DPS913 APD601 Assignment Specifications for qPVR

This document has more information on the “qPVR” app.

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Premise / app definition statement

qPVR is a personal visual entertainment enablement app that helps you queue, plan, view, and remember movies, television programs, and videos.

This app will provide a set of tools to help someone get the most out of their entertainment viewing activities. In today’s society and culture, entertainment is important. The app will help you look for something to watch, and then help you plan to watch it (alone or with someone else), then watch it, and finally give feedback on it.

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The app’s client / sponsor

The idea for the app originated with your professor, Peter McIntyre, in the School of ICT. More information is in the Design Overview section, below.

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Apps that are similar and currently available

Your professor has not exhaustively searched for similar apps. However, a brief search did not uncover any apps with a similar theme.

An app that’s similar in concept is Goodreads. It is focused on books. Some of its ideas are helpful, however. As an app, Goodreads is available on the web, and as an iOS app. Your professor suggests that you sign up for an account on the web app, download and install the iOS app, and then use it to help you create the qPVR app.

For movies (that originate mostly from the Hollywood entertainment industry), your professor is aware of the Flixter web and iOS apps. However, their feature set is limited and constrictive.

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Design overview

As stated above, the app will provide a set of tools to help someone get the most out of their entertainment viewing activities.

In today’s society and culture, entertainment is important. The app will help you look for something to watch, and then help you plan to watch it (alone or with someone else), then watch it, and finally give feedback on it.

The meaning of “something to watch” is NOT restricted to movies. Your professor’s meaning and definition is wide-ranging, and is intended to capture all forms of “watchable entertainment”, which can include the following (and more):

  • Movies, theatrical release
  • Movies, released on physical media like DVD or BluRay
  • Movies, available digitally, from a provider (e.g. your cable/satellite provider, Netflix, or other streaming source)
  • Television shows (or series/seasons), available on broadcast or cable television, physical media or digitally
  • Live sporting (competitive) events, watched live, or on a screen
  • Live performance events (e.g. theatre, seminars, readings, etc.) (live or on-screen)
  • Music performance (e.g. concerts) events (live or on-screen)
  • Web video, from any number of sources (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, or the content creator, perhaps using the services of a distribution provider)
  • Visual art events

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The app will help the user manage the “life cycle” of watchable entertainment. It will have four notable and visible components (which contribute their first letters to create the qPVR initialism!). They are listed here, and described in later paragraphs:

  • Queue
  • Plan
  • View
  • Remember

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Data source and storage for the app

For this app, as a programming assignment for the Winter 2012 semester Apple App Dev course, you can design your work to use a mix of on-device and web service data storage.

The app’s client/sponsor has plans to create a web service in the future, which will enable the development of a web app, as well as apps for other mobile platforms (like Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Android) to be created, while using the same data store.

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Queue

This function or component of the app will enable the user to search for, note, and categorize their watchable entertainment.

It may have a screen or two which will present structured lists of available entertainment from sources that provide that data. In a web service setting, maybe the app can suggest “top” choices, which are highly-rated by the app’s users.

Additionally, for entertainment sources which typically don’t offer a nicely-structured and formatted data set, there will be a screen or two which will enable the user to capture and enter information about something to watch.

In essence, this function simply enables the gathering of “something to watch” items.

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Plan

This function or component of the app will enable the user to prioritize their watchable entertainment, schedule it, and share information about it with others.

Prioritizing what to watch can be simple – first in, first out – but it is rarely that simple. Deciding what to watch depends on your needs at the time, your mood, your context, how much time you have, and so on. The app should enable the user to help with this task.

Some entertainment events are scheduled and ephemeral – in other words, “appointment viewing”. These include many live sporting, theatre, or concert events. The user should be able to schedule these on the device’s calendar.

Other events can be viewed from a queue. If the user prioritized their “something to watch” list, they can easily pick the next one in the queue that matches their current situation.

Some entertainment events will be viewed alone, but many times, you’ll want to share the experience with someone else. Sometimes, you want to “go out with the guys” to a movie. You may pick the shoot-em-and-blow-things-up choice with that group. In contrast, you may pick a romantic comedy to watch with a loved one. The app should be able to share your “something to watch” plans with others.

The “sharing” aspect of this app implies that the user should be able to save/store information about friends and family (i.e. whoever they will be watching together with), whether they are users of the app or not.

In essence, this function enables the planning and scheduling of watchable entertainment.

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View

An iOS device – iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad – is an amazing viewer for video. Therefore, if your “something to watch” is available in digital form, you may choose to view it on the device.

Alternatively, if you must view your entertainment on a television, in a movie theatre, or in a concert venue, then the app should simply identify your viewing destination, and perhaps help you locate it on a map.

A modern connected entertainment viewer will often use their mobile device while watching entertainment. They may be texting, tweeting, or browsing. Maybe the app should support some of these activities in a meaningful way.

In essence, this function enables you to watch your entertainment.

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Remember

During or after viewing, the user will want to record their thoughts.

At a minimum, the app should obviously be able to set the status of the item to “viewed”. Beyond that, the app should enable the user to enter a “review” if they wish, or at least “rate” the item. In an environment with a web service, these ratings can be captured anonymously, and aggregated, to provide useful data to others who may view the item in the future.

Maybe the app can offer to “send a link” to others (friends etc.), if the user wishes.

Also, it may be a good idea to ask the user whether they would watch more from this show (or actor, band, musician, artist, director, producer, speaker, teacher, etc.) in the future. Then, the app could suggest other items, and/or use this info in the “queue” (search) function above.

In essence, this function enables you to remember something about the thing you just watched.

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