(12) United States Patent (10) Patent N0.: US 7,769,903 B2

(12) United States Patent (10) Patent N0.: US 7,769,903 B2
USOO7769903B2
(12) United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
Robbin et a].
(45) Date of Patent:
(54)
INTELLIGENT INTERACTION BETWEEN
MEDIA PLAYER AND HOST COMPUTER
5,587,404 A
5,616,876 A
(75)
IHVBIIIOFSI Jeffrey L- Robbin, L05 Altos, CA (Us);
5,640,566 A
5,666,530 A *
DaVld Heller, San Jose, CA (Us)
_
US 7,769,903 B2
~
_
(73)
ASSlgnee' Apple Inc" Cupemno’ CA (Us)
(*)
Notice:
*Aug. 3, 2010
12/1996 Kroner et a1.
4/1997 Cluts
6/1997 Victor et al.
9/1997 Clark et a1. ............... .. 707/201
5,710,922 A
1/1998 Alley et a1.
5,721,949 A
2/1998
5,727,202 A *
3/1998 Kucala ...................... .. 707/10
Smith et a1.
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
U.S.C. 154(b) by 334 days.
(Continued)
This patent is subject to a terminal dis-
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
Clalmer'
EP
0 917 077
5/1999
(21) Appl.No.: 11/757,204
(22) Filed:
Jun. 1, 2007
(65)
(Continued)
Prior Publication Data
Us 2007/0239849 A1
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
OCI. 11, 2007
Top Stories of Dec. 18, 2001: Apple posts Automated Scripts for
iTunes 2.03, pp. 11, obtained from the Internet at: http://www.
Related US. Application Data
(60)
Xlr8yourmac.com.*
Division of application No. 10/277,418, ?led on Oct.
(Continued)
21, 2002, which is a continuation-in-part of applica-
(60)
_
_
_
tion NO. 10/118,069, ?led on Apr. 5, 2002.
Prlmary Exam/neriKamal B Dlvecha
Provisional application No. 60/346,235, ?led on Oct.
(57)
ABSTRACT
22, 2001, provisional application No. 60/396,836,
?led on Jul. 16, 2002.
)
Improved techniques for interaction between a host computer
(e.g., personal computer) and a media player are disclosed.
2006-01
(2006-01)
According to one aspect, interaction between a host computer
and a media player, such as automatic synchronization of
US. Cl. ..................................... .. 709/248; 381/104
Field of Classi?cation Search ............... .. 709/248;
media contents stored on a media player With media contents
stored on a host computer, can be restricted. According to
(51) Int- Cl-
(
G06F 15/16
H03G 3/00
(52)
(58)
381/104
(56)
another aspect, management of media items residing on a
See application ?le for complete search history.
media player can be performed at and by a host computer for
_
References Clted
Us PATENT DOCUMENTS
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US 7,769,903 B2
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“SoundJam MP Plus Manual, version 2.0”iMP3 Player and
Encoder for Macintosh by Jeffrey Robbin, Bill Kincaid and Dave
Heller, manual by Tom Negrino, published by Casady & Greene, Inc .,
Media Player 10, Aug. 25, 2004, 1-11.
U.S. Appl. No. 11/757,214, entitled “Intelligent Synchronization of
Media Player with Host Computer”, ?led Jun. 1, 2007.
Etchison, “Accelerated Discrete Adjustment of the Parameters of a
Process”, IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, vol. 15, No. 5, Oct. 1,
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U.S. Appl. No. 11/520,050, entitled “Backup of Media Libraries”,
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US. Appl. No. 11/757,214, entitled “Intelligent synchronization of
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US. Appl. No. 11/830,645, entitled “Multiple media type synchro
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US. Appl. No. 11/679,082, entitled “Data SynchronizatIon with
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US. Appl. No. 11/238,587, entitled “Graphical user interface and
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Music, Sep. 13,2008, 8 pgs.
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“Diamond Multimedia Announces Rio PMP300 Portable MP3
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* cited by examiner
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 1 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
104
Z
[100
PERSONAL
COMPUTER
MEDIA
MEDIA
MANAGER \/\/ PLAYER
>
(106
Z
i
108
102
FIG. 1
234
200
PERSONAL
[
COMPUTER
202
MEDIA MANAGER
2
MEDIA
[
PLAYER
206
MEDIA
MEDIA
DATABASE \/Z\/ DATABASE
Z 208
212
FIG. 2
(1 210
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 2 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
300
DETECT MEDIA PLAYER CONNECTED
TO PERSONAL COMPUTER
"\J 302
SYNCHRONIZE MED|A CONTENT
BETWEEN THE MEDIA PLAYER AND
THE PERSONAL COMPUTER
END
FIG. 3
M 304
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 3 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
400
READ PLAYER MEDIA INFORMATION
FROM THE MEDIA DATABASE ON
“\J 402
THE MEDIA PLAYER
COMPARE THE PLAYER MEDIA
INFORMATION WITH HOST MEDIA
INFORMATION FROM THE MEDIA
DATABASE ON THE HOST COMPUTER
w 404
DETERMINE WHICH MEDIA ITEMS
TO COPY BASED ON THE
COMPARISON INFORMATION
M 406
COPY THE DETERMINED MEDIA
ITEMS AND UPDATE THE
APPROPRIATE MEDIA DATABASE(S)
END
FIG. 4
M 408
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 4 0f 12
JUST
COUPLED
TO BUS
US 7,769,903 B2
504
OPERATE MEDIA
DEVICE AS MEDIA
PLAYER
PLACE MEDIA DEVICE
506 ’“
IN HARD DISK MODE
MEDIA
ATTRIBUTES
REQUEST
RETRIEVE MEDIA ATTRIBUTES OF MEDIA ITEMS
510 N
STORED ON THE MEDIA DEVICE
I
FORWARD THE MEDIA ATTRIBUTES TO HOST
512 N
COMPUTER
FIG. 5A
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 5 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
NEW
MEDIA
ITEMS
RECEIVED
?
STORE NEW MEDIA ITEMS AND ASSOCIATED
51;?
MEDIA ATTRIBUTES TO THE MEDIA DEVICE
REMOVE UNNEEDED MEDIA ITEMS AND
/\/
518
ASSOCIATED MEDIA ATTRIBUTES
FROM THE MEDIA DEVICE
PLAYLIST
UPDATE
RECEIVED
?
522 /\,
PRODUCE UPDATED PLAYLIST
STORE UPDATED PLAYLIST
524 N
TO THE MEDIA DEVICE
FIG. 5B
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 6 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
600
w 604
+ 6085
OTHER PROCESSING
REQUEST MEDIA ATTRIBUTES FOR
\J 610
MEDIA ITEMS ON THE MEDIA DEVICE
RECEIVE
MEDIA
ATTRIBUTES
?
COMPARE THE MEDIA ATTRIBUTES FROM
THE MEDIA DEVICE WITH MEDIA
N» 614
ATTRIBUTES AT HOST COMPUTER
FIG. 6A
US. Patent
616
Aug. 3, 2010
US 7,769,903 B2
IDENTIFY MEDIA ITEMS ON
HOST COMPUTER THAT ARE NOT
ON MEDIA DEVICE
DOES
MEDIA
DEVICE
HAVE
CAPACITY
TO STORE
ALL THE
IDENTIFIED
MEDIA
ITEMS
622 ’N
Sheet 7 0f 12
620
Z
LIMIT NUMBER OF
MEDIA ITEMS TO
BE STORED
SEND THE IDENTIFIED MEDIA ITEMS
AND ASSOCIATED MEDIA ATTRIBUTES
TO THE MEDIA DEVICE
I
624 ’N
SEND PLAYLIST TO THE MEDIA DEVICE
FIG. 6B
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
US 7,769,903 B2
Sheet 8 0f 12
N
\
a
w “E A.
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 9 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
800
,5
802
L/\
MEDIA
PLAYER
CONNECTED
?
804
w
RETRIEVE MEDIA PLAYER IDENTIFIER FROM THE
MEDIA PLAYER
806
\f
COMPARE A SYNCHRONIZED DEVICE IDENTIFIER
WITH THE MEDIA PLAYER IDENTIFIER
808
MATCH
?
NO
YES
818p
SYNCHRONIZE MEDIA ITEMS BETWEEN THE HOST
COMPUTER AND THE MEDIA PLAYER
END
FIG. 8
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 10 0f 12
US 7,769,903 B2
0
E
E
(M
w 0..
m
airs
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
Sheet 11 0f 12
31% t
MY)E R“
KMWKv
w
N“.
US 7,769,903 B2
US. Patent
Aug. 3, 2010
US 7,769,903 B2
Sheet 12 0f 12
:2
a
US 7,769,903 B2
1
2
INTELLIGENT INTERACTION BETWEEN
MEDIA PLAYER AND HOST COMPUTER
on the PDA (through synchronization). As for interaction
with the portable devices (e.g., PDAs), the portable devices
normally are small form factor devices so as to be hand-held
or pocket-size. Although their small size makes the portable
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
APPLICATIONS
devices convenient to carry, it makes the available screen
display size small. Consequently, it is dif?cult for user to
interact with the portable devices to manage resources
thereon.
This application is a divisional of US. application Ser. No.
10/277,418, ?led Oct. 21, 2002, and entitled “INTELLI
GENT INTERACTION BETWEEN MEDIA PLAYER
Thus, there is a need for improved techniques for improved
AND HOST COMPUTER,” which is hereby incorporated
herein by reference, and which is a continuation-in-part of
US. application Ser. No. 10/118,069, ?led Apr. 5, 2002, and
approaches to synchronize or manage media content on host
entitled “INTELLIGENT SYNCHRONIZATION OF
MEDIA PLAYER WITH HOST COMPUTER,” which is
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
hereby incorporated herein by reference, and which claimed
Broadly speaking, the invention relates to interaction
between a host computer (e.g., personal computer) and a
media player. According to one aspect of the invention, inter
computers and/ or media players.
the bene?t of priority of US. Provisional Application No.
60/346,235, ?led Oct. 22, 2001, and entitled “INTELLI
GENT SYNCHRONIZATION OF MEDIA PLAYER WITH
HOST COMPUTER,” which is hereby incorporated herein
by reference.
20
US. application Ser. No. 10/277,418 also claims the ben
e?t of priority of: (i) US. Provisional Application No. 60/396,
836, ?led Jul. 16, 2002, and entitled “INTELLIGENT
player is able to automatically interact only with a designated
host computer. According to another aspect of the invention,
INTERACTION BETWEEN MEDIA PLAYERAND HOST
COMPUTER,” which is hereby incorporated herein by ref
management of media items residing on a media player can be
25
performed at and by a host computer for the media player.
According to still another aspect of the invention, media
content can be played by a media player in accordance with
quality settings established for the media content at the host
computer. In one implementation, the quality settings can be
30
established for the media content on a media item by media
erence; and (ii) US. Provisional Application No. 60/346,235,
?led Oct. 22, 2001, and entitled “INTELLIGENT SYN
CHRONIZATION OF MEDIA PLAYER WITH HOST
COMPUTER,” which is hereby incorporated herein by ref
erence.
item basis.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to media devices and, more
particularly, to synchronization or management of media on
media devices.
2. Description of the Related Art
The invention can be implemented in numerous ways,
including as a method, system, device, apparatus, or com
35
puter readable medium. Several embodiments of the inven
tion are discussed below.
As a system for managing and playing media data, one
embodiment of the invention includes at least a ho st computer
and a portable media player. The host computer stores a
Synchronization operations have been conventionally per
formed between portable devices, such as Personal Digital
Assistants (PDAs) and host computers, to synchronize elec
action between a host computer and a media player, such as
automatic synchronization of media contents stored on a
media player with media contents stored on a host computer,
can be restricted. In one implementation, a given media
40
tronic ?les or other resources. For example, these ?les or
plurality of media items and at least a ?rst playlist. The ?rst
playlist is created by a user interacting with the ho st computer
to select certain of the media items to be included within the
other resources can pertain to text ?les, data ?les, calendar
?rst playlist. The portable media player, when operatively
appointments, emails, to-do lists, electronic rolodexes, etc.
connected to the ho st computer, receives media data for one or
more of the media items from the ho st computer and stores the
However, such synchronization schemes tend to utilize ?le
45
names and modi?cation dates to determine whether ?les need
to be copied between the devices. These synchronization
schemes can be largely automated but nevertheless have to be
manually initiated.
In the case of media players, such as MP3 players, ?les are
embodiment of the invention includes at least a ho st computer
50
typically moved between a host computer and a media player
through use of a drag and drop operation, like is convention
ally done with respect to copying of a data ?le from a Win
dows desktop to a ?oppy disk. Hence, the user of the media
player manually initiates the synchronization for individual
received media data, and receives at least the ?rst playlist
from the host computer and stores the ?rst playlist.
As a system for managing and playing media data, one
and a portable media player. The host computer includes at
least a management module for managing a plurality of media
items, a host play module for playing the media items for a
user of the host computer, and a host media store for storing
a plurality of media items. The portable media player includes
55
at least a portable media store for storing a plurality of media
items, and a portable play module for playing the media items
media items. As a consequence, synchronization tends to be
tedious and time consuming for users. Synchronization tends
stored in the portable media store for a user of the portable
to be slow because data is transmitted between devices over a
media player. The portable media player normally lacks a
management module.
slow link.
Besides synchronization, management of resources on
60
these portable devices has also been separately performed.
For example, a user of a PDA can enter an appointment or a
new contact using only the PDA, and then subsequently a host
computer could, if desired, be updated (through synchroni
zation) to include identical information. A user can also inter
act with the host computer to change appointments or con
tacts, and then subsequently have those changes be re?ected
As a method for transferring media content from a host
computer to a portable media player, the host computer stor
ing media item data and media information data for each of a
plurality of media items, one embodiment of the invention
65
includes at least the operations of connecting the portable
media player to the host computer, and transferring the media
item data and the media information data for one or more
media items from the host computer to the media device.
US 7,769,903 B2
3
4
As a method for playing a media item on a media player,
one embodiment of the invention includes at least the opera
description given herein with respect to these ?gures is for
explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these
limited embodiments.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a media management system
100 according to one embodiment of the invention. The
media management system 100 includes a media player 102
tions of: retrieving at least a portion of media information for
the media item to be played, the media information and media
item data for the media item previously being transmitted to
and stored in the media player, the media information includ
ing at least quality characteristics associated with the media
and a personal computer (host computer) 104. The media
item; con?guring the media player in accordance with the
quality characteristics associated with the media item; and
player 102 is, for example, a portable, battery-operated
thereafter playing the media item on the media player as
player. The personal computer 104 includes a media manager
con?gured.
106. The media manager 106 enables a user of the personal
computer 104 to directly manage media content stored on the
device. In one embodiment, the media player 102 is an MP3
Other aspects and advantages of the invention will become
apparent from the following detailed description taken in
personal computer 104, and to indirectly manage media con
tent stored on the media player 102. A peripheral cable 108
conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illus
trate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.
couples the media player 102 to the personal computer 104.
Typically, the peripheral cable 108 couples together data
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will be readily understood by the following
detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying
drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate like
ports provided on the media player 102 and the personal
computer 104. In one example, the data ports can be
FIREWIRE ports and the peripheral cable 108 can be a
20
structural elements, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a media management system
according to one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a media synchronization
system according to one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a ?ow diagram of media manager processing
according to one embodiment of the invention.
media player 102 to the personal computer 104 over the
peripheral cable 108, and vice versa. For example, the media
manager 106 facilitates a user with browsing, adding, delet
25
FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate media device synchronization
processing according to one embodiment of the invention.
FIGS. 6A and 6B are ?ow diagrams of host computer
synchronization processing according to one embodiment of
the invention.
FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a media management system
according to another embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 8 is a ?ow diagram of automatic synchronization
processing according to one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 9 is a ?ow diagram of media download processing
content (e.g., numerous media items) on the personal com
also facilitates a user with adding and removing media con
30
player 102 to be similarly managed (e.g., during synchroni
zation).
35
video or images. For example, the media player 102 can be a
music player (e.g., MP3 player), a game player, a video
player, a video recorder, a camera, an image viewer and the
40
video, record video or take pictures wherever the user travels.
In one implementation, the media player is a hand-held
device that is sized for placement into a pocket or hand of the
45
user. By being hand-held, the media player is relatively small
and easily handled and utilized by its user. By being pocket
sized, the user does not have to directly carry the device and
therefore the device can be taken almost anywhere the user
The invention relates to interaction between a host com
50
to one aspect of the invention, interaction between a host
travels (e.g., the user is not limited by carrying a large, bulky
and often heavy device, as in a portable computer). Further
more, the device may be operated by the users hands, no
reference surface such as a desktop is needed.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a media synchronization
system 200 according to one embodiment of the invention.
computer and a media player, such as automatic synchroni
zation of media contents stored on a media player with media
contents stored on a host computer, can be restricted. In one
55
The media synchronization system 200 can, for example,
represent one embodiment of the more general media man
agement system 100 illustrated in FIG. 1. The media synchro
residing on a media player can be performed at and by a host
nization system 200 includes a media player 202 and a per
computer for the media player. According to still another
aspect of the invention, media content can be played by a
like. These devices are generally battery operated and highly
portable so as to allow a user to listen to music, play games or
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
implementation, a given media player is able to automatically
interact only with a designated host computer. According to
another aspect of the invention, management of media items
In one embodiment, the media player is a portable com
puting device dedicated to processing media such as audio,
FIG. 10 is a ?ow diagram of media play processing accord
puter (e. g., personal computer) and a media player. According
tent on the media player 102. In other words, although the
media manager 106 resides on the personal computer 104, at
least certain management action taken with respect to the
media manager 106 can cause the media content at the media
according to one embodiment of the invention.
ing to one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 11 is a block diagram of a media player according to
one embodiment of the invention.
ing, organizing, and other operations with respect to media
puter 104. Additionally, for example, the media manager 106
FIG. 4 is ?ow diagram of synchronization processing
according to one embodiment of the invention.
FIREWIRE cable. More generally, the peripheral cable 108
acts as a data link. Media items can be transferred from the
60
media player in accordance with quality settings established
sonal computer 204. The personal computer 204 includes a
media manager 206. The personal computer 204 further
cussed below with reference to FIGS. 1-11. However, those
includes a media database 208. The media player 202
includes a media database 210. Typically, the media player
202 will also include a data storage device (e.g., disk drive)
for storing media content, a cache memory for storing media
content in-use, a screen display for displaying information to
a user, and a processor (e.g., microprocessor) for controlling
skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed
operation of the media player 202.
for the media content at the ho st computer. In one implemen
tation, the quality settings can be established for the media
content on a media item by media item basis.
Embodiments of these aspects of the invention are dis
65
US 7,769,903 B2
5
6
A peripheral cable 212 provides a data path (or data link)
between the media player 202 and the personal computer 204.
The peripheral cable 212 provides a peripheral bus that
couples the media player 202 to the personal computer 204.
media storage capacity than the personal computer and thus
may limit the extent of the synchronization that can be per
formed. The synchronization processing can be performed
manually assuming that a media player has already been
The peripheral bus, for example, could be a FIREWIRE bus
or a Universal Serial Bus (U SB). A synchronization operation
between the media content stored on the personal computer
detected 3 02 or automatically upon such detection. In the case
of automatic synchronization following detection of the con
nection, synchronization is performed without a user inter
acting with any buttons or user interface elements, that is, the
connection itself initiates the synchronization.
and the media content stored on the media player 204 can be
achieved in a sophisticated manner through comparison of
media information stored in the respective media databases
208 and 210. When comparison of the media information
from the respective databases 208 and 21 0 indicates that there
is a particular media item resident on the personal computer
204 that is not resident on the media player 202, then the
particular media item can be transmitted (downloaded) to the
media player over the peripheral cable 212. On the other
hand, when the comparison of the media information from the
respective databases 208 and 210 indicates that a particular
FIG. 4 is ?ow diagram of synchronization processing 400
according to one embodiment of the invention. The synchro
nization processing 400 is, for example, performed by a host
computer, such as the personal computer 104 illustrated in
FIG. 1 or the personal computer 204 illustrated in FIG. 2.
More speci?cally, the synchronization processing 400 is per
formed by the media manager 106 illustrated in FIG. 1 or the
media manager 206 illustrated in FIG. 2.
The synchronization processing 400 initially reads 402
media item is resident on the media player 202 but is not
resident on the personal computer 204, then the particular
20
media item can be either removed (deleted) from the media
computer. Such comparison produces comparison informa
25
content is enabled.
to present a user interface to the user that is more sophisti
cated than conventional approaches. Such a user interface can
The user interface can, for example, allow the user of the
media information such as song title, album name and/or
artist name, which pertain to characteristics or attributes of
the media items. Thereafter, the determined one or more
media items are copied 408 and the appropriate media data
content resident on the media player 202. The user interface
can also allow the user of the media player 202 to download
35
202. The media manager 206 also has a user interface that
allows a user to browse, sort, search, play, make playlists,
bum Compact Discs (CDs), etc. the media content resident on
the personal computer 204. The user interface can also allow
the user of the personal computer 204 to download (add) or
zation processing 400 determines 406 one or more media
items (e.g., audio ?les for songs) can be compared using
30
media player 202 to browse, sort, search, play, etc. the media
(add) or delete (remove) media items from the media player
tion concerning differences between the player media infor
mation and the host media information. Next, the synchroni
items to copy between the host computer and the media player
based on the comparison information. For example, media
The media database 210 also allows the media player 202
be presented on the screen display of the media player 202.
player. Next, the player media information is compared 404
with ?rst media information from a media database on a host
player 202 or transmitted (e.g., uploaded) over the peripheral
cable 212 to the personal computer 204. Hence, by providing
the media player 202 with the media database 210, more
sophisticated synchronization and management of media
player media information from a media database on a media
base(s) are updated. Following the operation 408, the syn
chronization processing 400 is complete and ends.
According to one embodiment, the comparison of player
media information and host media information is performed
using media attributes of the various media items. Namely, a
40
media item on the media player can be deemed the same
media item as one resident on the host computer if its media
In one embodiment, the media manager 206 and its associated
attributes sufficiently match. Examples of media attributes
include title, album, track, artist, composer and genre. These
user interface are provided by iTunes, version 2 .0, from Apple
Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.
FIG. 3 is a ?ow diagram of media manager processing 300
attributes are particular to a particular media item. In addition,
other media attributes can pertain to quality characteristics of
the media item. Examples of such media attributes include bit
delete (remove) media items from the personal computer 204.
45
rate, sample rate, equalization setting, volume adjustment,
according to one embodiment of the invention. The media
manager processing 300 is, for example, performed by the
start/ stop and total time. Hence, in one embodiment, if the
media manager 1 06 illustrated in FIG. 1 or the media manager
206 illustrated in FIG. 2.
above-identi?ed media attributes (e. g., title, album, track,
The media manager processing 300 initially detects 302 a
media player connected to a personal computer (host com
puter). Here, when the media player is connected to the per
sonal computer, a synchronization operation can be per
formed to synchronize the media content between the media
50
player and the personal computer. After the media player has
55
been detected as being connected to the personal computer,
the media content between the media player and the personal
computer can be synchronized 304. The synchronization can
be performed in a one-way (i.e., unidirectional) manner or in
a two-way (i.e., bidirectional) manner. In a preferred embodi
ment, the synchronization is one-way from the personal com
puter to the media player. In another embodiment, the syn
stored on different devices can be deemed the same even
though still further attributes or characteristics may cause
these media items to not be exact duplications of one another.
Hence, the intelligence of the synchronization processing
of the invention allows the amount of data transfer to be
personal computer. In still another embodiment, the synchro
media player. In any case, the media player typically has less
For example, if modi?cation dates associated with ?les
respectively storing the media items were different, this dif
ference in modi?cation date would not trigger the copying of
such media items from the ho st computer to the media player
when the above-identi?ed media attributes match.
60
chronization can be one-way from the media player to the
nization can be two-way from the media player to the per
sonal computer as well as from the personal computer to the
artist and composer) pertaining to a media item on the media
player all match those same media attributes pertaining to a
media item on the host computer, then the two media items
65
properly managed such that it is relatively low or minimized.
Although conventional approaches are able to transfer ?les
from a host computer to a portable device, when dealing with
media items, ?lenames and modi?cation dates tend not to be
reliable indicators of whether data transfer needs to be trans
ferred (i .e., copied). As a result, using conventional data trans
US 7,769,903 B2
7
8
fer techniques with respect to media items results in slow and
inef?cient operation and thus tends to present an unsatisfac
tory user experience.
Although the synchronization processing 400 makes use of
media databases at the ho st computer and the media player, in
another embodiment, the needed host media information and
the player media information can be gathered from the media
items themselves. In one implementation, such media infor
mation can be acquired from metadata provided with the
when the decision 514 determines that new media items have
been received from the host computer, then the new media
items and their associated media attributes are stored 516 to
the media device. In one embodiment, the new media items
are stored into ?les on the media device, and the associated
media attributes pertaining to the media items are stored in a
media database residing on the media device. Additionally,
any unneeded media items and their associated media
attributes can be removed 518 from the media device. Hence,
media items. However, by providing the media databases,
in this embodiment, by synchronizing the media content
synchronization is able to be performed more ef?ciently and
residing on the media device with that on the host computer,
new media items are not only stored to the media device, but
quickly.
FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate media device synchronization
processing 500 according to one embodiment of the inven
unneeded (e. g., old) media items and their associated media
tion. The media device synchronization processing 500 is
attributes are also removed from the media device.
performed by a media device that interacts with a host com
puter over a network. For example, the media device can
pertain to the media player 102 illustrated in FIG. 1 or the
Following the operation 518, a decision 520 determines
whether a playlist update has been received. When the deci
sion 520 determines that a playlist update has not been
media player 202 illustrated in FIG. 2.
The media device synchronization processing 500 is gen
erally operative on the media device when the media device is
powered on. Initially, a decision 502 determines whether the
media device has just been coupled to a bus. The decision 502
can be performed periodically to check for a recent connec
tion to a bus or can be triggered by hardware detection of
connection to a bus. The bus is a communication bus coupled
to the host computer. In one embodiment, the bus is a serial
bus such as FIREWIRE or Universal Serial Bus (U SB). When
the decision 502 determines that the media device has not just
been coupled to a bus, then the media device is operated 504
as a media player. In such a mode, the media device operates
to browse, search or play media items for its user. The media
items can, for example, be audio items (e.g., songs) that are
able to be played. Following the operation 504, the media
device synchronization processing 500 returns to repeat the
decision 502 and subsequent operations.
received, then the media device synchronization processing
20
500 can await such a playlist update. Altematively, when the
decision 520 determines that a playlist update has been
received, then an updated playlist for the media device is
produced 522. The playlist update could be the updated play
25
list or could be instructions to update an existing playlist. The
updated playlist is then stored 522 to the media device.
In effect, one or more playlists at the host computer can be
synchronized with the media device and thus made available
to the media device. A playlist identi?es particular media
30
items that are to be played in a sequence. Internally, the
playlist can be represented in the media database as a data
structure that points to ?les of the appropriate media items
residing on the storage device within the media device.
Hence, for a given playlist, the pointers to the ?les of the
appropriate media items on the media device will differ from
35
On the other hand, when the decision 502 determines that
the media device has just been coupled to the bus, then the
media device is placed in a hard disk mode. In the hard disk
mode, the media device acts as an external hard drive to the
40
host computer. A decision 508 then determines whether the
host computer has requested media attributes for the media
items residing on the media device. When the decision 508
determines that the host computer is not requesting media
attributes, the media device can, but need not, perform other
45
the pointers to the ?les for the same media items on the host
computer, thus the need to update the pointers if a particular
playlist is moved between the host computer and the media
device.
FIGS. 6A and 6B are ?ow diagrams of host computer
synchronization processing 600 according to one embodi
ment of the invention. The host computer synchronization
processing 600 is, for example, performed by a host com
puter. The host computer can, for example, be the personal
computer 104 illustrated in FIG. 1 or the personal computer
hard drive operations for non-synchronization purposes (not
204 illustrated in FIG. 2.
shown). When the decision 508 determines that the host com
puter is requesting media attributes (i.e., such as through a
read operation), then the media attributes of the media items
with a decision 602 which monitors a bus (i.e., peripheral bus)
stored on the media device are retrieved 510. After the media
attributes are retrieved 510, the media attributes are for
The host computer synchronization processing 600 begins
to determine whether any new devices have been attached. In
50
category of devices (e.g., FIREWIRE devices). Such moni
toring can, for example, be performed by polling the device(s)
warded 512 to the host computer.
on the bus or by receiving a new device alert. When the
decision 602 determines that no new devices have been
Next, a decision 514 determines whether new media has
been received at the media device from the host computer. In
other words, in an effort to synchronize the media content
residing on the media device with the media content residing
at the host computer, the media device will often receive
media content from the host computer. Hence, the decision
55
60
that such new media items have not been received, then the
media device synchronization processing 500 can await such
new media items. While waiting for new media items, the
media device can, but need not, perform other hard drive
operations for non-synchronization purposes (not shown).
More generally, other hard disk operations can occur concur
rently with synchronization operations. On the other hand,
attached to the bus, then the host computer synchronization
processing 600 awaits the presence of a new device. Once the
decision 602 determines that a new device is present on the
bus, then the device is set up 604 as a ?le system with respect
514 determines whether new media items have been or are
presently being received. When the decision 514 determines
one implementation, the monitoring is limited to a particular
to the ho st computer. As such, an operating system for the host
computer is able to access (read, write and delete) ?les with
respect to the ?le system (i.e., the new device).
Next, a decision 606 determines whether the device that is
now present on the bus is a media device. When the decision
606 determines that the device is not a media device, then
65
other processing 608 can be performed. Such other process
ing 608 is unrelated to synchronization processing and thus
not further described herein. Following the other processing
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