Play- list path interaction and visualisation
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to a system that either stores or has access to a collection of many media items, e.g. music tracks or photographs, and that can make a selection to be rendered for the user from the available media items. To this end, the system creates a play- list with selected media items and subsequently executes this list, i.e. reproduces the media items on the list. The selection is done on the basis of certain criteria, e.g. a user profile and the time of day. Additionally or alternatively, the user may add a specific or particular item to the list and the system will then further add items similar to the particular item added by the user. A so-called recommender module may provide creation of the play- list. Such a recommender module uses a number of parameters, e.g. user profile, time of day, specific user input, such as selecting a particular media item from the collection of media items, etc., and checks which of the media items sufficiently match with the current values of these parameters.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Already known is a mechanism to create play- lists using similarity matching algorithms. The user can express his likes and dislikes of content items to create a personalized play list of media items. An example of a research project in this field has been shown at the Philips Concern Research Exhibition 2004: "Expressive Music Jukebox, tuned to your music". Also in the field of TV recommender systems a number of User Interface concepts are known in this area.
Also known is recent research on the visualization of personal music libraries, see article: 'Visualizing and exploring personal music libraries' by M. Torrens, P. Hertzog and J. Arcos. This article describes three new graphical visualizations of music libraries and the presentation of play- lists within these libraries. When creating and reviewing a play- list in the known system, the user can easily loose the overview of what is in the play- list and what the user can add to the play- list. When adding intelligence to this process by means of a recommendation enhanced play- list creation, this disadvantage is further aggravated.
The inventor of the present invention has appreciated that an improved system and method for play- list creation is of benefit, and has in consequence devised the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Preferably, the invention alleviates, mitigates or eliminates one or more of the above or other disadvantages singly or in any combination. The present invention seeks to provide an improved system and method for play- list creation.
It may be seen as an object of the present invention to give the user a better overview and insight of the play- list creation process. Alternatively, it may be seen as an object of the invention to provide an improved overview of what is in the play- list and what can be added to the play- list. Still further, it may alternatively or additionally to the described objects be seen as an object to give visual indication on an operating status of the play- list and/or the play- list creation process and/or an operating status for a system for creating a play- list.
Even further, it may alternatively or additionally to the described objects be seen as an object to give visual indication on an operating status, e.g. of a system representing a play- list with a relative high number of media items in the play- list, on a display with a limited display area or size. To this end, the automatic play- list generation process according to the present invention is illustrated visually, which makes it more intuitive and more clear for people. The user can immediately see the effect of choosing a particular media item with the context of this entire media collection. Feedback on each user action (like adding, deletion, navigating media items) is given in a direct way, which makes the intelligence and behaviour of recommender systems more understandable.
Thus, according to the present invention the play- list is displayed in the context of the total collection of media items. In particular it shows the total collection as a 2D star field and the play- list, or part of the play- list, as a path connecting the selected stars. The star field represents the total collection of media items and the stars connected in the path represent the selected media items, i.e. the play-list.
The present invention builds on the principle of similarity matching by adding a new kind of interaction and visualization of the play- list that helps the user to understand the process of creation. The invention assumes that the user is able to easily navigate, e.g. with a tuning dial, to browse through the total media item collection of the user. The user can
then select one or more media items as input to the play- list recommender process. There will be a direct feedback loop between the formation of the play- list and the interaction of the user (i.e. adding and removing items).
PARTICULAR EMBODIMENTS INCLUDE: display the play- list simultaneously as a traditional list and as a path in the star field; keeping the two consistent when adding items and deleting items and during execution; show part of the play- list near the currently reproduced item, e.g. only the next few items whereby the later ones fade out; - the items in the 2D star field are organized per genre in the X-direction and per popularity, e.g. number of times selected, in the Y-direction; or e.g. the date of the media item in the Y-direction; display user selected items distinct from system recommended items; allow the user to select items from the starfield as some kind of waypoints and have the system create a connecting path by selecting similar items.
Accordingly there is provided, in a first aspect, a system for creating a play- list, the system containing: a means for accessing a collection containing a plurality of media items, a recommender for selecting a number of the media items to be included in the play-list, display means for simultaneously displaying a representation of the collection of the media items and a representation of the play- list.
Each of the media items is at least correlated with semantic information characterizing the media item. Examples of such semantic information may be information such as one or more of the following; genre, popularity, popularity given by number of times played in a certain time period, number of times selected since included in the collection of media items, a date of the media item, a release date of the media item, a time for the selection of the media item, etc.
The recommender may comprise a control logic processor adapted for implementing a similarity matching algorithm. The similarity matching algorithm may be using the semantic information for creating the play- list. The recommender and/or the similarity matching algorithm may be using specific input and/or the semantic information for creating at least part of the play- list. The recommender may further be adapted for sorting the collection of media items and/or the created play- list in accordance with specific input(s)
and/or the semantic information, such as by one or more of; genre, by an increasing or decreasing popularity, by a date of the media item, by a time of selection of the media item etc.
Alternatively or additionally the recommender and/or the similarity matching algorithm may be using specific input of media items to be included in the play- list and/or the semantic information for creating the play-list as a sequence.
The sequence may as an example be provided so as firstly to play all recommended and/or selected items within one category or genre and then move to one of the adjacent categories or genres. The sequence may alternatively or additionally be generated from one or more of the semantic informations as described.
The recommender for selecting a number of media items to be included in the play- list may alternatively or additionally be provided as a recommender for recommending a number of media items to be included in the play- list. The system may furthermore comprise an input means for receiving a specific input of one or more of the recommended media items to be specifically selected. One or more users may operate the input means. The input means may be one or more devices such as a mouse, a keyboard, a tuning dial or the like devices.
A possible advantage by the present invention may be that typically a user needs to execute e.g. only a few clicks to create a play- list.
When, the representation of the play- list is a graphical representation a possible advantage may be that the operating status of the system is visually indicated in a way not to loose the overview of the operating status.
When, the representation of the collection of the media items and the representation of the play- list is provided in a single view, a possible advantage may be that the effect on the system of an interaction with the play- list and/or a change in the status of the system is shown relative to the representation of the collection of the media items.
When, the representation of the collection of the media items and the representation of the play- list is organized per genre in an X-direction, a possible advantage may be that a simple but yet effective way of organizing the representation of the play- list is provided. When, the representation of the collection of the media items and the representation of the play- list is organized per popularity in a Y-direction, a possible advantage may be that a simple but yet effective way of organizing the representation of the play-list is provided.
It must be understood that one or more or all of the following actions as claimed may be provided by one or more users of the system; adding a specific media item, an interaction with the system, media items added explicitly, waypoints set, the specific input. In general, a possible advantage by interlinked views and therefore consistent views, between the list based play- list and the graphical representation of the play- list (graphical path), may be that feedback on each user action (like adding, deletion, navigating media items) is given in a direct way, which makes the intelligence and behaviour and/or operating status of the system more understandable. Even tough no user interaction is provided, but the system recommends and selects media items to be played without momentary user interaction, the intelligence and behaviour and/or operating status of the system may be more understandable.
When, the media items added explicitly are visualised in the path different from items that are recommended by the system, a possible advantage may be an enhanced understanding of the operating status of the system.
When, a playback (or the path representing the play- list) enters a cluster of media items all paths will be traversed and media items will be played, a possible advantage may be that this will simplify the visualisation when there are similar tracks of e.g. the same artist or album in the play- list. Another possible advantage may be that the representation of the media items in the play- list may be provided on a decreased area of a display device.
When one or more waypoints are set in a play- list path, wherein the waypoints represent media items that must be included in the play- list, a possible advantage may be that a personalized or group based play- list may be created.
When, the representation of the play- list is a path connecting a number of media items among the media items in the complete collection of the plurality of media items, a possible advantage may be that the sequence of a relative high number of media items in the play- list can be understood and/or provided on a relative limited area of a display.
In general, a possible advantage by the present invention may be that a user is able to verify that the operating status of the system is correct. In particular, a possible advantage by the invention may be that a recommendation and/or a selection of a relative high number of media items, and possibly also an indication of e.g. the sequence and/or the genre and/or the popularity of the media items is represented e.g. on a limited display area. Furthermore, a possible advantage may be that e.g. a selection by one or more users of one or
more media items, that the selected media items is to be included in the play- list is provided on the basis of an overview of the collection containing a plurality of media items. Furthermore the play- list may be modified on the same basis, possibly provided on a limited display area. In a second aspect of the invention there is provided an optical system comprising a system for creating a play- list and the optical system further comprises an optical drive.
According to a third and forth aspect according to the invention there are provided a method of creating a play- list and a computer readable code adapted to perform the method steps, respectively.
In general the various aspects and possible advantages of the invention may be combined and coupled in any way possible within the scope of the invention.
These and other aspects, features and/or advantages of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments of the invention will be described, by way of example only, with reference to the drawings, in which
Fig. IA shows the display of a play- list according to the invention. Fig. IB shows a system for creating the play- list according to the invention.
Fig. 2 shows the display of media items in the play- list path.
Fig. 3 shows the possibility to set waypoints in the play- list path.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Play-list path visualization
Fig. IA shows the play-list visualisation according to the invention. The play- list is presented to the user in two different views. The first view 102 is the traditional list based view (e.g. known from programs like MusicMatch or the iPod play- lists).
The second view 104 shows a representation of the total music collection. The total music collection may e.g. be shown in a 2D plane using a starfield metaphor.
The media items are for example clustered spatially using a category system (e.g. music genres). The play- list is now visualised in this overview of the total collection, e.g. in the 2D starfield plane, as a 'path', where 106 point to a part of the path that connects the individual media items 110 and 112, where 108, 114, 116, 118 are also individual media
items of the play- list. The path corresponds with the list-based play- list shown in the first view. The current active media item is highlighted and the highlight follows the path when the execution of the play- list progresses. The current media item referred to here may be the media item 120. As this happens also the highlight in the list-based play- list jumps. If the highlights moves to another category in the first view 102, this category is placed in the centre of the window showing the starfield plane in the second view. This is not shown in the example on the figure.
The reference number 122 refers to the category, in the example the music genre 'Rock' in the X-direction of the second view 104. The media items 118 and 122 in the second view 104 are shown as a bigger dot. The bigger dot may also be referred to as a dot surrounded by a ring. The bigger dot may indicate that the bigger dot represents a cluster of more than one media item. Please refer to FIG. 2 for further description of the bigger dots.
The media item 132 is at the given moment of operating status of the system 130 not part of the play- list 103 and therefore accordingly not part of the path 107 (or play- list path).
If the user selects a media item, this item will be added to the set of input parameters for the similarity matching algorithm. The user can also deselect items again to remove their effect in the matching algorithm. Because the result of the matching is visualised directly in the 'path', the user can immediately see the effect that selected media items will have.
In this way the user can iteratively change a recommended play- list easily. Additionally, media items that are added by the user explicitly are visualised in the path different from items that are recommended by the system. E.g. having a filled dot instead of an empty dot.
Also the number of connected lines in the path is limited to simplify the view, possibly with a fade-out effect. This is also shown in FIG. IA, where e.g. the part of the path connecting the media items 108 and 110 is relative faded while e.g. the part of the path connecting the media items 116 and 118 is relatively thick. When the highlight in the path moves, the look-ahead of media items in the path will progress.
The current active media item is the media item 118. The media item 118 is played and the followed by playing the media item 116, then the media item 122, 112, 110 and 108.
Alternatively or additionally, the second view 104 could be shown in an even further condensed view. In the case of an even further condensed view the path is visualized in a alternative way, e.g. using colour to indicate the play-list direction across genres. When the user navigates through the play-list (textual list), the user can see the colours fade in and out and hereby getting an indication of the spread of music within his collection. As an example the genre 'jazz' could be blue because this genre is played, the genre 'lounge' could have a light blue colour because lounge will be the next genre to be played etc.
User interaction All interaction that has an effect on the play- list will have a direct effect on the path representation in the second view 104. The changes are stressed using animation techniques, like fade-out and fade-in of path segments as discussed in the foregoing.
The following user interactions will affect the path visualisation.
Scrolling through the list based play-list representation in the first view. When the user navigates through the textual play- list, the highlight in the path in the second view 104 will follow the highlight in the list in the first view. As the user scrolls through the list, the part of the play- list path that is visible will follow this scrolling.
Delete items from play-list. When the user navigates through the textual play- list, he is also able to delete media items. In this case, the item will also disappear from the path visualisation and also similar media items will be deleted from the path and the play- list.
Add new items to the play-list. When the user adds a media item to the play- list, this item will be included in the path. Also similar items will be added to the play- list. To reflect which items are explicitly chosen and which items are recommended items, the user- selected items are represented in the path in a different way than the recommended items. Please refer to FIG. 3 for further description of this.
Selecting a recommended media item. If the user sees a recommended item in the generated play- list that the user really likes, the user can select it in the list to indicate this particular media item is liked. The visual representation of this item in the path will be highlighted (see also adding of items), and the path and the play- list could change due to a change of recommended items.
The following list is an overview of various features that can be used in the invention:
Visualisation of a play- list in the context of a total collection, using a path that links media items within the collection.
Interlinked views between the list-based play- list view and the graphical path representation. When the next media item starts, a highlight will move in the path. When the user scrolls through the list of media items in the play- list, the highlight will also move and traverse (or change) the path. As an example hereof the current item 118 is in FIG. IA shown as e.g. relatively more highlighted than e.g. the media item 122. Similarly the part of the path connecting the current media item 118 and the next media item 116 is relatively more highlighted than following parts of the path. When the media item 118 is finished and the media item 116 will be the current media item the highlight of the path and/or the highlight of current item will change and follow the change in the path, i.e. the part of the path connecting the media item 116 and 122 will then be changed to the most highlighted part of the path and the media item 116 will be changed to the most highlighted media item among the media items connected by the path.
The media item 110 may e.g. represent a media item more popular than the media item 116 because the media item 110 is placed above the media item 116 in a Y- direction of the second view 104.
A direct feedback loop between the formation of the play- list and the interaction of the user. Changes in the play- list are reflected in the graphical path representation. The changes are stressed using animation techniques, like fade-out and fade- in of path segments. - When the user adds a media item to the play- list, this item as well as similar items are added to the list-based play- list and the graphical path representation is adjusted accordingly.
If a media item is deleted from the play- list, this item and similar items are removed from the list-based play- list as well as from the graphical path representation. - If a recommended item from the generated play- list is selected, additional similar items are added to the play- list and the path representation is adjusted accordingly.
Typically a user needs to execute only a few clicks to create a nice play- list.
Selected media items (used for similarity matching) are represented differently (e.g. emphasised) compared to suggested media items in the play- list path visualization. - The visual path representation will only show a look-ahead of the media items that are to be played. This path could fade-out graphically to dissolve into the background as shown in FIG. IA. Also the last few played items could be visualized like this. A means (or device) for accessing a collection containing a plurality of media items is shown at 124.
Please refer to FIG. IB. The device 124 may further comprise one or more input devices 134 making it easily for the user to navigate, e.g. with a tuning dial and to browse through the total media item collection and/or e.g. manually to select or highlight media items. The input device 134 (or means) for making it easy for the user to navigate may be a device such as one or more input devices, e.g. a keyboard and a mouse, for interaction with the user.
The device 124 may further comprise a storage 138, for the collection containing the plurality of media items and/or for storage of software used by the system. The storage may comprise an optical drive 140 for reading from and/or writing to e.g. an optical information carrier and/or the storage may comprise a hard-disk.
The user can then select one or more media items as input to the play- list recommender process. A recommender for selecting a number of the media items to be included in the play- list is shown at 126. The media items may alternatively or additionally be automatically selected by the recommender 126 based on specific user inputs and/or user profile etc. The recommender 126 may comprise a device such as a control logic processor as indicated by 136.
Alternatively or additionally, the media items recommended by the recommender 126 in the system 130 may be chosen based on e.g. similarity matching between media items selected manually by the user and media items among the collection of media items. Furthermore FIG. IA and FIG. IB shows a display means or display device
128. The display device 128 may e.g. be a Liquid Crystal Display screen, a touch screen etc.
Fig. 2 shows an embodiment that improves the display of the items in the path. If items are very near to each other visually, they are represented according to this embodiment as a cluster indicated by a bigger dot (not shown in FIG. 2 - please refer to the dots 118 and/or 122 in FIG. 1). Alternatively there could also be some sort of star construction, which is traversed in the play-list as shown in FIG. 2. When the playback enters this cluster, all paths will be traversed and media items will be played. This will simplify the visualisation when there are similar tracks of the same artist or album in the play- list.
The bigger dot is traversed (or changed) into a main dot 202 and a number of dots 204, 206 and 208 representing similar media items and forming a formation constructed by a line running from the main dot 202 to each of the similar dots and back to the main dot 202 and/or shown as a line from the main dot to each of the similar dots having a dead end at the similar dots. The main dot 202 may or may not be a media item selected by the user.
In the present context the wording 'traversed' may alternatively or additionally refer to that a line is shown from the main media item 202 within a cluster 210 of media items to a similar media item, such as 204, in the cluster 210 along with a line from the similar media item 204 to the main media item 202. Such a line construction indicates that the media item represented by the main media item 202 is followed by the media item 204 and then followed by e.g. the media items 206 and 208 and then e.g. followed by the media item 212.
The reference number 214 refers to a genre in the X-direction. The reference number 216 refers to a media item which at the given moment of operating status of the system is not part of the play- list and therefore accordingly not part of the representation of the play-list.
Further embodiments include other ways of visualising the media item collection, in which the path representation of the play- list is shown. Such other visualisations are described in the article 'Visualizing and exploring personal music libraries' by M. Torrens, P. Hertzog and J. Arcos. For example a circular disc visualisation or a tree map visualisation can be used.
Furthermore, the recommender system that generates the play-list can create a play sequence that first plays all relevant items within one category and then moves to one of the adjacent categories. This reduces the jumping between categories and mixes well with the star cluster visualization.
Fig. 3 shows an embodiment where the user has the possibility to set waypoints in the play- list path. These waypoints represent media items that must be included in the play- list. The recommender system will then construct a play- list that fits these waypoints. In the example of FIG. 3, the user has added or selected specific media items, which are the filled dots 302, 304, 306. Subsequently, the recommender system creates a path that contains these and similar media items. The similar media items may be media items such as the media items represented by the unfilled dots or graphical signs such as 308 and 310. It is seen from the figure and noted that the unfilled and the filled dots is two different representation of two different types of media items, items selected by the user represented by filled dots and items suggested or chosen by the recommender represented by unfilled dots.
The media items 309, 310, 311 are all media items similar to the media item 304.
Depending on e.g. an initial setup of the system, the system may or may not include in the play-list the similar media items around a media item, such as 304, selected by the user and/or may or may not include the similar media items around a media item 312 not selected by the user, but recommended by the recommender of the system. In general, the dots and the unfilled dots or any other of the graphical signs representing media items herein, may be any other type of graphical signs such as circles, triangles, * (a star), or the alike. When needed, e.g. as described in FIG. 3, these graphical signs can be made distinct from each other by their size, amount of highlight, filling etc. Furthermore one type of sign may be used for a particular type of media item such as a media item suggested or recommended by the recommender and another type for e.g. a media item selected by the user. Alternatively or additionally, specific signs may e.g. be used for media items not played in a certain period, or very popular media items etc. For further description of different representation of the media items please refer to e.g. the description of FIG. 1 under 'Add new items to the play-list'. The user is able to input (or add) the waypoints in the second view. The input may be provided by the user selecting one of the dots or graphical signs in the second view. Hereby the user is allowed to select items from the starfield as waypoints and have the system create a connecting path by the recommender selecting similar items to the one or more media items selected as waypoints by the user. The visualisation of the play- list as a path according to the invention can also be used when multiple users create a single play- list. The media collections of all involved users are merged and each user can indicate one or more tracks for a joint play- list. This could be an interactive and iterative process where all users see the results of the play- list creation in real-time as other users input their selection. The invention described above can be applied in systems that locally have a large media collection and in systems that have remote access to a large media collection. Examples are:
Portable media players (music, video, photos).
Devices through which the user can order and receive the media items in a streamed format. This may be devices that access locally stored media items or remotely stored material on media servers or PCs.
Mobile phones that will have an increasing amount of pictures and music material stored on it.
In one realisation, the invention is implemented on a general purpose computer with a processor and a working memory. Software, containing various modules for executing the various functions described above, is loaded into the working memory and executed by the processor. The computer has a local storage, e.g. a hard disk, for storing the software and storing the media item collection. Alternatively, the media collection is stored at a remote location and the computer is provided with a network access to access the media item collection. The computer includes a display and one or more input devices, e.g. a keyboard and a mouse, for interaction with the user. The software includes a module for providing to the user a graphical user interface for this interacting with the computer, e.g. for providing input for the play- list creation and for displaying the play- list and the path play- list as described above. Part of the software may be realised in dedicated hardware. As an alternative the using a general purpose computer, a device can be made completely containing dedicated hardware for realising the various functions. Although the present invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments, it is not intended to be limited to the specific form set forth herein. Rather, the scope of the present invention is limited only by the accompanying claims.
In this section, certain specific details of the disclosed embodiment, are set forth for purposes of explanation rather than limitation, so as to provide a clear and thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it should be understood readily by those skilled in this art, that the present invention may be practised in other embodiments which do not conform exactly to the details set forth herein, without departing significantly from the spirit and scope of this disclosure. Further, in this context, and for the purposes of brevity and clarity, detailed descriptions of well-known apparatus, circuits and methodology have been omitted so as to avoid unnecessary detail and possible confusion. Reference signs are included in the claims, however the inclusion of the reference signs is only for clarity reasons and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the claims.