Future versions of tvOS may have a side bar user interface, as evidenced by a newly granted Apple patent (number 11,245,967). In addition to the functions currently available on the tvOS interface, this would allow users to access cable TV, satellite TV, and more using the Apple TV set-top box.
About the patent
In the patent, the tech giant notes that, for years, broadcast television was the sole provider of video content to viewer’s homes across the globe. However, these days there are 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.
In addition, special purpose set-top boxes, such the Apple TV, providd 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 streaming services and video providers from which to choose. In addition, music and other audio content is available through various communication channels. Many are subscription-based services, and some provide free content.
The explosion of video content providers in the marketplace has been a boon for users in providing more content. However, Apple says that this large number of choices and providers complicates the viewing experience. The tech giant seems to think that one solution is enhancing the tvOS side bar to provide “improved media content delivery systems, methods and mechanisms.”
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent with the technical details: “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.”