Apple patent application describes live broadcast TV, iChat for Apple TV/Front Row

“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,” MacNN reports.

“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,” MacNN reports.

More info and patent app illustrations here.


  1. If Apple were to offer a viable alternative to cable TV (subscription v.s. pay-per-download), I just may subscribe. I don’t want to pay for each episode, but I would happily replace my existing service for something that makes sense. Of course, there would need to be comparable content–Network and local stations, sports, news, premium packages, etc. They’re getting close to making that a reality, but they’ve not quite reached that point.

    I can see iChat on Apple TV really taking off too, especially for people communicating with loved ones, such as those in the military.

    Add DVR to the mix, and you’d have a real winner!

  2. so that USB port could be used for a web cam?

    we love iChat, but sitting on the couch with the whole family, chatting with our extended family would be too cool, versus everyone crowed around the computer!

    I would love to see Joost on Atv, or something similar, and a subscription to HBO!! bye bye Direct TV

  3. I dig my Apple TV with my new HDTV. Can’t wait for the new software to arrive that will allow our family to rent from the couch. We have completely changed our living room and our “entertainment” life has already changed. I don’t care if I ever own another movie but having our music, pictures and movies we make for sports or whatever is unmatched by anyone around us.

    As a sports coach, it’s worth everything. If I could hook-up to live chat and speak with players/coaches while each watched content, I would never again have to have them all over. We already are light-years ahead of our competitors, this would make our teams and coaches a dynasty! Go Apple!

  4. Awesome. Video chat with a friend who’s on the other side of the country while watching your favorite teams, movie, whatever. Great idea. This will get me to buy an Apple TV. The video chat alone would have done that.

  5. @Marty McFLY
    Why? When Apple can save themselves a couple billion dollars and still create better products than Sony ever could. There is no point in Apple getting into all those other markets and spreading themselves out too thin. Apple offers products that are very specialized and fun use and they do this more so than anyone else.

    So I ask why would Apple want to step into an area that would just weight them down and take away focus. Lean and mean is why Apple is able to do what it does and Microsoft understands this which is why MS was broken down into divisions.

  6. clinicaltechmaster: “This set of patents appears to be very significant. A rich TV and internet experience on a television without a computer. Maybe the the big hedge funds will let Apple’s stock price rise again.”

    To be most accurate, the AppleTV is a capable OS X computer already. It’s just partially dumbed down by the software. The AppleTV is already a nice experience, but if they would just turn on some of the additional great Mac OS X software, it would really be a rich internet and multimedia experience. Even just giving us a Safari browser like the iPod touch has would be great. Add iChat video, and AppleTV would blow people’s minds.

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