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Some basic ideas for Ubuntu TV.



I was thinking about Ubuntu TV after seeing Alan Bells thoughts.

1) The TV is also a Big Screen.

I disagree with the idea that Ubuntu TV should only be TV. What I would like, is to have one TV-mode for actually watching TV, and another for an extra desktop thing. I think it would be nice if the "show desktop" feature was used for this. When you show the desktop, then your normal Unity becomes visible with the desktop Unity, etc. Hit the button again, and the screen fades back into TV mode.

2) User management.

Ubuntu TV should support multiple users, for multiple reasons. One good reason is permissions. Parents should be able to choose which sites and channels their kids are allowed to watch and when. Kids of different ages should be able to watch different things. Some wives might want to control their husbands as well. ;)

Another thing is obviously favorite channels, bookmarks (which we need to come up with a better name for), personal applications and settings. You would also configure your personal devices, which would be recognized automatically. (I'll get back to that)

When you "start" the TV, you should be presented with a login screen which should be remote controllable using a standard remote (and other things). The default option would be to log in as Guest (perhaps Viewer, or something like that would be better). This account would have restricted access.

2) Controlling Ubuntu TV.

When you start the TV, you choose a user using a normal remote control or your phone using bluetooth. You would then be able to choose which devices to use. For instance, I would bring my netbook and phone and sit down on my couch. I then pick up the remote control on the table (or start an app on my phone) and press the on-button. That displays a welcome screen:

1) Guest
2) Jo-Erlend
3) Ima Nother

I press 2 to choose "Jo-Erlend" and then I'm displayed with a second screen:

1) Enter your PIN using the remote control.
2) Activate joe-netbook and joe-phone
3) Only use joe-netbook
4) Only use joe-phone

This is where it gets interesting. I can log in using the remote control, entering a PIN number I've chosen. This only provides access to watch TV and not other parts of the system, since a PIN doesn't provide much security, but sufficient to watch TV.

However, that's boring. Instead, I choose to activate my netbook and phone. These are discovered on the WLAN. If I activate my phone, then a remote control app is run on the phone which is then used as an input device and I can login using an onscreen keyboard. I can then use my real password, providing full access to my user account on the big screen. I would use my phone as a dynamic, touchbased remote control, with play controls and lenses to easily access content, but also get webfeed updates on it -- from the TV system, etc. I should be able to switch to desktop mode, and then the phone can be used as a mouse and an onboard keyboard.

Activating my netbook means the TV connects to it, and I can then use my laptops keyboard and touchpad as input units for the TV, providing me with a very big screen to do any kind of work, like a big spreadsheet or anything. This solution is already readily available in Synergy, which is available for OS X, Windows, GNU/Linux, meaning that any laptop can easily be used for this as long as Synergy is running on it.

It would be nice if you could use tablets for this as well, at least as a mouse and keyboard for the TV, but the TV should also be able to display things on the tablet in that case.

What do you think?

Jo-Erlend Schinstad

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