In order to define the scope and requirements for the Ubuntu TV project, we need to collect a number of possible use cases and user stories. Please read through the user stories below and add your own.

IMPORTANT: A Use Case should focus on what the user would want to do or accomplish, not how they would accomplish it. Avoid mentioning specific technologies, software, or services in your use case, except as an example that help illustrate the functionality being described.

Local/networked media

Use cases around storing and accessing media files on the local machine or local network

  • Ubuntu TV should be a NAS, so local (and online?) machines can easily upload files like photos or videos on it.
  • What would be even cooler is that instead of a user having to upload their pictures, Ubuntu TV could monitor network connections and detect and download the new pictures in the camera once a connection is established.
  • Ubuntu TV should be able to use designated local folders.
  • Ubuntu TV should see any number of networked shares easily, such as UPNP / DNLA / SMB.
  • All the Ubuntu computers should also be able to share their multimedia files (photos / videos / music) easily. If you have a computer with Ubuntu and an Ubuntu TV, the user is expecting to be able to play the content of the computer on the TV very easily. So it could be interesting to install by default a simple media server on Ubuntu, like Rygel. With very few settings in the control panel: activate/deactivate, tick photos/videos/music (then add a tab with more settings maybe).
  • Ubuntu TV should be able to use a NAS or network share for exclusive or additional data storage, with options for what types of data to store in which locations. (eg. store music and pictures on the NAS, but keep recorded TV locally)
  • Support DVD ISO files with working menus.
  • Support DVD playback from a USB DVD drive (and make it available on network). No more clunky DVD player box under the TV!
  • The default photo application (currently Shotwell) should have the abilty to share the photos over the network to Ubuntu TV. Maybe another way to think of this is to have a Shotwell front end on Ubuntu TV. If you only implement a media server like Rygel, it will be difficult to browse by tag and only view the modified photos, so you will get a less integrated experience.
  • Support for Blu-Ray discs
  • Metadata (synopsis, ratings ...) for exisisting media content (on NAS for example) should be downloaded automatically if unambiguous identification is posible. Otherswise a list of posibilities should be presented on first view.
  • It should provide the ability to create several play lists like custom tv channels. For instance, a person with 100 movies should be able to make 4 play lists with 25 horror movies, 25 action movies, 25 comedy movies and another 25 drama movies each one. Then be able to play in group and in loop so you can use them as custom thematic channels. Also it should have the ability of putting different digital on-screen graphics (DOG, bug or watermark) for each play list (channel).

Online media

Use cases around finding and playing online media

  • Being able to use Internet-delivered content subscriptions like Netflix
  • Ubuntu TV should be able to play any content from Ubuntu One

  • Watch TV shows available online from the TV networks. E.g., German public broadcasters provide their shows online (often for a limited time). This way, one could watch shows without having to actually record them locally. Same with iPlayer, possibly having access built into Ubuntu's own library.
  • support HbbTV by integrating a capable Browser (like or Firefox with Firetv Plugin. Good starting page for hbbtv services is ; Hbbtv are special formatted websites for TVs that offer a replacement for teletext and access to the streaming content provided by the broadcasters.

  • An ability to aggregate listings or search for videos across multiple sites so the user doesn't have to search through multiple sites manually.
  • Dynamic picture quality based on Internet bandwidth for streaming video to avoid buffering and viewing interruptions. E.g. Only play video in HD when the bandwidth is high enough, when it is not; change to a lower quality.
  • Ability to subscribe to RSS feeds. Maybe also have a feed search like Miro.
  • Virtualization of secure DRM, to remove the excuses as to why Netflix or others wont support Linux. If Ubuntu could sell the fact that not only the servers are more secure but also commercial media, I think it could be started.
  • Ability to stream videos, music and view photos from my cloud storage.

Control from another device (smartphone, tablet etc.)

Use cases around the use of second-screen devices in conjunction with the TV.

  • It would be great to propose some apps to use a smartphone as a trackpad and keyboard.
  • Sending content to the TV should be compatible with software on smartphone tablets and can be used to remotely control it (example : Ubuntu TV should be an UPNP/DNLA renderer, use Skifta on Android)
  • A more advanced application could be interesting too, especially to browse photos (similar idea to the first proposition). You show the photos on the TV, and use the smartphone or tablet to swipe left or right, zoom with pinch, etc...
  • For Android: As XMBC, control current play: next, previous, forward, pause, play, change volume...
  • One should also be able to play back media that are stored on the Ubuntu TV on mobile devices. E.g., one might want to watch a movie while someone else is watching live TV. Then one could simply watch the movie on one’s tablet.
  • Tight Ubuntu desktop integration - search for content on your laptop in UbuntuTV lens, press play, content starts on the TV.
  • The TV/PC/tablet should maintain state, so if I am watching a show on my PC/tablet and want to resume it on my TV that works.
  • Stand-alone app to access and view the private pictures organized in Ubuntu TV quickly and easily over HTTPS (from outside the home network too; like 'Synology DS photo+' on Android). Maybe together with an easy GUI in Ubuntu TV to test/install the routing (like

Control from Camera

  • Use Skeltrack (Kinect Like Technology) to control Unity from a camera with hand gestures.

Broadcast (LiveTV, PVR)

Use cases around finding, storing and playing broadcast TV. Focus on general use, not on specific providers or shows.

  • LiveTV should have timeshift functionality: Pausing a live TV show should record it and automatically play back the recording when unpausing it.
  • Automatic timeshifting : You should automatically cache a few minutes when watching a channel so that at any time you can rewind and watch a scene again or a goal, touchdown...
  • There should be a timeline view using EPG data. Scheduling recordings should be possible directly from the timeline.
  • Ubuntu TV should support most forms of DVB (including DVB-C with CI+).
  • 1 thing I love from Tivo on Virgin is the ability to search for actors, keywords, show names, etc.
  • Tivo also does suggested recordings so that it monitors what you like and then records any other show(s) that meet(s) that criteria or has some of the same actors in it.
  • PVR should have access to existing PVR backend solutions (MythTV, TVheadend, MediaPortal, etc.)

  • Live TV should have access to external TV tuners (HDHomeRun, etc.)
  • Be able to add specific channels to the Launcher


Use cases around the kind of applications that would be desirable on a TV interface. Focus on the functionality that is desired, not specific implementations.

  • Include bluetooth in the TV. This way, the TV can see if someone with a smartphone is arriving in the room and show personalized content : "Hello Francois, I hope your day was fine. You were watching the movie "Watchmen" yesterday, do you want to resume? Also, I have 12 new RSS news feeds for you, would you like to read them?".
  • Include a "send to TV" function in as many pieces of software as possible on computers/smartphones/tablets. Example: you are looking at a website on your tablet, you want to show a specific page to everybody. You just press the "send to Ubuntu TV" button, and the website appears on the screen. You can consider many different contents : website, a movie (it will send it to the TV and keep playing where you stopped), photos, a game, etc...
  • A "send my screen to TV" function, which just shows your current screen live on the TV. The feature should be usable by multiple users at the same time. A user can "get the screen" so his/her picture will be shown in full size. The other screens should be shown as small thumbnails in the lower part of the screen (like Google Hangouts). The feature would be nice in meetings, with multiple people having multiple laptops / devices.. One could easily push his content to a "shared screen" (somehow related to the feature above, but with multiple users)
  • Any app for helping in the surveillance of a baby (example: On the TV I'm watching a movie, but in a small box on a corner of the TV I see my baby sleeping).
  • For older people, an application to call fast to emergency personnel.
  • A simple video cut software should be pre-installed. No complete NLE, but something you can cut out commercials with when archiving your recordings, like dvbcut or what many hard disk recorders provide. It should suggest cut points based on commercial filtering scripts (I think MythTV has those).
  • Video content should be categorized as a movie, TV show, or other custom description. Information about the video should be able to be fetched from IMDB or other source if applicable. It should also be possible to define a specific kids section and have optional parental controls for everything else.
  • I'd like to be able to start from any actor, film, director or partial film name and navigate through other actors/directors, etc. to finally get to the flim I was originally thinking of, but couldn't remember, and then buy/rent/watch it, wherever the video is located. "What was the name of that film that had the guy who was also in that film you liked with her out of friends in it?"
  • Provide a way for ripping DVDs to an available storage location with a few well chosen codec presets.
  • Playback music from multiple sources, displaying the album cover and metadata on the screen.
  • A web interface for managing content and recording schedules
  • Play nice with other existing FLOSS media systems, such as XBMC, including DLNA (UPnP) functionality
  • Aim to be a comprehensive media-hub for home, including simple docking & loading of media on & off of portable media devices, such as Android, iPod's, etc

  • Extendable plugin architecture to facilitate arbitrary 3rd-party applications, possibly from other platforms such as Android Play market or MythTV/XBMC plugins
  • A modified version of Software Center for downloading software and games.
  • A web browser for Ubuntu TV.
  • Internet messaging with video call support.
  • Social networking feature, an application for checking Google+, Facebook, Twitter and etc.
  • Multitasking in full-screen mode and in split, Aero-Snap mode. An app would be splitted moving the cursor to the icon of the app to be added to the screen, maintaining the "Enter" button, pressing the left arrow key and moving it with the arrow keys.


  • Cloud gaming allows a user the ability to play high quality games on their TV which also requires Ubuntu TV to support wireless joysticks.
  • Simple way to run old ROMs with gamepad and whatnot.
  • With Steam supposedly coming to Ubuntu, it should be able to be used as something of a regular gaming console.
  • Create a partnership with Gaikai and allow to install games as regular applications.
  • Create a partnership with Onlive and allow to install games via Software Center.

Magazine and Newspaper

  • It could be great if users can read magazines and newspaper in ubuntu TV
    • Reading large amounts of text on a TV screen from a distance isn't going to be easy or comfortable

User Interface

  • A really cool searchbar, which indexes all data available, even online data. I would propose a dedicated index, because that way it can be a lot faster. It should work like the omnibox in a browser, but with thumbnails.
    • This comes as a result of using Unity for the interface
  • Picture in Picture with support for many different sources, not just other video/TV streams
  • Ability to *lightly* authenticate users. Allow a way to use cool authentication techniques such as face recognition, voice recognition, or choosing a user's face from a menu. This will allow us to create a personolized Ubuntu TV experience so that each user can bring their relevant content up. But we need to keep in mind, TV is usually thought of as a shared media device. Most of us want our guests to be able to turn our TV on and entertain themselves without having to ask us any questions. We need to think very carefully about how we address personalization, privacy, and usability.

UbuntuTV/UseCases (last edited 2012-12-31 11:34:32 by nava.a)