Technicolor Wins Patent for Bartender UI

Technicolor won a U.S. patent for a mobile app that could allow a user to control video programming delivered from multiple content sources to viewers in sports bars and other venues.

“In the sports bar environment, for example, bartenders or managers want to be able to control the content on each TV without having to use single or multiple TV remotes, since using a TV remote now requires walking to each TV with a specific remote to change the channel and further may cause adjacent TVs to also change channels,” Technicolor notes in the patent published Tuesday.

Technicolor Senior Product Manager Doug Strachota is named as lead inventor on the patent, titled, “Apparatus and method for managing signals provided to multiple display devices.”

Abstract: A method, apparatus, and user interface for providing operational status for multiple communication networks is described. The embodiments include receiving a request to change a program being provided on a first device in the plurality of devices, determining if the requested change requires changing the program provided to at least one second device in the plurality of devices, and outputting or displaying a list of programs currently provided to a subset of the plurality of devices if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, the subset of devices including the first device and the at least one second device.

Claims:

1. A method for controlling content being provided to a plurality of devices, the method comprising: receiving, at an input circuit, a request to change a program being provided to a first device in the plurality of devices to a requested program; determining, by a controller coupled to the input circuit, if the requested change requires changing the program provided to at least one second device in the plurality of devices; arranging, by the controller, a list of programs currently provided to the plurality of devices into a list of entries if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, wherein each entry in the list of entries includes a subset of the plurality of devices being provided the same program; outputting for display, by the controller, the list of entries if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, receiving, by the controller, an input selecting an entry from the list of entries; and changing, by the controller, the program provided to the first device and the subset of the plurality of devices in the selected entry to the requested program.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein a first entry in the list of entries includes all devices of the plurality of devices that are being provided the same program being provided to the first device.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein each entry following the first entry in the list of entries includes all devices that are provided with a program other than the program provided to the first device.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein each entry subsequent to the second entry in the list of entries is ordered such that the number of devices in each entry subsequent to the second entry is unchanged or decreasing.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising: generating, by the controller, a list of each of the plurality of devices and a program that is provided to each of the plurality of devices; and storing, by the controller, the list as a configuration, the configuration being recalled for outputting at a later time based on a request by the user.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the programs are video programs provided through a network and the devices are televisions.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the method is used as part of a user interface for controlling a content distribution system.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising outputting for display, by the controller, a first plurality of visual elements associated with programs that are available for display on the plurality of devices and a second plurality of visual elements associated with the plurality of devices, each of the visual elements including an indication of a current program displayed on each of the plurality of devices.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the input circuit and controller are disposed in a tablet with a touch screen.

10. An apparatus for controlling content being provided to a plurality of devices, the apparatus comprising: means for receiving a request to change a program being provided to a first device in the plurality of devices to a requested program; means for determining if the requested change requires changing the program provided to at least one second device in the plurality of devices; means for arranging a list of programs currently provided to the plurality of devices into a list of entries if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, wherein each entry in the list of entries includes a subset of the plurality of devices being provided the same program; means for outputting for display the list of entries if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, means for receiving an input selecting an entry from the list of entries; and means for changing the program provided to the first device and the subset of the plurality of devices in the selected entry to the requested program.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein a first entry in the list of entries includes all devices of the plurality of devices that are being provided the same program being provided to the first device.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein each entry following the first entry in the list of entries includes all devices that are provided with a program other than the program provided to the first device.

13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein each entry subsequent to the second entry in the list of entries is ordered such that the number of devices in each entry subsequent to the second entry is unchanged or decreasing.

14. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising: means for generating a list of each of the plurality of devices and a program that is provided to each of the plurality of devices; and means for storing the list as a configuration, the configuration being recalled for outputting at a later time based on a request by the user.

15. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the program are video programs provided through a network and the devices are televisions.

16. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising means for outputting for display a first plurality of visual elements associated with programs that are available for display on the plurality of devices and a second plurality of visual elements associated with the plurality of devices, each of the visual elements including an indication of a current program displayed on each of the plurality of devices.

17. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the apparatus is a tablet with a touch screen.

18. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the apparatus is used as part of a user interface for controlling a content distribution system.

19. An apparatus for controlling content being provided to a plurality of devices, the apparatus comprising: an input circuit that receives a request to change a program being provided to a first device in the plurality of devices to a requested program; a controller coupled to the input circuit, the controller: determining if the requested change requires changing the program provided to at least one second device in the plurality of devices; arranging a list of programs currently provided to the plurality of devices into a list of entries if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, wherein each entry in the list of entries includes a subset of the plurality of devices being provided the same program; outputting for display the list of entries if the requested change requires changing the program to the at least one second device, receiving an input selecting an entry from the list of entries; and changing the program provided to the first device and the subset of the plurality of devices in the selected entry to the requested program.

20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the first entry in the list of entries includes all devices of the plurality of devices that are being provided the same program being provided to the first device.

21. The apparatus of claim 20, wherein each entry following the first entry in the list of entries includes all devices that are provided with a program other than the program provided to the first device.

22. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein each entry subsequent to the second entry in the list of entries is ordered such that the number of devices in each entry subsequent to the second entry is unchanged or decreasing.

23. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the apparatus is a tablet with a touch screen.

24. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the controller outputs for display a first plurality of visual elements associated with programs that are available for display on the plurality of devices and a second plurality of visual elements associated with the plurality of devices, each of the visual elements including an indication of a current program displayed on each of the plurality of devices.

25. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the controller generates a list of each of the plurality of devices and a program that is provided to each of the plurality of devices and stores the list as a configuration, the configuration being recalled for outputting at a later time based on a request by the user.

26. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the programs are video program provided through a network and the devices are televisions.

27. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the apparatus is used as part of a user interface for controlling a content distribution system.