User Interface

Context: This interface was developed years before the Microsoft Media Center PC (MCPC) and the Apple Front Row interfaces. It is designed to support 2' and 10' interfaces, whole-home entertainment, and interface home control / security / communications systems.

Features of the User Interface include:

Big Screen, Touchscreen, 3rd Party Interface — designed to work well on the big screen (10 foot interface), a touch tablet (2 foot interface), computers (laptops and desktops), and gracefully degrading performance on limited graphical devices (PDAs and cell phones);
Minimized Video Obfuscation — if the user interface is displayed on the big screen, or when simultaneously displayed with video on the tablet, the interface is designed for minimum impact on the viewing experience by placing the controls around the edge of the graphical area;
Management of Playlists and Large Libraries — the screen layout was designed to facilitate navigation and searching through large libraries and playlists. Although displays (big screen, touchscreen, and computers) share a common interface, the interface is optimized for each platform. Each platform balances readability versus density of information.

Comparison to MCPC and Front Row

Since mediabank was never fully implemented, this table is designed to suggest areas for future development.

Although Front Row looks to be very limited in this table, in fact, it is a very user friendly interface and transitions quickly for iPod users.

  Media Center PC Front Row mediabank
Whole-home Media Routing / Control No No Yes
Playlist editing No No Yes
Large Libraries somewhat No Yes
Digital Rights Management (DRM) Microsoft Apple originally proprietary
DVR Capability Yes No Yes
External Browser Control No No Yes
Open to 3rd Party Tools Yes No Yes
Home Control 3rd parties are developing No Yes
Communications Integration none known No Yes
Portable Video Player (tablet) No No Yes
Remote Costs Low Low Higher*

*Higher prices were reasonable in the market segment targeted by mediabank.


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(C) 2006  Kris Carlsen