Audio/Video Content Synchronization Through Playlists

Audio/Video Content Synchronization Through Playlists
US 20080256378A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2008/0256378 A1
(43) Pub. Date:
Guillorit
(54)
(75)
AUDIO/VIDEO CONTENT
SYNCHRONIZATION THROUGH PLAYLISTS
Inventor:
Related US. Application Data
(60)
Provisional application No. 60/539,791, ?led on Jan.
27, 2004.
Fabien M.J. Guillorit, Eindhoven
Publication Classi?cation
(NL)
(51)
Correspondence Address:
PHILIPS INTELLECTUAL
STANDARDS
P.O. BOX 3001
PROPERTY
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY 10510 (US)
Oct. 16, 2008
&
(52)
Int. Cl.
G06F 1/12
G06F 12/00
(2006.01)
(2006.01)
U.S. Cl. ................ .. 713/400; 711/162; 711/E12.001
(57)
ABSTRACT
A method is disclosed for performing bi-directional synchro
niZation between a host device having a large capacity, e. g., a
(73) Assignee:
(21) Appl. No.:
Koninklijke Philips Electronic,
N.V., Eindhoven (NL)
10/597,420
(22)
PCT Filed:
Jan. 26, 2005
(86)
PCT No.:
PCT/IB05/50304
§ 371 (0X1),
(2), (4) Date:
Jul. 25, 2006
personal computer (20), in Which a dedicated application
program is installed and a mobile media player device (10)
using play lists. The mobile media player device (10) is
capable of independently downloading media content includ
ing audio and video ?les and creating play lists therefrom.
Upon connecting the personal computer (20) and the media
player (10) play lists marked for synchronization are doWn
loaded from the media player (10) to the personal computer
(20) Wherein the dedicated application program uses time and
date information of the play lists to determine Which play lists
of the personal computer (20) and media player (10) are to be
updated. The updated play lists are stored on the respective
devices (10, 20).
Patent Application Publication
Oct. 16, 2008 Sheet 1 0f 3
US 2008/0256378 A1
Patent Application Publication
Oct. 16, 2008 Sheet 2 0f 3
US 2008/0256378 A1
,200
204
x206
x210
@212
FIG. 2
Patent Application Publication
Oct. 16, 2008 Sheet 3 0f 3
US 2008/0256378 A1
@
216w
{
NO
218
YES
x220
222
NO
YES
x224
228*»
FIGL. 2
Oct. 16, 2008
US 2008/0256378 A1
AUDIO/VIDEO CONTENT
SYNCHRONIZATION THROUGH PLAYLISTS
bi-directional synchronization betWeen a content source
(e.g., home computer, set-top box, etc.) and a multimedia
player device using play lists.
[0008]
[0001]
This invention relates to synchronization, and more
particularly to a system and method for maintaining synchro
nization betWeen a multimedia device and a content source
such as a personal computer or set top box.
[0002]
Media devices, such as digital music players, typi
cally access their content from sources of content that typi
cally have larger storage capacity. These content sources may
include personal computers, media servers, set-top-box and
The present invention provides techniques related to
bi-directional synchronization of media content stored on a
multimedia player device With media content stored on a
content source (e.g., personal computer, set-top box, home
media center) through play lists.
[0009]
As a method for performing bi-directional synchro
nization betWeen media content of a content source With
media content of a multimedia player through play lists, one
embodiment of the invention includes at least the acts of:
detecting connection of the media player to the host com
content host. Generally, a user connects a player to the content
source. The content source typically has a software applica
tion alloWing the user to select the content to be loaded onto
puter; requesting, from the host computer, play lists from the
media player marked for synchronization; responsive to the
the player. In the example of a music player, the content
Would be digital music ?les, such as MP3 (Moving Picture
puter the play lists marked for synchronization; comparing
Experts Group, layer 3) ?les.
[0003] In order to alloW the user to select content, this
application knoWs all of the content available. As the user
selects content, the application moves the content to the
media player. This application may also provide the user the
ability to manage the content on the media player, as the
media player is connected to the content source running the
application.
query, transferring from the media player to the host com
time and date information of said media player play lists
marked for synchronization With time and date information
for corresponding ones of play lists of the host computer
having the same play list identi?er, the comparing producing
comparison information; determining Which play lists are to
be copied from the media player to the host computer and
Which play lists are to be copied from the host computer to the
media player based on the comparison information; and
copying the determined play lists to perform the bi-direc
tional synchronization.
[0004] Management of the content, both on the content
source and the media player, generally involves tools to orga
nize and classify the music ?les. Organization may take the
form of sorting or grouping of the content ?les. One example
of grouping the ?les is a play list. A play list may identify ?les
[0010] FIG. 1 is a block diagram ofa synchronization sys
tem according to one embodiment of the invention; and
[0011] FIG. 2 is a How diagram of synchronization process
ing according to one embodiment of the invention.
that have a similar attribute, such as songs from a particular
album, the artist, genre, or songs selected by the user. Cre
tion of multimedia content betWeen a content source (e.g.,
ation of a play list generally involves the user selecting each
content ?le individually and then identifying that ?le as being
part of the play list. The play list is then saved With some sort
of identifying name, alloWing the user to play those ?les by
selecting that play list.
[0005] One useful function of a play list is the ability to
synchronize a home computer With the media player. For
example, the music collection on the media player may be
updated from a home computer, school computer, or other
content source, by simply connecting the media player to the
content source. Upon connecting the tWo devices, the media
[0012]
The invention relates to bi-directional synchroniza
personal computer, set-top box, home media center) and a
portable media player device through play lists.
[0013]
FIG. 1 is a block diagram ofa synchronization sys
tem according to one embodiment of the invention. The syn
chronization system 100 includes a media player device 10
including an associated data storage device 12 (e.g., disk
drive) for storing data related to user generated play lists and
a personal computer 20 including an associated data storage
device 22 for storing, inter alia, data related to user generated
play lists.
[0014] The portable media player device 10 is typically a
portable computing device dedicated to processing multi
player Will recognize the content source as the primary com
puter. A user then identi?es Which play lists from the content
source he or she Wishes to synchronize With the media player.
Subsequent to selecting one or more play lists, an application
program resident in the content source Will automatically
media content such as music, audio, and images (video). For
example, the media player device can be a music player (e. g.,
update (sync) the player With the content source using the one
and the like. These devices are generally battery operated and
or more user identi?ed play lists. That is, the identi?ed play
lists and songs included therein are copied from the content
source to the player. In this manner, the songs and play lists
highly portable so as to alloW a user to listen to music, play
games or video, record video or take pictures Wherever the
from a content source, as identi?ed by a user, are kept in sync
updates the play list(s) of the media player using the play
[0015] The personal computer 20, as is Well knoWn, is
characterized as being generally non-mobile, having a large
storage capacity, considerable processing poWer, and means
for retrieving multimedia content from netWorked (e. g., inter
net, cable, etc.) and non-netWorked sources (e.g., DVD, CD
list(s) of the content source. In the case Where the media
and HDD).
With the songs and play lists on a player.
[0006]
One draWback of the ‘synchronization’ method
described above is that it is a unidirectional operation that
device is capable of independently recording audio/video
content from multiple sources, there is no provision for updat
ing the host device from the media player.
[0007] In vieW of the foregoing considerations, there is a
need for a synchronization method that ?exibly alloWs for
MP3 player, Ipod from AppleTM corporation), a game player,
a video player, a video recorder, a camera, an image vieWer
user travels.
[0016]
Typically, the media player 10 and personal com
puter 20 include conventional components such as a cache
memory for storing media content in-use, a screen display for
displaying information to a user, and a processor (e.g., micro
processor) for controlling operation of the devices. Both the
Oct. 16, 2008
US 2008/0256378 A1
personal computer 20 and media player device 10 also
responding play list on the personal computer 20 may be
include applications that alloW a user to compose/edit play
identi?ed as having the same play list title as a copied play list
lists. Internally, the play lists of the respective devices 10, 20
from the media player device 10. Such comparison produces
comparison information concerning differences betWeen the
are embodied as data structures. The data structures point to
media content (e.g., multimedia ?les) of the play lists residing
on a memory store (e.g., disk drive, hard drive) Within the
respective devices 10, 12. The personal computer 20 also
includes a synchronization manager 25.
[0017] A peripheral cable 30 provides a data path (or data
link) betWeen the media player 10 and the personal computer
20. The peripheral cable 30 provides a peripheral bus that
couples the media player 10 to the personal computer 20. The
peripheral bus, for example, could be a FIREWIRE bus or a
Universal Serial Bus (U SB).
[0018] FIG. 2 is How diagram of synchronization process
ing 200 according to one embodiment of the invention. The
synchronization processing 200 is, for example, performed
by the personal computer 20 illustrated in FIG. 1. More spe
ci?cally, the synchronization processing 200 is performed
under the control of the synchronization manager 25 illus
trated in FIG. 1.
[0019] At act 202: The media player device 10 is connected
to the personal computer 20 via peripheral cable 30 Whereby
the synchronization manager 25 of the personal computer 20
automatically detects the connection of the media player 1 0 to
the personal computer 20. Such media player devices 10 are
typically provided With a capability to plug into a USB port or
an IEEE 1394 port, via peripheral cable 30, Which is also
time and date information for play lists associated With the
media player device 1 0 and time and date information for play
lists associated With the personal computer 20.
[0025] At act 212: The synchronization manager 25 deter
mines one or more play lists to copy betWeen the personal
computer 20 and the media player device 10 based on the
comparison information.
[0026] At act 214: Based on the comparison information,
for those play lists of the personal computer 20 having more
current time and date information than the corresponding
play lists of the media player device 10 With Which they are
compared, the compared media player device 10 play lists are
updated and transferred back to the media player device 10.
At the media player device 10, the memory storage device 12
is updated to re?ect the updated media play lists.
[0027] At act 216: Based on the comparison information,
for those play lists of the media player device 10 having more
current time and date information than the play lists of the
personal computer 20 With Which they are compared, the
personal computer 10 play lists are updated and the associ
ated memory storage device 22 is updated accordingly.
[0028] At act 218: The synchronization manager 25 deter
mines Whether the media player device 10 has created any
of the computer that is hot. A hot port is one into Which a cable
for a device can be plugged While the computer is on, desir
neW play lists. If no neW play lists, the process continues at act
222.
[0029] At act 220: If it is determined at act 218 that one or
more neW play lists have been created by a user of the media
ably for immediate detection by the operating system. For
some operating systems, the parallel port, Which is also
media player 10 to transfer the one or more neW play lists to
referred to as the IEEE 1284 port, is also a hot port.
the personal computer 20 to be stored in a memory 22 (e.g.,
[0020] At act 204: The synchronization manager 25 deter
mines if the connected media player device 20 is the device
disk drive, hard drive) of the personal computer 20.
referred to as a FireWire port or an i-Link port, or another port
usually used for synchronization. One Way of making this
determination is by using the device’s globally unique silicon
player 10, then the personal computer 20 commands the
[0030] At act 222: The synchronization manager 25 deter
mines Whether the media player device 10 has deleted any
existing play lists.
identi?er (GUID). The GUID uniquely identi?es a 1394
[0031]
enabled device connected to a 1394 bus. If a GUID is not
available, the process can use another accessible ID that is
more play lists have been deleted at the media player 10, then
unique to the media player device 10.
[0021] At act 206: The synchronization manager 25 queries
the media player device 10 for a copy of its play lists Which
have been marked for synchronization by a user of the media
At act 224: If it is determined at act 222 that one or
the memory store (e.g., disk drive, hard drive) of the personal
computer 20 is updated to store the media contents of the
deleted play lists in an archive directory. The user of the
personal computer 20 has the option of retaining the contents
player device 10;
of the archive directory until the user decides to permanently
purge the unreferenced content stored therein. It is noted that
[0022] At act 208: The media player device 10, in response
to the query, transfers the play lists Which have been marked
by a user of the media player device 10 for synchronization to
the personal computer 20. The user of the media player device
10 has the option of deciding Which play lists are to be
the deleted play lists are permanently deleted from the
memory 12 of the media player 10.
[0032] At act 226: The synchronization manager 25 deter
mines Whether the personal computer 20 has created any neW
play lists. If not, the process terminates at act 230.
included in the synchronization procedure 200 by marking
[0033] At act 228: If it is determined at act 226 that one or
more neW play lists have been created at the personal com
puter 20, then the one or more neW play lists are copied to the
media player 10. The process then terminates at act 230 The
the play lists for inclusion on the media player device 10.
[0023]
Marking a play list for synchronization in the syn
chronization procedure 200 can occur on the media player
device 10 through a standard screen display comprising a play
list title portion to permit the user to readily identify the
selected play list. The identi?ed play list(s) can be marked by
pressing a “select for synch” icon or, alternatively, simply by
touching a touch-sensitive display.
[0024]
At act 210: The synchronization manager 25 com
pares time and date information for the play lists copied from
the media player device 1 0 With time and date information for
corresponding play lists on the personal computer 20. A cor
operation of the system 200 to synchronize media content has
been previously described. The system advantageously
alloWs the updating of media content using time and date
information of play lists in each device to be synchronized.
The data structures of the respective devices are automati
cally updated in accordance With the synchronization proce
dure. Thus, the system 100 provides a poWerful but simple
technique that alloWs a user to quickly update media content
in both a host (e.g., personal) computer or similarly con?g
Oct. 16, 2008
US 2008/0256378 A1
ured device and a portable media player device by simply
identifying those play lists for Which the user decides to
include for synchronization. The system further provides a
means for archiving media content associated With play lists
deleted by the portable media player. The system further
provides a means for updating the data structure of the per
sonal computer for any neW lists created by a user of the
storing the play lists copied from the host device (20) to the
media player (10) in a memory store (12) of the media player
(10).
5. The method of claim 1, Wherein said act of detecting
connection of the media player (10) to the host device (20)
further comprises determining if the media player (10) is
media player device.
[0034] Although this invention has been described With
reference to particular embodiments, it Will be appreciated
connected to the host device (20) for purpose of synchroni
zation.
6. The method of claim 1, Wherein said method further
comprises the acts of:
that many variations Will be resorted to Without departing
from the spirit and scope of this invention as set forth in the
determining if the media player (1 0) has created at least one
neW play list;
appended claims. The speci?cation and draWings are accord
copying the at least one neW play list from the media player
(10) to the host device (20) When said determination act
ingly to be regarded in an illustrative manner and are not
intended to limit the scope of the appended claims.
[0035]
In interpreting the appended claims, it should be
understood that:
[0036]
a) the Word “comprising” does not exclude the pres
ence of other elements or acts than those listed in a given
claim;
[0037] b) the Word “a” or “an” preceding an element does
not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements;
[0038]
c) any reference signs in the claims do not limit their
the host device (20).
7. The method of claim 1, Wherein said method further
comprises the acts of:
determining if the media player (1 0) has deleted at least one
pre-existing play list;
copying the at least one deleted play list from the media
player (10) to the host device (20); and
storing the at least one deleted play list in an archive data
scope;
[0039]
is satis?ed; and
storing the at least one neW play list in a data directory of
d) several “means” may be represented by the same
item or hardWare or softWare implemented structure or func
tion; and
[0040] e) each of the disclosed elements may be comprised
of hardWare portions (e.g., discrete electronic circuitry), soft
Ware portions (e.g., computer programming), or any combi
nation thereof.
1. A method for performing bi-directional synchronization
betWeen media content of a media player (10) With media
content of a host device (20) through play lists, said method
comprising the acts of:
detecting connection of the media player (10) to the host
directory of the host device (20).
8. The method of claim 1, Wherein the media player (10)
comprises an audio player, and Wherein the audio player play
lists comprise media content comprising at least audio ?les of
songs.
9. The method of claim 1, Wherein the media player (10)
comprises a video player, and Wherein the video player play
lists include media content comprising at least video ?les of
videos.
requesting, from the host device (20), at least one play list
10. The method of claim 1, Wherein the media player (10)
comprises an image vieWer, and Wherein the image vieWer
play lists include media content comprising at least image
?les of images.
11. An apparatus for performing bi-directional synchroni
from the media player (10) marked for synchronization;
responsive to the query, transferring from the media player
zation betWeen media content of a media player (10) With
media content of a host device (20) through play lists, said
device (20);
(10) to the host device (20) said at least one play list
marked for synchronization;
comparing time and date information of said at least one
play list marked for synchronization With time and date
information of corresponding play lists of said host
device (20), said comparing producing comparison
information;
determining Which play lists are to be copied from the
media player (10) to the host device (20) and Which play
lists are to be copied from the host device (20) to the
media player (10) based on the comparison information;
and
copying the determined play lists to perform the bi-direc
tional synchronization.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising creating and
storing play lists comprising multi-media content in each of
said host device (20) and media player (10).
apparatus comprising:
said host device (20) comprising:
i) a synchronization manager (25) con?gured to com
pare time and date information for play lists copied
from the media player 10 With time and date informa
tion for corresponding play lists stored on the per
sonal computer (20), said synchronization manager
(25) further comprised to automatically detect the
connection of the media player (10) to the personal
computer (20).
ii) a memory store (22) providing for the storage of
media content con?gured as a plurality of play lists,
and
iii) a host device interface supporting the transfer of
media content to the host device.
12. The apparatus of claim 11, Wherein the host device (20)
is a personal computer (20).
13. The apparatus of claim 11, Wherein the host device
3. The method of claim 1, Wherein the host device (20) is a
personal computer (20), and Wherein the acts of claim 1 are
carried out using a dedicated application program stored on
interface is an IEEE 1394 port.
the personal computer (20).
interface is a USB port.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising the act of
14. The apparatus of claim 11, Wherein the host device
15. A machine-readable medium Whose contents cause a
storing the play lists copied from the media player (10) to the
computer system to perform a method for performing bi
host device (20) in a memory store (22) of the host device and
directional synchronization betWeen media content of a
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US 2008/0256378 A1
media player (10) With media content of a host device (20)
through play lists, said method comprising the acts of:
detecting connection of the media player (10) to the host
device (20);
requesting, from the host device (20), at least one play list
from the media player (10) marked for synchronization;
responsive to the query, transferring from the media player
(10) to the host device (20) said at least one play list
marked for synchronization;
comparing time and date information of said at least one
play list marked for synchroniZation With time and date
information of corresponding play lists of said host
device (20), said comparing producing comparison
information;
determining Which play lists are to be copied from the
media player (10) to the host device (20) and Which play
lists are to be copied from the host device (20) to the
media player (10) based on the comparison information;
and
copying the determined play lists to perform the bi-direc
tional synchroniZation.
16. The machine readable medium of claim 15, Wherein
said act of detecting connection of the media player (1 0) to the
host device (20) further comprises determining if the media
player (10) is connected to the host device (20) for purpose of
synchronization.
17. The machine readable medium of claim 15, Wherein
said method further comprises the acts of:
determining if the media player (1 0) has created at least one
neW play list;
copying the at least one neW play list from the media player
(10) to the host device (20) When said determination act
is satis?ed; and
storing the at least one neW play list in a data directory of
the host device (20).
18. The machine readable medium of claim 15, Wherein
said method further comprises the acts of:
determining if the media player (1 0) has deleted at least one
pre-existing play list;
copying the at least one deleted play list from the media
player (10) to the host device (20); and
storing the at least one deleted play list in an archive data
directory of the host device (20).
19. The machine readable medium of claim 15, further
comprising creating and storing play lists comprising multi
media content in each of said host device (20) and media
player (10).
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