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Logitech Files Patent for Remote Control On-Screen Display

Logitech's patent application for universal remote control shows TV display with dynamic menus that change based on status of A/V devices.


Logitech patent application for universal remote control shows a small remote with just a few buttons and an on-screen display to control A/V devices. For more images from the patent, click on the slideshow below.

Logitech is well known for its Harmony remote control, which monitors the on/off state of audio video devices (TVs, receivers, DVD players, etc.) and makes “decisions” based on the status.

Now Logitech is taking this dynamic interface to the TV display, filing a patent for a “Remote Control System for Connected Devices.”

The patent describes an on-screen display (OSD) in which the control options default to the most likely command - for example, MUTE, ON, OFF, PLAY, PAUSE, FAST FORWARD - based on the status of a device.

For example, if a DVD is playing and the user opens up the OSD, the PAUSE button might be highlighted as the default so that the user need only press a single button, rather than scroll to the right command. The display would also show the other commands associated with DVD playing.

The patent application points to “problems with conventional universal remote controls that make them less desirable for consumers.”

For example, many universal remote controls have a large number of buttons, many of which may never be used, since the manufacturers attempt to have physical buttons for each possible command of each possible electronic device. Additionally, even when large numbers of buttons are included in the remote, the programming and compatibility of the remote with new devices are often limited.

Naturally, higher-end touchscreen remotes (and iDevice-based remotes) are typically configured so that only the relevant buttons appear on any given screen, but many users don’t like to take their eyes off the TV in order to control it.

Furthermore, consumers are increasingly accustomed to OSD-based graphical user interfaces (GUI) such as Roku’s and Apple TV’s, Big remotes with multiple buttons and touchscreens are being replaced with tiny devices featuring just a few buttons and maybe a scroll wheel.

I don’t know of any existing universal remote controls for the mass market that rely expressly on an OSD for operating A/V devices.

Will we see one from Harmony? Time will tell.

Below is a small portion of the patent application. Check out the entire, filed on November 1, 2012.

Some of the illustrations included in the application can be found in this Logitech slideshow.

[0013] In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of universal remote controls now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a remote control system that uses microprocessor and communication functions onboard a display device, such as a television (TV), to allow a user to control multiple devices via a user interface (UI) presented by the display device. This may be accomplished, for example, using a relatively low-cost remote control that operates the TV, or the like, and provides minimal UI navigation functionality.

[0014] Objects of the invention may include the delivery of a full universal remote control solution for devices, applications and content at minimum cost by combining an on-TV UI with a dedicated controller or a standard TV remote with at least one button that is operable to access the on-TV UI. In some embodiments, the on-TV UI may be accessed in other ways, such as through an application executing on a mobile device or tablet computing device.

[0015] Aspects of the invention may reduce controller complexity by off-loading functionality to an on-TV overlay as well as reduce usage complexity by applying contextual awareness to provide the most relevant options to the user.

[0016] According to first aspects of the invention, a remote control system is provided including a display device with a video display, a processor configured to interact with a remote control, and a communication apparatus configured for communicating with one or more other devices. In embodiments, the display device may be, for example, a TV including a tuner, audio-visual (AV), high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI), and/or separate video (S-Video) inputs, and, generally, any interface for communicating with another device. The display device may also include wireless communication capabilities, such as WI-FI, BlueTooth, and other capabilities. The display device may also support various web-streaming and web browsing modes and, generally, may receive information over a physical wire, fiber optic cable, wirelessly, and/or otherwise.

View the 5 photos attached to this entry
Logitech Files Patent for Remote Control On-Screen Display

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Slideshow · Home Automation and Control · Universal Remotes · Logitech · Patent · Harmony · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

16 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Bulldog  on  11/09  at  12:38 AM

Wasnt this what Nirv was supposed to be?  Or similar to what RTI and other control companies have already announce?

There is no way they are the first to develop an on screen overlay control interface. 

Patents should be about innovation, not creating a monopoly on a type of product.  Its like calling “shotgun” on an entire market segment.  You have no right to it.  Its not your invention.  Its like someones kid drew this up at school.

This is what pisses me off about capitalism.  Its not free market when the big companies can tie you up with law suits until you give up or run out of money.

Posted by Grant Clauser  on  11/09  at  11:22 AM

The Yamaha neo ( relied on the TV’s onscreen interface for controls. I thought that system had a lot of promise and wish the company had developed it further.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/09  at  11:40 AM

yeah, obviously there are a ton of existing universal remotes with OSD. Patents are impossible to read. Seems to me (as noted in story) that Logitech’s angle is to dynamically change the menu based on status of connected A/V devices.

Posted by JerryS  on  11/09  at  03:55 PM

OK, so they’re going to change the default menu item based on device status.  Computers have been doing that for years.  What’s unique here?

Posted by Jason Brantley  on  11/09  at  04:12 PM

“Logitech is well known for its Harmony remote control, which monitors the on/off state of audio video devices”

Not really.  I’m not aware of any Logitech remotes that have two way communication with audio video devices.  So there’s no way that Harmony remote can actually monitor the status of anything.

They attempt to build some logic around what they think a devices current state should be, but it fails often which is why they have those stupid wizards to try and bail you out when the remote is out of sync with the actual state of devices.

Posted by Dave  on  11/09  at  04:17 PM

Didn’t savant already do that?

Posted by Chris  on  11/09  at  04:47 PM

I agree with Bulldog…plus isn’t this what Nintendo Wii has been doing for about 7 years now!?!

Posted by CarlNeef  on  11/09  at  05:10 PM

Sony STRGA1ES did this in the 90s.

Posted by shaster a/v  on  11/09  at  05:37 PM

They think they trace status buy tracking device power commands in a Macro.. Nothing new and exciting there.
Onscreen GUI’s and overlays have been around for years.
I think they just want to do an overlay without interupting an HD video image, which, C$, Cre^(&# and Sav$#*^ covers the image with the GUI.
However, there are some that showed it at the show ( U$C ), and I must say, it was pretty cool…

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/09  at  06:12 PM
Posted by Ernie Gilman  on  11/10  at  12:11 PM

“Naturally, higher-end touchscreen remotes (and iDevice-based remotes) are typically configured so that only the relevant buttons appear on any given screen, but many users don’t like to take their eyes off the TV in order to control it.”

But this system will require a person to take his eyes off the screen to find the right button.  It might be easier, but it won’t be different.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/10  at  08:13 PM

Not true, Ernie. It’s pretty easy to find the menu, left, right, up, down buttons on a remote that only has 5 buttons.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/11  at  03:22 PM

Patents are funny things. Note that this is just an application. The patent has not yet been granted.

Posted by Mark Nagle  on  11/13  at  10:10 AM

Bose Has a similar with their “more” button on the lifestyle 135 etc

Posted by Greg  on  11/13  at  05:19 PM

I think Frox had this even before the STRDAG1ES egg remote. I am dating myself.

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