The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published today a series of recently-granted patents filed by Apple Inc., one of which is an Apple TV related patent for recording episodic cable TV and credits Steve Jobs as an inventor. With the industry expecting Apple to make its entrance into the HDTV hardware space, methods of organizing episodic programming described in today’s patent could very well be implemented in future Apple television-related products. Patently Apple explained:

The patent goes on to state that the menu items, could, for example, “correspond to television shows that have either been recorded from a broadcast or purchased from a content provider. Recording broadcast TV shows isn’t an option available today on Apple TV, so it’s interesting to see that this option was listed in this 2006 Apple TV patent which also credits Steve Jobs as one of the inventors.

Within the patent, there is a mention of “Apple TV working with a cable network,” and PatentlyApple noted a patent published in January 2011 that details the ability for a media system to connect to a “cable service provider.” Today’s patent was originally filed in Q3 2006, and in addition to Steve Jobs, it lists Rainer Brodersen, Rachel Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma and Mihnea Pacuraiu as inventors.

A recent report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple already met with executives of major media companies to discuss a voice-powered HDTV that utilizes Airplay and cloud DVR features that sound similar to the patent published today.

Earlier this month, a report from USA Today backed previous rumors and claimed Apple was working on a 42-inch or larger LCD TV with the company’s design guru Jonathan Ive apparently working on a “a slick 50-inch TV” in his studio. Previously, The New York Times reported in October that Apple was prototyping HDTVs after large components suited for a TV were discovered in Apple’s supply chain.

Apple’s first patent claim from today’s patent (via PatentlyApple) is available below:

Apple’s First Patent Claim: 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; in response to receiving a selection of a sort option: determining whether the received metadata stored in the data store includes metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option: in response to determining that the received metadata does include metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option, sorting the menu items based on the received metadata in accordance with the sort option; and in response to determining that the received metadata does not include metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option: extracting from the received metadata that is associated with additional metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option; providing the extracted metadata to a content provider and receiving the additional metadata from the content provider in response; and sorting the menu items based on the additional metadata in accordance with the sort option; and displaying on the display device the sorted menu items.

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