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Apparatus and methods for channel scanning by theme

Info

Publication number
CA2207700A1
CA2207700A1 CA 2207700 CA2207700A CA2207700A1 CA 2207700 A1 CA2207700 A1 CA 2207700A1 CA 2207700 CA2207700 CA 2207700 CA 2207700 A CA2207700 A CA 2207700A CA 2207700 A1 CA2207700 A1 CA 2207700A1
Authority
CA
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
theme
channel
key
television
remote
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
CA 2207700
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Henry C. Yuen
Elsie Y. Leung
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Gemstar Dev Corp
Original Assignee
Gemstar Development Corporation
Henry C. Yuen
Elsie Y. Leung
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Family has litigation

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/434Disassembling of a multiplex stream, e.g. demultiplexing audio and video streams, extraction of additional data from a video stream; Remultiplexing of multiplex streams; Extraction or processing of SI; Disassembling of packetised elementary stream
    • H04N21/4345Extraction or processing of SI, e.g. extracting service information from an MPEG stream
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03JTUNING RESONANT CIRCUITS; SELECTING RESONANT CIRCUITS
    • H03J1/00Details of adjusting, driving, indicating, or mechanical control arrangements for resonant circuits in general
    • H03J1/0008Details of adjusting, driving, indicating, or mechanical control arrangements for resonant circuits in general using a central processing unit, e.g. a microprocessor
    • H03J1/0025Details of adjusting, driving, indicating, or mechanical control arrangements for resonant circuits in general using a central processing unit, e.g. a microprocessor in a remote control unit
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/482End-user interface for program selection
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/44Receiver circuitry
    • H04N5/445Receiver circuitry for displaying additional information
    • H04N5/44543Menu-type displays
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/44Receiver circuitry
    • H04N5/445Receiver circuitry for displaying additional information
    • H04N5/44582Receiver circuitry for displaying additional information the additional information being controlled by a remote control apparatus
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/44Receiver circuitry
    • H04N5/50Tuning indicators; Automatic tuning control
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03JTUNING RESONANT CIRCUITS; SELECTING RESONANT CIRCUITS
    • H03J2200/00Indexing scheme relating to tuning resonant circuits and selecting resonant circuits
    • H03J2200/25Remote control device with display

Abstract

Apparatus and method for selecting channels on a television system by theme. A
remote controller (10) for the television system includes a plurality of theme keys (34-44), each theme key corresponding to one theme, apparatus (104) for storing the entered channel indicators corresponding to each theme, apparatus (100, 16) for accessing and transmitting to the television system each channel indicator corresponding to a first theme of the plurality of theme in sequence to control channel selection for the television system, if a first theme key corresponding to the first theme is pressed, apparatus for pausing a set period of time after accessing and transmitting a channel indicator before continuing to access and transmit channel indicators corresponding to the first theme in sequence, and apparatus for stopping the apparatus for accessing and transmitting from accessing and transmitting each channel indicator corresponding to a first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence, if the first theme key is pressed again.

Description

CA 02207700 l997-06-ll W O96/1~074 PCT/US95/16090 APPARATUS AND MET~IODS FOR C}IANN~L SCANNING BY T~h~.
R~l~, VulJd of the Invention Field of the I~ ti~n-This invention relates to controlling channel ~l~tjon on a television ancl particularly to ~y~luS and mf~.th~c for s~l~tin~ ch~nn~lc by theme.
Des~ lio.l of the Related Art:
In p,~nlly used television systems, many rh~nntolc are available that broadcast a wide range of topics inrhl~1ing news, sports, movies, ylug.. min~ for kids, and music. Due to 10 the large number of eh~nn~olc available via cable and satellite receivers, a viewer is often overwhelmed when ~l~tin~ a channel for viewing. Even when the viewer knows the e act program and broadcast channel (for eY~mplr, Prime Ticket on channel 39) Ihe viewer may still have trouble locating the yl~lal-l be~ ce cable channel numbers are often .liîrGlGnl depe.n-lin~ on the cable channel comr~ny that is ~ in~ the ch~nn~lc Guides are 15 published which ~le~ ibe the local ~ ....ll;ng; however, the guides are inc;lG~sing comrli~t~1 to read and not always up to date. When a user turns on a television system, the user often knows the ~ l~ll theme ~at he or she wishes ~o watch. ForeY~mrle, the user may wish to watch news. If the user does not hlow the channel number of a particular news station, then the user will often use a remote controller lo scan through 20 the ch~nn~lc until a channel with news is found. The user does this by pressing the channel up or down c~ nd on the remote controller. This method of sc~nnin~ the ch~n available on a television system is often called channel surfing. The user surfs the ch~nn~l~
until a pr~gl~" is found that Ill~ l.Fc the theme the user wishes to watch.
A number of Al ~e~n~ have been made to make the sr tinn of çh:lnn.ol.~ coll~cl~n-ling 25 to a particular theme easier to accompli~h U.S. Patent 5,296,931 (Na) tii~rlospc a channel selPrting method for plOgldlllS of the same ca~egol~l. Arbit~ary çh~nnP1~ are ~ci~pd ac~ording to the same types Df ~ Jgl~llS as those cont~inPd in signals broadcast from a bro~ tin~ station using a VPS ~llnoti-~n The method de~lllill~ whether a received broadcast signal uses the video ~lu~ system (VPS
30 br~lr~tin~) and r~~'4g..;~C codes collc~l~n~iin~ to the pr~l~"s and a,l,iLI~ily assigns ch~nnPl~ for the prugldlns according to the codes. Then, if a desired channel is SPl~tP11 the same types of plU~l~llS o~ sl~n~in~ to that channel can be ~ u..~A~ir~1ly r~og~ d, so that the br~ c~ctins channel sPl~tin~ for viewing the same type of pn~gld",s can be easily pelrc,l",ed.
For example, the ch~rprtpr nA" may be ~ nP~ to ~.. nSe~.~?nt plùg~ , the ch~r~ct~.r nB~ to sports ~rugldllls and the ch~r~rt~r C tû serial dramas and çncoflP~ onto the video signal output. The VPS data is sent during the vertical blanking interval of the video signal.

-1- ' .

CA 02207700 l997-06-ll W O96/19074 PCTnUS95/16090 A disadvantage of Na is that a user must first select a desired channel before other Gh~nnPlc having the same types of pl'Ogl~Ulls can be ~ lly ~c~4g~ d. Also Na r~uil~s that the VPS bro~dc~ting signal be used and lc~ui~S the availability of a television system that can lff4gni,~ the VPS data cmhedde~d in the vertical bl~nking interval of the 5 video signal.
U.S. Patent 5,210,611 (Yee) ~iicrl~ses an al)p~lus and technique for ~uLo--~ ;r~lly tuning an audio video device in accolda~ce with a topic SPlP~cti~n made by user. Knowledge of specific broadcast of plO~ ullS and times is not nPs~ . A user makes a spl~p~ti~m of a subject matter from a menu or list and npre~c~ry tuning is thereafter ~uLo~ l;r~lly done 10 under control of a menu or list control inLelr~ce. Digital information is tr~n~mittP11 in the vertical bl~nkin~ interval to provide a menu. The menu control intPr~rtion aulo..-~t;r~lly adjusts the tuner in accor~lance with the menu ~PlP~tinn made by the user to choose an ~l~iLI~y channel and page of infor",;iLion within that ch~nnPl Digital data is trln~mittrd with the broadcast signal to çh~r~rteri7e the subject matter cont_nt of the broadcast signal.
The tuner will seek to any ~biLl~uy rrequ~ncy having a digital code ~ ;ng the subject matter chosen by the user.
Yee has the disadvantage that a television system must have a means of d~P~ing the digital i,~ro.",ation in the vertical blanking interval. Another disadvantage of Yee is that although a menu is used to select a particular channel or a ca~egoly of p~og.~ , the ~r~e~ channel may not have the plUE;ldlll that the user wishes to view. Thus, the user must reaccess the menu and select the proper subject matter again and go to another channel within the subject matter and repeat this process until a channel is found that the user wishes to view.
U.S. Patent 4,969,209 (Schwob) ~ rlosps a broadcast receiver capable of s~lPctin~ a broadcast station based upon a user s~lPrtP~ program format and the geographical loc~tinn of the receiver. After a user inputs the geo~ pl,ir~l location of the receiver in the desired program format the data base may be sc~nnP~ to select a broadcast frequency cull~ponding - to the input g~gli.phir~ ti- n and plU~;ldlll forrnat for retrieval. The apparatus has a number of format selection keys which may be as follows: cl~ l, CNW for country and western, rock, jazz, and talk for news, sports and public affairs.
The disadvantage of Schwob is that similar to Yee, the data base is ~cP~ to select a particular broadcast rlc~u~ which is then tuned to. If the user does not wish to listen to that broadcast rl~u~n~ then the user must l~dCCeSS the data base for sel~tion of another broadcast frequency having the same desired format.
U.S. Patent 4,375,651 ~Templin) is a system for controlling a receiver to tune to only a selective set of ch~nnpl~ SeF~r~te- groups of VHF, UHF or CATV ch~nnpl~ are plugl~ ed by means of a key switch having various positions of eng~gpmpnt co~ )on~ling to individual groups of ch~nmpl~ Following key switch sel~tinn of a given group of W O96/19074 PC~'nUS95/16090 rh~nnPl~, any nun~be~ of rhqnnPlc within that group may be p-Ug~ for viewing by means of channel up and down selector keys. A RAM is used to store s~ved and skippPd chqnn~lc for each key switch pocit~
Templin allows a user to set a s~ d set of chqnnPIc as the pr~r~.l~ chqnnplc Once these pl~f~d çhqnnPlc have been s~ then the tuner will only tune to those ch~nn.olc This saves some time in s~lling chqnnelC for a particular pru~l~ull; however, Templin does ~ not allow the user to elect a ~r~glalll ca~goly or theme. Thus, the user is .cq"il~d to search through all the s~l~tP~d rhqnnPlc to find ch~nnPlc h~ving a particular theme.
U.S. Patent 5,251,034 (Na) provides an 7~uLJ~ ;r picture-in-picture (PIP) channel search a~paldLus and method for, when ope~itt;ng the scan key while the user is watching TV
or a video tape on a video cassette recorder using the TV having a PIP fi~nrti~n~ se~ g ch~nnPl~ by taking the cullently viewed picture as a main screen and taking the s~clled br~dr~cting ch~nn~olc as s~scl~ns, to thereby f~r.ilit~te channel _elPrtif)n, The a~lo~ ';c PIP channel search àl~aluS and method involves the steps of setting the .;.~llenlly viewed broadcast signals in a main screen if a scan key is input when watching a TV ch~nnel, setting broadcast ch~nnPlC eyr.lu~lin~ the channel set as the main screen, as ;,..L,~.;.~.,s to display in tum the ~ul~cl~n ch~nn~lc~ and displaying only a specific channel broadcast on the main screen, if the scan key signal is input again.
Na has the disadvantage that each of the TV ch~nnplc ~Yrl~ ing the channel being20 displayed as the main screen are displayed as a PIP in turn. This does allow ~e user to surf through the ch~nn~lc; however the user must scan through all of the TV ch~nnPlc to find a channel having a desired theme. This is very similar to surfing through all the cll~nn~lc by pressing the channel up or down buKons on a remote controller for reviewing all the rh~nnPlc to find a channel with a particular theme. Due to the large number of ch~nn~lc available on 25 current cable and satellite systems, the user is greatly inconveniPnre~ by having to search through all of the ch~nnPlc J~p~mP~ patent applir~ti~n 02-152453 (yochihic~) f~ed June l 1, 199() and p~lbli.chP~
on February 14, 1992 with publication No. 04~44475, discloses a channel selection control section that controls an on-screen display as l~uiled to display on the screerl of a television 30 a ~Ltegoly menu. A user can select a caLegol~ from the caLegc,-y menu ancl then the tuner is controlled to select ch~nnPl~ coll,~sl~n-iing to all broadcast stations belonging to the SPlf~CtP~ ~Legc,l ~u Each channel cul~ ,onding to the sPlectP~ caLegol ~ is displayed sequentially on the screen t~ethp-r with an in-lir~ n of the broadcast station name. Each channel is displayed for a pl~5C' ;he~ time. A desired channel is sel~or~ by de~lejsing an 35 enter key when the picture of the desired broadcast station is displayed on the television.
yochihic~ has the disadvantage that an on-screen display is rc~lu-lcd to display the calegc,l ~ menu. Also lc4u~cd is a method for the user to select a caLe Ol ~ from the on-screen display such as a cursor on the screen. 'rhe on-screen display r~u,iles ~ition~l W O96/19074 PCTÇUS95/16090 haldw~c in a television or other ~c~oc:~ed app~hdLus and if a cursor is used to sclect a particular çh~nnPl, then this also Ç~ Ui~5 ~ litinn~l ha~.lware in the television.
Acco~lingly, there is a necd in the art for a~alaLu~ and mPthorlc for s~ ;ng l~h~nn~lc by theme, which overcome the Ç~lcgoillg shollco~ gs.
SUm~narY oftke ~ io~:
An object of the present invention is to provide a more convenient method of sP1~ting a channel on a television system.
Another object ~f the present invention is to provide a more convenient method of sel~tin~ a channel with a certain theme.
Another object of the present invention is to reduce the time required to "surf" through çh~nnPlc to find a p-uglal~l with a particular theme.
According to the invention, app~alus and meth~s are provided for ~l~;l;"g chz-nnP.lc by theme. A remote controller for the television system innlu~1~ps a pluTality of theme keys, each theme key cull~nding to one theme of a plurality of themes, app~alu~ for en~e ;i-g channel in-iir~tnrs co~ .on~iing to e~h theme, a~)p~alus for storing the entered channel in~ tnrs cclle~ ing to each theme, a~ uaLus for ar~Pccing and tr~ncmitting to the television system each channel in~ tor ccll~ s~nding to a first theme of the plurality of themes in s~ucnce to control channel sel~ti(!n for the television system, if a first theme key co". ,pondillg to the first theme is pressed, appdl~lus for pausing a set period of time after ~ CC;.~g and tr~ncmitting a channel in~ tnr before co--~;-u-;-lg to access and tr~ncmit channel int~ tnrs C(~ l~nllinE~ to the first theme in s~u~ncs~, and ~ala~us for stopping the a~atus for ar~ and ~.,.n~ ;ll;ng from ~cpscinE and ~.~n~ g each channel inr~ tor cc~ ~n~ling to a first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence, if the first theme key is pressed again.
Other objects and many of the ~ fealures of this invention will be more readily a~recialed as the same be~ nP-s better und~,~luod by lc:felc;nce to the following detailed desc,i~lions and con~ p-red in cûnn~;l;nn with the accolllpanying drawings in which like reference symbols clPcign~tP- like parts throughout the figures.

W O96119074 PCTnUS95116090 Brief Des~ tion of the I)rawin~:
FIG. 1 is a drawing of a remote controller for s~ g ehqnnPl~ on a television system by theme a~col.l.ng to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a block rli~ram of a remote controller for sP1~tin~ ch~nnPl ~ on a television S system by theme accol-ling to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a ~ the content of a theme memory in a remote controller accoldillg to the present invention.
FIGS. 4 to 6 are flow di~,l~ul.s of mptho~s for St~l~ting ch~nnPl~ on a television system by theme according to the present invention.

W O96/19074 PCTrUS95116090 Detailed D~
l2_r~ g now to the drawings, and more particularly, to FIG. 1, a remote controller 10 is shown which can be used for controlling a television system c~ncicting of television 20, VCR 22 and cable bo~c 24. The intent of this invention is to be able to control any portion S of the television system. .So~ s the remote controller is used to control ch~nnp-lc directly on a television. S~ ;...PS the remote controller is used to change rh~nnPlc on a cable box or on a VCR rather than on the television. As shown, the television system receives a ;~cllu~ll of television signals telecast from television source 26, which can be a cable, an ~ntenn~, or a satellite receiver.
The remote controller has a keypad 12 which inrll~d~ps number keys, channel up and down keys 11 and 13, and volume up and down keys 15 and 17. Other keys on the remote controller can include power, and mode select keys such as TV, cable, VCR, and AUX.
These mode select keys are primarily used to control the mode of a universal remote controller. The remote controller is powered by b~ttPrips 18, and has a display 14 and an 15 infrared l~ns~ pr 16 which is used to ~ ...il signals 30 to the television system. The display 14 can be used to display the mode of the universal remote controller, channel SPl~tinnc~ and other information. The remote controller 10 can also be a remote controller for only a particular ~rpli~nr~ such as a television.
In ~ lition to the keys that have been ~pcçrihed above which are co~ on keys on 20 many remote controllers, the remote controller 10 also has a plurality of theme keys inr~ ing news key 34, sports key 36, movies key 38, kids key 40, network key 42 and music key 44. The remote controller also has a store key 32. The function of these keys is clPscrihP-cl below.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the remote controller 10. The remote contloller has a 25 micluco",~u~c. which has a CPU, a ROM, a RAM, I/O ports, timers and cvulllcl~ and a clock. An o~~ tnr 102 is used to provide a frequency for the clock. As shown the display 14, the keypad 12, and the IR l.i...c..~;ll. . 16 interface with the micro- c~""puler 100. Also shown are the theme keys 34, 36, 38, 40, 42 and 44. A theme lllclllvl~ 104 whose function is d~P.s~-ihed below is shown conn?~ i to micloco~ ter 100. The theme memory can be 30 a se~ memory as shown in FIG. 2 or can be a portion of the ROM or the RAM of the Illi~;lUCU" ll~U~' 100.
The op~r~tion of the theme keys will now be dP-sç~ihe~ The first step in using the theme keys is to store sele~tPd çh~nnpls under each theme key. These ch~nnplc are stored in theme lllC~IlOl~r 104. Many mpthod~ can be used to enter çh~nnP~ for a particular theme key into the theme memory 104. For PY~mplP., on screen ~,og.,.. ;,-g can be used to assist in this ~çùcedu-c. The user can use a television ~lug~ l guide to look up ~h~nnP]~ that ~e user wishes to store under each theme key or the pr~g.d", guide can be du;llonically provided and displayed on the television. To store a channel under a particular theme key the user presses the store key 32, enters the channel nu...l,e, and then pre~ses the proper theme key. For eY~mp'~, s-~l.~se a user wishes to store the channel nu"-ber co~l~n~in~
to CNN under the news key 34. The user first presses the store key 32, then enters the channel l-ul--be~ for CNN, which the user looks up in a television l,-ug,~-- guide, and then S the user presses the news key 34. The channel number for the CPl~ct~d ch:mnel is entered using the keypad on remote controller 10. The user repeats these steps for storing as many ch~nnelc as the user wishes under each theme key.
If the user enters a channel number and then decides to not store the channel number, the entry of the channel number can be cleared by pressing a clear key (no~ shown) on the 10 remote controller.
FIG. 3 is a ~li~m ill~ in~ the content of the theme lllel~ 104 after the user has entered cPlPCt~P~ rh.~nnPlc for each theme key. As shown, under sports key 36 the user has entered channel numbers cu...-sl on-1in~ to ESPN, Prime Ticket, ABC, ,and CBS which are ch~nnPl~ 15, 39, 7 and 2. These r,h~nnPlc are ~cc~ via a IIIGIIIUl~r pointer 110. Under 15 the news key 34, the user has entered into the theme memory the channel ,,~
co~ ~n~in~ tû CNN, ~f~llin~. News, CSPAN and NBC, which are on ch~nnplc 14, 50, 10 and 4 and which are ~c~cc~d via pointer 112. Under the music key 44 the user has stored channel llul~b~ 47 and 43 c~..~onding to VH-l and MTV, which are ~cc~ i via pointer 114. Under movies key 38 the user has stored channel numbers 48, 49 and 46 ; G~ ~n~in~ to HBO SHOWII~DE and BRU~VO, which are ~r~ecc~d via pointer 116. Then under the kids key 40, the user has stored into theme memory 104, channel mlmbç~c 44, 37, 21, and 27 cu,~ n~ to The Disney t~h~nnPl~ ~irl~P~ n, Discovery, and The T ~min~
Ch~nnPl, which are ;u~-ss~ via pointer 118. Finally under the n~lwu~l~ key 42, the user has stored the ch~nnPlC 2, 4, 7, and 9, which co-.~ ond to CBS, NBC, A13C and KCAL, 25 which are açr~ via pointer 120.
The channel nu",be.~ stored under each key are entirely up to the user For example, under sports the user in this case chose to store ABC and CBS; however, these ch~nnplc also provide p~ .. ;ng other than sports. The fact that these rh~nnplc contain p,Og.,.~ g other than sports is known to the user and the user can still decide to store those ch~n 30 under the sports key. Sim3~arly under the news key, the CNN channel is known to be a news channel as well as ~P~nllinP News; however, it is known that NBC only has news at certain times. However, the user may know that NBC will have news at 6:00 p.m. and for this reason may wish to include this channel under the news theme key.
In a specific embodiment the user can also enter into the theme memory along with 35 a ch~nnpl3~ times for which the channel is çn~hl~d For eY~mplP~ for the entry of NBC under the news theme key 34 the user can enter the times 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m., 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 c p.m. and 10:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. These time ranges can then be used to enable the NBC

W O96119074 PCT~US95/16090 channel for channel viewing only at those times. At other times the NBC channel is skipped over.
The theme keys may have other ~e~igJl~ti~ For ey~mrle~ the r.L~wo-~ key could be instead a public bro~dc~ctin~ station (PBS) key. A PBS key would contain çh~nnPl~ such S as KCET, which is a public bro~lr~cting station ch~nn~l The number of theme keys is a matter of choice for the m~nllfactll~er of the remote controller. The theme keys on a remote controller could be p,ug,d,lllllable so that each theme key can be plug.d,llllled by the user to cu.,cs~ond to a particular theme. For eY~mrlto. means can be provided in the remote controller to allow the user to change the news key 34 to an e~uc~tir~n key, for Py~mrl~
10 One way that the theme keys can be çh~nged to dir~elcilt themes is to provide the user with labels that can be easily ~tt~rhed to the remote controller to label the keys.
The remote controller can also be de~igne~ so that a theme is ~r~essed by using the number keys. For L- ~...ple, the user could ~le~ign~te the code *03* for the sports theme and code *02* for the news theme. By ~igning codes, it is possible to greatly expand the number of effective theme keys.
It is also possible for the user to plugldlll into the remote controller the period of time that a particular channel is displayed before another channel in the same theme is displayed.
For eY~mple, a set time period, the ~ul~ûse of which is further eYpl~in~d below, can be set to S seconds or 15 s~n-l~
Once the user has stored çh~nn~lc under the theme keys, and initi~li7P~I the set time period, the user can view rh~nn~l~ under a particular theme key by pressing the theme key.
When the user presses a theme key, a channel number in the theme memory for that theme key is ~r~P~. Then the remote controller tr~n~mit~ the channel number to the television system. The television system tunes to the received channel and displays the channel for a set time period. If the theme key is not pressed during a set time period such as 5 s~n~l~
the remote controller ~e~ another channel number stored in the theme memory for the theme key and the channel number is ~ ed to the television system, which then displays the new çh~nn~l. This contimues with each channel stored under the theme key in the theme memory being displayed in turn. As illll~tr~t~d in FIG. 3 the pointer 110 will cycle between the ch~nn~ stored under the sports key. For ~Y~mIl'e ESPN will be shown on the television system for a set time period which could be five seconds and then the Prime Ticket channel will be shown followed by the ABC ch~nn~ and then the CBS çh~nn~
Then the pointer will cycle again to the ESPN çh~nnPl This contin~les until the user presses the theme key again, which stops the remote controller from ~r~e~sin~ the next channel number in the theme memory for that theme. Instead, the tuner remains at the channel to which the tuner is set at the time the theme key is pressed and the television system displays the ~lUgl~ll on the last ~cPc~e~ channel number.

This system enables the user to eli..,;.)~ h~nnPl~ that are not of interest whend~Pri~lin~ upon a pr~,~u-~ to watch. The user surfs or scans through oni.y the ch~nn lin~ to a particular theme and this surfing is done ~ o~ sc~lly~ This is vastly more adv~nt~ c than current remote controllers that require the user to cont;.-~.e to press - S the channel up or channel down key to surf through all the television l~h~nnPl~ to find ch~nnPl~ with a particular theme.
FIG. 3 shows that there are ~ tP ~oinle,~ for each theme key such as poit~ 112, 114, 116, 118 and 120. When a user presses a theme key for the first time, the pointer cc",~nding to the theme key will access the theme memory in the location last ~rce-s~d by that theme key. Por ~ .rle, if the last ~rcP~secl channel under the kids theme key was Ni~l~Pl~i~n, then when the theme key is pressed for the first time the first channel displayed is Nirl~Pl~li~n and then after five se~n~s the Discovery channel is displayed and so on.
,~ltPrn~tPly the pointer can be reset to follow the same specific ordeI in the list of ch~nnPl~ in the theme memory each time the user uses a theme key to access ch~nnpl~ in the theme. For PY~mpl~, if the last ~ ce~ed channel under the kids theme key W.lS ~j~LPloAi~n, then when the theme key is pressed for the first time, the first channel displayed is The Disney ~h~nnP-l, bçc~ e it is first in the list of c~l~nnPI~ under the ~DS theme, as shown in FIG. 3. This in effect makes the sequencing of the channel surfing, the same as the input sequence.
In another çmbo~limpnt of the invention, each time a theme key is pre!;sed the remote controller ~ce~.~Ps another channel number from the list of ch~nnelc storedl for the theme key. When the user presses the theme key again, the next channel number stored for the theme key is ~ Pd and so on. Using this feaLture the user can scam through sel~tP~l çh~nnPl~ at the rate desired by the user. For eY~mplP, the user may wa~tch one sports channel for ten min~tp~s~ before pr ssillg the sports key again to watch the nexl~ sports channel in the memory of the remote controller.
Another embodiment of the invention is to display the çh~nnPl~ ~rrec~e~ when a theme key is pressed in a picture-in-picture window. FIG. 1 ill~.c~ es a television having a main screen 224 and a picture-in-picture window 222. A picture-in-picture winldow is a small televisioTi display that is s~ imposed on a background television display. In this embo~im.-nt, when the theme button is pushed for the first time, the channe1 surfing starts and the ~ ~ci cl-~n ~ are displayed in turn in the picture-in-picture window. A se~le tuner, which feelds the picture-in-picture cir~uil.y, is controlled by the channel r~lc~clllali~e data stored in theme memory 104. During this time, the channel to which the tuner that selects the bacL~ ,und ~l~ldlll is set lclll~ihls unch~nged. Then when the ~heme button is pressed a second time, the picture-in-picture frame continues to display the program on the last ~ e~ d ch~nnel. If the theme key is pressed a third time, the display switches so the W O96tl9074 PCTrUS95/16090 picture-in-picture frame disa~ and the program on the last ~çcess~ channel is displayed in full screen unobsLIuc~d fonnat.
FIGS. 4-6 are flow di~r~mc of methods for selpcting ch~nnplc on a television system by theme acco~ling to the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a flow ~ m of a method for storing ch~nnplc under theme keys. In step 200 the user presses the store key, enters the channel number and then presses the theme key. For ex~mrlP, to store channel sPkp~tionc under theme "A" the user presses the theme "A" key. Then in step 202 the remote controller stores the entered channel number in the theme memory in a loc~tion ~r~ccihle via the theme "A" key. In step 204 the user repeats steps 200 and 202 to add other ch~nnPlc for theme "A" or to enter ch~nnplc for other theme keys.
FIG. 5 is a flow tli~r~m of a method for selp~ting rh~nnPlc on a television by theme.
In step 210, the user presses a theme key, such as theme "A" key. Then in step 212, a channel number is ~rr~ccPd from the theme memory by reading the theme memory location ~rCPccPd by theme "An key and the channel number is tr~n.cmitt~d to the television system.
Then in step 214, the p~ I on the ~ccçccpd channel number is displayed on the television system. Then in step 216 it is d~L~r,-,illed whether the theme "A" key has been pressed during a set time period. For eY~mrle, the set time period could be five s~n~1c This is enough time for the user to watch the channel to de~.",ine whether the user wishes to contim~P to view the rh~nnPl If the user does, then the user presses the theme "A" key.
If the user wishes to contin~P to scan the ch~nnplc autom~tir~lly or to surf the ch~nnPlc~ then the user does not press the theme key and then in step 218 the theme "A" pointer is in~P~P~I
to access another channel number stored for theme "A." The ~rcPc~ channel number is tr~ncmitt~P~ to the television system which in step 214 displays the ~ c~-~c~ channel number.
If in step 216 the user presses the theme "A" key, then in step 220 the ar~çscp~ channel number continues to be displayed on the television system.
FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of an ~It~P~n~tç method for s~PkP~ting ch~nnplc on a television system by theme. In step 240, the user presses a theme key such as theme "A" key. Then in step 242 a channel number is ~cçccp~ from the theme memory by reading the theme memory location ~r~çccP~d by theme "A" key. The ~rcPccP~ channel number is then 1.1..c...;ll~d to the television system. Then in step 244, the ~r~PccPcl channel number is displayed as a picture-in-picture on the television system. Then in step 246 it is determined whether the theme "A" key has been pressed during a set time period. If the theme "A" key has not been pressed, then in step 248 the theme "A" pointer is indexed to access another 35 channel number stored for theme "A" and the açc~Pcced channel number is tr~ncmittP~ to the television system. If in step 246 it is determined that the theme "A" key has been pressed during the set time period such as during a five second period, ther~ in step 250 it is dete""illed whether the theme "A" key has been pressed yet again. If the theme key has not been pressed again, then in step 252 the plu~ l on the last ~ e~d chalmel number is displayed as a picture-in-picture. If in step 250 it is d~l",ined that the theme key has been pressed again during the set time period, then in step 254 the picture-in-picture is s~i~ ed to the full television screen, which displays the pr~gla", on the last ~c~eeP~ ch~nn~l.
The dee~.rihed e~.~ho~ of the invention are only con~iA~red to be plefelled and illuctr~tive of the inventive conce~l, the scope of the invention is not to be re!~ri(ted to such .omhoAimPnte Various and nu",~ùus other ~rran~ nl~ may be devised by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.
It is therefore intende~d by the appended claims to cover any and all such appli~ti ms~ifir~tinn.c and embotlim~ntc within the scope of the present invention.

_~ 35

Claims (46)

1. A remote controller for selecting channels on a television system by theme, the remote controller comprising:
means responsive to actuation of first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes;
means responsive to actuation of second selected keys on the remote controller for entering channel indicators corresponding to each of the themes;
means for storing the entered channel indicators corresponding to each theme;
means for accessing and transmitting to the television system each channel indicator in sequence corresponding to a first theme of the plurality of themes to control channel selection for the television system, if the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated;
means for pausing a set period of time after accessing and transmitting a channel indicator of the first theme before continuing to access and transmit channel indicators corresponding to the first theme in sequence; and means for continuing to display the channel represented by the said channel indicator beyond the set period of time, if the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated again within the set period of time.
2. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes comprises one key dedicated to each theme.
3. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the plurality of themes comprises news, sports and movies.
4. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes comprises a key sequence dedicated to each theme.
5. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the second selected keys on the remote controller for entering channel indicators corresponding to each of the themes corresponds to keys on an alphanumeric keypad.
6. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the means for storing the entered channel indicators corresponding to each theme comprises a memory.
7. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the means for accessing and transmitting to the television system each channel indicator corresponding to the first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence to control channel selection for the television system, if the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated, comprises:
addressing means for accessing each channel indicator corresponding to the firsttheme of the plurality of themes in sequence; and a transmitter for transmitting channel indicators to the television system.
8. The remote controller of claim 1 wherein the means for pausing a set period of time after accessing and transmitting a channel indicator before continuing to access and transmit channel indicators corresponding to the first theme in sequence comprises a timer.
9. The remote controller of claim 1 further comprising:
means for entering time for enabling each channel indicator; and means for storing the entered times; and wherein the means for accessing and transmitting each channel indicator comprises means for comparing stored times for enabling the channel indicator with time read from a clock and accessing and transmitting the channel indicator only if a time for enabling compares to the time read from the clock.
10. The remote controller of claim 1 further comprising means for commanding thetelevision system to display the channel corresponding to an accessed and transmitted channel indicator as a small display within a full television display.
11. The remote controller of claim 10 wherein the continuing means further comprises means for commanding the television system to switch the small display to the full television display, if the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated again.
12. A method for selecting channels on a television system by theme, the method comprising the steps of:
entering into a remote controller channel indicators for at least one of a plurality of themes;
storing in the remote controller the entered channel indicators corresponding toeach theme;
accessing and transmitting to the television system each channel indicator corresponding to a first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence to control channel selection for the television system, if selected keys identifying the first theme are actuated, wherein each theme is identified by selected keys on the remote controller;
pausing a set period of time after accessing and transmitting a channel indicator before continuing to access and transmit channel indicators corresponding to the first theme in sequence; and stopping the means for accessing and transmitting from accessing and transmitting each channel indicator corresponding to the first theme of the plurality of themes, if the selected keys identifying the first theme are actuated again.
13. The method of claim 12 further comprising the step of commanding the television system to display the channel corresponding to an accessed and transmitted channel indicator as a small display within a full television display.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the step of stopping the means for accessing and transmitting further comprises the step of commanding the television system to switch the small display to the full television display, if the selected keys identifying the first theme are actuated again.
15. The method of claim 12 wherein:
the step of entering channel indicators comprises the step of entering times forenabling the channel indicator;
the step of storing the entered channel indicators comprises the step of storing the entered times; and the step of accessing and transmitting each channel indicator comprises the stepof comparing stored times for enabling a channel indicator with time read from a clock and enabling the step of accessing and transmitting the channel indicator only if a time for enabling compares to the time read from the clock.
16. The method of claim 12 wherein the selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes comprises one key dedicated to each theme.
17. A remote controller for selecting channels on a television system by theme, the remote controller comprising:
means responsive to actuation of selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes;
means for accessing and transmitting to the television system channel indicatorscorresponding to a first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence to control channel selection for display of programs by the television system, if the selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated;
means for pausing a set period of time after accessing and transmitting a channel indicator of the first theme before continuing to access and transmit channel indicators corresponding to the first theme in sequence; and means for continuing to display beyond the set period of time the program corresponding to the transmitted channel indicator, if the selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated again within the set period of time.
18. The remote controller of claim 17 wherein the selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes comprises one key dedicated to each theme.
19. The remote controller of claim 17 further comprising a memory for storing the channel indicators.
20. The remote controller of claim 17 wherein the means for accessing and transmitting to the television system each channel indicator corresponding to the first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence to control channel selection for the television system, if the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated, comprises:
addressing means for accessing each channel indicator corresponding to the firsttheme of the plurality of themes in sequence; and a transmitter for transmitting channel indicators to the television system.
21. The remote controller of claim 17 further comprising means for commanding the television system to display the channel corresponding to an accessed and transmitted channel indicator as a small display within a full television display.
22. The remote controller of claim 21 wherein the means for stopping the means for accessing and transmitting further comprises means for commanding the television system to switch the small display to the full television display, if the first selected keys on the remote controller for identifying the first theme are actuated again.
23. A method for selecting channels on a television system by theme with a remote controller, the method comprising the steps of:
accessing and transmitting to the television system channel indicators corresponding to a first theme of the plurality of themes in sequence to control channel selection for the television system, if selected keys identifying the first theme are actuated, wherein each theme is identified by selected keys on the remote controller;
pausing a set period of time after accessing and transmitting a channel indicator before continuing to access and transmit channel indicators corresponding to the first theme in sequence; and stopping accessing and transmitting each channel indicator in sequence corresponding to the first theme of the plurality of themes, if the selected keys identifying the first theme are selected again.
24. The method of claim 23 further comprising the step of commanding the television system to display the channel corresponding to an accessed and transmitted channel indicator as a small display within a full television display.
25. The method of claim 24 wherein the step of stopping the means for accessing and transmitting further comprises the step of commanding the television system to switch the small display to the full television display, if the selected keys identifying the first theme are actuated again.
26. The method of claim 23 wherein the step of accessing and transmitting each channel indicator comprises the step of comparing times for enabling a channel indicator with time read from a clock and enabling the step of accessing and transmitting the channel indicator only if a time for enabling compares to the time read from clock.
27. The method of claim 23 wherein the selected keys on the remote controller for identifying each of a plurality of themes comprises one key dedicated to each theme.
28. A method for surfing a spectrum of television channels comprising the steps of:
storing in a memory a first group of channels and time periods of the day when individual channels of the first group are enabled for viewing;
tuning a television receiver to a given channel;
displaying in the background on a television screen the program being telecast on the given channel;
retrieving from memory channels in the first group of channels which are currently enabled based on a current time period of the day; and sequentially displaying in a picture-in-picture window of the screen the programs being telecast on the retrieved channels.
29. The method of claim 28, further comprising a second group of channels, and in which the first group of channels relates to one theme and the second group of channels relates to another theme and the storing step comprises keying into the memory command representing channels and commands representing themes so the channels are stored in locations identified with specific themes.
30. The method of claim 29, in which the keying step comprises pressing a store key, one or more channel number keys, and a theme key on a remote controller for each channel assigned to a group.
31. The method of claim 28, in which the retrieving step comprises keying into the memory a command representing the first group of channels.
32. The method of claim 31, in which the first group of channels relate to one theme and the second group of channels relate to another theme and the keying step comprises pressing a theme key on a remote controller corresponding to the selected group of channels.

34. The method of claim 31, in which the sequentially displaying step changes from channel to channel each time the command representing the first group of channels is keyed into memory.
33. The method of claim 31, in which the sequentially displaying step changes from channel to channel each time the command representing the first group of channels is keyed into memory.
34. The method of claim 28, in which the sequentially displaying step changes from channel to channel after a predetermined time.
35. The method of claim 34, in which the predetermined time is changed.
36. The method of claim 28, in which the storing step also stores time periods of the day in connection with the individual channels of each group, and the retrieving step skips over a channel of the selected group at times outside of the stored time period.
37. The method of claim 28 additionally comprising the steps of selecting one of the programs sequentially displayed in the window and tuning the receiver to the channel on which the selected program is telecast to display the selected program outside the window.
38. The method of claim 37 additionally comprising the step of undisplaying the window when the selected program is displayed on the screen to present the selected program in unobstructed format.
39. The method of claim 37, in which the receiver is controlled by a remote controller having a theme key and the selecting step comprises pressing the theme key.
40. The method of claim 37, in which the receiver is controlled by a remote controller having a theme key and the undisplaying step comprises pressing the theme key.
41. The method of claim 38, in which the undisplaying step comprises pressing the theme key.
42. A method for surfing a spectrum of television channels comprising the steps of:
storing in a memory a group of channels and time periods of the day when individual channels of the stored group are enabled for viewing;
tuning a television receiver to a given channel;
displaying a background field and a foreground field on a television screen;
inserting in one of the fields the program being telecast on the given channel;
sequentially retrieving from the memory the channels from the group which are currently enabled based on a current time period of the day; and sequentially inserting in the other field the programs being telecast on the retrieved channels.
43. The method of claim 42, additionally comprising the steps of:
generating a command signal; and displaying on the screen full frame the program being telecast on the retrieved channel when the command signal is generated.
44. A method for surfing a spectrum of television channels comprising the steps of:
storing a group of channels in memory;
tuning a television receiver to a given channel;
displaying on a television screen a foreground field and a background field;
inserting the program being telecast on the given channel in one of the fields;
sequentially retrieving from the memory the stored channels of the group;
sequentially inserting the programs being telecast on the retrieved channels in the other field;
generating a command signal; and displaying on the screen full frame the program being telecast on the retrieved channel when the command signal is generated.
45. The method of claim 44, additionally comprising the step of generating a channel sequencing command signal and the retrieving step retrieves a channel each time the channel sequencing command is generated.
46. The method of claim 44, in which the retrieving step retrieves a channel if the command signal is not generated after a set period of time.
CA 2207700 1994-12-13 1995-12-13 Apparatus and methods for channel scanning by theme Abandoned CA2207700A1 (en)

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US08/354,946 1994-12-13

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JP (2) JP3157167B2 (en)
CN (1) CN1155235C (en)
CA (1) CA2207700A1 (en)
DE (2) DE69527724T2 (en)
DK (1) DK0801865T3 (en)
EP (1) EP0801865B1 (en)
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JP2001197396A (en) 2001-07-19 application
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