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Live iChat, broadcast TV for Apple TV?

updated 12:40 pm EST, Thu February 7, 2008

New Apple TV patent

Apple has filed for a patent describing expanded Apple TV/Front Row functionality, including live iChat and broadcast TV programming as part of potential future Front Row features. The filing illustrates a process for associating widgets with content displayed by a multimedia center application, with one example revealing a yet unreleased version of Front Row and/or an Apple TV remote that includes a new set of Widget Keys.

Apple filed for another 46 patents alongside its new Apple TV/Front Row application. The highlighted patent describes the display of real-time information, live iChat session widgets, text messaging widgets, and more. The addition of such features would expand Apple TV's functionality to allow full communication right in the living room without the need to sit down at a computer.








by MacNN Staff

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  1. luckk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Finally

    I actually wrote about this in my article "Repurposing the Apple TV" that I posted on my site http://appletvsource.com.

    It would be great because using the webcam on the computer is so unnatural. It makes more sense to use the webcam in the living room.

  1. ccrider

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    hmm

    sounds a little like Joost to me (without the webcam of course)

  1. Smurfman

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Cool

    I was just writing about including iChat with AppleTV. Exciting!

    I recently purchased an AppleTV and am lovin it! Great to see the possible direction Apple is headed with this.

    If Apple can turn this into a Wii of set-top boxes (social interactivity), I think AppleTV will definitely be a VERY strong 4th leg of their business "chair" (Mac, iPod, iPhone, AppleTV).

  1. dmsimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    camera

    I would think the AppleTV would have a camera built into it.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    prior art

    I'm claiming prior art on this one. The very first post I made about AppleTV when it was first introduced was suggesting that a web cam be plugged into the USB port for live online chat. If Apple implements this, I'm going to sue! ...right after I set up my new AppleTV w/iChat! :-)

    And NO, the web camera shouldn't be built into it. How may AppleTVs are in stereo cabinets, behind smoked glass or screens, or otherwise not sitting right next to the TV? Probabaly a pretty good number of them. It will need to be a tethered (wireless?) camera that you can set by the TV so you are looking at it while watching your screen.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    & old iSights?

    If they build a web cam into the aTV, that would work, but then you'd have to be particular about where you position it. An external camera would be more useful, and interchangeable 3rd party ones would be even better.

    But then, how would you connect it? 4-pin FW require extra cables to power the darn thing. USB2 is still too slow, especially if you want a decent resolution for an HDTV. I'd propose Firewire as the answer to this problem. There are plenty of cameras out there that utilize it. The old iSights are FW400, but I bet if aTV caught on anywhere close to how the iPod did, we could see hordes of aTV accessory makers to supply it.

    VideoChat via aTV could be one of the big factors for apple increasing the popularity of Firewire among consumers and not just pros. With a growing interest, we might even see FW3200 finally introduced in a Mac Pro.

    All of this is years in the making, so we'll have to wait and see.

  1. Smurfman

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: danviento

    400 Mbps too slow for HD?? USB2 should work perfectly fine. Who has over a 400 Mbps internet connection anyway?!? ;-)

    All that's really needed is about a 3Mbps internet connection to go 2-way HD quality iChat using H.264. 720 Kbps is fine for basic 2 way video chat (sub standard Def - 400x300).

    An Apple wireless (WiFi) HD video camera would be PERFECT! Wonder if there's a patent out there floating in the US patent office for a wireless HD video camera?

  1. CaliforniaMac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Ironic Prior Art

    Uh, MythTV systems have had all this for years (MythPhone)...MythTV runs on OSX (including AppleTV) and Linux (including Nokia 800). It would run on iPodTouch but its currently closed, has no microphone and has its camera on the wrong side of the screen, lol. Maybe patent office should call Apple on a MythPhone (uses standard SIP VoIP protocols so easy to dial regular phone numbers) and ask them if they are aware of any prior art, lol.

  1. CaliforniaMac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    more irony

    Forgot to mention the ultimate irony --that I truly read this article on a wall mounted HDTV while sitting 16 feet away with an IR wireless keyboard/joystick in FireFox and watching a 1080i concert in PiP. I actually use FireFox and Skype along side MythTV (Alt+Tab switching) rather than MythTV's built-in MythBrowser and MythPhone which are more appropriate for SDTV than HDTV. The HDTV itself has a serial port which allows the inputs for the main picture and PiP to be switched automatically. In Apple's version, they could have some kind of iPod-like bus that combines with an HDMI cable and plugs-in to AppleTV-compatible HDTVs to allow the HDTV's inputs to be switched to different sources by FrontRow, as well as to connect the CCD (camera) and iPod doc built-in to the HDTV down into the AppleTV via a 20' shielded cable.

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