US 20060031880 A1
A graphical user interface (“GUI”) for a content management system is provided, such as to present television program information and/or information associated with other forms of multimedia content. In some situations, the GUI includes information presented simultaneously using at least first and second time scales, such as to provide relatively detailed information for content corresponding to a shorter time scale (e.g., to display television program listings with details about programs that are available during a time period at the shorter time scale) and to provide relatively limited information for content corresponding to a longer time scale (e.g., indications of other programs of potential interest at times outside the time period of the shorter time scale). In addition, in some situations the relatively limited information for content corresponding to the longer time scale may be selectable by the user to provide various functionality related to that content.
1. A method for a computing device to present information about television programs via a graphical user interface, the method comprising:
receiving metadata information for each of a plurality of indicated television programs that are each available for presentation at an associated presentation time;
determining a plurality of the indicated television programs that have associated presentation times that occur during a selected period of time, and identifying one or more other of the indicated television programs that have associated presentation times that do not occur during the selected period of time; and
displaying to a user of the computing device a graphical user interface having information about television programs available for presentation, the displayed graphical user interface including at least some of the received metadata information for each of the determined plurality of television programs, the displayed graphical user interface further including a first timebar that includes indications of times outside the selected period of time and that includes a graphical indicator for each of at least one of the identified one or more other television programs, each graphical indicator for an identified television program being displayed on the first timebar at an indicated time that corresponds to the associated presentation time of the identified television program,
so that metadata information is displayed for programs that occur during the selected period of time and so that indications are displayed for at least some programs that occur outside the selected period of time.
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receiving an indication of a selection by the user of one of the user-selectable indications of time in the first timebar;
selecting a new period of time based on the selected time indication; and
updating the displayed graphical user interface to include at least some of the received metadata information for each indicated television program whose associated presentation time occurs during the selected new period of time.
12. The method of
13. The method of
14. A computer-readable medium whose contents enable a computing device to present information about television programming-related content via a user interface, by performing a method comprising:
receiving information related to a plurality of pieces of television programming-related content; and
presenting a user interface to provide information regarding the television programming-related content, by
rendering a first timebar on the user interface that corresponds to a first time period;
rendering a second region on the user interface that corresponds to a second time period that is a subset of the first time period;
populating the second region with the received information for pieces of the television programming-related content that have associated times corresponding to the second time period; and
adding one or more indicators to the rendered first timebar that correspond to pieces of the television programming-related content that have associated times corresponding to portions of the first time period that are not in the second time period.
15. The computer-readable medium of
16. The computer-readable medium of
17. A computing system configured to present information about television programming, comprising:
a display; and
a content management system configured to present on the display a graphical user interface with information about television program listings, the presented graphical user interface including a first timebar that corresponds to a first time period and including detail information for each of a plurality of television programs associated with a second time period, the first timebar including one or more graphical indicators corresponding to one or more television programs that are each associated with a portion of the first time period that is not part of the second time period.
18. The computing system of
19. The computing system of
20. The computing system of
The present application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/567,177, entitled “Browser For Multimedia Content,” filed Apr. 30, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present application is also related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ (Attorney Docket # 931086.410), entitled “Time-Based Graphical User Interface For Multimedia Content” and filed concurrently, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The present disclosure generally relates to techniques for reviewing, manipulating and presenting content, such as to manage television-related content via a time-based graphical user interface (“GUI”) of a computing device.
In the current world of television, movies, and related media systems, many consumers receive television programming-related content via broadcast over a cable network to a television or similar display, with the content often received via a set-top box (“STB”) from the cable network that controls display of particular television (or “TV”) programs from among a large number of available television channels, while other consumers may similarly receive television programming-related content in other manners (e.g., via satellite transmissions, broadcasts over airwaves, over packet-switched networks, etc.). In addition, enhanced television programming services and capabilities are increasingly being provided to consumers, such as the ability to receive television programming-related content that is delivered “on demand” using Video on Demand (“VOD”) technologies (e.g., based on a pay-per-view business model) and/or various interactive TV capabilities. Consumers generally subscribe to services offered by a cable network “head-end” or other similar content distribution facility to obtain particular content, which in some situations may include interactive content and Internet content.
Consumers of content are also increasingly using a variety of devices to record and control viewing of content, such as via digital video recorders (“DVRs”) that can record television-related content for later playback and/or can temporarily store recent and current content to allow functionality such as pausing or rewinding live television. A DVR may also be known as a personal video recorder (“PVR”), hard disk recorder (“HDR”), personal video station (“PVS”), or a personal television receiver (“PTR”). DVRs may in some situations be integrated into a set-top box, such as with Digeo's MOXI™ device, while in other situations may be a separate component connected to an STB and/or television. In addition, electronic programming guides (“EPGs”) are often made available to aid consumers in selecting a desired program to currently view and/or to schedule for delayed viewing. Using an EPG and a DVR, a consumer can cause a desired program to be recorded and can then view the program at a more convenient time or location.
However, as the cable industry grows and as additional types of content are increasingly being stored and made available to consumers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to effectively manage the content and the related capabilities of the various devices that are available. Moreover, the proliferation of networked presentation devices within homes (e.g., televisions, handheld and desktop computing systems, stereos, speakers, cell phones, etc.) makes the task of effectively managing the content, including its presentation via the various devices, even more difficult.
Non-limiting and non-exhaustive embodiments are described with reference to the figures, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the various views unless otherwise specified.
Techniques are described below for managing various types of content in various ways, such as via a time-based graphical user interface (“GUI”) of a Content Management (“CM”) system executing on a computing device. In some embodiments, at least some of the content being managed includes television programming-related content, with the CM system receiving EPG information for the content (e.g., via interactions with an STB). In such embodiments, the television programming-related content can then be managed via the CM system GUI in a variety of ways using a time-based scheme, such as to allow a consumer to locate and identify content of potential interest, to schedule recordings of selected content, to manage previously recorded content (e.g., to play or delete the content), to control live television, etc. In addition, the CM system can further manage various other types of contents and perform various other types of content management functions, as described in greater detail below.
In at least some embodiments, the CM system GUI includes at least first and second time scales, and simultaneously displays different types of information related to content using the multiple time scales. In embodiments in which the content includes television programming, various types of details may be provided about television programs with scheduled presentation times such that the programs will be available for display on one or more channels during the relatively short second period of time, while indications of or other limited details may be provided about other television programs of potential interest that will be available for display during some or all of the relatively long first period of time. In embodiments in which the content includes one or more of various other types of content that has associated time-based information (e.g., photographs, music, video clips, etc.), various types of details may be provided about such content whose time-based information corresponds to the relatively short second period of time, while indications of or other limited details may be provided about content whose time-based information corresponds to the relatively long first period of time. As discussed in greater detail below, various techniques are provided in various embodiments for displaying, sorting, identifying, filtering, and otherwise managing content using the multiple time scales and other GUI tools.
For illustrative purposes, some embodiments are described below in which specific types of content are managed in specific ways via specific example embodiments of the CM system GUI. However, the techniques can be used in a wide variety of other situations, and that the invention is not limited to the specific illustrative details discussed. More generally, as used herein, multimedia “content” generally includes television programs, movies and other video information (whether stored, such as in a file, or streamed), photos and other images, music and other audio information (whether stored or streamed), presentations, video/teleconferences, videogames, Internet Web pages and other data, and other similar video or audio content.
Referring first to
The home environment 395 also includes an example computing system 300 suitable for executing an embodiment of the CM system, as well as one or more optional other local computing systems and/or storage devices 390 with which the computing system 300 can interact via local network 385 (e.g., a wireless or wired/cabled LAN). The computing system includes a CPU 305 or other processor(s), various I/O devices 310, storage 320, and memory 330. The illustrated I/O devices include a display 311, a network connection 312, a computer-readable media drive 313, and other I/O devices 315 (e.g., a keyboard, a mouse, a pointing device, speakers, etc.). In some embodiments the computing system 300 may further interact with one or more external computing systems (not shown), such as via the Internet and/or the World Wide Web, such as to receive additional external content 360 b and/or other information or services.
In the illustrated embodiment, the computing system 300 interacts with the media center 350 in a variety of ways (e.g., via a direct connection, as part of local network 385, or as part of another network, not shown), including to receive information about current and/or future television programming-related content 360 a and/or other content 360 a. In this example, the information received by the computing system 300 includes EPG metadata information for the television programming-related content (e.g., from a cable network operator), and can further include a variety of other types of metadata for the content 360 a, whether from the cable network operator or other third-parties (e.g., from various external computing systems, not shown, such as via external content 360 b). This received content metadata is then stored in a content metadata database 322 (or other suitable data structure) in the illustrated embodiment for use by the CM system.
An embodiment of the CM system 335 is executing in memory 330. As discussed in greater detail below, the CM system provides information about the available content to one or more users, such as via a GUI using first and second time scales that is displayed on the display device 311 and/or on one or more of the content presentation devices 370 or 380 or other computing systems 390. For example, the CM system may provide some or all of the stored content metadata 322 to the users, and also allow the user to manipulate the content in a variety of ways (e.g., to select content for current presentation, for future recording, etc.). As the user provides instructions related to manipulation of the content, those content manipulation instructions are in the illustrated embodiment stored in a database 324 (or other suitable data structure) on storage 320 for later retrieval and use by the CM system, and at least some such content manipulation instructions may additionally in some embodiments be provided to the media center 350 for use in actually performing the tasks to satisfy the manipulation instructions. In addition, in some embodiments the CM system may also interact with other executing programs in order to provide additional information and/or functionality to the user(s), such as one or more optional executing other programs 339 in memory 330 or instead remote executing programs (not shown) on another computing system.
In the illustrated embodiment, the CM system does not itself present the external content 360 a to the user(s), instead interacting with the media center 350 to control the display of the content to the user via the TV and/or one or more of the other content presentation devices. However, in other embodiments the CM system may instead receive some or all of the external content 360 a, whether via the media center 350 or instead directly from the source of that content, and if so could directly control the presentation of that content to the user(s) on the display device 311 and/or other content presentation device 370 or 380 or other computing system 390. Conversely, in the illustrated embodiment the computing system 300 and/or media center 350 may have access to additional content, such as external content 360 b (e.g., from remote computing systems over the Internet), locally stored other content 360 c on storage 320, and/or other locally accessible content (not shown), such as from one or more of the other computing systems/storage devices 390—if so, the computing system 300 may in some embodiments directly present some or all of that content to the user(s), such as on display device 311 (e.g., as part of the CM system GUI) and/or on one or more other content presentation devices 370 or 380 or other computing system 390, while in other embodiments may present some or all of that content to the user(s) by instead interacting with the media center 350 to facilitate the presentation (e.g., by providing the additional content to be presented and/or associated instructions to the media center). As previously noted, the additional content may be content related to the external content 360 a but from another source (e.g., additional television-related programming, such as streamed or downloaded over a computer network) and/or multimedia content of other types (e.g., movies and other video information, photos and other images, music and other audio information, presentations, video/teleconferences, videogames, Internet Web pages and other data, etc.).
The functionality of the CM system can be accessed in various ways in different embodiments. For example, some users may have physical access to the computing system 300, and if so can interact with the various I/O devices 310 to provide and/or receive information. Alternatively or additionally, other users can use other client computing devices to remotely access the CM system, such as other local computing systems 390 or instead remotely (e.g., via the Internet and/or the World Wide Web). Such remote users can use software or other functionality provided on the client computing systems (not shown), such as a browser, to interact with the CM system. In other embodiments, users may receive functionality and/or information from the CM system indirectly via interactions with one or more other devices, such as the media center 350, which may directly receive that functionality or information from the CM system before providing it to the users.
Computing system 300 is merely illustrative and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention. For example, the computing system may instead be comprised of multiple interacting computing systems or devices, and may be connected to other devices that are not illustrated, including through one or more networks such as the Internet or via the World Wide Web (“Web”). More generally, the computing system may comprise any combination of hardware or software that can perform the described techniques, including (without limitation) desktop or other computers, network devices, Internet appliances, PDAs, cordless and other wireless phones, cellphones, devices with walkie-talkie and other push-to-talk capabilities, personal/digital video recorders, pagers, electronic organizers, television-based systems and various other consumer products. In addition, the functionality provided by the illustrated systems may in some embodiments be combined in fewer systems or distributed in additional systems, and one or more of the systems may each have multiple components that each provides a portion of the functionality of that system. Similarly, in some embodiments the functionality of some of the illustrated systems may not be provided and/or other additional functionality may be available.
While various items are illustrated as being stored in memory or on storage while being used, these items or portions of them can be transferred between memory and other storage devices, such as for purposes of memory management and data integrity. Alternatively or additionally, in other embodiments some or all of the software system (or portions of it) may execute in memory on another device and communicate with the illustrated computing system via inter-computer communication. Some or all of the system or data structures (e.g., portions of a database, such as one or more tables or views or portions thereof) used by the system may also be stored (e.g., as software instructions or structured data) on a computer-readable medium, such as a hard disk, a memory, a computer network or other transmission medium, or a portable media article (e.g., a CD, DVD or flash memory device) to be read by an appropriate drive or via an appropriate connection. Some or all of the system and data structures can also be transmitted via generated data signals (e.g., by being encoded in a carrier wave or otherwise included as part of an analog or digital propagated signal) on a variety of computer-readable transmission mediums, including wireless-based and wired/cable-based mediums, and can take a variety of forms (e.g., as part of a single or multiplexed analog signal, or as multiple discrete digital packets or frames). Such computer program products may also take other forms in other embodiments. Accordingly, one or more embodiments may be practiced with other computer system configurations.
As will be described in further detail below, the view control area 125 also includes a first timebar 128 that corresponds to a relatively long first time period at a first time scale (which is selected based in part using time controls 130) and that may in certain situations display limited information about content, while the view area 140 illustrates detailed information about content for a relatively short second time period at a second time scale. In this example, the first time scale corresponds to approximately 16 hours (with the current first time period being from 8 am to 12 am of the next day, as shown in the first timebar 128), and the second time scale corresponds to approximately 3½ hours (with the current second time period being a first time period subset of 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, as shown in a second timebar 140 a rendered at the top of the view area 140). In addition, in this example details about televisions programs shown in the view area 140 include, for example, program title (e.g., “The Transporter”), year of release (e.g., “2002”), and rating information (e.g., “PG-13” and a three-star rating)—various other types of details could similarly be shown, such as information about actors and/or other people associated with the program (e.g., director, producer, etc.), a textual summary of the plot, whether the program is closed captioned and/or broadcast in stereo, whether the program is a repeat, etc. In this example, the first timebar does not display any limited information about any television programs or other content.
In a similar manner,
As previously described above with reference to
In addition, different programs can be listed using different colors, display patterns (e.g., shading) and/or amounts of highlighting to provide various types of information about the programs, and in at least some embodiments the shapes of program indications may further change for various purposes, such as to indicate various program-related attributes. In particular, such differing visual representations can be used to illustrate different types of TV programs (and/or differences in and/or between different types of content) in some embodiments.
Using the filter control button 126, which in the illustrated embodiment causes a dropdown list to be displayed to allow the user to select one or more currently defined filters, the user can select the “movies” filter, for example, which would limit the channels (not shown) displayed in the view area 140 to those that are showing at least one movie during the currently displayed second period of time for the second timebar. For example, the status control sidebar area 170 of
A different filter can similarly be selected to limit the program listings in the view area 140, such as the “Sports” filter or other available filters, although the results of such a selection are not illustrated here. Such selection of a different filter may cause a variety of changes, such as in some embodiments to cause the status control sidebar area 170 to indicate a different number of channels having programs that match the filter and/or to provide such information in another manner (e.g., near the filter selection control and/or the time controls 130), and to update the view area 140 to display only channels having programs that match the filter during the second time period and/or to display only the matching program listings during the second time period. If a currently selected program is no longer shown in the updated view area 140, (e.g., to not display the “Dances With Wolves” program when a “Sports” filter is selected since the program is not content of type “Sports”), the detail area will nonetheless continue to show information pertaining to that currently selected program in at least some embodiments. In addition, the various previously discussed controls for altering the display continue to be available when showing a filtered view of the TV program. For example, filtered sports programs can be sorted in ascending channel number order, such as by selecting the “CH” column heading to sort the channels that offer sports programming.
As with non-filtered views, the information about filtered sports programs (or any other filtered view) may be modified by the user in various ways. For example, a new current selected time may be chosen by selection within the first timebar, such as by changing the current selected time to 12:00 PM noon on Sunday, and with the second time period displayed for the second timebar changed to show sports program listings on 12:00 PM noon onward on Sunday for the filtered channels that offer sports programming during that second time period. As previously discussed, only the channels that have programs matching the current filter during the currently displayed second time period will be shown in the view area 140 in at least some embodiments, and thus the set of channels that are displayed in the view area 140 may be changed based on changes to the second time period, since some channels may not offer sports programming during a particular second time period. Moreover, the current selected time may also be changed in at least some embodiments and situations by user selection of a “Find In View” control 158, such as when the currently selected program “Dances With Wolves” is not currently visible in the current program display of the view area 140, as selection of the control causes the second time period and corresponding current program display in the view area 140 to be adjusted so that the currently selected program is displayed, including changing the currently selected time as needed, even though the program does not match the current “Sports” filter. In addition, if a currently selected predefined or custom filter does not have a distinct associated color or other visual representation (e.g., for the “News” filter), the programs displayed in the view area 140 may in some embodiments be shown with their default colors but with the programs that match the current filter being displayed using highlighting so as to distinguish them from other programs displayed (or by similarly dimming or otherwise modifying those other programs).
In addition, in at least some embodiments users may each create one or more custom filters that can then be applied to restrict the TV programs that are displayed. For example, creation of such custom filters may include selection of one or more user-selectable filter criteria and specification of corresponding matching values for the criteria, such as to select one or more program genres, people in the cast or crew, specific words in the title and/or description, specific ratings, programs that appear on specific channels, programs that are not repeats, programs that are in HDTV format, programs that have specified audio-visual options, programs that are scheduled for recording, etc. As one specific example, a user may create a custom filter for programs in the “Science Fiction” genre and with the word “Star” in the title. For the sake of brevity, these example filter customization features are not shown or described in detail herein. Instead, the reader is requested to refer to the parent provisional patent application, if desired, for additional information, such as with respect to
After the user selects the “Apply” control in the search area 135 to perform the search specified in
After saving the previously specified search as a new custom filter, the user then selects the “Advanced Search” tab in the search area 135, and
If the user selects a new displayed program, which in the example of
In particular, one of the additional types of functionality available via the pop-up menu 148 is to change the size at which the information in the view area 140 is displayed, and as is shown in
As previously discussed,
If a particular program listing is selected as the current program, then the detail area 150 will be populated with information about the newly selected current program. In addition, a pop-up menu (not shown) corresponding to the selected program can be displayed, such as based on the user performing a right-click action on the selected program, with the pop-up menu allowing various actions to be taken with respect to the selected program (e.g., to select the program to be watched on an associated television or other video output device if the currently selected program is currently being shown). In other embodiments, other types of functionality could similarly be provided in such a pop-up menu.
As with embodiments in which the program listings are shown in grid format, the user can use the filter control 126 to filter the information displayed in the view area 140 (whether for predefined or custom filters), and the first timebar may display visual indications corresponding to matching programs. For instance,
The user can also select “Find In View” functionality for a currently selected program while using the channel view, such as via the button 158 in the detail area 150 or instead based on a pop-up menu (not shown) for the currently selected program listing in the channel-specific area 146—such functionality is similarly available in the other views in at least some embodiments. For example, if a new program has been selected from the channel-specific portion that is not displayed in the current program listing information in the left portion of the view area (e.g., to select the “Chris Rock Show” at 7:30 pm on Tuesday) and the “Find In View” functionality is selected, the view area 140 information will be updated to show program information corresponding to the time of the currently selected program. If a different channel is selected in the view area 140 as the currently selected channel 144, the program on that channel at the currently selected time becomes the currently selected program in the illustrated embodiment, and the detail area 150 is updated to provide information about that program. Similarly, the channel-specific area 146 of the view area may be updated to include information about the newly selected channel.
As with embodiments in which the program listings are shown in grid and icon views, the filter control 126 can be used with the channel view to filter the information to be displayed in the view area 140 (whether for predefined or custom filters), and the first timebar may display visual indications corresponding to matching programs. Moreover, the size of the view can be switched to a medium size or a large size (or in some embodiments to any desired size for this and/or the other views), such as based on selection of an appropriate control on a pop-up menu in the view area (not shown) or instead based on use of a dropdown menu via the triangle arrow in the right portion of the channel view control 123. The program listings at the medium size, for example, may contain additional detail information relative to those listings at the small size, and use of a large size can display further detail information about the program listings being shown.
In this example embodiment, a program title listing can be expanded in various ways, such as by selecting a small icon to the left of each of the program listings in order to expand or collapse that program listing, or instead using a pop-up menu (not shown) for that program listing, such as based on a right-click selection of the program listing. In addition or in the alternative, a pop-up menu (not shown) in the view area 140 can allow all program listings to be collapsed or expanded, as well as to change the sorting for program listings. If the user selects an “Expand All” control functionality or other similar functionality from a pop-up menu, the resulting listing will include all program information in expanded form in the view area 140. In addition, while the program listing groups here are illustrated based on program titles, in other embodiments the program listings may be grouped in a variety of other manners, such as based on any one or more associated metadata value or other attribute.
As with embodiments in which the program listings are shown in other views, the filter control 126 may in at least some embodiments be used with the program listing view to filter the information to be displayed in the view area 140 (whether for predefined or custom filters). While the times in the “AIRS” column for an expanded program listing are not illustrated as a distinct timebar in the illustrated embodiment, in other embodiments one or more fourth timebars may be displayed with expanded program listing information (e.g., a distinct fourth timebar for each expanded program listing). In addition, while the first timebar is not displayed in the illustrated embodiment, in other embodiments the first timebar may additionally be displayed and may include visual indications corresponding to appropriate programs (e.g., programs matching one or more specified filters and/or searches, or to illustrate upcoming showings of one or more programs, such as for a currently selected program and/or for one or more programs shown with expanded program listing information). Similarly, while the second timebar is not displayed in the illustrated embodiment, in other embodiments the second timebar may additionally be displayed, such as to display information about upcoming showings for one or more of the current programs in a grid format in the view area.
In addition, the program listings may be sorted in a variety of manners, with FIGS. 1BT-1CC from the parent provisional patent application showing examples of sorting and grouping the program listing information in a variety of ways. For instance, all of the program listing information may be shown in collapsed form and in a manner grouped and sorted by channel number in an ascending or descending manner, such as based on user selection of the “CH” column heading. Examples of sorting and grouping of program listing information can include but not be limited to: in ascending or descending order based on channel name; in a manner grouped and sorted based on the recording status of the program listings; in an ascending or descending order based on the air time of the program listings; in ascending or descending order based on duration of the program listing; in ascending or descending order based on the genre of the program listings; in ascending or descending order based on the rating of the program listings; in an ascending or descending order based on whether the program listings are repeat showings; in an ascending or descending order based on whether the program listing information is displayed in HDTV format; in ascending or descending order based on the stars assigned to the program listings; and so forth. Further details of such grouping and sorting are provided in the parent provisional patent application, and are abbreviated herein for the sake of brevity. Also, while not illustrated here, the sorting of program listings in some embodiments may also in at least some embodiments be performed using multiple sort specifications (whether in a manner specific to a particular program listing or instead for all program listings). For example, some or all of the program listings and/or program listing showings may be sorted first based on program title, then secondarily based on air time, and then tertiarily based on whether they are shown in HDTV format, or instead based on any other metadata values or other attributes and/or combination thereof.
Much of the previously discussed program listing information has corresponded to content categorized as being available via live television, such as based on a prior or default selection of a “LIVE TV” control 115 a.
Programs may be scheduled for recording in various ways, such as via a pop-up menu (not shown) or other control that is provided regarding one or more upcoming programs (e.g., as displayed using one or more of the views for LIVE TV content) to give the user the option to record (or cancel recording of) a selected program. Information about a currently selected program may include a small red circle status icon or other icon (not shown), as previously described above, to indicate that the program is to be recorded, with the icon shown in the display for the program listing in the view area 140 and/or in the detail area 150. In addition, the information about the upcoming recordings can be shown and updated in the sidebar status control area 170 to reflect a newly scheduled recording. The SCHEDULED control 115 b, if subsequently selected, will also result in the presentation of the newly scheduled program to be recorded in the view area 140.
The recorded TV program listings and/or other content can also be manipulated in a manner similar to that for the other program listing information, such as to be sorted in various ways and to have various filters applied, as well as to in some embodiments be displayed using or more other views. For example, the program listing information may be sorted based on the record time of the program listings (e.g., based on user selection of the “RECORDED ON” column heading 143 j), or could similarly be sorted based on a current status of the program listing, such as by user selection of the “STATUS” column heading 143 k. In the illustrated embodiment, program listings can be given a status of recorded, scheduled to be recorded, and not scheduled to be recorded, although in other embodiments a variety of additional types of status information could be similarly assigned and used (e.g., currently recording, scheduled to record once, scheduled to record the series or multiple episodes, live and not recording, future and not scheduled, past shows that were not recorded, scheduled to record but did not, scheduled to record but not going to, recorded as a recommendation, locked to prevent deletion, subject to deletion, imminent deletion, previously viewed (for recorded and/or live programs), partially viewed, has additional associated content, has additional associated functionality, has a user-specified annotation, etc.).
In some embodiments, the content listings shown in the view area 140 for any one or more of the content-type-specific navigation tabs 115 (e.g., LIVE TV, SCHEDULED, RECORDED TV, PAY PER VIEW, and/or ON DEMAND) may further be bifurcated or otherwise organized (not shown) based on one or more devices connected to or otherwise associated with the CM system, such as one or more media centers 350, one or more computing systems 390, or other input/output devices. For example, if there are multiple STBs, DVRS, or other input/output devices (e.g., televisions) coupled to the CM system, the view area 140 may present listing information corresponding to multiple of the devices (e.g., for two devices or for all devices), such as simultaneously in different portions of the view area. Thus, for instance, if two DVRs are connected to the CM system and each is able to record content and/or has recorded content, then the view area 140 may separately or concurrently present the information for each DVR. Program listings for multiple STBs can also be presented in the view area 140 separately or concurrently, such as if these STBs receive different EPG data.
In addition, the GUI may further in some embodiments provide distinct timebars for multiple of such devices (e.g., each device) in the GUI 100, such as distinct first timebars and/or distinct second timebars, whether simultaneously or separately. Alternatively, in some embodiments, a single first timebar and/or second timebar may be used for multiple devices, but with the first timebar and/or second timebar simultaneously displaying different information for each of the devices. Such simultaneous display of different information for each of multiple devices in a single timebar may be performed in various ways in various embodiments, such as by having a single time period and time scale but using different visual representations (e.g., different colors, different shapes, etc.) for displayed visual indicators and other information for different devices, or to instead simultaneously display in a single timebar different time periods for each of the devices and/or information at different time scales for each of the devices (e.g., by bifurcating a timebar and showing one time scale on top and another on bottom, or by selecting a single time scale that is sufficiently large to include two or more distinct time periods). Thus, for example, a first timebar that is simultaneously displaying information for multiple devices may include visual indicators for each of the devices, such as to correspond to programs that match different filters for each of the devices, to indicate upcoming scheduled programs to be recorded on each of the devices, to indicate different current status for each of the devices (e.g., whether or not the device is currently recording a live program), etc.
In some embodiments, information that is displayed in the first and/or second timebars may further be represented in other manners than previously described. For example, with respect to the first timebar, the displayed indicators of relevant content or of other types of information may have a variety of other forms in other embodiments. In particular, in at least some of the previously discussed illustrated embodiments, an indicator displayed in the first timebar reflected the presence of relevant content (e.g., content matching a specified search or filter) at the time in the first time period that the indicator was displayed, with the absence of such an indicator reflecting the absence of any such relevant content. However, in other embodiments the indicator display may be modified in various ways to provide a variety of other types of information. For example, in some embodiments the visual representation of each of the indicators may be modified to provide additional information about the relevant content that is being represented, such as to indicate an amount of relevant content at an indicated time (e.g., by modifying the width of a displayed indicator in proportion to or otherwise based on the amount of relevant content, so that an indicator reflecting five relevant movies on five channels at one time point is wider than another indicator reflecting only a single relevant movie at another time point). Similarly, the visual representation of each of the indicators may be varied in other manners (e.g., color, height, shape, saturation, hue, brightness, etc.) to indicate a variety of other types of information, such as a degree of relevance of the corresponding content (e.g., a degree of match to a filter or a search), one or more ratings of the content, a priority of the content, etc.
In addition, in some embodiments the visual representation of at least some displayed indicators in the first timebar and/or of other aspects of the GUI (e.g., the first timebar and/or second timebar) may be modified in other manners, such as to allow customization of such visual elements. Such customization may be provided, for example, to allow personalization of information to a particular user (e.g., based on preferences of the user, and whether in response to a request by the user or in an automatic manner) and/or to a particular computing device (e.g., to display less information or to display information in a more limited manner when the computing device has a limited display area and/or limited display capabilities, such as for a cellphone or other handheld computing device). In addition, customization of multiple visual elements at a time may be provided, such as to allow different visual “skins” or “themes” to be defined and used. Such use of different skins or other visual customization features may be used in various ways, such as to enable branding by a commercial entity (e.g., for a fee paid by the commercial entity) of some or all portions of the GUI to some or all users, such as by displaying a logo and/or color scheme associated with the commercial entity (e.g., by displaying a logo in a non-functional portion of the GUI, such as the “Ambient” logo in the upper right portion of GUI 100 in
In addition, a variety of additional information about relevant content may be displayed using indicators in the first timebar in other manners, such as upon some form of user selection of the displayed indicator. Such additional information about relevant content corresponding to a displayed indicator may include the types of information discussed with respect to previous examples, or more generally may include any metadata (e.g., EPG data) or other relevant information about a relevant piece of content (e.g., descriptive textual information about a piece of content, a preview or portion of the content, information about other users' use or selection of the content, a user-specified or other “tag” or category associated with the content, an indication of whether the content is currently selected and/or currently displayed in the view area, etc.), whether alternatively or in addition to detail information shown in the view area 140 and/or the detail area 150. User selection of a displayed indicator may include, for example, “mouse-over” of an indicator without a mouse click (or other movement of a cursor over the indicator), with the additional information presented in a manner similar to a pop-up tool tip window. Alternatively, a mouse click (e.g., a right mouse click) may cause such additional information to be displayed in various ways (e.g., a pop-up window). In addition, corresponding types of functionality may be provided for other types of input devices and user manipulations.
In addition to providing additional information about relevant content using indicators in the first timebar, various types of functionality may similarly be provided in at least some embodiments upon some form of user selection of the displayed indicator. For example, as previously indicated, selection of a displayed indicator for a time point may cause that time point to become the currently selected time, with the second time period of the second timebar adjusted to display that currently selected time. In some embodiments, other types of functionality may be provided for selection of a displayed indicator, whether in addition to (e.g., using a different type of selection than for specifying the currently selected time) or instead of specifying the currently selected time. For example, selection of an indicator may cause one or more corresponding pieces of content to become the currently selected content (e.g., the currently selected television program, such as to cause information about that program to be displayed in the detail area 150), or may instead allow various types of capabilities to be provided for one or more such corresponding pieces of content (e.g., to schedule a recording, to initiate a current recording, to watch or manipulate a previously recorded piece of content, etc.). Moreover, in at least some of the previously discussed illustrated embodiments the first and second timebars have been represented in a linear manner. In other embodiments, however, the first and/or second timebars may be represented in other ways, such as by using one or more icons.
The routine begins at step 2802, where multimedia content metadata is received, such as if the computing system 300 receives EPG metadata information (i.e., as part of television programming-related content 360 a) from a head-end and/or an Internet location, and then stores the information as content metadata 322 in the storage unit 320. At step 2804, the GUI begins to be rendered on a suitable display device, such as to render the GUI 100 on the display 311. The rendering process includes rendering a first timebar at step 2806 and rendering a second timebar at step 2808. In at least some embodiments, the first and second timebars may be initially set to reflect default or user-specified first and second time scales and/or first and second time periods, respectively, or to otherwise reflect specified display configuration information. Furthermore, in some embodiments the second time scale and/or second time period are selected so as to correspond to a portion of the first time scale and/or first time period. At step 2810, the GUI is then populated with multimedia content listings that are presented to a user, such as based on the received metadata and in such a manner as to correspond to the second time period for the second timebar, as well as optionally presenting various other types of information to the user. In addition, in some embodiments and situations one or more indicators may be displayed in the first timebar to correspond to content listings, such as content listings that are not currently displayed due to being outside the second time period of the second timebar.
In the illustrated embodiment, the content listings remain rendered in the GUI until a timeout occurs (e.g., to refresh the program contents, such as every few seconds or when a ½ hour or other time segment of the second time period has passed) or until the user selects functionality to cause a change. When such a change is initiated, the routine continues to step 2811 to determine whether a timeout has occurred, and if so returns to step 2810 to modify the GUI accordingly (e.g., to update the first and/or second timebars with new time periods if appropriate, and to update the content listing information in the GUI if appropriate, such as for new time periods and/or to reflect new content that has become available). If it is instead determined in step 2811 that a timeout did not occur and the change initiation is from a user action, the routine continues to step 2812 to determine whether the user has selected a portion of the first timebar that is different than the currently selected time (e.g., based on a displayed indicator corresponding to one or more content listings that are not currently displayed), such as to cause a new second time period for the second time bar to be selected. If so, the routine continues to step 2814 to update the second timebar to reflect the new second time period, and the routine then returns to step 2810 to update the content listings of the GUI to reflect the new second time period, as well as to optionally update the first timebar if appropriate (e.g., to change the first time period of the first timebar and/or to modify a display of indicators corresponding to content listings).
If it is instead determined in step 2812 that the change initiation is not from user selection of the first timebar, the routine continues to step 2813 to determine whether the user has manipulated the GUI so as to perform filtering or searching, and if so continues to step 2814 to modify the second timebar if appropriate before continuing to step 2810 to modify content listing and other displayed information accordingly. For example, at least some such actions may cause information to be displayed in the first timebar to provide indicators of content listings that are not currently visible during the second time period for the second timebar, such as actions to perform searches and to apply filters. If it is instead determined in step 2813 that the user has not performed a filtering or searching activity, the routine continues instead to perform another type of action indicated by the user (e.g., sorting, scheduling or initiating a recording, etc.) in step 2816, and then continues to step 2810 to update content listing and other displayed information as appropriate.
In some embodiments the functionality provided by the routines discussed above may be provided in alternative ways, such as being split among more routines or consolidated into fewer routines. Similarly, in some embodiments illustrated routines may provide more or less functionality than is described, such as when other illustrated routines instead lack or include such functionality respectively, or when the amount of functionality that is provided is altered. In addition, while various operations may be illustrated as being performed in a particular manner (e.g., in serial or in parallel) and/or in a particular order, in other embodiments the operations may be performed in other orders and in other manners. In addition, in some embodiments certain operations may be embodied in software or other computer-readable instructions stored on a computer-readable medium, such as software stored in the memory 330 of the CM system 335 of
In some embodiments, a variety of other types of content can similarly be reviewed, manipulated, and controlled via a GUI, such as via the example GUI 100. For example, in one example embodiment, the primary content-type navigation tabs 110 of
These other types of content may be manipulated in a manner similar to that described above for television programming-related content. In particular, various techniques have been described to organize and manipulate content based on one or more times associated with the content, such as based on the start time at which a piece of television programming-related content may be available for presentation. Other types of content may similarly have one or more of various types of associated times with which the content may be accordingly manipulated. For example, music content may be associated with a record date and time-of-day, a release date and time-of-day, a broadcast date and time-of-day, a receipt/download date and time-of-day, and various other time-related characteristic(s), and one or more of such associated times may be used to select pieces of music content to display in the view area 140 (e.g., based on those pieces of content each having an associated time within a second time period associated with the second timebar) and to select pieces of music content for which graphical indicators will be displayed in the first timebar (e.g., based at least in part on those pieces of content each having an associated time within a first time period associated with the first timebar). Photos and video can similarly have one or more associated times, such as creation date and time-of-day, revision date and time-of-day, download date and time-of-day, etc., and may similarly be displayed based on one or more of such associated times. Other types of multimedia content may have similar time-related characteristics, and the GUI may be modified accordingly to manage such content.
Thus, in at least some embodiments the GUI 100 includes first and second timebars that can be used to organize and manipulate listings and other information for content of such other content types based on associated time information. For example, if a user downloads music on a regular basis and/or music is broadcast according to a timed schedule (e.g., on one or more digital music channels provided by a cable-based or satellite-based content provider), the view area 140 can display song titles based on the download times in a manner corresponding to the second timebar. Moreover, the user can sort, group, filter, view, or otherwise manipulate the listings and other information using similar techniques as previously described above for television program listings.
Moreover, while time-based organization and manipulation is useful for many types of content, in some embodiments at least some types of content may be organized and manipulated based on other types of associated information, whether in addition to or instead of based on time. For example, content with associated textual information (e.g., a title or name, names of one or more associated people, etc.) may be grouped in the GUI alphabetically or otherwise based on that textual information, such as by modifying the first and/or second timebars to correspond to portions of the alphabet rather than periods of time (e.g., to display multiple segments in the second timebar that each correspond to a distinct letter within a subset of letters from the alphabet, such as letters “C” to “H”, the vowel letters, etc.). Various other types of metadata for content may similarly be used to group the content in other manners for organization and manipulation in the GUI, such as to group content hierarchically or based on other relationships between pieces of content if such relationships exist (e.g., based on a set of related photos from a single event or shoot, which may be one of many sets that are each associated with a higher-level organization or event), to group content based on genre or other categorization (e.g., for photos, images or video content, based on the device used to create the content, on the person who created the content, on a source from which the content was acquired, on subject matter of the content, on file size, on black-and-white versus color, on number of pixels or frames-per-second or other measure of resolution, on display size of the content, on use restrictions on the content, etc.), or to more generally group the content based on any other parameter or combination of types of parameters.
In a similar manner, but while not illustrated here, in some embodiments the GUI could be used to control a variety of devices, such as one or more STBs, one or more DVRs, one or more TVs, one or more of a variety of types of non-TV content presentation devices (e.g., speakers), etc. Thus, in at least some such embodiments, the GUI could be used to concurrently play a first specified program on a first TV, play a second specified program on a second TV, play first specified music content on a first set of one or more speakers, play second specified music content on a second set of one or more speakers, present photos or video on a computing system display or other TV, etc. When multiple such devices are being controlled, they could further be grouped and organized in a variety of ways, such as by location and/or by type of device (or type of content that can be presented on the device). In addition, the virtual remote control buttons displayed in the GUI could change based on a current context, such as on the device that is currently being controlled and/or based on content that is currently selected. In addition, extended controls of a variety of types beyond those discussed in the example embodiment (e.g., channel up and down, volume, a keyboard, device-specific controls, etc.) could additionally be provided via the GUI in at least some embodiments. Moreover, in at least some embodiments all of the controls of the GUI may be selectable by one or more of a variety of input device types, such as all being selectable by keyboard, by voice command, by mouse, etc.
In addition, in some embodiments multiple pieces of content can be simultaneously selected and acted on in various ways, such as to schedule multiple selected TV programs to be recorded or deleted, to group the pieces of content together for future manipulation, etc. Moreover, in some embodiments multiple users may interact with the same copy of the CM system, and if so various user-specific information (e.g., preferences, custom filters, prior searches, prior recordings or viewings of programs, information for user-specific recommendations, etc.) may be stored and used to personalize the GUI and its information and functionality for specific users. In addition, in embodiments in which the CM system is interacting with an external program, such as via an STB or DVR that has its own user GUI (e.g., one that is displayed to users on a television), additional integration between the CM system and the STB or DVR may be possible, such as to include user-selectable links or other references in the GUI of one of the systems to the other system (e.g., to allow a user to select the CM system from a menu or other information displayed to a user by an STB or DVR). A variety of other types of related functionality could similarly be added, including various manners in which one or more remote devices (e.g., a media center) may initiate communications or other interactions with the CM system (e.g., based on events that occur on a remote device that are communicated to the CM system, such as system-generated events by a media center device and/or by a user (whether the same or a different user than for the CM system) who is interacting with one or more remote devices (e.g., a TV being controlled by a media center). Similarly, the CM system may provide information to remote devices about events that occur for the CM system, such as user-initiated events at the computing device and/or at a remote/mobile device controlled by a user to interact with the CM system.
In addition, in at least some embodiments various management is provided for parental controls (whether such controls are implemented by the CM system and/or by one or more other devices being managed, such as a media center), such as to allow them to be view, turned off/on, and modified. For example, in at least some embodiments the display of various types of information may be limited or otherwise controlled based on such controls, such as to modify the displayed channel list (whether on the GUI of the CM system and/or via information presented by another device being controlled, such as information displayed on a television by a media center). In addition, in at least some embodiments such parental controls may be controlled in a distinct manner for different devices, such as to specify distinct controls for distinct televisions (also referred to as being on a “per head” basis).
In addition, the first timebar may be controlled in various manners in various embodiments. For example, arrows on the right and left of the first timebar may be provided to allow the user to control the first time period of the first timebar or to otherwise modify the viewable area of the first timebar, and further to move the “thumb” within that viewable area, or to instead modify the viewable area of the first timebar by dragging the thumb to the far right or far left of the first timebar to cause the first time period to change. In such embodiments, the thumb may stay where it is left, with the second time period for the second timebar being adjusted accordingly to reflect the new selected time. Alternatively, the “thumb” display may be maintained in one position (e.g., the center), with a pull on it (e.g., to the right or left) causing it to temporarily move at least slightly and the first time period to slide accordingly until a desired current start time becomes visible. When the user halts the pulling, the “thumb” then returns to the original position, while the first time period is changed such that the new start time is in place under the thumb and the second time period of the second timebar is updated accordingly. A variety of similar types of manipulations may be used in other embodiments.
Thus, as discussed below, the previously described example GUI of an embodiment of the CM system provides a variety of types of content information and content manipulation functionality. The following is a summary of the capabilities of an example embodiment of the GUI, which in this example embodiment provides various types of information and functionality for television-related content.
A. The View Control Area
a. Available Views For TV Programming Content
c. Quick Search
d. Advanced Search
e. Search History
f. First Timebar
2. The Scheduled Recordings Tab
The Scheduled Recordings Tab offers functionality similar to other tabs, except that it is filtered to only show those programs that are scheduled to record.
3. The Recorded Content Tab
The Recorded Content Tab is different in that it may only have a modified List view, although filtering and searching may remain the same.
B. The Detail Area
a. Data Elements
Below are examples of data fields.
b. Buttons & Actions
Below are examples of states of a program and buttons that are applicable for each state.
There are four views. The first three, Guide, Icon, and Channel, are dependant on a specific point in time and use that as a starting point. The List view is a list of programs that can be sorted and grouped, and is not dependant on a specific time—rather it lists all the live and upcoming programs. As a user transitions from one view to the next, the time in the first timebar remains constant (even when the user goes to and from the List View), as does the program in the detail area.
a. Guide View
The guide view presents programs in the context of channel and time.
b. Icon View
The Icon view presents programs that are on at a specific (e.g., ½ hour) point in time. It allows users to recognize channels visually by their logos, and then to determine what program is associated with that channel.
c. Channel View
The Channel view shows not only what programs are on at a specific time, but also what is coming up on a specific channel.
d. List View
The List View allows users to quickly sort and group by a variety of criteria. It is not dependant on a specific time, and the First Timebar is not shown.
e. Changes to the List view for the Recordings Tab:
3. Levels of Granularity
The Guide, Icon, and Channel views can be set to one of three size “resolutions”. Small displays more individual listings, but the least amount of information about each. Large displays the most information about each, but displays fewer individual listings. It is preferable to show Episode Title for sports events in all resolutions.
Display Program Info
Left-click should select a program such that it would both have focus and be selected. Using the arrow keys would move the focus around (maintaining the previously made selection) and Enter would select it.
F. Table of Functions
The following table of functions takes a top-down approach to the GUI. Starting at the top and working toward the bottom, this table lists the location on the GUI of various controls, names of the GUI element, and how they function.
G. Table of Functions for Mouse/Touchpad/Eraserhead
H. Table of Functions for Keyboard
Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments.
In addition, the described techniques are applicable to architectures other than a set-top box architecture or architectures based upon the MOXI™ system. For example, an equivalent system and applications can be developed for other DVRs and STBs. The methods and systems discussed herein are applicable to differing protocols, communication media (optical, wireless, cable, etc.) and devices (such as wireless handsets, electronic organizers, personal digital assistants, portable email machines, game machines, pagers, navigation devices such as GPS receivers, etc.) able to receive and record such content.
In the description, numerous specific details have been given to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments. The embodiments can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the embodiments. Thus, it will be appreciated that, although specific embodiments have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims and the elements recited therein. In addition, while certain aspects of the invention are presented below in certain claim forms, the inventors contemplate the various aspects of the invention in any available claim form. For example, while only some aspects of the invention may currently be recited as being embodied in a computer-readable medium, other aspects may likewise be so embodied.