US 20090210792 A1
In an audio/visual (AV) system, a method for navigation of menu options available to a user involves entering a graphical user interface (GUI) in a menu system that is displayed on a video display; generating a signal for displaying a first navigable list of menu options on the video display, the first navigable list of menu options having a plurality of fields arranged in a first linear configuration that overlays AV content currently playing on the display with one of the menu options shown at a location of the video display that is highlighted; and responsive to a navigation command from a remote controller, moving the first navigable list of menu options of the GUI to cause another field of the plurality of fields to move to the location that is highlighted, to highlight the another field while continuing to display the AV content currently playing on the video display.
1. In an audio/visual (AV) system, a method for navigation of menu options available to a user of the AV system, comprising:
entering a graphical user interface (GUI) in a menu system that is displayed on a video display;
generating a signal for displaying a first navigable list of menu options on the video display, the first navigable list of menu options having a plurality of fields arranged in a first linear configuration that overlays AV content currently playing on the display with one of the menu options shown at a location of the video display that is highlighted; and
responsive to a navigation command from a remote controller, moving the first navigable list of menu options of the GUI to cause another field of the plurality of fields to move to the location that is highlighted, and thus highlight the another field while continuing to display the AV content currently playing on the video display.
2. The method according to
responsive to a navigation command from the remote controller, generating a signal for displaying a second navigable list of menu options associated with the highlighted field, the second navigable list of menu options arranged in a second linearly configured set of fields which intersect the first linear configuration of fields of the first navigable list of menu options at the highlighted location and overlaying the AV content currently playing on the video display.
3. The method according to
navigating to a menu option of the second navigable list of menu options in response to a navigation command.
4. The method according to
selecting the menu option of the second navigable list in response to a selection command from the remote controller, wherein the AV content currently playing on the video display continues to play unless the menu option selected is a menu option that begins playing a different selection of AV content.
5. The method according to
upon selection of the menu option from the second navigable list, ceasing the generating of the signals for displaying the first and second navigable list of menu options so that the first and second navigable list of menu options disappear from the video display and taking an action associated with the menu selection.
6. The method according to
7. The method according to
8. The method according to
This application is a divisional application of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/767,473, filed Jan. 29, 2004 to Proehl et al., which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/615,871, filed Jul. 13, 2000 to Proehl, et al, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,690,391 all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
This invention relates generally to the use of audio/visual (AV) information on display apparatus of AV systems, and more particularly to the efficient and intuitive presentation, navigation, and selection of available AV information in a graphical user interface (GUI) that is displayed on a display apparatus of an AV system and controlled through judicious manipulation of a scrolling mechanism and selection mechanism of a navigation and selection device of the AV system.
The continued growth of the numerous AV options available for viewing and/or listening by users of AV systems, has made it necessary and desirable for the users of such AV systems to be able to efficiently and intuitively navigate through the available AV options in order to select desired programming. The explosion in the number of cable, satellite and digital television viewing choices, as well as the emergence of Internet websites dedicated to programming and music that are now available for viewing on television and computer screens via the airwaves, cable, and satellite, has made it necessary and desirable for the user to be able to easily navigate through more and more AV options. It is noted that the term “AV” as used herein may encompass solely audio, solely visual, or a combination of audio/visual.
Consider, for instance, that as the number and availability of broadcast channels for viewing on multiple channel television broadcast systems has continued to proliferate at an astonishing rate, the problem of navigating through the morass of available viewing selections has correspondingly become of more and more concern to the viewers of such systems. The sources of such programming can today provide hundreds of stations to viewers who must navigate through myriad broadcasting choices, a prospect that is both time-consuming and frustrating.
Many on-screen guides, such as electronic program guides (EPGs), allow the user presented with AV programming options to navigate options through the use of four-way directional buttons and a selection button. This is a cumbersome and unsatisfactory solution, however, in that it requires the user to use these buttons many times to reach a desired on-screen option in the guide. There currently exists a need in the art, therefore, to be able to quickly view available AV options and information of an AV system. There additionally is a need in the art to be able to quickly and intuitively navigate the AV options and information of the AV system.
It is accordingly an object of the invention to be able to quickly and intuitively view, navigate, and select available AV options and information of an AV system.
Therefore, according to the present invention, an improved method, navigation and selection device, GUI and system are presented. In an AV system having one or more AV devices, a display apparatus capable of displaying interactive AV information, a navigation and selection device having an integral scrolling mechanism, and a GUI displayed on the display apparatus, a user of the system is able to quickly, intuitively, and efficiently navigate available AV options displayed during an interactive mode of the GUI through appropriate manipulation of the scrolling mechanism. Related AV options are organized by management software of the navigation and selection device as items within lists that, in turn, correspond to navigable fields of a status bar of the GUI during the GUI interactive mode. The AV options of a list are related in the sense that they will generally share one or more identifiable characteristics. A field of the status bar that is highlighted by a cursor of the GUI will display its list of related AV information options arranged as items within the list, assuming the highlighted field is navigable. Items within the list may be navigated by the user simply engaging the scrolling mechanism of the navigation and selection device to scroll the items through the highlighted field of the GUI status bar. A different field of the status bar may be selected by the user moving the scrolling mechanism in a lateral movement. Activation of the selection mechanism of the navigation and selection device will cause an AV device of the system to be controlled in accordance with the AV options displayed within the status bar fields at the time the selection mechanism is activated.
The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the claims.
The invention itself, however, as well as the preferred mode of use, and further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing(s), wherein:
The present invention presents an improved approach, including an improved system, method, navigation and selection device, and GUI, for a user of an AV system to quickly and efficiently navigate through available AV options or choices of the AV system displayed via the GUI on the display apparatus through appropriate manipulation of the scrolling mechanism. The AV system has one or more AV devices, such as televisions, CD players, VCRs, computers, set top boxes, internet applications, etc., a display apparatus capable of displaying interactive menus, guides, and devices controls, a navigation and selection device (remote commander) having an integral scrolling mechanism, and a graphical user interface (GUI) displayed on the display apparatus. The GUI/navigation and selection device combination allows the user to easily navigate AV options that may be presented in a variety of formats, including an electronic program guide (EPG), websites, and AV device menus, on a television screen, monitor, screen or other display apparatus. The scrolling mechanism of the navigation and selection device, together with the organization of related AV information within the GUI, allows the user to quickly and easily navigate the AV information and make desired selections.
Related AV options are organized by software as items within lists that, in turn, correspond to fields of a status bar of the GUI during an interactive mode of the GUI. The software may be implemented as executable computer program instructions of a computer readable medium that, when executed by a processing system, cause the processing system to provide for efficient navigation of available AV options in an AV system. The AV options of a list are related in the sense that they will generally share one or more identifiable characteristics. The AV options displayed as items of a navigable list of a particular field of the status bar may all be types of movies available for viewing, television channels available for viewing, CDs available for listening, AV device controls such as play, stop, fast forward, etc. The available AV viewing and/or listening options that are presented as items within vertical lists are easily scanned and navigated using the scrolling mechanism of the navigation and selection device.
Generally speaking, the fields of the status bar are displayed in the GUI in hierarchical fashion from left to right, with the left-most field representing the broadest category of navigation and selection available to the user and the right-most field representing the narrowest category. Fields to the right of a particular field, then, may generally be considered to be sub-categories or subsets of that particular field, although such is not always the case. When inactive (not highlighted), these fields of a status bar are presented by displaying only the current or last-selected item within a field. When activated (the field is highlighted and the OK/select button is pressed), the field, if navigable, vertically expands to display not only the current or last-selected item but also the entire list of items associated with the field; the navigable list may then be navigated and any item of the list placed within the field of the status bar by the user controlling the scroll wheel to highlight the desired item. A field of the status bar is highlighted by using the lateral movement of the scrolling mechanism to place the GUI cursor over the desired field.
Referring now to
Navigation and selection device 10 features an integral scrolling mechanism, shown here as a scroll wheel or cylinder 12. The user is able to engage in interactive communication with a dynamic GUI by appropriate operation of the navigation and selection device 10. The integrated scroll cylinder is capable of scrolling movement up and down, allowing the user to scroll up and down through vertical fields of related information by simply scrolling the scroll cylinder up or down as will be described. The integrated scroll cylinder additionally is capable of lateral, side-to-side movement, thereby allowing the user to highlight an item of a toolbar of the dynamic GUI as will be described; the side-to-side lateral movement of scroll cylinder 12 is indicated by the presence of arrows pointing to the left and to the right on the remote commander housing. Once the user has manipulated the scroll cylinder to highlight a desired option of the GUI, that option is selected by the user engaging the selection mechanism of the navigation and selection device; in this example, engaging the selection mechanism is accomplished by manually depressing the scroll cylinder in a perpendicular direction with respect to the axis running through the scroll cylinder. In other words, in this embodiment selection operation of the navigation and selection device is accomplished by the user pressing down on scroll cylinder 12 in a direction along the z-axis (into the paper for purposes of illustration) and perpendicular to the x-axis.
Scroll cylinder 12 thus provides smooth scrolling navigation through the available AV options, such as those displayed in an electronic programming guide (EPG), that are presented to the user via the GUI. It is noted, however, that it is not a requirement of the present invention that the scrolling and selection mechanisms of the navigation and selection device be one and the same. Thus, the scroll cylinder 12 could be used solely for navigation while another feature of the navigation and selection device, such as a button, could perform the selection operation. It should be noted that the scroll wheel itself could be rotary encoded, meaning that it rotates with discreet positions, or free rotating.
In addition to a scroll wheel or cylinder, the scrolling mechanism of the remote commander 10 may be provided by alternate scrolling devices offering differing scrolling speeds. Scrolling at variable speeds provides the user with dynamic control of navigation, so that the user may navigate quickly to far away AV choices but more slowly to closer AV options, for instance. Variable speed control movement may be accomplished with a spring-loaded jog shuttle, for example. A rocker switch, of the type commonly used on camcorder zoom buttons, for instance, is typically capable of variable action speeds to scroll much faster than is a scroll wheel and thus may be more suitable for navigating through navigable lists containing a large number of items.
In addition to scroll cylinder 12, navigation and selection device 10 has power button 14, guide button 16, favorite (FAV) button 18, menu button 20, exit button 22, volume control buttons 24, and channel control button 26. Guide button 16 may be manually depressed to cause a EPG to be displayed on a display apparatus, such as a monitor, a television screen, or a screen of an AV device. Favorite button 18 is manually operated to display one or more favorite AV options, such as television channels or audio CD tracks, for instance. Menu button 20 is manually operated to cause a predetermined menu screen to be displayed on the display apparatus. Exit button 22 is manually operated to restore ordinary screen display. Volume control buttons 24 are manually operated to increase or decrease the volume of sound produced by the AV device being controlled by the navigation and selection device 10. Channel control buttons 26 are used to manually control which broadcasting channel is to be received by the AV device.
A second preferred embodiment of a navigation and selection device 20 suitable for controlling an AV device in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in the front and side views, respectively, of
In addition to the scroll cylinders shown in
AV options, whether obtained locally or over the web, can be played for viewing or listening by the user on the appropriate AV device. This is a good example of how the GUI can be dynamically generated based on receiving structured information from any source. Several types of AV devices capable of displaying interactive menus, guides, and/or device controls are shown here, for purposes of illustration, and include digital cable set top box (STB) 52 a, compact disc (CD) player 52 b, digital video disc (DVD) player 52 c, and DV camcorder device 52 n. Other types of AV devices include digital television products, VCRs, etc. The music or AV data sought to be presented to the user of the system may be viewed on a display apparatus of the appropriate AV device 52 (such as a CD played by CD player 52 b) or it may be viewed on a display apparatus 60, such as a satellite program viewed on a television screen, a monitor, etc.
The dynamic GUI displayed on display apparatus 60, in conjunction with the smooth scroll navigation and selection device 54, allow the user of the AV system to quickly and easily navigate through the available AV options and select a desired AV option in the manner that will be described. Management software or program 50 manages AV devices 52 a . . . 52 n as well as the smooth scroll dynamic GUI 62 and preferably resides within navigation and selection device 54. Software 50 ensures that the available AV information options provided to server 48 from source 41 or 49 are available for the dynamic GUI 62 when needed. As previously described, the methodology of software 50 may be implemented as executable computer program instructions of a computer readable medium that, when executed by a processing system, such as might reside within navigation and selection device 54, cause the processing system to provide efficient navigation of available AV options in the AV system.
The user manipulates the integral scrolling mechanism 56 of navigation and selection device 54 to navigate through AV options presented in fields 65 of a status bar 64 that are capable of expanding when highlighted to reveal AV options arranged as items 66 within a vertically navigable list 68. As previously mentioned, scrolling mechanism 56 is capable of lateral movement and scrolling movement, and additionally has a selection mechanism by which desired AV information contained within the status bar 64 may be selected.
There are two modes of the dynamic GUI, each of which present different types of information to the user. The user controls the mode of the dynamic GUI through appropriate manipulation of the remote commander navigation and selection device. The information display mode of the GUI, activated by the user depressing an appropriate information button of the remote commander, or by moving the scroll wheel or cylinder 12, 38 in any direction without activating its selection mechanism, causes certain information to be displayed on the display apparatus. The user is not interactive with the GUI in the information display mode; rather, certain predetermined information, such as information about the current or last-selected AV option, is simply displayed to the user. The second mode of the dynamic GUI is the interactive mode, during which the user is able to communicate with the GUI. The interactive mode is entered by the user activating the selection mechanism of the navigation and selection device, in this embodiment by depressing the scroll cylinder of the remote commander in a downward direction. It is noted that the interactive mode may be launched from the information display mode or it may be entered directly by activation of the selection mechanism.
The status bar in this particular implementation has a number of non-navigable fields 104, 106, 108, 110, and 112 (as opposed to the navigable fields provided in the interactive mode) displayed at the top of the GUI window 100; the term non-navigable fields refers to the fact that, since the fields 104-112 only convey information about the currently selected AV option, there is only one item displayed per field, rendering them non-navigable. As will be described, the user can choose to learn more about any field by highlighting a desired field in the status bar with the scroll cylinder (using the lateral movement of the scrolling mechanism to move the cursor of the GUI over the field to be highlighted) and then depressing the scroll cylinder downward to select the highlighted field, thereby entering the GUI interactive mode; the non-navigable field currently highlighted in this GUI screen shot is the CD Track Field 110, as indicated by the thicker white line that surrounds this field. The highlighting and subsequent selection of any particular non-navigable field within the status bar causes the GUI to enter the interactive mode in which the highlighted field transitions from a non-navigable field to a vertically navigable field having one or more related navigation and selection AV options arranged as items within a list of the vertically navigable field, assuming that the particular field does indeed have multiple, related AV options that can be navigated and selected if desired.
The fields 104-112 of status bar 102 are arranged in an easily readable fashion, such as along the top of the GUI screen from left to right in horizontal formation, preferably in a non-prominent position of the GUI. In this particular embodiment, it can be seen that the status bar is displayed at the very top of the GUI in what may be considered to be a non-prominent position of the screen so as to minimize any distraction caused by the status bar; if the GUI subsequently is caused to go from the information display mode to the interactive mode, the status bar will assume a more prominent position in the GUI screen.
Generally speaking, in both the information display mode and the interactive modes of operation of the GUI, the fields of a status bar displayed in the GUI are displayed in hierarchical fashion from left to right, with the left-most field representing the broadest category of navigation and selection available to the user and the right-most field representing the narrowest category. Fields to the right of a particular field, then, may generally be considered to be sub-categories or subsets of that particular field, although not every move to the right in the status bar indicates a further subdivision in the hierarchy. Thus, in the illustration of
The symbol within Application Field 104 of the status bar 102 indicates that the application of the currently selected AV option is a CD. The name of the current CD is indicated in Title Field 106 as the Mariah Carey “Butterfly” album; there also is artwork associated with the album displayed in Field 106. AV Device Control Field 108 indicates that the control status of the AV device being controlled by the navigation and selection remote commander device, a CD player in this example, is that the CD player is currently playing the Mariah Carey “Butterfly” CD. Track Field 110 indicates that track number 7, entitled “Breakdown,” is currently playing. Time Field 112 indicates that 43 seconds of the song “Breakdown” have been played by the AV device, the CD player.
The navigation and selection options of Track Field 110 include the tracks available for listening. In this example, the “Butterfly” CD has 13 tracks as AV options available to the user of the system by simply selecting the correct one. While all 13 CD tracks are displayed to the user via the GUI, the list of available navigation and selection options (items) within any particular navigable field may be more number and thus may not all be viewable to the user without appropriate manipulation of the scroll cylinder to scroll through the available choices. For instance, if the user had selected to see all available cable television channels, the navigable field for cable television channels could be 200, 500, or more channel options available for navigating and selecting by the user. The remote commander scroll cylinder of the present invention allows the user to quickly and easily navigate and select, if desired, a great number of choices listed as items in any particular navigable field. Manipulating the scroll cylinder of the remote commander to scroll up or down through the list causes the data to move through the stationery cursor located over the highlighted Track Field 10 of status bar 12. The speed with which scrolling through a navigable vertical list may be accomplished depends upon the type of scrolling mechanism integrated into the remote commander navigation and selection device. A rocker switch will allow a user to scroll much more quickly than a scroll wheel or cylinder and is thus particularly well suited for lists having a large number of items. Thus, for instance, a rocker switch may be the preferred scrolling mechanism for a remote commander of a television application while a scroll wheel scrolling mechanism may be suitable for the remote commander of a CD player/changer.
Referring now to
Selection of the Television Option 216 causes the GUI screen of
The GUI screen shot illustrated in
As indicated previously, the user can navigate from one application to another. In
Referring now to
The choices (items) of a vertically navigable list of the present invention may also be hypertext links suitable for navigating or “surfing” to a desired location on the Internet; this is particularly suitable for on-line shopping. The user has caused the new status bar 310 of GUI 300 of
The GUI user can decide to select the items displayed within Shopping Option status bar 310 by pressing down on the scrolling mechanism of the remote commander; the GUI 400 of
Now, when the user selects the choices highlighted within Fields 212, 312, 314, 316, and 318 of status bar 310, the GUI 400 of
Referring back to Decision Block 520, if the selection mechanism has been activated the GUI interactive mode is entered at Block 560. The GUI with status bar is prominently displayed within the GUI and the last-selected AV options are displayed in the fields of the status bar, as shown in Block 570. At Decision Block 580, the inquiry is whether the field of the status bar that is highlighted by the GUI cursor is a navigable field. If so, then at Block 590 management software 50 causes the AV options arranged as items 66 of the list 68 of the navigable field to be displayed on the display apparatus 60; the AV options arranged as items within the list are provided by the appropriate database, either local 49 or remote 42 (including over the Internet). At Decision Block 600, whether scrolling movement of the scrolling mechanism is detected, caused by the user using the scrolling mechanism to scroll in an up and/or down direction, is the inquiry. If scrolling movement is detected, then at Block 610 items of the navigable list are scrolled through the highlighted field in accordance with the scrolling movement. This permits a particular AV option item within a list associated with a field to be placed within the highlighted field. At Decision Block 620, the inquiry is whether lateral movement of the scrolling mechanism is detected. If so, then at Block 630, the management software causes GUI cursor to move laterally across the status bar in accordance with the lateral movement of the scrolling mechanism. This allows a new field within the status bar to be highlighted if desired. It is noted that the order to Decision Blocks 600 and 620 may be reversed without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. At Decision Block 640, management software 50 determines whether the selection mechanism of the navigation and selection device 54 has been activated. If so, indicating that the AV options currently chosen and displayed within the fields of the status bar are to be implemented, then software 50 at Block 650 controls the AV device 52 indicated by the status bar and in the manner indicated by the fields of the status bar. Finally, Decision Block 660 causes the methodology of Blocks 580-650 to be repeated unless a time-out mechanism of the interactive mode has been activated, in which case, the flow returns to the beginning.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For instance, while vertical navigation of AV options has been described in connection with the preferred embodiment, it is recognized that the present invention also encompasses non-vertical navigation such as horizontal navigation which may be effected by utilizes an vertically arranged status bar in the GUI.