MULTI-USER TV USER INTERFACE
1. A method comprising:
- at an electronic device in communication with a display and one or more input devices;
while a first user profile associated with a first user is a currently active user profile of the electronic device, wherein the electronic device is configured with the first user profile associated with the first user and a second user profile associated with a second user;
in accordance with a determination that the first user has a first set of subscriptions;
providing, on the electronic device, access to a first set of content via a first application based on the first set of subscriptions; and
providing, on the electronic device, access to a second set of content via a second application based on the first set of subscriptions;
receiving an input corresponding to the request to switch the currently active user profile of the electronic device from the first profile to the second user profile; and
in response to receiving the input corresponding to the request to switch the currently active user profile of the electronic device from the first profile to the second user profile, switching the currently active user profile of the electronic device from the first profile to the second user profile, wherein switching the currently active user profile of the electronic device to the second user profile includes;
in accordance with a determination that the second user has a second set of subscriptions, different from the first set of subscriptions;
providing, on the electronic device, access to the first set of content via the first application based on the second set of subscriptions; and
preventing, on the electronic device, access to the second set of content via the second application based on the second set of subscriptions.
Systems and methods for a media content system. A media content provider includes storage for storing and serving video content to subscribers. The media content provider records and or otherwise stores video content from around the world. The system includes display devices configured to identify and tailor content to multiple individual users. Each user may have individual settings which provide for a customized viewing environment and experience. The system is configured to identify users of the system in order to tailor the content as appropriate. In addition, identification of users allows for the identification of the subscription content that corresponds to the user. Based upon identification of a user and corresponding subscription, the user'"'"'s subscription content may be streamed to any location. In this manner, the users subscribed content may follow the user from home to a friend'"'"'s house, or elsewhere.
- 1. A method comprising:
at an electronic device in communication with a display and one or more input devices; while a first user profile associated with a first user is a currently active user profile of the electronic device, wherein the electronic device is configured with the first user profile associated with the first user and a second user profile associated with a second user; in accordance with a determination that the first user has a first set of subscriptions; providing, on the electronic device, access to a first set of content via a first application based on the first set of subscriptions; and providing, on the electronic device, access to a second set of content via a second application based on the first set of subscriptions; receiving an input corresponding to the request to switch the currently active user profile of the electronic device from the first profile to the second user profile; and in response to receiving the input corresponding to the request to switch the currently active user profile of the electronic device from the first profile to the second user profile, switching the currently active user profile of the electronic device from the first profile to the second user profile, wherein switching the currently active user profile of the electronic device to the second user profile includes; in accordance with a determination that the second user has a second set of subscriptions, different from the first set of subscriptions; providing, on the electronic device, access to the first set of content via the first application based on the second set of subscriptions; and preventing, on the electronic device, access to the second set of content via the second application based on the second set of subscriptions.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- 16. An electronic device comprising:
one or more processors; and memory storing instructions, which when executed by the one or more processors, cause the electronic device to perform a method comprising; receiving an input corresponding to the request to switch the currently active user profile of the electronic device with from the first profile to the second user profile; and
- 17. A non-transitory computer-readable storage medium storing instructions, which when executed by one or more processors of an electronic device, cause the electronic device to perform a method comprising:
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/276,633, filed Sep. 26, 2016, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/224,370, filed Jul. 29, 2016, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/271,179, filed May 6, 2014, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/141,240, filed Dec. 26, 2013, which claims benefit of: U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/800,889, filed Mar. 15, 2013; and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/747,658, filed Dec. 31, 2012, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
This invention relates to multimedia systems, and more particularly, to delivery of media content.
For many years, broadcast television was the sole provider of video content to viewer'"'"'s homes across the globe. As time has passed, and particularly with the advent of the Internet, numerous other sources of video content have arisen. In addition to broadcast television, cable television and satellite based television providers have begun providing access to video on demand and other audio and video content. In addition, special purpose set-top boxes, such as that provided by Roku®, provided a gateway for viewer'"'"'s to access other sources of video content not provided by their television service provider. With such boxes, viewers were able to connect to these other content providers in order to obtain desired video content. At present, there are countless video providers in the marketplace. In addition, music and other audio content is available through various communication channels. Many are subscription based services, and some provide free content. While the explosion of video content providers in the marketplace may seem a boon for viewer'"'"'s, the large number of choices and providers complicates the viewing experience.
In view of the above, improved media content delivery systems, methods and mechanisms are desired.
Systems and methods for a media content delivery service are contemplated.
Embodiments are contemplated in which a system includes display devices configured to identify individual users and tailor content accordingly. Each user may have individual settings which provide for a customized viewing environment and experience. The system is configured to identify users of the system in order to tailor the content as appropriate. In various embodiments, users of the system may be registered with the system and have settings established which are particular to the given user. Particular users may be identified based on user input such as login information or biometric data. In addition, identification of users allows for the identification of subscription content that corresponds to the user. Based upon identification of a user and corresponding subscription, the user'"'"'s subscription content may be streamed to any location. In this manner, the users subscribed content may follow the user from home to a friend'"'"'s house, or elsewhere.
In addition to the above, multiple users of a given system may each have a television viewing environment tailored to their desires. For example, express settings may be established for users which define the types of content allowed for that user. Additionally, such settings may establish what functions are permitted by each user. In addition to the above, identification of individual users allows for personal viewing histories, friends, and otherwise. Based on such histories and friends, recommendations and further tailoring of content may be made.
These and other embodiments are contemplated and will be appreciated upon reference to the following description and drawings.
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof are shown by way of example in the drawings and will herein be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the drawings and detailed description thereto are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims. As used throughout this application, the word “may” is used in a permissive sense (i.e., meaning having the potential to), rather than the mandatory sense (i.e., meaning must). Similarly, the words “include,” “including,” and “includes” mean including, but not limited to.
Various units, circuits, or other components may be described as “configured to” perform a task or tasks. In such contexts, “configured to” is a broad recitation of structure generally meaning “having circuitry that” performs the task or tasks during operation. As such, the unit/circuit/component can be configured to perform the task even when the unit/circuit/component is not currently on. In general, the circuitry that forms the structure corresponding to “configured to” may include hardware circuits. Similarly, various units/circuits/components may be described as performing a task or tasks, for convenience in the description. Such descriptions should be interpreted as including the phrase “configured to.” Reciting a unit/circuit/component that is configured to perform one or more tasks is expressly intended not to invoke 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph six, interpretation for that unit/circuit/component.
In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, one having ordinary skill in the art should recognize that the invention might be practiced without these specific details. In some instances, well-known circuits, structures, and techniques have not been shown in detail to avoid obscuring the present invention.
As shown in the example, bar 106 includes six images which correspond to subject matter related to the show titled 104 above. As shown, subject matter corresponding to three seasons of the show (“modernfamily”) are depicted. In particular, images corresponding to season 1 (Sea. 1), season 2 (Sea. 2), and season 3 (Sea. 3) are shown. For season 3, separate images are shown to correspond to particular episodes of season 3; namely, episodes 1-4 (Ep. 1-Ep. 4). In various embodiments, the images depicted within the bar 106 may be still images or video corresponding to the related season or episode, or otherwise.
Also shown in
In various embodiments, the content shown as being available in block 106 may also be based upon content that is available for viewing (irrespective of whether the viewer has a current subscription for the content), or content that is available based on the viewer'"'"'s current subscription(s). The approach used to choose what is shown as being available may be programmable (e.g., based on user settings in a set-top box, based on a service provider'"'"'s preferences, or otherwise) and may be a combination of the above approaches.
As seen in
Also shown in
While the previous figures have discussed the television system in terms of conveying content for display on a television. As shown in
As discussed above, in various embodiments a viewer may have a primary subscription and one or more second subscriptions. For example, in
As an example, a viewer may have a cable television subscription (secondary subscription). In addition, the viewer may have a subscription to Apple TV (e.g., the service provider associated with server farm 600). The cable television operator (e.g., as shown as a provider 620) broadcasts video content, such as live television and video-on-demand content, 24 hours a day. Server farm 600 is configured to record and/or otherwise capture all content broadcast/provided by the cable television operator and store the content as part of the data store 640. For example, data designated “A” in data store 640 may represent video content broadcast and/or otherwise provided or available from the cable television operator. Given the viewer'"'"'s secondary subscription to the cable television operator service, the viewer'"'"'s primary subscription to Apple TV (server farm 600) entitles the viewer to access all of the content in the data store 640 that corresponds to the cable operator. Consequently, the viewer may view live television broadcasts of the cable television operator which are provided by the server farm 600 rather than the cable television operator. Additionally, as the server farm 600 is constantly recording/gathering all of the cable operator content, the viewer may have access to content which was broadcast by the cable television operator a week ago, a month ago, or even a year ago, depending on how long the server farm maintains the data and has rights to convey the data.
In various embodiments, the server farm 600 is in principle generally configured to record all video data everywhere all of the time. In other words, the server farm 600 operator may seek to store all video content available for viewing globally. Such an approach may include storing all previously available video content anywhere in the world and continuously recording all newly available video content. Acquisition of video content may generally necessitate license agreements with various copyright holders and providers. As noted earlier, particular content which has been acquired and resides in the server farm 600 may be associated with multiple providers. However, while multiple providers may provide subscribers access to particular video content, it generally will not be the case that the server farm 600 operator will need agreements with all such providers in order to acquire the content. Rather, in most cases, video content will have been acquired and stored as part of the content 640. The server farm 600 operator will then form agreements with providers 620 which will entitle subscribers with primary subscriptions to the server farm service 600 and a given secondary subscription to another service 620 to access secondary subscription available content from the server farm 600. Depending on a viewer'"'"'s secondary subscriptions, content within the server farm 600 that is accessible to the viewer will vary. In various embodiments, rather than subscribing to all of a secondary provider'"'"'s content, viewers may be able to subscribe to a subset of the content offered by a secondary provider. For example, a viewer may subscribe to only a particular network, a particular television series, a particular night of the week (e.g., the Thursday night lineup), subscribe according to varying durations (e.g., just the next two weeks), and so on. Numerous such alternatives are possible and are contemplated.
While the embodiment of
Additionally, the video environment within which the video content is provided (e.g., via a set-top box provided by the primary subscription provider, etc.) is controlled by the primary subscription provider. Such an approach eliminates or minimizes the viewer'"'"'s need to navigate or otherwise deal with disparate secondary provider environments. To further enhance the viewer'"'"'s experience, complications associated with managing secondary subscriptions may be managed through the primary subscription. For example, the primary subscription provider may identify content available to a viewer via a secondary subscription. Should the viewer wish to subscribe to the secondary provider, this may be done through the primary subscription service and may even be billed as part of the primary subscription service billing. This may be accomplished via the primary subscription service interface using a consistent visual/graphical and approach. In such a manner, the system provides the viewer with a consistent interface and viewing experience.
As illustrated in
Turning now to
Generally speaking in the prior art, a television subscription, such as a cable television subscription, is associated with one or more particular devices (set-top boxes). Such devices are uniquely identified by the cable television operator and communication is established with the device which enables the device to receive programming from the cable operator. In contrast, in various embodiments, primary subscriptions as described herein may be associated with particular subscribers rather than particular devices. Given such an approach, the subscriber'"'"'s content may follow the subscriber wherever they may go. The following discussion illustrates these features.
In other embodiments, password or other login type information may be entered via a remote control device. Authorization may result in codes or entitlement data being conveyed similar to that discussed above. Still further, in other embodiments, subscribers may have particular mobile devices associated with their subscription. For example, a subscriber'"'"'s smart phone may be associated with the subscription. In some cases, the smart phone itself may itself be authorized to receive and display subscription based video content. Additionally, the smart phone may be useable as a remote control for a television system. In such an embodiment, the smart phone may be configured to communicate with a television, set-top box, or other video system component. Based on such communication, the set-top box or other device may convey the smart phone data to the primary subscription service provider. If the smart phone is identified as being associated with a valid subscription, then entitlement/authorization type data may be conveyed to the set-top, television, or otherwise, which enables it to receive subscriber 1'"'"'s subscription based content. Such embodiments would enable the viewing of one'"'"'s own subscription content at a friend'"'"'s house. Alternatively, subscription content could follow a subscriber to a hotel room during travel. Numerous such scenarios are possible and are contemplated.
In some embodiments, the feature of having a subscriber'"'"'s content follow the subscriber and be displayed on another device (e.g., a friend'"'"'s television or a hotel room television) may be a feature that is provided at an additional cost (e.g., a small monthly fee). Additionally, such a feature (which may be referred to as a “follow me” mode) may be enabled or disabled. For example, in some embodiments, when subscription content follows a subscriber to another location where it is then viewed, that content is not simultaneously viewable in the subscriber'"'"'s home. In various embodiments, such a mode may be controllable by both a set-top box in the subscriber'"'"'s home as well as by the subscriber while not at home. If desired, primacy be given to the set-top box at home. In this manner, content may follow the subscriber away from home, but when someone at the home wishes to access particular subscription based content it is permitted and the follow me mode is temporarily disabled. Numerous such alternatives are possible and are contemplated.
Turning now to
In various embodiments, set-top box does not include mass storage (such as a disk drive or similar DVR type mass storage device) and is not configured to provide access to locally attached mass storage. Rather, sufficient storage for some video buffering, operating system and application memory resident operations, and so on, may be all that is provided. In such an embodiment, set-top box is generally configured for video streaming and not video storage. Other embodiments could include or provide access to local mass storage. Mobile device 1360 may be a dedicated remote control device, smart phone, or other device that is configured to communicate with the set-top box 1300. As discussed above, in various embodiments the device 1360 may be identifiable as being associated with a subscriber. Responsive to such identification (e.g., using identification component 1316 and communication with a subscription service), the set-top box may be authorized to receive subscriber content. In other embodiments, biometric data may be entered to the device 1360 (e.g., a fingerprint or voice sample) which is then used for authentication/authorization. Once identified, the system may automatically enable various features for the given user. For example, the user may be automatically logged in for the purpose of making purchase. Content for kids may be automatically controlled upon identification of a child. These and other features will be discussed below. Various such embodiments are possible and are contemplated as per the discussion above.
Beginning with block 410, device based identification is initiated. In this embodiment, an identification of the mobile device 1412 is received by the set-top box from the mobile device. While a set-top box is described as the receiving device for purposes of discussion, it is to be understood that the receiving device may be a television with supporting circuitry, a game console with supporting circuitry, or otherwise. Having received the device identifier, an effort to identify the device is undertaken (decision block 1414). Such identification may include communication with the subscription provider which accesses a subscriber database or otherwise to determine if the mobile device is associated with a subscription. In other embodiments, the set-top box may store device identifiers for a certain period of time (e.g., 24 hours) with associated authorization information. In such an embodiment, re-authorization would only be needed once per day or according to some other time interval. In such embodiments, the subscription provider may be able to invalidate such set-top box data at will in order to require re-authorization. If the device is not successfully identified, then default or guest settings 1450 may be used. If the device is successfully identified and it is associated with a valid subscription, then settings that correspond to the subscription may be obtained (e.g., settings for the set-top box environment, settings for the particular user, etc.) (block 1410), and access to the subscription based content is authorized (block 1450).
Alternatively, the path may begin with block 1430 where user based authentication is initiated. In such an embodiment, user identification may be requested by the remote control/mobile device (block 1432). In response, a viewer provides biometric or login type data (block 1432). If the user identification is successful (block 1436), then the method continues with block 1440. Otherwise, default or guest settings may be used (block 1406). User identification may include a process similar to that described in association with block 1414.
Finally, the third approach begins with block 1420 where device based identification is initiated. In this embodiment, the device is first identified (blocks 1422 and 1424). If the device is successfully identified, then an attempt to identify the user is made (block 1426). This may be used to verify that the remote control/mobile device is being used by the rightful owner or otherwise expected user. If both the device and user are properly identified as corresponding to a valid subscription (decision block 1428), then the method proceeds with block 1440. Otherwise, default or guest settings may be used (block 1406). In each of the embodiments, default settings may be configurable and may include disabling access completely, conveying a communication (email, text message, etc.) that indicates the failed attempt, or otherwise.
Turning now to
As discussed above, the primary provider will generally have a great deal of content available for viewing by a given subscriber. The content that is available may be determined in part based on secondary subscriptions of the viewer. As noted, there may be duplication among the secondary subscriptions and/or primary subscription as to available content. Additionally, particular content may be available in many forms.
In the example shown, content may differ as to cost 1602 (viewable for free or viewable for payment of a fee) and quality (HD or SD) 1604. In addition, presentation of content may include presentation with advertisements (ADs) or without ADs 1606. With only these variables, given content may correspond to one of eight different forms/presentations as shown by the tree 1610. In this case, the eight possibilities are:
- 1 Free, HD, with ADs
- 2. Free, HD, without ADs
- 3. Free, SD, with ADs
- 4. Free, SD, without ADs
- 5. Paid, HD, with ADs
- 6. Paid, HD, without ADs
- 7. Paid, SD, with ADs
- 8. Paid, SD, without ADs
Given these possibilities, a viewer may have various preferences regarding how the given content is prioritized when either being presented as being available or when being selected for viewing. For example, a viewer may give a higher priority to free content over paid content. Also, HD content may be given priority over SD content, and so on. Using such preferences, selections from available content may be made for presentation to the viewer or when particular content is selected for viewing. In addition to such preferences, additional factors 1608 may be used to determine which content is provided to a viewer. For example, bandwidth considerations may affect the selection of content. If it is determined that the bandwidth to the viewer'"'"'s device is limited, HD content may be disfavored (at least temporarily) until the condition eases. In such a case, the options indicated by 1620 and 1622 in
Given the available content options and factors 1740, the algorithm 1730 selects one or more of the options for presentation to the viewer. Such a process may be repeated as need to generate a plurality of items for presentation to a viewer (e.g., a number of episodes of a given series).
In the following discussion, various embodiments of the operation of a receiving device and interface are shown. Generally speaking, the embodiments described in the following figures are configured to operate with the embodiments in the foregoing description. It is further noted that the following described embodiments may be implemented in association with other video content delivery systems. For example, the following embodiments may be utilized in association with traditional cable or satellite television systems, special purpose set top boxes (e.g., Roku type boxes), Internet video providers, and so on. All such embodiments are contemplated.
As discussed above, individual subscribers may be identified based on a particular device being used (e.g., a remote control), a password, login information, biometric data, or otherwise. Based on such identification, a subscribers content may also follow the subscriber as already noted. In addition to such embodiments, in various embodiments multiple users may be identified as being authorized for a given subscription. For example, multiple users within a given home may be identifiable and have content tailored for them. In such embodiments, various settings may be available to control the system behavior as it relates to a given user. For example, children within a home may be restricted from accessing content that parent'"'"'s deem inappropriate for the children. Additionally, separate viewing histories and profiles may be maintained for each user such that recommendations may be tailored to a particular user. Still further, each user may establish their own lists of favorites, friends, and so on, in order to create a complete environment that is tailored according to their own needs and desires. These and other embodiments are discussed in the following.
In the embodiment of
In the example of
The User Settings subcategory 2011 may be accessed to configure particular settings for users of the system. The Restrictions subcategory 2012 may be accessed to configure various restrictions on users of the system. For example, a parent may enable restrictions to control content accessible by users of the system, control functions that may be performed by various users, and so on. Enabling such restrictions may include password or login protection to prevent others from gaining access to the Restrictions subcategory 2012 or otherwise making changes to such restrictions. In the example shown, the Restrictions subcategory 2012 further includes an indication as to whether restrictions are enabled. In this example, restrictions are shown to be “On”. Finally a Default Settings subcategory 2013 is included. In various embodiments, the Default Settings subcategory 2013 may be used to establish default settings and configurations for the system. Such default settings may be used when a particular user has not been identified. For example, if a user doesn'"'"'t wish to be identified for a given viewing session, then default settings may be used to control content which is accessible and/or functions which may be performed. As another example, default settings may be used for a “guest” viewer who does not have a user identification for the system. For example, a guest in the home may use the system without having to login. Still further, default settings may be used in the case of a failed login attempt. These and other embodiments are possible and are contemplated.
Assuming a user selects the User Settings subcategory 2100 as shown in
Assuming the Dad user 2201 is selected in
A second setting provided is a Ratings For setting 2302. This setting may be used to select a rating scheme used in a particular country or region. For example,
Turning now to
The Last Reset setting 2404 indicates the most recent reset of the Breadcrumbs setting. In various embodiments, a reset clears all history prior to that date. The Reset setting 2405 is used to perform such a reset. For example, if Duration 2402 is set to Forever, there is no limitation on how long the breadcrumbs/history are to be maintained. In such a case, Reset 2405 will clear the history and maintaining of the history will begin anew. In the example shown, the last reset is shown to have occurred on Jul. 12, 2010. Consequently, a history from the present back to Jul. 12, 2010 will be currently available.
Having the ability to identify multiple users in the system, allows for content to be tailored to individual users. In various embodiments, assuming multi-user functionality is available and/or enabled, when a user wishes to use the system they may identify themselves via login, voice input, biometric input, or otherwise. For example, when turning on a display device (television, set top box, launching a video app on a computing device, etc.), the system may respond with a query as to whether or not the user wishes to be identified. In such a case, the viewer may decline and use default settings or accept and be identified. Identification may be performed in a manner similar to that of
In some embodiments, the system may be configured to query a user if they wish to be identified (or use a particular user'"'"'s settings) when the user picks up a remote control. Such detection may be via accelerometer, gyroscope, or otherwise. Other embodiments may include a particular remote control button or menu item which permits establishing a particular user'"'"'s settings. In some embodiments, a user may be automatically identified based on a device being used to access the system. For example, as described in relation to
Turning now to
As shown in
In the Favorite Channels 2630 portion of the display, channels that have been previously identified by the user (Michael) as favorites are shown. In this example, four channel elements 2650-2653 (“channels”) are displayed—each showing video content for the corresponding channel. The display of the channels is that of a miniature display with an aspect ratio that corresponds to a typical television. As may be appreciated, the size and aspect ratio of the depicted channels may differ from that shown. Additionally, the number of “channels” shown may be more than four, or fewer than four. For example, a large number of such channels may be depicted by making each of the channel depictions smaller. It is also noted that not all such channel depictions need be the same size. In various embodiments, some may be larger than the others. All such alternative embodiments are contemplated. The video content being shown for each channel may be live broadcast video, for example, or otherwise.
In the embodiment shown, each channel depiction includes not only video content for the corresponding channel, but also a description at the lower part of the depiction which identifies the television series to which the video content corresponds, an episode number for the television show, a title for the particular television show, and an identification of the channel. For example, channel element 2651 provides the series title Game of Thrones, with episode 8 (Ep. 8) entitled “The Prince of Winterfell” currently being displayed. The channel identifier identifies the corresponding channel as HBO. It is noted that in this discussion, and elsewhere in the described embodiments, various embodiments may permit the viewer to configure the system such that video may or may not be displayed. For example, in some cases, it may not be desirable to have video displayed which would include “spoilers”. In various embodiments, the system may be configured so that only animations, still pictures, or “innocuous” (non-spoiling) video is displayed. In some cases, it may be configurable based on category. For example, the viewer may not wish to see video displayed for sports events which may give away the winner/winning team. In other embodiments, the viewer may wish to see the video for multiple sporting events at a time so that all may be watched simultaneously. All such embodiments are contemplated.
In the My Shows 2640 portion of the display, television shows previously identified by the user (Michael) for inclusion in this category are shown. In this example, eight television show elements are depicted. In this example, the television shows are depicted in a manner similar to that of the channels discussed above, and may vary in their depictions according to the above discussion as well. In the embodiment shown, each of the favorite shows depicts artwork for the corresponding show. However, as above, video or other content may be displayed. For each of the eight shows depicted, the lower portion of the depicted show includes descriptive information including a title of the show, how many seasons of the show (television series) are available for viewing, how many total episodes are available for viewing, and an identifier for the channel which carries the show. For example, the show in the upper left portion of My Shows 2640 depicts the Mad Men television show. Artwork representative of the television show is depicted. The title “Mad Men” is provided along with an indication that 5 seasons and 65 episodes are available for viewing. The identified channel in this case is AMC.
It is noted that while the example of
Turning now to
In various embodiments, the content depicted in
As previously discussed, the systems described herein are generally agnostic as to a source of particular video content and as to a timing of its acquisition. Consequently, the constraints suggested by a typical EPG and television system and are no longer present. The television service provider which provides an EPG does so to inform the viewer as to the broadcast lineup and when particular content will be available for viewing. In this manner, the viewer can view or record the content for later viewing as desired. However, in the embodiment of
While the NOVA episode is a repeat, the Suburgatory episode is not a repeat. The question may then arise as to how an episode which has not yet been broadcast can be immediately available for viewing. The answer lies in the record everything all the time design of the primary provider system. The Suburgatory episode is scheduled for broadcast beginning at 8:30 PM in a given time zone. However, in the present case, the episode has already aired in an earlier time zone. The content already resides in the primary provider'"'"'s data stores and is immediately available for viewing. It is noted that in some cases agreements may be in place which prevent such “early viewing” of an episode. Such agreements may require that live broadcast episodes such as these be viewable during their “proper” time slots. Nevertheless, the systems described herein are fully capable of providing such early viewing and identifying such episodes in an EPG. Also shown in
Turning now to
In the embodiment shown, selection of the Friends element 2912 causes the display of a Friends 2930 category and a Your Friends Watch 2940 category. The friends category in this example includes a composite element 2950 representative of all of the current user'"'"'s (Dad) friends (or some identified subset), along with selected individual friends 2951-2953 (e.g., these could be the closest friends, those most recently active in the system, those currently online, etc.). In various embodiments, friends may establish a profile within the television system that includes a picture, avatar, or other self-representation. While the Friends category 2930 depicts various friends of a viewer, the Your Friends Watch category 2940 depicts various television shows that are watched by the viewer'"'"'s friends. In the example shown, artwork for each show is presented. However, other embodiments may display video (live or otherwise) for the given show. Also shown in the example of
Turning now to
Generally speaking, in various embodiments, the My Stuff category includes content that the current user (Dad) has identified as being reserved or otherwise set apart (collected) for easy access. This category may also include content rented or purchased by the viewer. In
Also shown is a My TV Shows category 3040. In various embodiments, these shows have been identified by the viewer as being flagged or otherwise identified for inclusion as part of the current user'"'"'s My Stuff. For example, these could represent favorite shows of the viewer. In various embodiments, artwork, video (live or otherwise), is shown for each show element. In some embodiments, particular video highlight clips may run. Finally, a My Movies category 3050 is shown. In the example shown, the corresponding elements extend beyond the bottom of the display. Accordingly, the viewer will scroll or page down to view the content. In this case, the content represents movies the viewer has identified for inclusion.
As noted in the side bar 3010, various subcategories are available under the My Stuff category 3060. In some embodiments, providing focus to one of these subcategories will cause the corresponding content displayed to the right to be filtered accordingly. For example, selection of the Sport subcategory 3061 will cause the On Now category 3026 to display sports that are currently being broadcast. Likewise, the Featured 3030, My TV Shows 3040, and My Movies 3050 categories will likewise be filtered to show sports related feature content, TV shows, and movies. In a similar manner, the subcategories Kids 3062 and News 3063 may be selected to cause the related content to be filtered for kids and news subject matter, respectively. These and other subcategories are possible and are contemplated. In various embodiments, these categories may be created by the viewer based on predefined selections. For example, numerous provider created subcategories may be chosen from for inclusion in the side bar by the viewer. In other embodiments, viewers may create, name, and define their own subcategories. Such viewer created subcategories may be made available to other viewers for inclusion in their own side bar user interfaces. All such embodiments are contemplated.
Turning now to
The Top Movies 3204 category includes display of movies which are highly rated, being promoted, or otherwise. My Movies 3206 represents a collection of movies which the viewer has added to their My Stuff collection. Finally, the Recommendations category 3208 provides recommended movies to the user. Such movies may be recommended based on the current user'"'"'s profile, history, friend'"'"'s likes, or otherwise. As before, each of the elements may be selectable to cause the display of further content.
In the example shown, a variety of content is depicted as being recommended for the current user (Dad) and currently available for viewing. As may be appreciated, recommendations for different users may differ according to their indicated preferences, viewing history, friend'"'"'s likes, and so on. In particular, three different television series are shown as being available—5 seasons of Mad Men, 2 seasons of Game of Thrones, and 1 season of Suburgatory. As the primary provider is generally configured to record all video data all of the time as previously discussed, all video content related to these series is available for the viewer. As previously discussed, depiction as to what is available to a viewer may be based on what the viewer currently has subscriptions to view or anything available for provision by the primary provider. In this case, anything may be displayed as available for the viewer.
In the embodiment shown, each of the displayed series in the recommendation portion 3510 represent selectable items by the viewer. Assuming the viewer selects the Mad Men item 3520, in one embodiment a “landing page” for the Mad Men television series may be presented which provides the user access to additional information and episodes of the show.
Turning now to
In the example shown, the voice assistant states “Hello Stephen, welcome home. What can I help you with?” Here the voice assistant has identified the user as Stephen. Such identification may be based on the device being used to access the system. For example, the user may be using a smart phone or tablet computer associated with the user Stephen. Alternatively, the user may have logged in or provided a fingerprint to a remote control device that identifies the user as Stephen. In addition, the voice assistant states “welcome home”. In various embodiments, the display device (e.g., set top box or television) is configured to detect various devices (such as described above in
Given such embodiments, the voice assistant (associated with the system) may determine the user has been absent from the home and has now returned. In this manner, the voice assistant is able to provide relevant conversational speech such as—welcome home.” It is noted that the voice assistant may further key of the obtained location information. For example, the location information may show the user was at a movie theater for 2 hours and then Miguel'"'"'s restaurant prior to returning home. In such a case, the voice assistant can use this information to generate conversational speech such as—“Hello Stephen, welcome home. Hope you enjoyed the movie and the food at Miguel'"'"'s. What movie did you see?.” In reply, the user could give the name of the movie. Based on the user'"'"'s identification of the movie that was viewed, the voice assistant could then identify related information to offer to the user. For example, the voice assistant may reply—“Oh, the performance by Mike Myers got good reviews in that movie. Would you like to see some other movies he is in?”
In the example of
Having identified selected recommendations, in
The client media device 4201 may communicate with an online media store 4220 through the network 4284 to receive information for displaying a user interface showing various media content available for delivery to the client media device. Each piece of media content may be referred to as a “media production.” Examples of media productions include various kinds of movies and films, television programs, music videos, albums/songs, etc. In general, a given media production may include any kind of content that includes video and/or audio information.
In some embodiments the online media store may be coupled to or may include a media integration system 4210 which integrates media productions from a plurality of third-party content provider systems, such as the content providers CP 4212-4215. Each of the content provider systems may be managed by or affiliated with any kind of company or organization, such as cable or satellite television providers, television networks or channels, movie studios, sporting leagues, news organizations, music labels, online media services, etc. Thus, the user interface displayed by the client media device may aggregate the media productions available from many different content providers or sources, and may provide a convenient way for the user to see the content from different providers in an integrated view.
In various embodiments the client media device may communicate with the online media store 4220 through any kind of network 4284. The network 4284 may include any type of network or combination of networks. For example, the network 4284 may include any type or combination of local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), wireless networks, an Intranet, the Internet, etc. Examples of local area networks include Ethernet networks, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) networks, and token ring networks.
In the illustrated embodiment the client media device is coupled to the network 4284 via Ethernet hardware or Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) hardware 4286, which in turn couples to a cable modem 4285. In other embodiments the client media device may be coupled to the network 4284 via any other type of wired or wireless connection medium or device. For example, wired mediums may include Ethernet, fiber channel, a modem, etc. Wireless connection mediums may include a wireless connection using a wireless communication protocol such as IEEE 802.11 (wireless Ethernet), a modem link through a cellular service, a satellite link, etc.
The client media device may include one or more storage devices 4207 configured to store data. At least one of the storage devices 4207 may include non-volatile memory configured to persistently store data. In various embodiments the storage device(s) may include one or more disk drives, solid state drives, flash memory devices, optical storage devices, or any other kinds of devices for storing data. In some embodiments the storage device(s) may also include various kinds of volatile memory, such as random access memory (RAM), e.g., synchronous dynamic RAM (SDRAM), static RAM (SRAM), etc.
The client media device may store the EPG data 4203 on the storage device(s) 4207. For example, one or more databases 4209 may be stored on the storage device 4207, and the EPG data 4203 may be stored in one or more of the databases. The EPG data 4203 may include information about television programming, such as the listing of programs, their scheduled times, the channel lineup, images associated with the programs, etc. The EPG data 4203 may be customized for the particular user of the client media device 4201. For example, if the user subscribes to some subscription-based content providers, but not others, then the EPG data 4203 may include information for only the programs or media productions offered by the providers to which the user subscribes.
The database(s) 4209 may also store other information, such as personalization information for the user(s) of the client media device 4201. The personalization information may include the user'"'"'s favorite programs or channels, list of recently viewed content, stored play positions for various media content, watch lists, bookmarks, etc.
The client media device may be configured to receive user input from a remote control device 4239 via an interface 4228. The remote control device may use infrared communication, Bluetooth communication, or any of various other kinds of wireless or wired communication techniques to transmit signals to the client media device indicating the user input.
In some embodiments the client media device may be configured to communicate with the media integration system 4210 and/or the online media store 4220 through a voice interface system 4222. For example, in some embodiments the remote control device or the client media device may include a microphone device 4224 that receives speech from the user, e.g., where the speech includes commands, requests, questions, etc. The client media device may convert the speech into digital packets for transmission over the network 84 to the voice interface system 4222. The voice interface system may perform speech recognition to recognize the user'"'"'s commands or questions. The voice interface system may communicate with the online media store 4220 and/or the media integration system 4210 to pass the user'"'"'s commands or questions on to them via an interface. The online media store 4220 and/or the media integration system 4210 may then generate information in response to the user'"'"'s commands or questions and return it to the client media device (or return it to the voice interface system, which may then forward it to the client media device). For example, the user may request to lookup a television program having a certain title or actor, and the system may return information that the client media device uses to display a list of programs matching the title or actor.
In various embodiments the information transmitted from the online media store or voice interface system to the client media device may include any kind of information useable by the client media device to display information regarding the media content available for delivery to the client media device. For example, in some embodiments the system may utilize Extensible Markup Language (XML) code or other markup language code which describes the information to be displayed. The client media device may parse the XML code and display a user interface based on the described information. In some embodiments the system may also transmit graphics files or video feeds which the client media device may incorporate into the user interface.
In some embodiments the client media device may also communicate with a mobile computing device 4240, e.g., where the user may hold the mobile device. For example, the mobile device 4240 may be a handheld computing device, wearable computing device, or other portable computing device. Examples of mobile devices include smartphones, tablet computers, personal digital assistants, portable music players, handheld game devices, wearable computers (e.g., glasses watches), etc. In some embodiments the user may control the client media device 4201 using the mobile device 4240, e.g., using the mobile device 4240 as a remote control. In some embodiments the client media device may also forward the media content received from the online media store 4220 or media integration system 4210 to the mobile device 4240, e.g., so that it can be displayed on a display device included in the mobile device 4240. In other embodiments the mobile device 4240 may communicate directly with the online media store 4220 and/or the media integration system 4210, e.g., without going through the client media device 4201 as an intermediate. The client media device may also be included as a component within the mobile device in some embodiments, and/or the mobile device may be configured to perform the functions described with reference to the client media device.
The client media device may be configured to utilize digital rights management (DRM) techniques to ensure that the user is authorized to receive and view selected media content. For example, the client media device may include an authorization module 4251 configured to communicate with one or more remote servers to implement the digital rights management for the media content. In various embodiments the client media device may communicate with servers associated with any of various systems or organizations in order to implement the digital rights management, such as one or more servers in the online media store 4220 or the content provider systems whose media productions are integrated by the media integration system 4210.
In the above discussion, various embodiments have been described. It is noted that these embodiments may be combined in any manner desired. In various embodiments, program instructions of a software application may be used to implement the methods and/or mechanisms previously described. The program instructions may be stored on a computer readable storage medium. Numerous types of storage media are available. The storage medium may be accessible by a computer or other processing device during use to provide the program instructions and accompanying data to the computer or device for program execution.
Although the embodiments above have been described in considerable detail, numerous variations and modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art once the above disclosure is fully appreciated. It is intended that the following claims be interpreted to embrace all such variations and modifications.