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EP1723792A1 - Method and apparatus for distributing video data - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for distributing video data

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Publication number
EP1723792A1
EP1723792A1 EP20050717935 EP05717935A EP1723792A1 EP 1723792 A1 EP1723792 A1 EP 1723792A1 EP 20050717935 EP20050717935 EP 20050717935 EP 05717935 A EP05717935 A EP 05717935A EP 1723792 A1 EP1723792 A1 EP 1723792A1
Authority
EP
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
data
video
programme
user
plurality
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.)
Ceased
Application number
EP20050717935
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Trevor John Burke
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.)
Trevor Burke Tech Ltd
Original Assignee
Trevor Burke Tech Ltd
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

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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]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/85Assembly of content; Generation of multimedia applications
    • H04N21/854Content authoring
    • H04N21/8549Creating video summaries, e.g. movie trailer
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/20Servers specifically adapted for the distribution of content, e.g. VOD servers; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/25Management operations performed by the server for facilitating the content distribution or administrating data related to end-users or client devices, e.g. end-user or client device authentication, learning user preferences for recommending movies
    • H04N21/258Client or end-user data management, e.g. managing client capabilities, user preferences or demographics, processing of multiple end-users preferences to derive collaborative data
    • H04N21/25866Management of end-user data
    • H04N21/25891Management of end-user data being end-user preferences
    • 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
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/414Specialised client platforms, e.g. receiver in car or embedded in a mobile appliance
    • H04N21/41407Specialised client platforms, e.g. receiver in car or embedded in a mobile appliance embedded in a portable device, e.g. video client on a mobile phone, PDA, laptop
    • 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
    • H04N21/431Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering
    • H04N21/4312Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering involving specific graphical features, e.g. screen layout, special fonts or colors, blinking icons, highlights or animations
    • 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
    • H04N21/433Content storage operation, e.g. storage operation in response to a pause request, caching operations
    • H04N21/4331Caching operations, e.g. of an advertisement for later insertion during playback
    • 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
    • H04N21/475End-user interface for inputting end-user data, e.g. personal identification number [PIN], preference data
    • H04N21/4755End-user interface for inputting end-user data, e.g. personal identification number [PIN], preference data for defining user preferences, e.g. favourite actors or genre
    • 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
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/60Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand] using Network structure or processes specifically adapted for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signaling specific to video distribution between clients, server and network components, e.g. to video encoder or decoder; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client
    • H04N21/65Transmission of management data between client and server
    • H04N21/654Transmission by server directed to the client
    • H04N21/6547Transmission by server directed to the client comprising parameters, e.g. for client setup
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/60Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand] using Network structure or processes specifically adapted for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signaling specific to video distribution between clients, server and network components, e.g. to video encoder or decoder; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client
    • H04N21/65Transmission of management data between client and server
    • H04N21/658Transmission by the client directed to the server
    • H04N21/6581Reference data, e.g. a movie identifier for ordering a movie or a product identifier in a home shopping application
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/60Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand] using Network structure or processes specifically adapted for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signaling specific to video distribution between clients, server and network components, e.g. to video encoder or decoder; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client
    • H04N21/65Transmission of management data between client and server
    • H04N21/658Transmission by the client directed to the server
    • H04N21/6582Data stored in the client, e.g. viewing habits, hardware capabilities, credit card number
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/81Monomedia components thereof
    • H04N21/8146Monomedia components thereof involving graphical data, e.g. 3D object, 2D graphics
    • H04N21/8153Monomedia components thereof involving graphical data, e.g. 3D object, 2D graphics comprising still images, e.g. texture, background image
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/83Generation or processing of protective or descriptive data associated with content; Content structuring
    • H04N21/835Generation of protective data, e.g. certificates
    • H04N21/8352Generation of protective data, e.g. certificates involving content or source identification data, e.g. Unique Material Identifier [UMID]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/83Generation or processing of protective or descriptive data associated with content; Content structuring
    • H04N21/84Generation or processing of descriptive data, e.g. content descriptors
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/83Generation or processing of protective or descriptive data associated with content; Content structuring
    • H04N21/845Structuring of content, e.g. decomposing content into time segments
    • H04N21/8456Structuring of content, e.g. decomposing content into time segments by decomposing the content in the time domain, e.g. in time segments
    • 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
    • H04N21/472End-user interface for requesting content, additional data or services; End-user interface for interacting with content, e.g. for content reservation or setting reminders, for requesting event notification, for manipulating displayed content
    • H04N21/47217End-user interface for requesting content, additional data or services; End-user interface for interacting with content, e.g. for content reservation or setting reminders, for requesting event notification, for manipulating displayed content for controlling playback functions for recorded or on-demand content, e.g. using progress bars, mode or play-point indicators or bookmarks

Abstract

A method of distributing video data comprising defining a plurality of programme elements, each programme element comprising a video clip taken from said video data. Each programme element is allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon. Data representing a plurality of icons is transmitted to a receiver, each icon representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of programme elements is allocated. User selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon is received, and data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data is transmitted to the receiver. A method for generating video data, and a method for presenting video data are also disclosed.

Description

DISTRIBUTION OF VIDEO DATA

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for distributing video data. The invention also relates to a method and apparatus for receiving video data, a method and apparatus for presenting video data, and a method and apparatus for generating video data.

Video data is currently distributed in a variety of different ways. For example, video data is transmitted in the form of broadcast television programmes which are received by a user and displayed using a television receiver, i recent times, such television programmes have been distributed by means of satellite transmissions and cable lines, in addition to more traditional" radio frequency transmissions. Furthermore, it is well known to distribute recorded video data on storage media such as video cassettes and Digital Versatile Disks (DVDs)

Recently, the Internet has increasingly been associated with the distribution of video data. Software to display video data is readily available for conventional personal • computers, but many users suffer from problems of bandwidth. For example, users connecting to the Internet via a modem and a dialup connection to an Internet Service Provider experience low data transmission rates, making real-time video very difficult to achieve, with displayed video having artefacts of "jerkiness" which is most disconcerting to a user, and impairs enjoyment of the video data. Similar problems exist when a mobile device such as a mobile telephone or handheld computer is used to access video data. Given these problems, many users download an entire broadcast, and then watch the downloaded broadcast. This is again disadvantageous, because this downloading can typically take many minutes to complete.

Even users using high bandwidth connections (generally known as "broadband" connections) can still encounter problems when high quality video data is involved, with the undesirable effects described above being experienced. US 6,647,535 (Xerox Corporation) describes a system for creating a storyboard from video data. The storyboard comprises a plurality of still images which are representative or key frames taken from the video data. The selected still images can fnfimhe--displaye.d_to a. user hyjneans. of an Internet, -ehpage, .and a ussr .can select one of the still, images to cause a video clip associated with that image to be downloaded and displayed. Although this proposal provides a way of encapsulating a video clip by means of a relatively small number of still images, it suffers from some disadvantages. For example, using still images taken from the video data will not necessarily provide a meaningful and easily understandable indicator of the programme content of the associated video data.

It is an object of the present invention to obviate or mitigate at least some of the problems described above.

The present invention provides a method and apparatus for distributing video data. The method comprises defining a plurality of programme elements, each programme element comprising a video clip taken from said video data. Each programme element is allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon. Data representing a plurality of icons is transmitted to a receiver, each icon representing a respective one of said plurality of programme elements and representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of programme elements has been allocated. User selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon is received, and video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data to the receiver.

The invention also provides a method for receiving video data comprising a plurality of programme elements. Each programme element comprises a video clip taken from said video data, and each programme element is allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon. The method comprises receiving data representing a plurality of icons, each icon representing a respective one of said plurality of programme elements and representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of programme elements is allocated. A user selection is received and user selection data representing said selection is transmitted. Data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data is received.

By defining a plurality of programme elements, and allocating each programme element to a class having an associated icon, distributed video data can be represented by a series of icons arranged in temporal order of the associated programme elements in the video data. Using icons associated with predetermined classes provides a method of presenting a user with a structured and easily recognised summary of a video clip, with each icon being easily identifiable.

At least some of said plurality of classes may represent a type of event, a programme element may be allocated to one of the plurality of classes on the basis of an event to which the video clip relates. At least some of said plurality of classes may represent a subjective assessment of the value of programme elements and a programme element may be allocated to one of the plurality of classes on the basis of a subjective assessment of value. For example a subject of assessment value may be measured on a scale extending from a low value to a high value.

The icons may be arranged in an order corresponding to a temporal order of the programme elements represented by the icons.

The term "distributed programme" is used herein to mean a video clip which is made available to a user, for example by broadcasting or on a data carrier such as a video tape or DVD and which is described in a schedule (in the case of broadcast material) or on packaging (in the case of. a data carrier) to enable a user to access the clip. A plurality of programme elements may be defined within a single distributed programme. The plurality of icons, preferably arranged in temporal order may then collectively represent said distributed programme. Transmitting data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data to the receiver may comprise transmitting the or each programme element to the receiver.

At least one of said programme elements may comprise a plurality sub-elements, each sub-element may be allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of sub-classes, and the method may further comprise transmitting a further plurality of icons to the receiver in response to selection of an icon associated with the said at least one programme element, each further icon representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of sub-elements is allocated. Selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon corresponding to one of said sub-elements is received, and data associated with the or each sub-element associated with said selection data is transmitted to the receiver. Transmitting data may comprise transmitting data from a server to a remote client. Data representing icons may be transmitted from the server to the remote client. Alternatively, the method may comprise transmitting a plurality of classification codes, each classification code being associated with an icon, and retrieving icons associated with said plurality of classification codes from a memory at the remote client.

A data carrier carrying computer readable instructions for carrying out the method set out above is also provided, as is an apparatus for carrying out the described method. .

The present invention also provides a method of presenting video data. This method comprises displaying a plurality of first identifiers collectively representing a stream of video data. The video data comprises a plurality of programme elements, each of which has been allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes and each of said programme elements is represented by a respective one of said plurality of first identifiers. First user selection data is received indicating a wish to condense the video data and said first user selection data comprises data indicative of user preferences. The video data is condensed in accordance with the first user selection data, to produce condensed video data. The condensed video data comprises a subset of the plurality of programme elements selected on the basis of the first user selection data. A plurality of second identifiers is displayed. The plurality of second identifiers collectively represent the condensed stream of video data. Each of said subset of programme elements is represented by a respective one of said plurality of second identi-fier*.- The- eondensed-v- ^

Presenting video data in this way provides a convenient mechanism for a user to extract only content of interest from video data, thereby avoiding the need to view content of little -or no interest. For example, if video data is. allocated to classes at least partially on the basis of event type, condensed video data can be generated by removing video data associated with a specified event type, or alternatively removing all video data except that associated with the specified event type.

The method of the invention is also useful for extracting highlights from video data. For example, where video data is allocated to classes at least partially on the basis of a subjective value judgement such as interest level, a user can specify that only content of a relatively high interest level is to be viewed. This can be useful where it is desired to view highlights of video data in a shorter time than that occupied by the entire video data.

The method may further comprise displaying a viewing duration associated with the video data and . displaying a viewing duration associated with the condensed video data. ' .

Each of the predetermined plurality of- classes may have an icon, hi such embodiments' of the invention the first identifiers may take the form of a sequence of icons representing the class to which each of the plurality of programme elements in the video data have been allocated. Similarly, the second identifiers may comprise a sequence of icons representing the class to which respective programme elements of the subset of programme elements have been allocated.

The method may further comprise receiving data representing the plurality of icons from a transmitter, receiving second user selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon,, and receiving video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the icon selection indicated by the second user selection data from the transmitter.

The data representing the plurality of icons may further comprise data indicating the viewing duration of the video data associated with each programme element.

At least one of the sequence of icons and the subset of icons may be presented to the user simultaneously with the video data.

The invention also provides a method of generating video data. The method comprises storing video data as a plurality of programme elements, each programme element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes. First input data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of classes which are of interest to a user is received. Second input data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration is also ' received. Programme elements are retrieved from said stored programme elements in accordance with said first input data, to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration. The first input data may further indicate a degree of interest in each of the said interested classes. The generated video data may comprise. programme elements indicated in said first input data as being of relatively high interest. That is, programme elements indicated of being of relatively high interest may be included in preference to programme elements indicated as being of relatively low interest.

Generating video data in this manner allows relatively long duration viewing data to be condensed so as to be viewable within a time available. The condensing may be carried out to include events having a relatively high interest level. A user may specify an ordered list of preferences, indicating a range of desirability of various video data, and video data of relatively high desirability may be included, in preference to video data of lower desirability. At least some of said. predetermined plurality of classes may be at . least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a low value to a high value. Programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively - ^. h-&ubj^&fiv - -al e--^ to classes having a relatively low subjective value. That is, where subjective value indicates a likely degree of interest of the programme elements generated video data is such that relatively interesting programme material is included.

An identifier identifying the generated video data may be presented. The identifier may comprise a sequence of icons representing the classes to which each received programme element has been allocated. A viewing duration for the generated video data may be displayed.

The invention further provides a method of condensing video data, the video data comprising a plurality of programme elements, each of which has been allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes being at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a. high value to a low value, the method comprising, receiving first user input data indicating a wish to condense the video data, said first user input data comprising data specifying a subjective value, condensing said video data in accordance with said first user selection data, to produce condensed video data, said condensed video data comprising a subset of said plurality of programme elements having a subjective value not less than the specified subjective value.

A first identifier identifying the stream of video data may be displayed. The condensed video data may be displayed. A second identifier identifying said condensed video data may be displayed before said condensed video data is displayed.

The method may further comprise displaying a viewing duration associated with the video data, and displaying a viewing duration associated with a condensed video data. The invention further provides a method of generating video data, comprising storing video data as a plurality of programme elements, each programme element being -ailøe-at-ed- to- one- -e-f -a--pr-edeteiTOined -pktr-ah-t-y -of classes- -at- least- some- σf said- predetermined plurality of classes being at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a low value to a high value, receiving first input data comprising data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of classes which are of interest to a user, receiving second input data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration, retrieving programme elements from said stored programme elements in accordance with said first input data, to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration, wherein programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively high subjective value are retrieved in preference to programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively low subjective value.

Thus, the invention allows video data to be condensed to generate video data having a particular approximate duration such that programme elements of relatively high interest are included in preference to programme elements having a relatively low interest. . . •

It will be appreciated that the methods of presenting video data, and the" method of generating video data described above can be carried out either locally at a client terminal, or alternatively in a distributed manner whereby the client communicates with a remote server, and it is the remote server which carries out the condensing. The implementation of such distributed embodiments of the invention will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of a computer network suitable for implementing an embodiment of the present invention; Figure 2 is a flow chart showing a video classification and distribution process in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 3 is a schematic illustration of video data classified using the process of Figure

2; . "

Figure 4 is an illustration of icons representing the classification illustrated in Figure 3;

Figure 5 is a flow chart showing a video receiving and displaying process in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, which is suitable for using with the classification and distribution process of Figure 2;

Figure 6 is a schematic illustration of a class hierarchy which can be used for classification in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 7 is an illustration of icons representing a hierarchical classification in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 8 is an illustration of icons representing a soccer match;

Figure 9 is an illustration showing a subset of the icons of Figure 8; and

Figure 10 is an illustration of a display screen which can be used in embodiments of the present invention. ■

Referring to Figure 1, there is illustrated a video server 1 connected to the Internet 2. Two workstations 3, 4, a laptop computer 5 and a mobile telephone 6 are also provided with means for connection to the Internet 2. The workstations '3, 4 and the laptop computer 5 can be connected to the Internet 2 via a modem and telephone line (not shown), or alternatively via a connection to a local area network (LAN) which is itself connected to the Internet 2. The mobile telephone 6 can be connected to the Internet 2 either by means of a dialup connection using the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) or alternatively the mobile telephone 6 can be a third generation mobiie -elephene- with- Internet- access- eapafeirl-it-y . Indeed- each- of the user devices 3-,- 4-,- 5, 6 can be connected to the Internet 2 in any one of a number of ways which will be readily understood by one of ordinary skill in the art.

A user using the mobile telephone 6 can use web browser software installed on the mobile telephone to access a web page defined in the HTML language provided by the video server 1. The web page suitably includes options allowing the user of the mobile telephone 6 to view video data stored on the video server 1 using suitable video player software installed on the mobile telephone 6. The video data stored on the video server X has, in accordance with an embodiment of the inventiori, been classified as is now described.

Figure 2 is a flow chart of a classification process for video data which may be carried out by a user of the video server 1. A, user processes video data at step SI, and a plurality of programme elements within the video data are defined at step S2, and classified at step S3.' Programme elements will typically relate to discrete events within the video data.

Classification of a news programme 7 is illustrated in Figure 3. The news programme extends from a time to to a time t . Seven discrete programme elements are defined within the news programme 7. A first programme element 8 starts at time to (that is the beginning of the news programme 7), continues until time ti and relates to a kidnap story. A second programme element 9 extends from time ti and continues until time t2. This programme element relates to a news item describing a US presidential visit. A third programme element 10 begins at the end of the second programme element 9, (that is at time t2), continues until time t3 and relates to a prime ministerial scandal. A fourth programme element 11 relates to a jail break, and extends from time ' ' t3 to time t . A fifth programme element 12 extends from time t4 to time t5 and relates to university tuition fees. A sixth programme element 13 relates to financial news, and extends between time t and time t6. A seventh programme element 14 relates to weather news and extends from time t6 to the end of the news programme 7, that is to time t .

Referring back to Figure 2, at step S2 an operator places markers at each of times to to t7 to delimit the seven described programme elements illustrated in Figure 3. At step S3 each programme element is allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes. Li this example these classes relate to content type, and more particularly to the nature of the news story represented by each programme element.

Classification of video data is also described in the applicant's published PCT patent application, (publication number WO99/03275) the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference.

Classification can suitably be carried out by an operator viewing the video data within a graphical user interface (GUI), the GUI providing a plurality of icons which can be selected to effect classification. The user selects a type of programme to be classified (in this case news) and is presented with a plurality of icons which represent programme elements expected to occur within a news programme. The video data is viewed by the operator, and as each new programme element begins, an icon representing the content of that programme element is selected (thus steps S2 and S3 of Figure 2 could be carried out concurrently). Preferred embodiments of the GUI provide, an operator with functionality to offset delays in selecting an appropriate icon, as compared with the true "start of a programme element. US Patent Application No. 10/435,178, filed on 9 Ma 2003 describes a suitable GUI, and this' document is herein incorporated by reference.

The classification of each programme element described above is denoted by an appropriate icon. Figure 4 shows a sequence of icons which represent the programme elements making up the news programme 7. A first icon 15 represents the kidnap story programme element 8, a second icon 16 represents the US presidential visit programme element 9, a third icon 17 represents the prime ministerial scandal programme element 10, and a fourth icon 18 represents the jail break programme element 11. A fifth icon 19 represents the university tuition "fees programme element 12, a sixth icon 20 represents the financial news programme element 13, and a -seventh- ieon-5 - -represents he -weather- -programme element 1-4-. -It- ean-be- seen from Figure 4 that the sequence of icons provides an easily understandable summary of the content of the video data. Furthermore, over time a user will become readily familiar with the various icons which are used, and will therefore almost instantly know the content type of the associated video data.

Referring back to Figure 2, having performed appropriate classification, the video server 1 is ready to accept a request from a user via the Internet for the classified video data. Such a request is received at step S4. Classification data representing a class to which each programme element within a requested programme is transmitted to a user at step S5, via the Internet 2. This data takes the form of a plurality of codes, one for each programme element, each code indicating the class to which the respective programme element has been allocated, together with a unique identifier of that programme element. The video server 1 then awaits a response from the user at step S6.

Figure 7 shows processing carried out by a user device such as the mobile telephone 6 upon receipt of classification data transmitted at step S5 of Figure 2. At step S7 the classification data is received and stored within the user device, hi the described embodiment of the invention each user device stores the plurality of icons used to represent programme element classification. These icons are suitably transmitted to the user device when no other network activity is taking place and stored. The user device processes the classification data received at step S7 and corresponding icons are retrieved from storage at step S8. Thus, if classification codes representing the programme elements of the news programme 7 are transmitted, the sequence of icons illustrated in Figure 4 will be generated, and these are displayed to the user at step S9 via a suitable display device, which will typically be a monitor in the case of the workstations 3, 4, or a built in screen in the case of the laptop computer 5 and the mobile telephone 6. A user then reviews the sequence of icons and selects one of the icons. This selection can suitably be made by moving a cursor visible on the display device using an input device such as a mouse to cause selection of one of the icons. Alternatively, the icons can be displayed on a touch sensitive screen, and selection -ea&b -e-f-feeted -simply b-y-t uGh-ing-the screenτ either with-a-fin-geiv or wit a-prov-ided- • touch pen. Indeed, as will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art, any appropriate input device can be used. User input is received at step S10 and user selection data indicative of this input is generated at step Sl l. This data can suitably simply comprise the unique identifier of the programme element represented by the selected icon, and is transmitted to the video server 1 at step S12. The user device then enters a loop at step S13 until appropriate video data is received from the video

Referring back to Figure 2, on receipt of the user selection data, the loop of step S6 exits, and the received data is processed at step S14. This processing comprises locating video data identified by the unique programme element identifier contained within the user selection data. The located video data is transmitted to the appropriate user device at step SI 5. The video data is transmitted as one or more video data files in any convenient file format such as MPEG, RealPlayer or QuickTime, for example. Referring back to Figure 5, receipt of video data causes the loop of step S13 to exit, and the user device can then display the video at step S16 using appropriate video player software. This software can either be a stand alone application, or alternatively can be included within the web browser software used to display the. icons for user selection, or included in a web page using, for example, a Java™ Applet. Activation of a suitable standalone video player from a web page and inclusion of a Java™ applet in a web page are well known in the art, and are not described in further detail here.

In the embodiment of the invention described above, it has been assumed that icons are already present on the user device, and are retrieved using classification codes transmitted by the video server 1. hi alternative embodiments of the .present invention, no icons are stored on a user device in advance, but instead the video server 1 responds to a user request by providing icons together with unique programme element identifiers as described above. Transmission of icons does require slightly greater bandwidth, however this embodiment of the invention makes the described method more widely applicable to devices which do not have stored icons.

-Figure -6- illustrates- a hierarsh of classes which- can be use , fer multi-layer classification, hi the following description the term "channel" is used to refer to a group of video data items (referred to as programmes) containing programme elements which are provided by a common source. The hierarchy of Figure 6 has a top level channels class 22 which represents the root of the classification hierarchy. The channels class 22 has five sub-classes which represent channels offering various different content types. A first sub-class 23 is used to represent news channels, a second sub class 24 is used to represent entertainment channels, a third sub-class 25 is used to represent music channels, a fourth sub-class 26 is used to represent travel channels, and a fifth sub-class 27 is used to represent health channels. Each of these sub-classes is used to represent channels of the appropriate type. The News class 23 has sub-classes representing various news channels. A sub-class 28 is used to represent a BBC news channel, a sub-class 29 is used to represent a Sky news channel, and a sub-class 30 is used to represent a CNN news channel.

Each of the sub-classes 28, 29, 30 in turn has sub-classes which represent programmes provided by that channel. Figure 6 illustrates three subclasses of the subclass 29 used to' represent the Sky news channel, namely a breaking news class 31, a six o'clock news class 32 and a travel news class 33. There are also illustrated subclasses of the six o'clock news class 32 which represent programme elements within that programme. Four sub-classes are illustrated: a political news class 34, a home affairs class 35, an international news class 36 and a weather class 37. Some of these classes have one or more sub-classes. Specifically. The political news class 34 has a prime ministerial news class 38 as a sub-class. The home affairs class 35 has a crime class 39 and an education class 40 as sub-classes. The crime class 39 in turn has a prisons class 41 as a sub-class. The international news class 36 has a US news class 42 and an international finance class 43 as sub-classes. The US news class 42 in turn as a class 44 representing news concerning the US president. The hierarchy of Figure 6 includes a number of paths indicated in broken lines. This is simply to indicate that further classes are provided at that level of the hierarchy, but these are not described in further detail here.

The hierarchy described with reference -to- Figur & ean- be used- te el-assify data ttsiαg- the video server 1. As shown in Figure 4, this classification can allow video data to be classified using classes at different hierarchical levels (e.g. the education class 40 represented by the icon 19 is at a higher hierarchical level than the prisons class 41 represented by the icon 18).

In the embodiments of the invention described above, a single sequence of icons (Figure 4) has been described, in which a user selects . specific video data, and is provided with a sequence of icons representing programme elements which make up that video data. An alternative embodiment of the invention using the hierarchy of Figure 6 is now described with reference to Figure 7. A user is initially provided with a sequence of icons 45 which represent different channel types. An icon 46 represents news channels, an icon 47 represents entertainment channels, an icon 48 represents music channels, an icon 49 represents travel channels, and an icon 50 represents health channels. It can be seen that these icons correspond to similarly named classes in Figure 6.

On being presented with the sequence of icons 45 a user can make a selection so as to be presented with details of appropriate channels. In the example of Figure 7 a user selects the news icon 46. This selection is communicated to the video server 1, and in return a further sequence of data is transferred to the user device, for display to the user. This sequence of data is represented by a sequence of icons 51. The sequence of icons 51 comprises a BBC news icon 52, a Sky news icon 53, and a CNN news icon 54. Again a user selection is made and transmitted to the video server 1, data is received from the video server 1, and a further sequence of icons 55 is displayed, representing programmes provided by the selected channel. In this case it was the Sky news icon 53 which was selected, and programmes provided by the Sky news channel are represented by a breaking news icon 56, a six o'clock news icon 57, and a travel news icon 58. A user can select one of the icons 55 to cause display of icons representing programme elements. For example, if the six o'clock news icon 57 is selected, the sequence of icons shown in Figure 4 is displayed, and user interaction continues in the manner described above.

It should be noted that all embodiments of the invention described above are advantageous, given that summary information is provided to the user in the form of a sequence of icons which can be provided by transmitting minimal data. This summary data can be hierarchical as in the case of Figure 6 and 7. Video, data is transmitted only when specifically requested. Furthermore, given the classification process, only a small quantity of video data of interest to the user is downloaded, meaning that users having low-bandwidth connections make economic use of that bandwidth.

It will be appreciated that he hierarchy of Figure 6 is merely exemplary, and other hierarchies could be used. For -example in some hierarchies there may be no concept of channels as described above. Instead each programme element may be classified with a hierarchy indicating only features of programme element content, regardless of source.

The embodiments of the invention described above have been concerned with classification of programme elements on the basis of programme content. In alternative embodiments of the invention, video data can be divided into programme elements, and each element can be classified on the basis of a subjective value judgment such as an interest level. A programme can then be represented by means of, for example, a sequence of icons, each icon representing an associated interest level by means of a number of stars ranging from zero to five. A user can then simply select one or more icons representing relatively interesting programme elements to cause these to be downloaded in the manner described above. Using icons representing interest level as opposed to content classification may be particularly suitable for programmes which do not have discrete content based events, but rather contain only a single content type. Some embodiments of the invention use content based classification as described above, in combination. with interest level indicators as described above.

Embodiments of the invention can be used to allow a user to condense a stream of video data such that it can be viewed within a time which a user has available. Figure 8 illustrates part of a sequence of icons which represent a soccer match. Only part of the sequence of icons representing an entire soccer match is illustrated in Figure 8, with omitted icons being denoted by ellipsis. It can be seen that the soccer match is represented by a start game icon 59, a dribble icon 60, a defensive action icon 61, an offside icon 62, a free kick icon 63, a further dribble icon 64, and a goal icon 65. Icons representing the remainder of the first half of the soccer match are then omitted. Half time is indicated by a half time icon 66, and half time analysis is indicated by an analysis icon 67. Events making up the majority of the second half are denoted by ellipsis, and a final goal icon 68 denotes the end of the match.. It can be seen that in the embodiment of Figure 8, each icon is presented together with an interest level indicator, denoted by a number of stars below each icon, ranging from one to five.

As described above, the stream of icons of Figure 8 can be downloaded from the video server to a user's device in advance of the video data itself. A user can then select one or more icons in order to obtain the video content associated with the selected icons.

When the stream of icons partially illustrated in Figure 8 is displayed to the user, the user may additionally be provided with a viewing duration indicative of the time taken to display the video data represented by all icons. This can be achieved by incorporating with data for each icon a time parameter indicating the viewing duration of the video data represented by that icon. Thus, in the example of Figure 8, the time for the entire soccer match, together with half time, may be of the order of 110 minutes, and this time may be displayed to the user. It may be however, that a user does< not wish to expend that length of time watching an entire soccer match. Therefore, using the icon data downloaded to the user's device, it is possible to specify preferred content, and condense the video data in accordance with the preferred content.

• Eor-examples- a -user-may input-data: ind-ic-at-in-g-tiiat--he/she wishes-onl-y to- view video- data which is classified as having an interest level in excess of three stars. On making this selection, a user is then presented with a subset of the icons as illustrated in Figure 9. Specifically, only the defensive action icon 61, the offside icon 62, the goal icon 65, and the final goal icon 68 are displayed to a user. Again, the user is presented with an indication of the time taken to. view all video data associated with these icons. If it is determined that the time indicated to view the video data associated with these icons is acceptable to a user, the user can then request the appropriate video data from the video server and proceed to watch the video data.

The embodiment of the present invention as described above allows a user to download icons which provide an indication of the viewing duration of the associated video data, and then to make a further specification so as to obtain a subset of icons representing a subset of video data and an indication of the (shorter) time that would be required to watch the video data represented by the subset of icons. It will be appreciated, that this embodiment of the invention need not necessarily be used in connection with a subjective value assessment as described above, but instead the sequence of icons illustrated in Figure 8 could be displayed to a user, the display time would then be determined to be unacceptable, and a user could then specify that only goal events for example, were desired. A subset of sequence of icons representing all goal events, would then be displayed to the user together with the associated viewing duration, and the user could then proceed to watch only the goal video data in the manner described above. Alternatively, the user may specify that it is desired to view only the actual match, not pre-match and half-time discussions and interviews, and the video data could then be condensed to remove, for example, the half-time and analysis programme elements respectively represented by the icons 66, 61 in Figure 8.

The condensing process described above, is not restricted to applications in which icons are delivered in advance and then used to enable download of video data. For example, as illustrated in Figure 10, a user may review icons and watch video data concurrently. Figure 10 illustrates a display screen 69 having a first area 70 in which video data is displayed and a second area 71 in which the stream of icons illustrated in -Figure. -8-is-displayed. The-duration-of-the video-data-is-indicat-ed-i an-ar-ea- 72-θf-the- display screen. Video data is displayed in the area 70, and the icon representative of the data currently being displayed is highlighted in the area 71. In the illustration of Figure 10, the icon 60 is highlighted. The user may skip backwards and forward within the video data by selecting appropriate icons in the area 71. However, if a user is running short of time and wishes to watch only the highlights of the game, an appropriate selection can be made from, for example, a menu so as to reduce the sequence of icons in the area 71 to, for example, that illustrated in Figure 9, in the manner described above.

The ability of the invention to condense video data is not restricted to video data represented using icons. For example, a user may be presented with a textual identifier identifying video data together with an estimated viewing duration for the video data. The user can then input data indicative of a wish to condense the video data, this data additionally' specifying preferred programme content. In some ' embodiments the condensed data is then presented directly to the user, whilst in other embodiments, the condensed data is represented to the user by a further identifier, allowing a user to further condense the data prior to viewing,

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, a user establishes a profile indicative of programme content of interest. The profile may specify a plurality of classes of data in which a user is interested, together indications of degree of interest in each specified class. This user profile can then be used to condense video data as described above. For example, a user may be presented with an identifier or icon sequence representing video data, and then request that the video data is condensed based upon the established profile by, for example, including only classes included within the profile having an interest level above a predetermined threshold. i some embodiments of the present invention, a user presents details of a desired viewing duration. The video data is then condensed to provide video data having a duration as close as possible to the desired viewing duration. In such embodiments of the- -invention,., a- .user .profile can be used in the -manner described above,- or alternatively a user can input data indicating how condensing should be carried out.

Although preferred embodiments have been described above, it will be appreciated that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention defined by the appended claims.

Claims

1. A method of distributing video data comprising: defining- a plurality of programme elements-,- each- programme efemen comprising a video clip taken from said video data; allocating each programme element to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon; transmitting data representing a plurality of icons to a receiver, each icon representing a respective one of said 'plurality of programme elements, and representing a class to which said respective one of said plurality of programme - elements has been allocated; receiving user selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon; and transmitting video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data to the receiver.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein at least some of said plurality of classes represent a type of event, and the method further comprises: allocating a programme element to one of the plurality of classes on the basis of a type of event to which the video clip relates.
3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein at least some of said plurality of classes represent a subjective assessment of the value of programme elements, and the method fiuther comprises: allocating a programme element to one of the plurality of classes on the basis of a subjective assessment of value.
4. A method according to any preceding claim, further comprising:
arranging said plurality of icons in an order corresponding to a temporal order of the programme elements represented by the icons.
5. A method according to any preceding claim, comprising defining a plurality of programme elements within a single distributed programme
-6, A- method according- to claim- §,- wherein- said- plurality o icons collectively represent said distributed programme.
7. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein transmitting video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data to the receiver comprises transmitting the or each programme element to the receiver.
8. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein at least one of said programme elements comprises a plurality sub-elements, each sub-element is allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of sub-classes, and the method further comprises transmitting a further plurality of icons to the receiver in response to selection of an icon associated with the said at least one programme element, each further icon . representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of sub-elements is allocated; receiving selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one said further icon corresponding to one of said sub-elements; and transmitting data associated with the or each sub-element associated with said selection data to the receiver.
9. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein said transmitting transmits data from a server to a remote client.
10. A data carrier carrying computer readable instructions to cause a computer to carry out a method according to any preceding claim.
11. An apparatus for distributing video data comprising: a program memory containing processor readable instructions; and a processor for reading and executing instructions contained in the program memory; wherein said processor readable instructions comprise instructions controlling -the-processor -to carry out-the method- βf any one of e- im-s I to- 9.
12. A method of receiving video data comprising a plurality of programme elements, each programme element comprising a video clip taken from said video data, and each programme element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon, the method comprising: receiving data representing a plurality of icons, each icon representing . a respective one of said plurality of programme elements and representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of programme elements has been allocated ;
' receiving a user selection of at least one icon, and transmitting user selection data representing said selection; and receiving video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data.
13. A method according to claim 12, wherein at least some of said plurality of classes represent a type of event, and a programme element is allocated to one of the plurality of classes on the basis of the type of event to which the video clip relates;
14. A method according to claim 12 or 13, wherein at least some of said plurality of classes represent a subjective' assessment of the value of programme elements, and a programme element is allocated to one of the plurality of classes on the basis of a subjective assessment of value.
15-. A method according to claim 12, 13 or 14, further comprising: arranging said plurality of icons in an order corresponding to the temporal .order of the programme elements represented by the icons.
16. A method according to any one of claims 11 to 15 wherein a plurality of said programme elements are taken from a single distributed programme.
17. A method according to claim 16, wherein said plurality of icons collectively represent said distributed programme.
18. A method according to any one of claims 12 to 17, wherein receiving data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data comprises receiving the or each programme element.
19. A method according to any one of claims 12 to 17, wherein at least one of said programme /elements comprises -a plurality of sub-elements, each sub-element is allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of sub-classes, and receiving data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data comprises: . •
' ' ' ' receiving a plurality of further -icons, in response to selection of an icon associated with said at least one programme element, each icon representing a class towhich a respective one of said plurality of sub-elements is allocated;
. , receiving a user selection of at least one said further icon corresponding to one of said sub-elements, and transmitting selection data indicating the selection; and receiving data associated with the or .each sub-element associated with said user selection.
20. A method according to any one of claims 12 to 14, wherein said receiving receives data from a server. . •
21. A method according to any one of claim 12 to 20, wherein receiving data representing a plurality of icons comprises:
' receiving a plurality of classification codes, each classification code being associated with an icon; and retrieving icons associated with said plurality of classification codes from a memory. ' • •• .. -
22. A data carrier carrying computer readable instructions to cause a computer to carry out a method according to any one of claims 12 to 21.
23-, An-apparatusrfer distribut-ing-video-dat-areompri-sing a program memory containing processor readable instructions; and a processor for reading and executing instructions contained in the program memory; wherein said processor .readable instructions comprise instructions controlling the processor to'carry out the method of any one of claims 12 to 21.
24. Video data distributing apparatus comprising: means for defining a plurality of programme elements, each programme element comprising a video clip taken from said video data; means for allocating each programme element to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon; first transmitting means configured to transmit data representing a plurality of icons to a receiver, each icon representing a respective one of said plurality of programme elements and representing a class to which a respective one' of said plurality of programme elements has been allocated; receiving means configured to receive user selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon; and second transmitting means configured to transmit video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data to the receiver. '
25. Apparatus according to claim 24, further comprising: means for arranging said plurality of icons in an order corresponding to a temporal order of the programme elements represented by the icons.
26. Apparatus according to claim 24 or 25, wherein said first transmitting means is configured to transmit the or each programme element to the receiver.
27. Apparatus according to any one of claims 24 to 26, wherein said first and second transmitting means is configured to transmit data from a server to a remote client.
28. Video receiving apparatus comprising for receiving a plurality of programme elements, each programme element comprising a video clip taken from said video data, and each programme element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, each class having an associated icon, the apparatus comprising: first receiving means configured to receive data representing a plurality of icons, each icon representing a respective one of said plurality of programme elements and representing a class to which a respective one of said plurality of programme elements is allocated;
•second receiving means configured to receive a user selection of at least one icon; transmitting means for transmitting user selection data representing said selection; and third receiving means configured to receive video data associated with the or each programme element associated with the user selection data.
29. Apparatus according claim 28, wherein said first receiving means is configured to receive said plurality of icons.
30. Apparatus according to claim 29, wherein said first receiving means comprises: means for receiving a plurality of classification codes, each classification code being associated with an icon; and ' means for retrieving icons associated with -said plurality of classification codes from a memory.
31. A method of presenting video data comprising: . . ' displaying a. plurality of first identifiers collectively representing, a stream of video data, the video data comprising a plurality of programme elements, each of which has been allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, and each of said programme elements being represented by a respective one of said plurality of first identifiers; receiving- first-user- selection- data- indicat-ing-a- wish- to condense the videσ data said first user selection data comprising data indicative of user -preferences; condensing said video data in accordance with said first user selection data, to produce condensed video data, said condensed video data comprising a subset of said . plurality of programme elements selected on the basis of said first user selection data; displaying a. plurality of second identifiers collectively representing the condensed stream of video data, each of said sub-set of programme elements being represented by a respective one of said plurality of second identifiers; and displaying at least part of said condensed video data.
32. A method according to claim 31 , further comprising: displaying a viewing duration associated with said video data; and displaying a viewing duration associated with said condensed video data.
33. A method according to claim 31 or 32, wherein: each of said predetermined plurality of classes has an associated icon; each of said first identifiers is an icon representing the class to which the respective programme element in the video data has been allocated; and each of said second identifiers is an icon representing the class to which the respective programme element of said subset of programme elements has been allocated.
34. A method according to claim 33, further comprising: receiving data representing the plurality of icons from a transmitter; receiving second user selection data indicative of a user selection of at least one icon; and receiving . video • data associated with the or each programme element associated with the icon selection indicated by the second user selection data from the transmitter.
35. A method according to claim 33 or 34,. herein said data representing the plurality of icons further comprises data indicating a viewing duration of video data -associated- ith- each- rogramme element.
36. A method according to any one of claims 31 to 35,- wherein at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes are at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a high value to a low value.
37. A method according to claim 36, wherein the first selection data comprises a specified subjective value, and the subset of programme elements comprises programme elements allocated to classes defined as having a subjective value not less than the specified subjective value.
38. A method according to any one of claims 31 to 37, wherein at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes are at least partially defined by a type of event.
39. A method according to claim 38, wherein said first user selection data comprises a specified -event type, and said subset of icons represents programme elements allocated to classes at least partially defined by said specified event type.
40. A method according to claim 33 or any claim dependent thereon, wherein at least one of said sequence of icons and said subset of icons are presented to a user simultaneously with video data.
41. A data carrier carrying computer program code means to cause a computer to execute procedure in accordance with the method of any one of claims 31 to 40.
42. A computer apparatus for presenting video data, comprising: a program memory containing processor readable instructions; and a processor for reading and executing instructions contained in the program memory; wherein said processor readable instructions comprise instructions controlling the processor to carry out the method of any one of claims 31 to 40.
4_ - A-method-o-f -gene-rating- video- data-,- eemprismgr storing video data as a plurality of programme elements, each programme element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes; receiving first input data comprising data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of .classes which are of interest to a user, and further indicating a degree of interest in each of said interested classes. receiving second input data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration; retrieving programme elements from said stored programme elements in accordance with said first input data, to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration, said generated video data comprising programme elements indicated in said first input data as being of relatively high interest.
44. A method according to claim 43, wherein at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes are at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a low value to a high value.
45. A method according to claim 44, wherein programme elements allocated to classes having- a relatively high subjective value are retrieved in preference to programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively low subjective value.
46. A method according to claim 44 or 45, wherein said subjective value assessment represents a perceived interest level. . .
47. A method according to any one of claims 43 to 46, further comprising presenting an identifier identifying the generated video data.
48. A method according to claim 47, wherein said identifier comprises a sequence of icons representing the class to. which each retrieved programme element has been allocated.
49. A method according to claim 47 or 48, further comprising displaying a viewing duration for the generated video data.
.
50. A method according to any one of claims 43 to 49, wherein said first and second input data are received from a remote terminal and data representing said generated video data is transmitted to said remote terminal.
51. A method according to claim 50, wherein said data representing said generated video data comprises data indicating a class to which each retrieved programme element has been allocated.
52. A method according to claim 51, wherein the class to which each retrieved programme element has been allocated is represented by an icon.
53. A method according to claim 50, 51 or 52, .further comprising receiving data from said remote -terminal data indicating selection of some or all of said retrieved programme elements, and transmitting video data associated with said selected programme elements to the remote terminal.
54. A method according to claim 50, wherein said data representing said generated video data comprises said generated video data.
55. A method according to any one of claims 50 to 54 further comprising transmitting to said remote terminal a viewing duration associated with said generated video data.
■ 56. A data carrier carrying computer program code means to cause a computer to execute procedure in accordance with the method of any one of claims 43 to 55.
57. A computer apparatus for generating video data, comprising: a program memory containing processor readable instructions; and a processor for reading and executing instructions contained in the program memory; wherein said processor readable instructions comprise instructions controlling the processor to carry out the method of any one of claims 43 to 55.
58. An apparatus for presenting video data, comprising: a display device configured to display information to a user; user input means; and condensing means; wherein the displaying means is configured to display a plurality of first identifiers collectively representing a stream of video data to a user, the video data comprising a plurality of programme elements, each of which has been allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, and each of said programme elements being represented by a respective one of said plurality of first identifiers the user input means is adapted to receive first user selection data indicating a wish to condense the video data and comprising data indicative of user preferences; the condensing means is configured to condense the video data in accordance with said first user selection data to produce condensed video data, said condensed video data comprising a subset of said plurality of program elements selected on the basis of said first user selection data; and the displaying means is configured to display a plurality of second identifiers collectively representing the condensed stream of video data each of said subset of programme elements being represented by a respective one of said plurality of second identifiers.
59. An apparatus for generating video data comprising: storage means for storing video data as a plurality of program elements, each program element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes; user input means configured to receive first input data comprising data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of classes which are of interest to a user, and further indicating a degree of interest in each of said interested classes, and configured to receive second input data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration; and retrieving means configured to retrieve stored program elements from said storage means in accordance with said first input data to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration said generated video data comprising programme elements indicated in said first input data as being of relatively high interest.
60. Apparatus for generating video data, comprising: storage means for storing video data as a plurality of programme elements, each program element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes; a network connection for connection to a client terminal, said network connection being configured to carry first data from said client terminal comprising data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of classes which are of interest to a user, and further indicating a degree of interest in each of said interested classes and being configured to carry second data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration; retrieving means for retrieving program elements from said storage means in accordance with said first data to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration said generated video data comprising programme elements indicated in said first input data as being of relatively high interest.; and transmitting means for transmitting said retrieved program elements to said client terminal.
61. A method of condensing video data, the video data comprising a plurality of programme elements, each of which has been allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes being at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a high value to a low value the method comprising; receiving first user input data indicating a wish to condense the video data, said first user input data comprising data specifying a subjective value; condensing said video data in accordance with said first user selection data, to produce condensed video data, said condensed video data comprising a subset of said plurality of programme elements having a subjective value not less than the specified subjective value.
62. A method according to claim 61, comprising displaying a first identifier identifying said stream of video data.
63. A method according to claim 62 further comprising displaying said condensed video data.
64. A method according to claim 63, further comprising displaying a second identifier identifying said condensed video data before displaying said condensed video data.
65. A method according to claim 64, further comprising: displaying a viewing duration associated with said video data; and displaying a viewing duration associated with said condensed video data.
66. A method according to claim 64 or 65, wherein: each of said predetermined plurality of classes has an associated icon; said first identifier comprises a sequence of icons representing the class to which each of said plurality of programme elements in the video data has been allocated; and said second identifier comprises subset of said sequence of icons representing the class to which each programme element of said subset of programme elements has been allocated.
67. A method according to any one of claims 61 to 66, wherein at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes are at least partially defined by a type of event.
68. A method according to claim 67, wherein said first user selection data comprises a specified event type, and said subset of icons represents programme elements allocated to classes at least partially defined by said specified event type.
69. A method according to claim 66 or any claim dependent thereon, wherein at least one of said sequence of icons and said subset of icons are presented to a user simultaneously with video data.
70. A data carrier carrying computer program code means to cause a computer to execute procedure in accordance with the method of any one of claims 61 to 69.
71. A computer apparatus for presenting video data, comprising: a program memory containing processor readable instructions; and a processor for reading and executing instructions contained in the program memory; wherein said processor readable instructions comprise instructions controlling the processor to carry out the method of any one of claims 61 to 69.
72. A method of generating video data, comprising: storing video data as a plurality of programme elements, each programme element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes being at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a low value to a high value; receiving first input data comprising data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of classes which are of interest to a user; receiving second input data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration; retrieving programme elements from said stored programme elements in accordance with said first input data, to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration, wherein programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively high subjective value are retrieved in preference to programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively low subjective value.
73. A method according to claim 72, wherein said first input data further comprises data indicating a degree of interest of each of said indicated classes.
74. A method according to claim 73, wherein said generated video data comprises programme elements indicated in said first input data as being of relatively high interest.
75. A method according to any one of claims 72 to 74, wherein said subjective value assessment represents a perceived interest level.
76. A method according to any one of claims 72 to 75, further comprising presenting an identifier identifying the generated video data.
77. A method according to claim 76, wherein said identifier comprises a sequence of icons representing the class to which each retrieved programme element has been allocated.
78. A method according to claim 76 or 77, further comprising displaying a viewing duration for the generated video data.
79. A method according to any one of claims 72 to 78, wherein said first and second input data are received from a remote terminal and data representing said generated video data is transmitted to said remote terminal.
80. A method according to claim 79, wherein said data representing said generated video data comprises data indicating a class to which each retrieved programme element has been allocated.
81. A method according to claim 80, wherein the class to which each retrieved programme element has been allocated is represented by an icon.
82. A data carrier carrying computer program code means to cause a computer to execute procedure in accordance with the method of any one of claims 72 to 81.
83. A computer apparatus for generating video data, comprising: a program memory containing processor readable instructions; and a processor for reading and executing instructions contained in the program memory; wherein said processor readable instructions comprise instructions controlling the processor to carry out the method of any one of claims 72 to 81.
84. An apparatus for presenting video data the video data comprising a plurality of programme elements, each of which has been allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, the apparatus comprising: a display device configured to display information to a user; user input means; and condensing means; wherein the user input means is adapted to receive first user selection data indicating a wish to condense the video data and comprising data specifying a subjective value; and the condensing means is configured to condense the video data in accordance with said first user selection data to produce condensed video data, said condensed video data comprising a subset of said plurality of programme elements having a subjective value not less than the specified subjective value.
85. An apparatus for generating video data comprising: storage means for storing video data as a plurality of program elements, each program element being allocated to one of a predetermined plurality of classes, at least some of said predetermined plurality of classes being at least partially defined by a subjective value assessment measured on a scale extending from a low value to a high value; user input means configured to receive first input data comprising data indicating classes of said predetermined plurality of classes which are of interest to a user, and configured to receive second input data indicating an approximate desired viewing duration; and retrieving means configured to retrieve stored program elements from said storage means in accordance with said first input data to generate video data having a viewing duration substantially equal to the desired viewing duration, wherein programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively high subjective value are retrieved in preference to programme elements allocated to classes having a relatively low subjective value.
EP20050717935 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Method and apparatus for distributing video data Ceased EP1723792A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

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GB0405340A GB0405340D0 (en) 2004-03-10 2004-03-10 Distribution of video data
GB0408124A GB0408124D0 (en) 2004-03-10 2004-04-13 Distribution of video data
US10873749 US7882436B2 (en) 2004-03-10 2004-06-22 Distribution of video data
PCT/GB2005/000866 WO2005088968A1 (en) 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Method and apparatus for distributing video data

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

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EP20070075333 EP1821541A1 (en) 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Distribution of video data
EP20070075334 EP1830571B1 (en) 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Distribution of video data
EP20070075332 EP1821540B1 (en) 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Distribution of video data

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EP20070075334 Division EP1830571B1 (en) 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Distribution of video data
EP20070075332 Division EP1821540B1 (en) 2004-03-10 2005-03-07 Distribution of video data

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