interface standards - the CE space

9 Jun 2004 - 3:37pm
10 years ago
3 replies
739 reads
Jim Hoekema
2004

Dave Collins makes an excellent point regarding consumer electronics:
>
> In the case of stereo equipment, the companies are still jockeying for
> position, and whether they like it or not, the interface to their device
> is still strongly perceived by the user to *be* the device. Thus it is a
> valid place for (their marketing division to feel that) innovation in
> this area gives them that edge - whether or not it really benefits the
> user in the larger picture.

>From my experience working at Philips, I would agree that CE companies view
the UI as a "feature" they make distinguish their products from others. The
digital TVs that I worked on were the first products to feature an on-screen
menu in which the nodes in a hierarchy are "balls" along graphic lines or
pipes that expand or contract as the selector or "puck" moves up/down or
left/right along the lines. This was marketed as the "UI Puck" interface --
internally it was called "UI 98," but that got cold when it didn't make it
to a product until 2001 ;-)

In some ways, though, CE companies are forced to adopt different approaches
because of patents. I'm suddenly drawing a blank on its name, the company
headed by Henry Yuan now owned by TV Guide has a very solid "lock" on the
familiar format of the electronic program guide you see in every cable and
satellite box. Any TV or DVR incorporating this table-like approach pays a
license for it.

I was also told that a competitor had a strong patent on representing volume
control as a series of rectangles growing from left to right as the volume
is increased. I don't recall the visual details of which representation was
covered, but much ingenuity was expended on avoiding the issue by such
stratagems as adding hollow boxes around the squares, or making them
increment with every third button-push rather than after each one, and the
like.

This sort of thing makes standardization more difficult!

Jim Hoekema
Hoekema Design & Editorial
www.hoekema.com

Comments

14 Jun 2004 - 12:44pm
cfmdesigns
2004

jim at hoekema.com writes:

>In some ways, though, CE companies are forced to adopt different approaches
>because of patents. I'm suddenly drawing a blank on its name, the company
>headed by Henry Yuan now owned by TV Guide has a very solid "lock" on the
>familiar format of the electronic program guide you see in every cable and
>satellite box. Any TV or DVR incorporating this table-like approach pays a
>license for it.

Gemstar. Formerly headed by Henry, I think; deposed a couple years ago.

I worked for their SoftBook Press (eBook hardware and servers)
subsidiary. One un-fond memory being when they canned the eBook UI
Designer and her assistant, saying something on the line of
"Engineering can do any of the design work that's needed."
--

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Jim Drew Seattle, WA jdrew at adobe.com
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 06/08)

14 Jun 2004 - 2:29pm
Robert Reimann
2003

My understanding is that Gemstar's lock on this
design has loosened considerably... it's lost some
key infringement litigation in the last couple
of years...

http://www.atnewyork.com/news/article.php/1371211
http://www.thestreet.com/_tscs/tech/georgemannes/10040293.html

Robert.
---

Robert Reimann
Manager, User Interface Design
Bose Design Center

Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, MA 01701

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Drew [mailto:jdrew at adobe.com]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 2:45 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] interface standards - the CE space

jim at hoekema.com writes:

>In some ways, though, CE companies are forced to adopt different
>approaches because of patents. I'm suddenly drawing a blank on its
>name, the company headed by Henry Yuan now owned by TV Guide has a very
>solid "lock" on the familiar format of the electronic program guide you
>see in every cable and satellite box. Any TV or DVR incorporating this
>table-like approach pays a license for it.

Gemstar. Formerly headed by Henry, I think; deposed a couple years ago.

I worked for their SoftBook Press (eBook hardware and servers)
subsidiary. One un-fond memory being when they canned the eBook UI
Designer and her assistant, saying something on the line of
"Engineering can do any of the design work that's needed."
--

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Jim Drew Seattle, WA jdrew at adobe.com
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 06/08)

14 Jun 2004 - 10:22pm
Jim Hoekema
2004

Jim, thanks for refreshing my memory - Gemstar, of course. I probably
screened out the name because my negotiations with them regarding an EPG
(electronic program guide) for a Philips TV were very difficult.

Thanks also to Robert for links to the stories about their patents. I found
another article from about a year ago about a win for Scientific Atlanta
against Gemstar:
http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2003/06/30/daily31.html

It seems that Tivo has licensed Gemstar, now branded as TV Guide:
http://www.gemstartvguide.com/pressroom/display_pr.asp?prId=165

- Jim Hoekema
www.hoekema.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
> ers.com]On Behalf Of Reimann, Robert
> Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 4:30 PM
> To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] interface standards - the CE space
>
>
>
> My understanding is that Gemstar's lock on this
> design has loosened considerably... it's lost some
> key infringement litigation in the last couple
> of years...
>
> http://www.atnewyork.com/news/article.php/1371211
> http://www.thestreet.com/_tscs/tech/georgemannes/10040293.html
>
> Robert.
> ---
>
> Robert Reimann
> Manager, User Interface Design
> Bose Design Center
>
> Bose Corporation
> The Mountain
> Framingham, MA 01701
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Drew [mailto:jdrew at adobe.com]
> Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 2:45 PM
> To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] interface standards - the CE space
>
>
> jim at hoekema.com writes:
>
> >In some ways, though, CE companies are forced to adopt different
> >approaches because of patents. I'm suddenly drawing a blank on its
> >name, the company headed by Henry Yuan now owned by TV Guide has a very
> >solid "lock" on the familiar format of the electronic program guide you
> >see in every cable and satellite box. Any TV or DVR incorporating this
> >table-like approach pays a license for it.
>
> Gemstar. Formerly headed by Henry, I think; deposed a couple years ago.
>
> I worked for their SoftBook Press (eBook hardware and servers)
> subsidiary. One un-fond memory being when they canned the eBook UI
> Designer and her assistant, saying something on the line of
> "Engineering can do any of the design work that's needed."
> --
>
> ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
> ----- -----
> Jim Drew Seattle, WA jdrew at adobe.com
> http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html
> (Update: 06/08)
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