How Charter Could Squeeze 82 Channels On A 4K UI

A recent patent application from ActiveVideo details how pay TV distributors such as Charter Communications could one day deliver a user interface for wall-sized TVs capable of displaying up to 82 video thumbnails on a single screen.

Charter and Arris agreed to buy ActiveVideo in April for $135 million. ActiveVideo has run “proof of concept” demonstrations at conventions such as the Consumer Electronics Show that feature the UI contained in the patent application. While ActiveVideo’s CloudTV platform gives it the capability to power interactive program guides containing dozens of live video thumbnails, most pay TV disributors display a maximum of a dozen thumbnail images in mosaic guides.

ActiveVideo and Zodiac Interactive are supplying Charter with technology for its new cloud-based Spectrum Guide. Charter spokesman Justin Venech said the MSO isn’t currently offering subscribers the 82-channel mosaic guide contained in the patent application.

McElhatten
David McElhatten

Former ActiveVideo SVP David McElhatten is named as lead inventor on the patent application, titled, “Systems and Methods for Generating a Full-Motion Video Mosaic Interface for Content Discovery with User-Configurable Filters.” McElhatten joined Fox Networks Group as SVP of media software solutions earlier this year.

Abstract: A method for generating an interactive graphical user interface is performed at a server system remote from a client device. The server system receives, from the client device, user input selecting a first filter, and filters available video programming using one or more search conditions corresponding to the first filter, to identify a first plurality of videos that satisfy the one or more search conditions. The one or more search conditions include a criterion relating to a popularity metric for a social network. The server system generates a user interface that includes a first mosaic of selectable video tiles corresponding to the first plurality of videos. Respective videos of the first plurality of videos are played in respective video tiles of the first mosaic. The server system encodes the user interface as a video stream and transmits the video stream containing the user interface toward the client device for display.

Patent Application

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Claims: 
1. A method for generating an interactive graphical user interface, comprising, at a server system remote from a client device: receiving, from the client device, user input selecting a first filter; filtering available video programming using one or more search conditions corresponding to the first filter, to identify a first plurality of videos that satisfy the one or more search conditions, wherein the one or more search conditions comprise a criterion relating to a popularity metric for a social network; generating a user interface comprising a first mosaic of selectable video tiles corresponding to the first plurality of videos, wherein respective videos of the first plurality of videos are played in respective video tiles of the first mosaic; encoding the user interface as a video stream; and transmitting the video stream containing the user interface toward the client device for display.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion relating to the popularity metric for the social network comprises a requirement that a video is trending on the social network.

3. The method of claim 2, further comprising receiving a list of trending videos from the social network.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion relating to the popularity metric for the social network is a criterion relating to a number of comments on the social network about a video.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion relating to the popularity metric for the social network is a criterion relating to a rate of mentions of a video on the social network.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion relating to the popularity metric for the social network is a criterion relating to a number of up-votes on the social network for a video.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion relating to the popularity metric for the social network is a criterion relating to the popularity of a video among friends of a user of the client device, as indicated by activity of the friends on the social network.

8. The method of claim 7, further comprising receiving a list of the friends from the client device.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more search conditions comprise criteria relating to popularity metrics for a plurality of social networks.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein: the criteria relating to popularity metrics for the plurality of social networks comprise a requirement that a video is trending on each social network of the plurality of social networks; and the method further comprises receiving lists of trending videos from the plurality of social networks.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more search conditions further comprise specification of a genre.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the first filter is customized for a respective member of a household associated with the client device.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein each video of the first plurality of videos is a full-motion video.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more search conditions corresponding to the first filter further comprise a criterion based on previous viewing patterns for a user of the client device for a particular time corresponding to a current time.

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the user interface further comprises a menu listing a plurality of filters, the method further comprising: receiving, from the client device, user input selecting a second filter from the menu; filtering available video programming using one or more search conditions corresponding to the second filter, to identify a plurality of videos that satisfy the one or more search conditions corresponding to the second filter; updating the user interface to comprise a second mosaic of selectable video tiles corresponding to the second plurality of videos, wherein each video of the second plurality of videos is played in a respective video tile of the second mosaic; encoding the updated user interface as a video stream; and transmitting the video stream containing the updated user interface toward the client device for display.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the one or more search conditions corresponding to the second filter combine the one or more search conditions corresponding to the first filter with one or more additional search conditions.

17. The method of claim 1, further comprising, after transmitting the video stream containing the user interface toward the client device for display: receiving, from the client device, user input selecting a video tile in the first mosaic; updating the user interface to: display a video corresponding to the selected video tile in a region of the user interface that is larger than the selected video tile; and display a second mosaic of selectable video tiles corresponding to the first plurality of videos, the second mosaic having fewer video tiles than the first mosaic and being displayed outside of the region; encoding the updated user interface as a video stream; and transmitting the video stream containing the updated user interface toward the client device for display.

18. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving one or more triggering criteria from the client device, the one or more triggering criteria including a trigger relating to a popularity metric for a social network; determining that an available video program satisfies the one or more triggering criteria; and in response to determining that the available video program satisfies the one or more triggering criteria, issue an alert to the client device indicating that the available video program satisfies the one or more triggering criteria.

19. A server system, comprising: one or more processors; and memory storing one or more programs configured to be executed by the one or more processors, the one or more programs including instructions for: receiving, from a client device, user input selecting a first filter; filtering available video programming using one or more search conditions corresponding to the first filter, to identify a first plurality of videos that satisfy the one or more search conditions, wherein the one or more search conditions comprise a criterion relating to a popularity metric for a social network; generating a user interface comprising a first mosaic of selectable video tiles corresponding to the first plurality of videos, wherein respective videos of the first plurality of videos are played in respective video tiles of the first mosaic; encoding the user interface as a video stream; and transmitting the video stream containing the user interface toward the client device for display.

20. A non-transitory computer-readable storage medium storing one or more programs configured for execution by a server system, the one or more programs comprising instructions for: receiving, from a client device, user input selecting a first filter; filtering available video programming using one or more search conditions corresponding to the first filter, to identify a first plurality of videos that satisfy the one or more search conditions, wherein the one or more search conditions comprise a criterion relating to a popularity metric for a social network; generating a user interface comprising a first mosaic of selectable video tiles corresponding to the first plurality of videos, wherein respective videos of the first plurality of videos are played in respective video tiles of the first mosaic; encoding the user interface as a video stream; and transmitting the video stream containing the user interface toward the client device for display.

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