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Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 03:42 pm PT (06:42 pm ET)

Episodic TV patent credited to Steve Jobs could be used for rumored Apple TV

Among a batch of new intellectual property granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was a patent regarding a method of organizing episodic content, with the filing being credited to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In a series of newly-granted patents published on Tuesday by the USPTO, a filing regarding a method of TV episode organization was revealed that could potentially be instituted in a much-rumored Apple HDTV, reports Apple IP website Patently Apple.

Since Jobs was quoted in his biography as having "cracked" the secret to creating an intuitive HDTV, a not-so-quiet storm of rumors has been gathering momentum of a possible upcoming product release. Now, with the episodic TV patent credited to Jobs, the rumors are beginning to see some traction as the concept inches ever closer to reality.

The patent, one of twenty-two published, was first filed for in 2006 and includes an illustration of a TV episode hierarchy akin to the multi-level menu system found on the current Apple TV.

Specifically, the patent calls for:
A computer-implemented method, comprising: receiving episodic content including one or more episodes of television programs and storing the episodic content in a data store; receiving metadata associated with the episodic content and storing the received meta data in the data store; displaying on a display device a menu arranged in an interface environment, the menu comprising a list of menu items associated with the episodic content; displaying on the display device a sort interface arranged in the interface environment, the sort interface defining a plurality of sort options and being configured to receive a selection of a sort option and to sort the list of menu items based upon the selection


The claim goes on to define limits on sorting metadata based on information received from the "content provider."

Episodic TV

Episodic TV patent credited to Steve Jobs | Source: Patently Apple


Interestingly, the diagram displays shows and dates which could mean that the company is looking to include a recording or cloud-based on-demand feature in the future. This would jibe with what Jobs envisioned of a TV that "seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud."

Also in the filing is an illustration showing a block diagram of a sample device including a "data store" and a control engine and what appears to be the current Apple Remote.