Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pull a widget during your favorite TV show to read the latest show-related news or cast and crew information, watch special features, access social networking components and interact in other relevant ways with your TV content? The latest patent application from Apple seeks to tackle this burning issue and is noteworthy for making a specific connection to a big screen TV, which is interesting in the light of a DailyTech story calling for an iOS-powered, Apple-branded television set this Fall. From Apple’s patent application:

Recently, a few consumer electronics companies have extended the widget paradigm to television. For example, while watching TV programming on a widget-enabled TV set, the viewer can manipulate the TV remote control to interact, for example, with a “chat” widget displayed on the TV screen to send text messages back and forth with others connected to a common chat network. 

We also learned this morning via another patent application that Apple could allow third-party widgets in the iOS 5 Notification Center. As for the widgets that interact with television content, Patently Apple summed it up nicely:

Apple’s paradigm involves taking widgets to the next level of live widgets that will interact with TV shows like NBC’s “The Voice” so that users could directly vote for their favorite candidates from their HDTV effortlessly. The system will also work with live sports like football with other live content is in the works. The system still involves Apple’s AppleTV set-top-box but with a twist. It will finally hook up with regular Cable TV networks.

Apple says content-aware widgets could be able to retrieve your geographical location in order to further personalize media content. Triggers and visual tags could indicate during media playback that a widget could be invoked. Content-aware widgets, Apple explains, could also respond to the media state in order to present the right features at the right places…

Television widgets could change visibility, functionality, appearance and position based on your input or responding to media content at hand. There would be an online repository where you’d go to download widgets and you’d be able to specify your geographical location and a timeline region in order to “synchronize one or more of the complementary resources with corresponding portions of the item of primary media content”. Contrary to today’s simple widgets which are unaware of the currently viewed television program, Apple’s solution would take your television experience to the next level by providing complementary or otherwise relevant information to the currently presented television program. The patent application was credited to an Apple engineer Daniel Davis and filed under the United States Patent & Trademark Office patent number 20110154200 (use search engine here to pull detailed patent information).

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