US 7787904 Personal area network having media player and mobile device controlling the same

ABSTRACT – A system and method are provided for controlling content played by a number of media devices. In general, the system includes a mobile device and the number of media devices. The mobile device includes a wireless communicatio

n interface for communicating with the media devices, a media database, and a control system including a media client. When the mobile device enters a Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) associated with a media device, the media client obtains information describing the content residing at the media device and stores the information in the media database at the mobile device. Thereafter, when the mobile device is within the WPAN associated with the media device, the media database is used to select content to be played at the media device.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to controlling content played at a number of media devices using a mobile device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Each day one encounters numerous media devices such as computers, televisions with digital video recorders, MP3 players, and the like. These media devices may be located in various environments such as one’s home, office, or automobile. However, to date, there is no way of easily ascertaining the content available on these different media devices and controlling or selecting the content played by these media devices using a mobile device. As such, there remains a need for a system and method for ascertaining the content available at a plurality of media devices and controlling the content played by the media devices using a mobile device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system and method for controlling content played by a number of media devices. In general, the system includes a mobile device and the number of media devices. The mobile device includes a wireless communication interface for communicating with the media devices, a media database, and a control system including a media client. When the mobile device enters a Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) associated with a media device, the media client communicates with the media device to obtain information describing the content residing at the media device and stores the information in the media database at the mobile device. Thereafter, when the mobile device is within the WPAN associated with the media device, the media database is used to select content to be played at the media device.

In one embodiment, when the mobile device is within the WPAN associated with the media device, the media client interacts with a user of the mobile device and enables the user to select desired content to be played at the media device from the media database. The media client communicates with the media device to instruct the media device to play the desired content. In another embodiment, when the mobile device is within the WPAN associated with the media device, the media client automatically selects desired content to be played from the media database based on predetermined user preferences and instructs the media device to play the desired content.

In another embodiment, the media database of the mobile device operates as a master database. The mobile device stores last-played time-stamps for the content in the media database in addition to the information describing the content for each of a number of media devices. When the mobile device enters the WPAN associated with a media device, the mobile device provides the information describing the content stored at each of the number of media devices and the last-played time-stamps for the content to the media device. Based on the information and the last-played time-stamps, the media device automatically selects the desired content to be played. For example, based on the information and the last-played time-stamps, the media device may determine a play history and select desired content that is consistent with the play history.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate the scope of the present invention and realize additional aspects thereof after reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments in association with the accompanying drawing figures.

 

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