ATV couldn't be released in 2015 to perform this basic task.

  • Reply 18 of 20
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

    Why is AirPlay no longer working with iOS 8?




    You're beaming it wrong.

  • Reply 19 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post



    Could be useful in education I think.. like when a professor, with 100 plus students, needs everyone to see the content more closely than many projector systems might now allow.



    or in hospital env where a doctor wants a specialist to follow during surgery.



    Good example.  I personally think the new AppleTV is going to be something more then just an AppleTV.  I haven't seen much news lately on HomeKit.  I believe the new AppleTV will act as a sort of "HomeKit server" for the lack of a better term.

     

    I think Apple will entice home device manufacturers to include HomeKit functionality and with that they won't have to devote resources to "smart displays" for thermostats, washing machines, etc.  I'm think HomeKit will have an API that a washing machine could access to let a user know how many minutes are left on the wash cycle, or change the water temperature from warm to cold, etc.  Then the AppleTV can then push an interface to an iOS device to view or change these settings.

     

    But I'm sure in a few minutes after submitting this post some Internet genius will come along and tell me I'm wrong...  ;-)

  • Reply 20 of 20

    Ok, so I have decided that I'm buying Apple TV now, this looks pretty awesome

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