Apple looks into a TV side bar user interface’ for a streaming video service

Apple has filed for a patent for a “TV side bar user interface” (number 20190058921) that may offer a peak at what the interface of its upcoming video streaming service will look like. 

In the patent filing, the tech giant nots that, for many years, broadcast television was the sole provider of video content to viewer's homes across the globe. As time has passed, and particularly with the advent of the Internet, numerous other sources of video content have arisen. In addition to broadcast television, cable television and satellite based television providers have begun providing access to video on demand and other audio and video content.

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In addition, special purpose set-top boxes, such as the Apple TV, provided a gateway for viewer's to access other sources of video content not provided by their television service provider. Presently, there are countless video providers in the marketplace. In addition, music and other audio content is available through various communication channels. Many are subscription based services, and some provide free content. 

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. This is why the tech giant says that there’s a need for "improved media content delivery systems, methods and mechanisms.”

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Systems and methods for a media content user interface. 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.”