WO1996027982A1 - Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1996027982A1
WO1996027982A1 PCT/US1996/003238 US9603238W WO9627982A1 WO 1996027982 A1 WO1996027982 A1 WO 1996027982A1 US 9603238 W US9603238 W US 9603238W WO 9627982 A1 WO9627982 A1 WO 9627982A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
channel
lineup
tuner
channel lineup
transmitted
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1996/003238
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Henry C. Yuen
Roy J. Mankovitz
Daniel S. Kwoh
Elsie Y. Leung
Original Assignee
Gemstar Development Corporation
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
Priority to US40100895A priority Critical
Priority to US08/401,008 priority
Priority to US40404695A priority
Priority to US08/404,046 priority
Application filed by Gemstar Development Corporation filed Critical Gemstar Development Corporation
Publication of WO1996027982A1 publication Critical patent/WO1996027982A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • 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
    • H04N21/438Interfacing the downstream path of the transmission network originating from a server, e.g. retrieving MPEG packets from an IP network
    • H04N21/4383Accessing a communication channel, e.g. channel tuning
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/434Disassembling of a multiplex stream, e.g. demultiplexing audio and video streams, extraction of additional data from a video stream; Remultiplexing of multiplex streams; Extraction or processing of SI; Disassembling of packetised elementary stream
    • H04N21/4345Extraction or processing of SI, e.g. extracting service information from an MPEG stream
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/45Management operations performed by the client for facilitating the reception of or the interaction with the content or administrating data related to the end-user or to the client device itself, e.g. learning user preferences for recommending movies, resolving scheduling conflicts
    • H04N21/4508Management of client or end-user data
    • H04N21/4524Management of client or end-user data involving the geographical location of the client
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • 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 or video on demand [VOD]
    • 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
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/44Receiver circuitry
    • H04N5/445Receiver circuitry for displaying additional information
    • H04N5/44543Menu-type displays
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/44Receiver circuitry
    • H04N5/50Tuning indicators; Automatic tuning control
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/76Television signal recording
    • H04N5/765Interface circuits between an apparatus for recording and another apparatus
    • H04N5/775Interface circuits between an apparatus for recording and another apparatus between a recording apparatus and a television receiver
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/76Television signal recording
    • H04N5/78Television signal recording using magnetic recording
    • H04N5/782Television signal recording using magnetic recording on tape
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/08Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division
    • H04N7/087Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only
    • H04N7/088Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only the inserted signal being digital
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/08Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division
    • H04N7/087Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only
    • H04N7/088Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only the inserted signal being digital
    • H04N7/0884Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only the inserted signal being digital for the transmission of additional display-information, e.g. menu for programme or channel selection
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/08Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division
    • H04N7/087Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only
    • H04N7/088Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only the inserted signal being digital
    • H04N7/0887Systems for the simultaneous or sequential transmission of more than one television signal, e.g. additional information signals, the signals occupying wholly or partially the same frequency band, e.g. by time division with signal insertion during the vertical blanking interval only the inserted signal being digital for the transmission of programme or channel identifying signals
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/16Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems
    • H04N7/162Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing
    • H04N7/165Centralised control of user terminal ; Registering at central
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • 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
    • H04N21/422Input-only peripherals, i.e. input devices connected to specially adapted client devices, e.g. global positioning system [GPS]
    • H04N21/42204User interfaces specially adapted for controlling a client device through a remote control device; Remote control devices therefor
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • 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
    • H04N21/4316Generation 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 for displaying supplemental content in a region of the screen, e.g. an advertisement in a separate window
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/44Receiver circuitry
    • H04N5/445Receiver circuitry for displaying additional information
    • H04N5/45Picture in picture

Abstract

One of the television signals from a plurality of channels includes as supplemental data a plurality of channel lineups and a unique geographic area identifier for each channel lineup. When the transmitted television signals are received at a tuner (18), the transmitted identifiers are compared with a user inputted geographic area identifier. The transmitted channel lineup for the transmitted identifier that matches the user inputted identifier is stored (28) for future use as a valid channel lineup. The valid channel lineup is then used to set the tuner in response to user inputted channel commands. The described arrangement can be used to download channel lineups with a television signal that is transmitted to viewers of services that have different channel lineups. The applicable channel lineup is determined at the local tuner by means of the geographic area identifier.

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING A TELEVISION TUNER Background of the Invention This invention relates to control of a television tuner, and more particularly, to a method and apparatus for automatically setting the channel lineup applicable to a particular tuner location and transmission service.

Television program sources, stations and networks such as HBO, WGN, and ABC are transmitted on different frequencies, i.e., channel numbers, depending upon the cable, satellite, or broadcast transmission service used by the television viewer and the tuner location. The table that relates the television program source names to the channel numbers for the particular service used by the viewer is sometimes called the channel lineup. If the television viewer is using a printed program guide, he or she must usually consult a printed channel lineup to determine the channel number to which the tuner should be set for the viewer's transmission service to receive a particular program source such as HBO.

To facilitate the process for the viewer, there are on the market remote controllers that have a so called channel mapping memory which stores the channel lineup applicable to the particular transmission service and/or tuner location. The viewer must first set up the controller by keying in the channel lineup manually. Then, when the viewer keys in a particular source name, e.g., ABC, the controller accesses the channel mapping memory, converts the source name to the applicable channel number, and sets the tuner accordingly.

Recently with the advent of systems to set a video tape recorder (VCR) for unattended recording by means of code numbers, such as used in a commercial system called VCR

PLUS +™ or by means of an onscreen cursor to select programs from a list displayed on the television screen, channel mapping has become a necessity. The channel lineup applicable to the tuner location is stored in a channel mapping memory so that when the viewer designates a name of a program source by code number or cursor, the corresponding channel number is retrieved from the memory and used automatically to set the tuner.

The most common way to load the channel lineup into the channel mapping memory is for the viewer to key in the applicable channel numbers manually responsive to a series of prompts displayed on the television screen, as described, for example, in British Patent Specification GB 2 256 333 A, published on December 2, 1992.

There have been attempts to automate the process of loading the applicable channel lineup into the channel mapping memory. U.S. Patent No. 4,894,714 to Christis discloses the transmission of a channel lineup from a television transmitter station as a teletext page. The teletext page is downloaded to a channel mapping memory at the television receivers served by the transmitter. This arrangement requires that each and every cable, satellite, or broadcast service transmit only the channel lineup applicable to that particular service. A telephone service also exists that downloads to a viewer's remote controller the channel lineup applicable to the viewer's transmission service. After ringing up the telephone service, the viewer announces his or her transmission service, e.g. , cable company, and/or postal directory code (zip code). The channel lineup is then transmitted to the viewer over a telephone line.

Summary of the Invention

According to the invention, one of the television signals from a plurality of channels includes as supplemental data a plurality of channel lineups and a unique geographic area identifier for each channel lineup. When the transmitted television signals are received at a tuner, the transmitted identifiers are compared with a user inputted geographic area identifier. The transmitted channel lineup for the transmitted identifier that matches the user inputted identifier is stored for future use as a valid channel lineup. The valid channel lineup is then used to set the tuner in response to user inputted channel commands. The described arrangement can be used to download channel lineups as part of a television signal that is transmitted to viewers of services that have different channel lineups. The applicable channel lineup is determined at the local tuner by means of the geographic area identifier. Preferably, the geographic area identifiers are postal directory codes (zip codes).

If the transmitted identifier that matches the user inputted identifier includes more than one channel lineup, the valid channel lineup for the television signals transmitted to the tuner location is determined and stored for future use. Specifically, the radio spectrum is scanned for television signals that includes supplemental data and a designation of program source name to create a partial channel lineup. The partial channel lineup is compared with the stored channel lineups. The stored channel lineup that matches is the valid one. If more than one stored channel lineup matches, the ambiguity is resolved by manually inputting the channel numbers for one or more program source names. Brief Description of the Drawings

The features of a specific embodiment of the best mode contemplated of carrying out the invention are illustrated in the drawings, in which

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of television transmitters configured to practice the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of a processor controlled television receiver and/or VCR programmed to practice the invention;

FIG. 3a to 3c are idealized diagrams representing the supplemental data processed by the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2 to determine the valid channel lineup at the particular tuner location;

FIG. 4 is a diagram representing channel lineups that illustrate the operation of the invention; FIG. 5 is a diagram representing partial channel lineups that illustrate the operation of the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a television screen formatted to display simultaneously a current television program and program listings to assist in completing a channel lineup .

Detailed Description of the Spwifir Fmhπrlimpnts

The invention contemplates the transmission of supplemental data with one or more multiple channel television signals. Each program source, e.g. , KCET and/or WGN is called herein a "host." The supplemental data includes the channel lineups of most or all the television transmission services that receive the host program source and a unique geographic 2area identifier for each channel lineup. Thus, hundreds or even thousands of channel lineups, depending on the geographic area served by the host program source, are transmitted with the host television signal. The invention is described below in conjunction with a cable television service, but it can also be used in a satellite or broadcast television service. In FIG. 1 , a host program source 10 and a source of supplemental data 11 are coupled to a VBI encoder 12 to insert the supplemental data into the VBI of the television signal of source 10. Alternatively, the supplemental data could be transmitted on a subcarrier of the television signal or by other known means for carrying data with a television signal. Preferably, the supplemental data is repeated continuously all the time that source 10 is sending out a television signal. The television signal of source 10 with the supplemental data is transmitted to a plurality of conventional cable head ends 13a, 13b, ..., 13n. At head ends 13a, 13b, ..., 13n, as represented by horizontal lines 14a, 14b, ..., 14n extending to the left of the head end, the television signal of source 10 with the supplemental data is combined with the television signals from a number of other program sources at assigned frequencies that vary from one cable head end to another. As a result of these different frequency assignments, the cable system associated with each head end has its own channel lineup. As represented by horizontal lines 15a, 15b, ..., 15n extending to the right of the head end, the combined multiple channel television signals are coupled to inputs 16a, 16b, ..., 16n of the cable trunks for distribution to the subscribers of the cable service. In FIG. 2, a subscriber drop 17 is fed to a television tuner 18. In a cable system, tuner 12 is the front end of the cable converter of one of many subscribers of the cable system. If the invention is practiced in another type of television transmission service, tuner 18 could be a satellite receiver, a television receiver, or a VCR. Tuner 18 is coupled by an intermediate frequency amplifier (IF AMP) 19 to a video detector (DET) 20. A baseband video signal at the output of DET 20 is coupled to a television monitor or video cassette recorder (TV/ VCR) 21. Tuner 18 is set by a signal from a microprocessor 22 to the desired local channel number. A remote controller 23 is coupled to microprocessor 20, typically by an infrared transmission link. Microprocessor 22 accesses a system memory 24, a program schedule memory 25, a temporary memory 26, and a channel mapping memory 28, which are functionally different, but could be incorporated in a single integrated circuit. Memory 25 stores a data base of current and future program listings, including title, program source (station), start time, and program length, to serve as an electronic program guide that is displayed on a television screen. A VBI decoder 30 strips from the television signal to which tuner 12 is set the supplemental data transmitted in the vertical blanking interval (VBI).

FIG. 3 depicts supplemental data 32 carried in the VBI of a host program source. A header field 34 designates the beginning of the supplemental data, identifies the particular host, and controls operation of decoder 30 with clock run in and framing code information. Following header field 34 are the channel lineup fields 36a, 36b, ..., 36n, each of which is preceded by a unique geographic area identifier field 38a, 38b, ..., 38n, respectively. The geographic area identifiers are preferably postal directory codes (zip codes) because such codes are easy for the viewer to remember. However, they could alternatively be codes uniquely assigned to the various cable, satellite or broadcast services, in which case there would be only a single channel lineup for each geographic area identifier. In any case, the codes uniquely identify the geographic area in which the viewer's tuner is located.

If there is more than one cable service operating in a postal directory zone, there are a plurality of channel lineups applicable to such postal directory zone. In such case, it is preferable to place all the channel lineups adjacent to one geographic area identifier field 38 in one channel lineup field 36 along with an optional manual ambiguity resolution routine. This is illustrated in FIG. 3B, in which a postal directory zone 91105 is assumed to have adjacent channel lineups #1, #2, and 3# in a single field 36a. Alternatively, each channel lineup could be placed in a separate channel lineup field 36 adjacent to a geographic area identifier field 38. This is illustrated in FIG. 3C, in which lineups #1, 2#, and #3 are in individual fields 36a, 36m, 36n, separated from each other by a number of channel lineups for other postal directory zones, as represented by gaps 40 and 42.

It is contemplated that the television signal of a host will be received by television viewers nationwide or regionally such as by state or county, all be it on different channel numbers, i.e., channel frequencies. All the channel lineups for the entire geographic region served by the particular host are received by tuner 18 as part of supplemental data 32. Thus, there may be hundreds or even thousands of channel lineups in the VBI of the host. In addition, the supplemental data could include other types of information such as a database of television programs to enable the display of an onscreen program guide or program titles and other information to enable the viewer to index recorded television programs. The additional supplemental data such as the database of program schedule information could be stored in system memory 24.

In operation, the viewer downloads the applicable channel lineup to channel mapping memory 28 by pressing a key on remote controller 22 to initiate a set up mode and then keying in his or her postal directory code. In the set up mode, microprocessor 20 controls tuner 12 to scan the channels of the spectrum to locate a host. When a host is located, supplemental data 32 is downloaded through decoder 30 to microprocessor 22 where the transmitted postal directory codes in identifier fields 38a, 38b...38n are compared with the user inputted postal directory code and the channel lineup or lineups for the transmitted postal directory code that matches the inputted code are stored in temporary memory 26. If there is only one channel lineup for the matching postal directory code, that channel lineup is transferred directly to channel mapping memory 28. If there is more than one channel lineup for the matching postal directory code, the ambiguity resolution routine described below automatically selects the channel lineup applicable to the location of the viewer's tuner for transfer to channel mapping memory 28. Briefly, the spectrum is scanned in one of a number of ways described below to create a partial channel lineup from the available program source name data and this partial channel lineup is compared with the channel lineups for the matching postal directory code. After the viewer exits the set up mode, microprocessor 22 retrieves the proper local channel number from channel mapping memory 28 each time the viewer selects a program source via remote controller 23. The ambiguity resolution routine will now be described in more detail. In FIG. 4, it is assumed for purposes of illustration that there are three channel lineups for the matching identifier, namely channel lineups 44, 46, and 48. Initially, according to the routine, microprocessor 22 controls tuner 18 to scan the spectrum looking for the header field 34 of other hosts. When another host is found, the local channel number from tuner 18 and the program source name from header field 34 are stored in temporary memory 26 as a partial channel lineup. The local channel number and source name of the other host are compared with the local channel number and source name of each channel lineup in temporary memory 26 and the channel lineup or lineups that do not match are eliminated from consideration. It is assumed for purposes of illustration that the hosts for channel lineups 44, 46, and 48 are KCET and WGN. As illustrated in FIG. 5, KCET is channel 28 and WGN is channel 20 in channel lineup 44, KCET is channel 28 and WGN is channel 17 in channel lineup 46, and KCET is channel 16 and WGN is channel 20 in channel lineup 48. Assuming that channel lineup 46 is applicable at the location of tuner 17, the scanning process will automatically create a partial channel lineup of channel 28 for KCET and channel 17 for WGN. T is partial channel lineup is compared with channel lineup 44 to 48 to resolve the ambiguity in favor of channel lineup 46.

This process of host scanning and comparison is continued until the ambiguity has been resolved, i.e., until all the channel lineups but one have been eliminated. The remaining channel lineup is transferred to memory 28 for use in setting tuner 18. If necessary to resolve the ambiguity, the spectrum can be also be scanned for program sources that carry their name in the VBI as XDS data. In this case the host program sources and the XDS data program sources are, preferably, both interrogated during the same scan. Each time another such program source is found, the local channel number from tuner 18 and the program source name from the host or XDS field are stored in temporary memory

26 to expand further the partial channel lineup. The local channel number and source name are compared with the local channel number and source name of each channel lineup and the channel lineup or lineups that do not match are eliminated from consideration. This scanning process is continued until the ambiguity has been resolved, i.e., until all the channel lineups but one have been eliminated. The remaining channel lineup is transferred to memory 28 for use in setting tuner 18.

Although it is preferable to interrogate the hosts and program sources that carry XDS data in intermixed fashion as they are encountered in the spectrum in a single scan to determine the program source-local channel number relationship and build the partial channel lineup, alternatively all the hosts can be sequentially interrogated followed by al the program sources that carry XDS data in two or more separate scans. In either case, the scanning process is terminated when the ambiguity has been resolved.

The scanning for hosts or XDS data to resolve ambiguity can be carried out during the same spectrum scan which downloads the channel lineups and other program data. However, if the channel line-ups appear early during the scan while the ambiguity resolving data appear later during the scan, then all multiple line-ups within one postal code (zip-code) area must be stored in memory temporarily ambiguity resolving data arrives to help select the correct channel lineup.

Since most microcontrollers are short of temporary memory (RAM), an alternative approach is to execute two consecutive scans. The first scan stores all XDS and host channel information, i.e., ambiguity resolving data, to create the partial channel lineup. The next scan downloads the channel lineup data from the first host that is encountered. Since the ambiguity resolving data is already in place, it can act as a "filter" to help select the correct lineup from multiple lineups in the same postal directory code (zip code) area. Specifically, as each channel lineup is downloaded from the VBI of the host, it can be compared with the partial channel lineup so the downloaded channel lineup can be erased after it is determined that it does not match the partial channel lineup. As a result, it is not necessary to store temporarily in memory 26 more than several downloaded channel lineups.

Finally, as a last resort, if scanning in the described manner does not resolve the ambiguity, specific source-local channel relationships applicable to the particular postal directory code stored in the VBI as an ambiguity resolution routine could be added to the partial channel lineup responsive to manual inputs from the viewer. The program source name would be displayed on the screen as a prompt for the viewer to input the local channel number that corresponds to the displayed program source name. Each time another program source name is displayed, the local channel number keyed in by the viewer and the program source name are stored in temporary memory 26 as a contribution to the partial channel lineup. The local channel number and source name are compared with the local channel number and source name of each channel lineup and the channel lineup or lineups that do not match are eliminated from consideration. This process of manual viewer input is continued until the ambiguity has been resolved, i.e., until all the channel lineups but one have been eliminated. The remaining channel lineup is transferred to memory 28 for use in setting tuner 18. An alternative last resort procedure to determine the local channel numbers for remaining program sources is as follows: The current program listings for the remaining program sources are sorted by microprocessor 22 for display on a television screen 60, as shown in FIG. 6. (The format of television screen 60 is derived from application Serial No. 08/475,395, filed on June 7, 1995, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.) These program listings, which are stored in memory 25 as part of the data base of program listings for the electronic program guide, are displayed in an area 62. One of the program listings is highlighted by a cursor 64 under the control of up/down arrow keys of a remote controller (not shown). A description of the program corresponding to the program listing highlighted in area 64 is displayed in an area 66. Microprocessor 22 controls tuner 18 sequentially to display in an area 68 the real time, moving images of the programs telecast by the remaining program sources. Microprocessor 22 selects for display in area 68 only the programs telecast from program sources that have not yet been matched with a local channel number. The sequence can either advance automatically or responsive to a command entered into a remote controller by the viewer. In either case, the job of the viewer is to match the images in area 68 with the program listing in area 64 and the program description in area 66. When the viewer sees images in area 68 for a program listing in area 64, the viewer moves cursor 64 to that program listing and enters a command into a remote controller to cause microprocessor 22 to store the program source identification from memory 25 and the channel number from tuner 18 in memory 28 as a pair of the channel map. Then, microprocessor 22 deletes the program listing from area 62 and the program description from area 64. Consequently, as the channel lineup is created, the number of program listings in area 62, the number of program descriptions in area 64, and the number of sequential programs in area 68 diminish to zero so the process proceeds more rapidly.

The described embodiments of the invention are only considered to be preferred and illustrative of the inventive concept; the scope of the invention is not to be restricted to such embodiments. Various and numerous other arrangements may be devised by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method for controlling a television tuner comprising the steps of: transmitting to the tuner television signals from a plurality of channels, one of the television signals including as supplemental data a plurality of channel lineups and a unique geographic area identifier for each channel lineup; comparing the transmitted identifiers at the tuner with a user inputted geographic area identifier; storing the transmitted channel lineup for the transmitted identifier that matches the user inputted identifier for future use as a valid channel lineup; and using the valid channel lineup to set the tuner in response to user inputted channel commands.
2. A method for controlling a television tuner comprising the steps of: transmitting to the tuner television signals from a plurality of channels, one of the television signals including as supplemental data a plurality of groups of channel lineups and a unique geographic area identifier for each group of channel lineups; comparing the transmitted identifiers at the tuner location with a user inputted geographic area identifier; storing the transmitted group of channel lineups for the transmitted identifier that matches the user inputted identifier; determining which one of the group of channel lineups for the matching transmitted identifier is valid for the television signals transmitted to the tuner location; and storing said one channel lineup for future use as a valid channel lineup; and using the valid channel lineup to set the tuner in response to user inputted channel commands.
3. The method of claim 2, in which the determining step comprises scanning the radio spectrum for television signals including as supplemental data a designation of program source name to create a partial channel lineup, companng the partial channel lineup with the stored channel lineups, and storing the matching channel lineup as the valid channel lineup.
4. The method of claim 3, in which the deteπnining step additionally comprises: displaying on the screen of a television monitor a program source name; inputting a local channel number for the program source; comparing the program source name-local channel number combination with the channel lineups for the matching transmitted identifiers; if there is a match, storing the channel lineup as the valid channel lineup; and if there is no match, repeating the displaying, inputting, and comparing steps until a match is found and a channel lineup is stored.
5. The method of claim 2, in which the determining step additionally comprises: displaying on the screen of a television monitor a program source name; inputting a local channel number for the program source; comparing the program source name-local channel number combination with the channel lineups for the matching transmitted identifiers; if there is a match, storing the channel lineup as the valid channel lineup; and if there is no match, repeating the displaying, inputting, and comparing steps until a match is found and a channel lineup is stored.
6. The method of claim 1 , in which the using step comprises inputting a compressed code that represents channel, day, program length, and time; deriving a channel command in terms of program source name; converting the program source name to a local channel by means of the channel lineup; and setting the tuner to the local channel.
7. The method of claim 1 , in which the using step comprises displaying a program schedule on the screen of a television monitor associated with the tuner; storing data that represents channel, day, program length, and time of the listings of the program schedule; linking a movable cursor on the screen to the stored listings; moving the cursor on the screen to select a program listing; deriving a channel command in terms of program source name from the cursor; converting the program source name to a local channel by means of the channel lineup; and setting the tuner to the local channel.
8. The method of claim 1, in which the using step comprises inputting a program source name into a remote controller, converting the program source name to a local channel by means of the channel lineup; and setting the tuner to the local channel.
9. The method of claim 1, in which the geographic identifiers are postal directory codes (zip codes).
PCT/US1996/003238 1995-03-08 1996-03-08 Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner WO1996027982A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US40100895A true 1995-03-08 1995-03-08
US08/401,008 1995-03-08
US40404695A true 1995-03-14 1995-03-14
US08/404,046 1995-03-14

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
JP52707396A JPH11501782A (en) 1995-03-08 1996-03-08 Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner
AU49663/96A AU4966396A (en) 1995-03-08 1996-03-08 Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner
EP96906674A EP0813791A4 (en) 1995-03-08 1996-03-08 Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner

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WO1996027982A1 true WO1996027982A1 (en) 1996-09-12

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PCT/US1996/003238 WO1996027982A1 (en) 1995-03-08 1996-03-08 Method and apparatus for controlling a television tuner

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EP (1) EP0813791A4 (en)
JP (1) JPH11501782A (en)
CN (1) CN1108054C (en)
AU (1) AU4966396A (en)
CA (1) CA2214762A1 (en)
WO (1) WO1996027982A1 (en)

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
AU4966396A (en) 1996-09-23
JPH11501782A (en) 1999-02-09
CN1108054C (en) 2003-05-07
EP0813791A1 (en) 1997-12-29
CN1186585A (en) 1998-07-01
EP0813791A4 (en) 1999-01-20
CA2214762A1 (en) 1996-09-12

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