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Virtual channel table for a broadcast protocol and method of broadcasting and receiving broadcast signals using the same

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Publication number
CA2824564A1
CA2824564A1 CA 2824564 CA2824564A CA2824564A1 CA 2824564 A1 CA2824564 A1 CA 2824564A1 CA 2824564 CA2824564 CA 2824564 CA 2824564 A CA2824564 A CA 2824564A CA 2824564 A1 CA2824564 A1 CA 2824564A1
Authority
CA
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
channel
table
virtual
broadcast
number
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.)
Granted
Application number
CA 2824564
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
CA2824564C (en )
Inventor
Jin Pil Kim
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.)
LG Electronics Inc
Original Assignee
LG Electronics Inc
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
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    • H04N21/462Content or additional data management, e.g. creating a master electronic program guide from data received from the Internet and a Head-end, controlling the complexity of a video stream by scaling the resolution or bit-rate based on the client capabilities
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Abstract

A virtual channel table for broadcasting protocol and a method for broadcasting by using the virtual channel table includes identification information identifying and permitting discrimination of active and inactive channels contained in the virtual channel table. At a receiver, the virtual channel table transmitted from the transmitting side is parsed, thereby determining whether the current received channel is an active or inactive channel.

Description

=

. , = .=.
=
.74420-21GGAD4 . _ . -=
=
==
=
. .
. . .=
-VIRTUAL CHANNEL:TABLE FOR A BROADCAST PROTOCOL
AND METHOD OF BROADCASTING AND RECEIVING BROADCAST SIGNALS = . =
USING THE SAME
=
=
This application is a divisional of Canadian Patent Application Serial No. 2,796,926, which is a divisional of Canadian Patent Application Serial No.

2,767,311, which is a divisional of Canadian Patent Application Serial No. 2,688,918, which is a - divisional of Canadian Patent Application Serial No. 2,628,000, which is a divisional of Canadian Patent Application Serial No. 2,575,037, which is a divisional of Canadian Patent Application Serial No. 2,322,909, filed on October 6, 2000.
. ' BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
=
Field of the Invention = =
= The present invention relates to a virtual channel table for a broadcast protocol end 'a method of broadcasting using the same, =
=
=
Discussion of the Related Art. =
. Generally a program and system information protocol (hereinafter, . referred to PSIP) of an advanced television-systeMs committee (hereinafter, referred . =
to as ATSC) .stanclard.for digital. television broadcasting contains a virtual channel =
table (VCT).
.
The PSIP typically contains an electronic program guide (EPG) and =
system. information. (SI). = The PSIP is defined.as.the.protocol of the ATSC
standard for terrestrial and cable digital television broadcasting, which parses encoded messages by using a moving picture experts group-2 (MPEG-2;. ISO/1EC 138181) .
system to thereby provide various kinds of information on the broadcast programs.
. This ATSC standard is. described in "Program and System Information Protocol For . .
Terrestrial Broadcast and Cable", ATSC Document P165,23 DEC 1997, =
1 .
= =
= =
=
= =

= =
=
74420-21qGAD4 = =
-. .
= In other words, the PSIP transmits and receives 'audio/video,4ata With MPEG-2-video and AC-3 audio,formats, ' = =
and. contains several:tables for-transmitting information on .
=
, the channel Of each broadcasting station, .and information on .
the.programs on each channel-. The PSIP has .a primary function of conducting the audio and. video services of the broadcast corresponding to a desired channel, and an.
= =
additional function of conducting the elec4ronic program = service for the broadcast programs.
=
The channel information for the channel selection and the packet identification (PID) information for .
.
reception of the,audio and video data are contained in a = .virtual channel table (VCT), and the eleCtronic,prog4m =
service, information on the broadcast programs on each-= 15 channel is contained j an event information :table (BIT). .
Also, the PSIP.cOntains a systemitime.table (STT). for' time information, a rating region table Mtn for transmitting =
=
information on the.region.and organization. for program .
'rating, an extended text table (ETT) for providing an :
-20 additional 'explanation on the channel and broadcast, program;
and a master gUide table' (MGT) for management of the version of each table-mentioned'above and the packet identification:
. these tables are transmitted in data units, which. .
are called sections. Namely, all of the tables have one or =
25 more sections as a basic, unit, =
=
=
= By way of example, the virtual. channel table may *
= be divided into 256 sections. A single section may Contain;
information on several Virtual channels, but information for =
a single virtualchannel may.not.be spread over on two' or /
30 more'liections. == =
=
= *
= Fig. l.is a-diagram illustratingthe bit stream .=. syntax of a general virtual channel table for terrestrial =
. = =
=
= =
=
*. = =
. - = . =
=
=
= = =
=

74420-21GGAD4 =
broadcast, which has been described in the above-mentioned . document A/65. The general virtual channel table contains a transport stream identifier, a major channel number, a minor.
channel number, a.short channel name, a carrier frequency, a program number and the like, and contains additional .information in the descriptor(s) thereof.
Referring to Fig. 1, the virtual channel table has the table identifier field of "OxC6", and the value of the . packet identification (PID) for the virtual channel table is =
"OxiFFE". The version number field "version number"
represents the version value of the virtual channel table, the section number field "section number" represents a = corresponding section number, the last section number field =
"last section number" represents a last section number of the virtualschannel-table, and the section number channel field "num channels _in section" represents the number of .
whole virtual channels existing within the Sections of the = virtual channel table.
The short name field "short name" within the .
statement in the "for loop" represents the name of the virtual channel, and the major channel number field "major_channel_number" represents a major channel number.
among the virtual channels defined in the statement mentioned above. Each virtual channel number is connected to the major and minor channel numbers, respectively, .and =
the major and minor channel numbers function as the user =
reference number for the corresponding virtual channel. -In other words, the virtual channel table carries the data for . each virtual channel through the statement of the "for loop". =
The program number field "program number" contains the information for connecting the virtual channel where the =

=
=

MPEG-2 program association table (PAT) and program map table (PMT) are defined, which corresponds to the program numbers in the program association table and the program map table.
In this case, the program association table defines the components of.the program for every program number, namely, indicates the packet identification of the transport packet transmitting the program map table. The program map table =
defines the list and the annex information thereof on the packet identification of the = -=
=
=
=
=
=
= = =
=
=
=
=
=
=

=
=
=

=

= transport packet transmitting the program identification number and the bit stream of the video and audio signals constituting the program.
=
The source identifier field "source id" represents the program source connected to the .= = corresponding virtual channel. In this case, the source means a specific source such as image, = 5 text, data or sound. The source identifier field "source id "has a unique value in the transport .
= stream-transmitting the virtual channel table. The descriptor length field "descriptors_length"
- indicates the whole length of the descriptors of the corresponding virtual channel, and the additional descriptor length field "additional_descriptors_length" indicates the whole length of all of the additional descriptors of the virtual channel table.
Fig. 5 shows an exemplary list of descriptors for PSIP tables according to the ATSC
standard.
Fig. 2 is a diagram illustrating an example of executing. scheduled broadcasting by .
.
.=
using four virtual channels in a broadcasting station.
. By way of example, it is assumed that the scheduled broadcast as shown in Fig. 2 is executed through the four virtual channels, 51-1, 51-2, 51-3 and 51-8 in an arbitrary broadcast station and a virtual channel.table composed of a single section is transmitted.
If the current time is 20:15, the system time table transmits the current time information. In this case, the channels 51-1 and 51-3 broadcasting at the current time 20:15 = are defined as the active channels. ==
=
= 20 . On the other hand, the channel 51-2 is not broadcasting at the current time and is going to be broadcast the next day, and the channel 51-8 is going to be broadcast next at 06:00. In this case, the channels 51-2 and 51-8, which are not broadcasting at the current time =
:5_ =
=
=

74420-21GGAD4 , =
20:15 and are going to be broadcast in the future, are 'defined as the inactive channels.
=
As a result, each channel may be an active or inactive channel, based upon an arbitrary point in time.
.5 Within the PSIP, the virtual channel table should contain the active channels as required and may also contain =
the inactive channels as recommended facts, for conducting the electronic program guide:
Therefore, at the current time 20:15 the virtual channel table may contain information on all of the channels .
51-1, 51-2, 51-3 and 51-8, and thus a digital television broadcast receiver or a digital cable broadcast receiver .
.
receives the virtual channel table to.thereby provide the =
,. -channel selection information to TV viewers.
However, as shown in Fig. 1, according to the bit . .
stream syntax of the virtual channel table according to the A/65 standard, the digital television broadcast receiver or the digital cable broadcast-receiver cannot discriminate between the active channels (for example, the channels 51-1 and 51-3) and the inactive channels (for example, the channels 51-2 and.51-8), when parsing the virtual channel table.
As a consequence, the TV viewers see a black screen because of the 'information on the inactive channels transmitted from the broadcast station for providing the electronic program guide. The black screen means the black = , = background color is displayed on the screen when an inactive channel not broadcasting at a current time is selected. On the other hand, the character message "service not provided"
is displayed on the screen of the black background color by the on-screen display function of the digital television broadcast receiver or the digital cable broadcast receiver.
By way of example, if the TV viewer selects the channel 51-2 = = =
=
=

with a channel up key while viewing the channel 51-1, the audio and video data are not displayed because the channel 51-2 is an inactive channel, such that the black background color is displayed on the screen.
The above-mentioned problem may give many Inconvenience to the TV viewers at a point of time when digital television broadcast receivers or digital cable broadcast receivers become popular and a large number of virtual channels are broadcast.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, some embodiments of the present invention are directed to a virtual channel table that substantially obviates one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.
=
An object of some embodiments of the present invention is to provide a virtual channel table for a broadcast protocol, and a method of broadcasting by using the same table, which are capable of identifying and permitting discrimination between active and inactive channels from the channels received by a broadcast receiver.
Another object of some embodiments of the invention is to provide a virtual channel table for a broadcast protocol, and a method of broadcasting by using the same table, which are capable of rapidly displaying only .the channels being broadcast at a current time. =
=
Additional features and advantages of embodiments of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will'be , .

realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.
According to one aspect, there is provided a digital television receiver comprising: a demodulator to demodulate a digital broadcast signal including program and system information protocol (PSIP) data which include a virtual channel table (VCT) for a digital broadcast, the VCT being segmented into one or more sections, a maximum number of the one or more sections being 256, the VCT including a section number field and a last section number field, wherein at least one section includes a predefined data field which is set to zero for an inactive channel, wherein the inactive channel is a channel that is not presently carrying a broadcast program;
however, the same inactive channel is scheduled to carry a broadcast program at a predetermined later time from a broadcasting station without local viewer interaction; and a separating unit to separate the demodulated digital broadcast signal into a video stream, an audio stream, and a PSIP data stream.
The identification information may be loaded on or included in at least one reserved field in the virtual channel table. Preferably, the identification information assigns at least one or more bits of a reserved field as a flag, thereby indicating that a'corresponding channel is an =
inactive. channel.
=
For example, the value of the program number field "program number" in the virtual channel table is set to "0", thereby indicating that the corresponding channel is the inactive channel. .
The identification information sets the value of, =
the number elements field "number_elements" (which indicates the number of PID's used for a program) of the service position descriptor field "service_locationL.descriptor"
(which is used to list available bie streams by their PID's) in the virtual channel table to "0", thereby indicating that the corresponding channel is an inactive channel.
In .a case where the corresponding .channel is an inactive channel, the virtual channelstable does not contain the service location descriptor field therein, for the purpose of indicating that the corresponding channel is an inactive channel.
= It is to be understood that both the foregoing 'general description and the-following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide =
=
further explanation of the invention as claimed.
BRIEF-DESCR/PTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The accompanying drawings,.which are included to =
. provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the:invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of embodiments of the invention.
=
=
=

=
=

. r =

In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating the bit stream syntax of a general virtual. channel table for terrestrial broadcast;
. =
, 5 FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an example of executing schedule broadcasting by using four virtual channels in a broadcast station;
=
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating the bit stream syntax of a virtual channel table for terrestrial broadcast according to an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. .4 is a diagram illustrating the bit stream e syntax of a virtual channel table for cable according to another embodiment of the present invention; and FIG. 5 is chart listing various descriptors =
available according to a program and system information protocol of an advanced television systems committee .
standard digital television broadcast.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of .
which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
According to the present invention, a virtual channel table for a broadcast protocol comprises identification information capable of identifying and =
permitting discrimination between active and inactive channels in the bit stream syntax thereof. A:transmitting side, namely, a broadcast station transmits the virtual channel table having the identification information to the receivers. Each of the receivers parses the virtual channel =

.
.
table received, thereby determining whether the channel currently selected is an active channel or an inactive channel.
=
The identification information, which is capable of identifying and permitting discrimination between an active channel and an inactive channel under the standard of the PSIP, is contained in at least one field of the virtual channel table of the above protocol, such that only active .
channels being currently broadcast are displayed to TV
viewers.
Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of a virtual =
channel table and a method according to the present invention will be in detail described with reference to Figs. 3 and 4.
In order for a digital television receiver and a digital cable broadcast receiver to parse the virtual channel table and thus to determine whether the channel selected currently is an active channel or an inactive channel, the bit stream syntax of the virtual channel table =
may be corrected.
For example, the fact that channels 51-2 and 51-8 are not broadcast at the current time 20:15, but are going to be broadcast in the future, should be recognized in a digital television receiver and a cable broadcast receiver.
In a preferred embodiment, the identification information capable of identifying an inactive channel is contained in the program number field "program number", the service location descriptor field "service_location_descriptor"
and/or other reserved fields contained in the bit stream syntax of the virtual channel table.

Fig. 3 is a diagram illustrating the bit stream.
syntax of a virtual Channel table for terrestrial broadcast according to an embodiment of the present invention. To indicate that a corresponding channel is an inactive channel, the value of. the program number field "program number" is set to "0". And, since there are no audio and video signals.of the current service location _ descriptor, the value of. the number elements field "numbpr_elements" of the service location descriptor "service_location_descriptor".is set to "0". Also, or =
alternatively, to indicate that the corresponding Channel is =
an inactive channel, the service location descriptor "service location descriptor" (see .Fig. 5) is not contained' = in the virtual channel table. In other words, for the digital television receiver and the cable broadcast receiver, the service location descriptor field should be . =
contained in the virtual channel table only in a case where =
the corresponding channel is the active channel. If the corresponding channel is an inactive channel, however, the.
service location descriptor field is not contained in the .virtual channel table.
=
. In a preferred embodiment, in.order to recognize = the fact that the corresponding channel is an inactive channel in a more apparent manner, J. bit of the. reserved field of 6 bits for each channel is assigned to define .a = =
flag indicative of an inactive channel. In ,the preferred .
embodiment, 1 bit in the reserved field between the hidden field "hidden" and the service type field rservice_type" in .
the statement of the loop" is assigned to define a flag =
=
=
=

. , , =

indicative of an inactive channel. For example, in a case.
where the flag indicative of the inactive channel is "1", .the corresponding channel is an active channel, and if the flag is "0", the corresponding channel is an inactive 5- channel.
In the preferred embodiment, the above three cases may be added as requirements to the A/65 standard. Any of all of the three cases may be added to the A/65 standard.
As mentioned above, since the information on an inactive channel is contained in the. virtual channel table, the digital television receiver can determine whether the virtual channel currently received is an active channel or an inactive channel by parsing only the virtual channel table. For example, if the value of the program number field "program number" in the virtual channel table is "0";
'if the value of the information on the inactive channel defined by assigning a predetermined bit in the reserved field is "0", or if the service location descriptor field "service location descriptor" is not contained in the =
-virtual channel table, the major channel number field "major channel number".-and the minor channel number field "minor channel number" defined in the bit stream syntax of the virtual channel table currently transmitted can be used to determine that the current virtual channel is an inactive channel for example by both being assigned a value of "0".
On the-other hand, if an. inactiye channel has been determined under the. above process, the digital television receiver can skip the inactive channel, without displaying it-on 12a CA 02824564 2013-08-22 .
=
=
74420-21GGAD4, = = =
=
= = .
the screen, upon channel conversion by' means of a channel up key or a channel down key-.
= Pig. 4 is a diagram illustrating the bit Stream syntax of a virtual channel table for cable aCcording to another embodimeni As shown, the virtual channel table may be.applied to cable broadcasting in the same manner as abo,v.e. -As is apparent from' the foregoing description, a virtual channel table for a broadcast = protocol, and a method of broadcasting by using the virtual channel table are capable of including the identification information capable of identifying and permitting discrimination = between active and inactive channels in a tian.stnitting side, and in a receiving side parsing the virttial channel table to thereby determine whether the channel currently.selected is the wave =
channel or the inactive channel. Therefore, inactive channels may bp sldpped, without being =
displayed, upon- the channel conversion by using a channel up key or a channel down, key, such that the TV viewer can enjoy channel surfingin a convenient manner, without viewing a = black screen. In addition, the virtual channel table may be transmitted, while containing the inactive channels therein, thereby making it possible to provide a more abundant electronic = 15 program service.
= It will be apparent to those skilledin the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the embodiments described herein.
==
Thus, it is intended that thepresent invention cover .the inbclifications and variations of this. invention provided they come within the Scope,of the appended claims and 20- their equivalents.
. =
. .
-, - 7 . = =

Claims (5)

CLAIMS:
1. A digital television receiver comprising:
a demodulator to demodulate a digital broadcast signal including program and system information protocol (PSIP) data which include a virtual channel table (VCT) for a digital broadcast, the VCT being segmented into one or more sections, a maximum number of the one or more sections being 256, the VCT
including a section number field and a last section number field, wherein at least one section includes a predefined data field which is set to zero for an inactive channel, wherein the inactive channel is a channel that is not presently carrying a broadcast program; however, the same inactive channel is scheduled to carry a broadcast program at a predetermined later time from a broadcasting station without local viewer interaction; and a separating unit to separate the demodulated digital broadcast signal into a video stream, an audio stream, and a PSIP data stream.
2. The digital television receiver of claim 1, wherein the digital broadcasting signal is a digital terrestrial broadcast signal.
3. The digital television receiver of claim 1, wherein the digital broadcasting signal is a digital cable broadcast signal.
4. The digital television receiver of claim 1, wherein a predefined data field is included in a statement of a for_loop in a bit stream syntax of the VCT.
5. The digital television receiver of claim 1, further comprising a decoder for decoding the received VCT.
CA 2824564 1999-10-08 2000-10-06 Virtual channel table for a broadcast protocol and method of broadcasting and receiving broadcast signals using the same Active CA2824564C (en)

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KR19990043508A KR100348249B1 (en) 1999-10-08 1999-10-08 Data architecture of VCT and method for transmit/receiving service information
KRP1999-43508 1999-10-08
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