Earlier this week we posted two patent reports involving the inclusion of traditional TV functionality for Apple TV. One report covered a traditional TV channel listing app in the making for Apple TV involving Siri while the second report covered time-shifting TV capabilities, a feature that I use every day on my cable box. Today, Patently Apple discovered yet another Apple TV related patent from Apple that was lost during the December 31 shutdown at USPTO. This latest patent application generally relates to voice control (e.g. Siri) of television user interactions and, more specifically, to real-time updating of virtual assistant media knowledge.
Apple's Patent Background
While mobile telephones (e.g., smartphones), tablet computers, and the like have benefited from virtual assistant control, many other user devices lack such convenient control mechanisms. For example, user interactions with media control devices (e.g., televisions, television set-top boxes, cable boxes, gaming devices, streaming media devices, digital video recorders, etc.) can be complicated and difficult to learn. Moreover, with the growing sources of media available through such devices (e.g., over-the-air TV, subscription TV service, streaming video services, cable on-demand video services, web-based video services, etc.), it can be cumbersome or even overwhelming for some users to find desired media content to consume. In addition, coarse time-shifting and cue controls can make it difficult for users to obtain desired content, such as specific moments in a television program. Obtaining timely information associated with live media content can also be challenging. As a result, many media control devices can provide an inferior user experience that can be frustrating for many users.
Apple's Invention: Real-Time Siri Knowledge Updates
Apple's invention covers systems and processes for real-time updating of Siri or 'virtual assistant' media knowledge. In one example, Siri's knowledge will be able to be updated with timely information associated with playing media. A data feed could be received that includes data relating events to particular times in a media stream. A user request could be received based on speech input, and the user request could be associated with an event in a media stream or show. In response to receiving the request, the media stream can be cued to commence playback at a time in the media stream associated with the event referred to in the request.
In another example, timely information could be integrated into Siri's knowledge base to provide answers to queries involving current events. A response to a specific user request could be generated based on the data relating to the event. The response could then be delivered to the user in a variety of ways (e.g., spoken aloud, displayed on a television, displayed on a mobile user device, etc.).
The user's intent can be determined from the speech input, and the virtual assistant can execute tasks according to the user's intent, including causing playback of media on a connected television and controlling any other functions of a television set-top box or like device (e.g., causing playback of live media content, causing playback of recorded media content, managing video recordings, searching for media content, navigating menus, etc.).
More specifically, Siri's knowledge could be updated with timely and even real-time information associated with playing media such a live sporting event, a television show, or the like. For example, the data feed could indicate that a goal occurred at a certain time in a televised hockey game. In another example, the data feed can indicate that a show host delivered a monologue at a certain time in a televised show.
Apple notes that "In response to the user's request, a particular time in the media stream that is responsive to the user's request can be determined. In this example, using knowledge incorporated in Siri's knowledge base the system is able to identify the Team A goal of Player M assisted by Player Q at a specific time.
The system could then cause the video to time-shift to the appropriate time to show the desired content. In this example, shown below in Apple's patent FIG 6, the system could time-shift video #620 to commence playback at cued time 624 indicated on playback indicator #622. As shown, cued time #624 could differ from live time #626 (e.g., the time associated with the live televised or otherwise live distributed stream of content).
Apple also notes that media stream events could include a wide variety of events or points of interest in media streams. In sporting events, for example, media stream events could include plays, penalties, goals, play segment divisions (e.g., periods, quarters, halves, etc.), play appearances (e.g., player at bat, players on ice, player in as quarterback, kicker on field, etc.), or the like.
For example, users might request Siri to pull up a fight in an ice hockey game (e.g., "show me the fight between Player Y and Player Q"), jump to the beginning of a period (e.g., "jump to the first period puck drop."), watch a goal (e.g., "show me Player M's goal"), see what resulted in a particular penalty (e.g., "show me the slashing penalty against Player X"), or the like.
In addition, various other details can be included in particular events or could be associated with a media stream, such as various statistics, player information, participant information (e.g., referees, coaches, etc.), game segment designators, and the like.
Apple's patent filing is long and detailed. To delve deeper into the finer points of this invention, see patent application 20150382079. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Comments are reviewed daily from 5am to 6pm MST and sporadically over the weekend.