Apple has been granted a patent (number 20210021903) for a “TV side bar user interface” that hints at future live TV viewing features in its Apple TV app. In other words, it could show the schedule for antenna/cable/satellite TV shows in its interface.
In the patent data, Apple notes that for years, broadcast television was the sole provider of video content to viewer’s homes. Obviously, with the advent of the Internet, numerous other sources of video content have arisen — such as Apple TV+.
In addition to broadcast television, cable television and satellite based television providers have begun providing access to video on demand and other audio and video content. Plus, special purpose set-top boxes, such as that provided by Roku and Apple have provided a gateway for viewer’s to access other sources of video content not provided by their television service provider.
With such boxes, viewers can connect to these other content providers. Currently, there are numerous video providers in the marketplace. In addition, music and other audio content is available through various communication channels. Many are subscription based services, and some provide free content.
Apple says that while the explosion of video content providers in the marketplace may seem a boon for viewer’s, the large number of choices and providers complicates the viewing experience. The tech giant says that improved media content delivery systems, methods and mechanisms are desired. Not surprisingly, Apple thinks the Apple TV app (which is different from the Apple TV+ streaming service and Apple TV set-top box) can be the answer.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “A media content provider includes storage for storing and serving video content to subscribers. The media content provider records and or otherwise stores video content from around the world. Subscribers are provided a user interface to the system that includes a side bar. The side bar includes multiple elements representing different categories of video content. By selecting a given category, available content is filtered according to the selected category and presented.
“Content which is presented may include live broadcast video for multiple channels on multiple television networks or other content providers. The side bar may further include a collection category specific to a given viewer. Selection of such a category may display video content within the collection. Subcategories in the side bar may be selected for further filtering of available content.