WO2000033577A1 - A method and system for processing broadcast data - Google Patents

A method and system for processing broadcast data Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2000033577A1
WO2000033577A1 PCT/US1999/028632 US9928632W WO0033577A1 WO 2000033577 A1 WO2000033577 A1 WO 2000033577A1 US 9928632 W US9928632 W US 9928632W WO 0033577 A1 WO0033577 A1 WO 0033577A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
data stream
method
device
profile
broadcast data
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1999/028632
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Simon J. Gibbs
Original Assignee
Sony Electronics, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US20564598A priority Critical
Priority to US09/205,645 priority
Application filed by Sony Electronics, Inc. filed Critical Sony Electronics, Inc.
Publication of WO2000033577A1 publication Critical patent/WO2000033577A1/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
    • H04N21/45Management 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
    • H04N21/4532Management of client or end-user data involving end-user characteristics, e.g. viewer profile, preferences
    • 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
    • H04N21/454Content or additional data filtering, e.g. blocking advertisements
    • 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
    • H04N21/458Scheduling content for creating a personalised stream, e.g. by combining a locally stored advertisement with an incoming stream; Updating operations, e.g. for OS modules ; time-related management operations
    • 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
    • H04N21/462Content or additional data management, e.g. creating a master electronic program guide from data received from the Internet and a Head-end, controlling the complexity of a video stream by scaling the resolution or bit-rate based on the client capabilities
    • H04N21/4622Retrieving content or additional data from different sources, e.g. from a broadcast channel and the Internet
    • 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
    • H04N21/475End-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 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
    • H04N21/478Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application
    • H04N21/4782Web browsing, e.g. WebTV
    • 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
    • H04N21/81Monomedia components thereof
    • H04N21/812Monomedia components thereof involving advertisement data
    • 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
    • H04N7/163Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing by receiver means only

Abstract

A method and system for receiving and processing a broadcast data stream in a digital tuner device in accordance with user defined criteria. A broadcast data stream is received using a digital tuner device from a broadcast signal source. A profile data stream is received using a profile interpreter device from a profiler. The profile data stream includes various descriptive attributes of the broadcast data stream. A user criteria list is generated which describes desirable attributes of the broadcast data stream as determined by the user. The digital tuner device is controlled by the profile interpreter device, such that the digital tuner device is automatically controlled in accordance with the attributes of the broadcast data stream and the user criteria list.

Description

A METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING BROADCAST DATA

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the present invention pertains to consumer electronic (CE) audio video devices. More particularly, the present invention pertains to the use of independently obtained information to influence the processing and consumption of a broadcast data stream. There is therefore disclosed in this writing a method and system for third party profiling of broadcast video data.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A typical home audio video (AV) system includes a number of devices. For example, a radio receiver, a CD player, a pair of speakers, a television, a VCR, a tape deck, and alike. Each of these components is connected to each other via various wires. One component is usually the central component of the home audiovisual system. This is usually the radio receiver, or the tuner. The tuner has a number of specific inputs for coupling the other components. The tuner has a corresponding number of control buttons or control switches which provide a limited degree of controllability and interoperability for the components. A user controls the home audiovisual system by manipulating the buttons and switches on the front of the tuner, or alternatively, manipulating buttons on a hand-held remote control unit. This present a user with numerous choices for O 00/33577 viewing, listening, and the like. The home AN system usually coupled together such that each of the devices can interact with one another. This further increases the options available to the user for recordingΛάewing/listening to the various forms of broadcast content available-

There is a problem, however, in that the viewer has limited information to assist him in organizing and utilizing the home AN system and taking advantage of its capabilities. Many users have a limited amount time to view their desired programming. Traditional viewing assistance guides have proven to be of limited value to many users.

One example is the traditional, printed television programming guide. In its most primitive forms, the television guide is basically printed information, page upon page, describing the content of the various broadcast channels usually available in the user's area. In its more advanced forms, the television guide is electronically based, often provided on one channel of the cable television station, or on one channel of a satellite television network. The user scrolls through the television guide to determine what time a desired program is being broadcast. The user then makes decisions regarding whether to make time to watch the program, said a recording device to record program, or ignore the program and hopefully view it a subsequent broadcast time, etc.

The problem is finding the correct information (e.g., television program or radio broadcast) out of all of the information available, rather than determining whether the desired information is being broadcast at the O 00/33577 desired time. The number of available viewing listening choices is proliferating. Many cable television systems are capable of carrying 50 or more channels. Satellite television systems are often capable of providing 500 or more channels.

The widespread acceptance of digital technology and the emergence of digital home AN networks promises a whole new paradigm of home AV devices. The latest recording and receiving devices (e.g., digital television, digital VCRs, DVD recorders) are based upon digital technology. The devices often include sophisticated embedded computer systems capable of delivering greatly enhanced functionality and features as their embedded system to execute software based algorithms. These new digital home AV devices can form the basis of a highly configurable highly customized home AV network.

To take best advantage of the new digital home AV systems, a more modern method of collecting information regarding the broadcast data and collecting information regarding the viewing/listening choices available to the user is required. A simple printed television guide is not sufficient. Simply browsing through pages of a printed guide, hunting for some program of interest, is not an efficient or smart use of the capabilities of a modern home AV system. Even the more advanced electronically based television guides typically do not take advantage of the new "intelligence" provided by these new digital home AV devices. As is often the case, instead of browsing through printed pages of information hunting for program of interest, a user is forced to browse through electronic pages (often fuzzy images displayed on a television screen) of information. O 00/33577

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Thus, what is required is a system for collecting information regarding broadcast data available to a user with a home AV system. What is required is a system for analyzing and sifting through the various viewing/listening choices available to the user and assisting the user in identifying choices of interest. What is required is a system which can automatically identify choices of interest and performed predetermined actions based upon the users desires, interests, etc. What is additionally required is a system which can not only influence the processing of a broadcast data stream (e.g. a television broadcasting received in real-time), but also influence the manner of processing individual programs within the broadcast data stream in accordance with the wishes and desires in the user. The required system should be readily available and intuitively obvious to use.

The present invention provides a system for collecting information regarding broadcast data available to a user with a home AV system. The system of the present invention automatically identifies choices of interest and is able to automatically perform predetermined actions within any identified program (e.g., implement in-program editing, commercial editing, etc.) based upon the wishes, interests, and desires of the user. The present invention provides a system for analyzing and sifting through the various viewing/listening choices available to the user and assisting the user in identifying choices of interest. The system of the present invention automatically identify choices of interest and performed predetermined actions based upon the users desires, interests, etc. Additionally, the O 00/33577 system of the present invention influences the manner in which individual programs embedded within a broadcast data streams (e.g. a broadcast television program received in real-time) are processed in accordance with the wishes and desires in the user, all in a manner which is intuitively obvious to the user and readily available.

In one implementation, the present invention comprises a system for receiving and processing a broadcast data stream in a digital tuner device in accordance with user defined criteria. The digital tuner device is implemented as an integrated circuit chipset built into an embedded computer system within a set-top box. A broadcast data stream is received using the digital tuner device, wherein the broadcast data stream is from a broadcast signal source, typically a cable television provider, which in turn" receives the broadcast signal from, for example, a major network. A profile data stream is received using a profile interpreter device, wherein the profile data stream is from a profiler. The profile data stream is a signal containing information describing the attributes, contents, and the like of a corresponding broadcast data stream. The profiler is an entity which monitors the broadcast data stream to determine the above attributes, contents, etc. and generate the profile data stream therefrom. The profile interpreter device itself is implemented using the embedded computer system built into the set-top box.

A user criteria list is generated which describes desirable attributes of the broadcast data stream as determined by the user. The user programs the user criteria list to reflect particular interests, desires, viewing habits. The user criteria list can be generated locally, or alternatively, can be obtained from, for example, other users sharing similar interests, the profiler, selected from the predetermined set of user criteria lists, or the like. The profile interpreter functions by generating a profile output to control the digital tuner device.

The digital tuner device is thus controlled by the profile interpreter such that the digital tuner device is automatically controlled in accordance with the attributes of the broadcast data stream and the user criteria list. In this manner, the processing of the broadcast data stream in view of the profile data stream, in accordance with the present invention, assists the user in analyzing and sifting through the various viewing/listening choices available and assists the user in identifying particular choices of interest. Additionally, the system of the present invention automatically identifies choices of interest and is able to automatically perform predetermined actions within any identified program (e.g., implement in-program editing, commercial editing, etc.) based upon the wishes, interests, and desires of the user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

Figure 1 shows a computer system environment of the present invention.

Figure 2 shows a diagram of a system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 3 shows a diagram of a system in accordance with one alternative implementation of the present invention.

Figure 4 shows a diagram of a system in accordance with another alternative implementation of present invention.

Figure 5 shows a memory diagram of the contents of a computer readable memory used to execute software for implementing the functionality of the method and system of the present invention.

Figure 6 shows a flow chart of the general steps of a process in accordance with processing a broadcast data stream using user-defined criteria and a profile data stream provided by a third party profiler. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that they are not intended to limit the invention to these embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the present invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and circuits have not been described in detail as not to obscure aspects of the present invention unnecessarily.

The present invention provides a solution which leverages the intelligence of the latest home AV devices for the purposes of data collection and retrieval. The system of the present invention functions seamlessly with modern home AV networks and is readily extensible, self-configuring, and capable of accommodating new AV devices, even though the capabilities and features of the devices can be unknown. The present invention is extensible to accommodate new devices as they are added to a home AV network over its life time, and is based on open industry standards, such as the AV/C standard. Consequently, the present invention can guarantee that all such AV/C-compliant devices can be communicated with, controlled, and enjoyed by the user.

The present invention provides a system for collecting information regarding broadcast data available to a user with a home AV system. The present invention provides a system for analyzing and sifting through the various viewing/listening choices available to the user and assisting the user in identifying choices of interest. The system of the present invention automatically identify choices of interest and performed predetermined actions based upon the users desires, interests, etc. Additionally, the system of the present invention influences the processing of a broadcast data streams (e.g. a television broadcasting received in real-time) in accordance with the wishes and desires in the user, all in a manner which is intuitively obvious to the user and readily available. The present invention and its benefits are further described below.

NOTATION AND NOMENCLATURE

Some portions of the detailed descriptions which follow are presented in terms of procedures, steps, logic blocks, processing, and other symbolic representations of operations on data bits within a computer memory.

These descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the data processing arts to convey most effectively the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. A procedure, computer executed step, logic block, process, etc., are here, and generally, conceived to be self- consistent sequences of steps or instructions leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated in a computer system. It has proven convenient at times, principally. for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.

COMPUTER SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT

Referring to Figure 1, a computer system 112 is illustrated. In the present embodiment, computer system 112 is implemented as an embedded computer system within a digital set-top box 203 (shown in Figure 2). Within the following discussions of the present invention, certain processes and steps are discussed that are realized, in one embodiment, as a series of instructions (e.g., software program) that reside within computer readable memory units of system 112 and executed by processors of system 112. When executed, the instructions cause computer system 112 to perform specific actions and exhibit specific behavior which is described in detail to follow.

In general, computer system 112 used by the present invention comprises an address/data bus 100 for communicating information, one or more central processor(s) 101 coupled with bus 100 for processing information and instructions, a computer readable volatile memory unit 102 (e.g., random access memory, static RAM, dynamic RAM, etc.) coupled with bus 100 for storing information and instructions for the central processor(s) 101, a computer readable non-volatile memory unit 103 (e.g., read only memory, programmable ROM, flash memory, EPROM, EEPROM, etc.) coupled with bus 100 for storing static information and instructions for processor(s) 101. A digital tuner device 110 is coupled to bus 100 for receiving a digital broadcast signal. System 112 can optionally include a mass storage computer readable data storage device 104, such as a magnetic or optical disk and disk drive coupled with bus 100 for storing information and instructions. Optionally, system 112 can also include a display device 105 coupled to bus 100 for displaying information to the computer user, an alphanumeric input device 106 including alphanumeric and function keys coupled to bus 100 for communicating information and command selections to central processor(s) 101, a cursor control device 107 coupled to bus for communicating user input information and command selections to the central processor(s) 101, and a signal input/output device 108 coupled to the bus 100 for communicating messages, command selections, data, etc. to and from processor(s) 101.

Referring now to Figure 2, a diagram of a system 200 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is shown. As depicted in Figure 2, system 200 includes a broadcast signal source 201 coupled to provide a broadcast data stream to a cable TV provider 202. Cable TV provider 202 is in turn, coupled to provide a cable television signal including the broadcast data stream to a user's home via set-top box 203. Set-top box 203 is adapted to receive the cable television signal and demodulate the broadcast data stream encoded thereon. The broadcast data stream is subsequently received by a television 204, which displays television programming as appropriate. Set-top box 203 is also coupled to a modem 205. Modem 205 is in turn, coupled to the Internet 206, and subsequently coupled to a profiler 207.

In the present embodiment, system 2Q0 implements a system for receiving and processing a broadcast data stream in a digital tuner device in accordance with user-defined criteria. As depicted in system 200, the digital tuner device is set-top box 203. As with conventional digital set-top boxes configured for use in the cable television industry, set-top box 203 functions by receiving the broadcast data stream encoded on a signal from the cable TV provider 202 (e.g., the signal usually been provided via the standard cable television coaxial cable wired into the user's home). In the present embodiment, set-top box 203 includes an embedded computer system (e.g., computer system 112) for implementing its functionahty. Set- top box 203 demodulates the signal and provides a video signal for the television 204, and is thus referred to as a digital tuner device. Cable television provider 202 receives the broadcast data stream from the broadcast signal source 201 (e.g., usually a major network distribution center, satellite receiver station, or the like).

In the present embodiment, a profile data stream describing the content, attributes, characteristics, etc. of the broadcast data stream transmitted from broadcast signal source 201. The profile data stream is generated by profiler 207. In the present embodiment, Profiler 207 is coupled to receive the broadcast data stream from the broadcast signal source 201 as it is being transmitted to cable TV provider 202. As the broadcast data stream is being received by profiler 207, profiler 207 generates the profile data stream by assessing the attributes, content, characteristics, etc. of the broadcast data stream. This information is encoded into a digital signal and is transmitted via the Internet 206 to modem 205 and set-top box 203 as the profile data stream.

It should be appreciated that modem 205 can be coupled to Internet

206 via several different means. For example, in a typical application, modem 205 is coupled to Internet 206 via an Internet service provider, which is accessed across the telephone lines in the user's home. However, in other implementations, modem 205 can be coupled to the Internet 206 via a wireless modem link, ethernet hnk, etc. Modem 205 functions in part, by providing an independent communications path from profiler 207 to set-top box 203, through which the profile data stream can be transmitted:

It should also be noted that, as opposed to receiving the profile data stream via modem 205, the profile data stream can be encoded on the broadcast data stream. As is known in the art, there exist means by which one or more signals can be embedded within a commercial television signal and transmitted contemporaneously with the commercial television signal (e.g., one such means involves embedding the signal within a "vertical blanking interval" of the commercial television signal). Hence, for example, the profile data stream could be supplied by the broadcast source itself, within the broadcast data stream. The present invention is readily suited to use with such implementations, wherein the profile data stream encoded or otherwise included within the broadcast data stream.

Referring still to Figure 2, as described above, the profile data stream describes the contents, attributes, characteristics, and the like of the broadcast data stream transmitted from broadcast signal source 201 and being received by set- top box 203 from cable TV provider 202. Set-top box 203 functions as a "profile interpreter" which interprets the profile data stream and processes the broadcast data stream in .view thereof. In this manner, the present invention uses a profile data stream to influence the operation of a digital tuner device (e.g. set-top box 203) contemporaneously receiving a broadcast data stream. The profile data stream essentially describes the broadcast data stream in order to allow set-top box 203 to process the broadcast data stream as desired by the user.

In accordance with the present embodiment, the user controls the operation of system 200 in part by programming the profile interpreter to process the broadcast data stream in accordance with the particular interests, likes/dislikes, and desires of the user. For example, in this implementation, set-top box 203 generates a "user criteria list" which catalogs/characterizes the user's particular interests, likes/dislikes, desires, etc. The user criteria list can be generated interactively, for example, by having the user sequence through a series of menus displayed by set-top box 203 on television 204. Alternatively, the user criteria list can be selected from a number of lists presented to the user by set-top box 203 via the television 204. As another example, the user criteria list can be downloaded from an Internet site which caters to those sharing particular interests, likes/dislikes, desires, etc.

Once generated, the user criteria list is used to process the broadcast data stream in conjunction with the profile data stream. Set-top box 203 is made aware of the content, attributes, etc., of the broadcast data stream by the profile data stream. Thus, for example, set-top box 203 can automatically select particular programming of interest to the user. Alternatively, set-top box 203 can automatically tune to the particular programming at the appropriate time without user intervention since it is "aware" of the user's interests. Since it is aware of the content of the broadcast data stream, set-top box 203 can implement any number of applications desired by the user.

For example, one application can be a parental control application, wherein set-top box 203 automatically censors objectionable material (e.g., sexually explicit material, graphic violence, etc.) within the broadcast data stream. The user (e.g. a parent) can define material which the user considers objectionable via the user criteria list. Through the user criteria list, the user can instruct the set-top box 203 to automatically delete the objectionable material before sending the video signal to television 204. For example, set-top box 203 can simply cancel any attempt to tune to a program containing objectionable content, or alternatively, show such a program and only censor those portions of the program containing the particular objectionable material (e.g., a sexually explicit scene, a particularly graphically violence scene, or the like). The set-top box can blank out the video (e.g., displayed plain blue screen) and/or mute the audio signal. Alternatively, where the set-top box 203 is operating in a "live-spool" or "prerecord" mode, a "fast forward" can be implemented wherein the objectionable segment of the program is skipped over (e.g., where at least a few minutes of the program are pre-recorded before playback). With reference still to Figure 2, another application can be a commercial free viewing application, wherein set-top box 203 automatically removes the "commercials" from the broadcast data stream. In this implementation, the embedded computer system 112 (e.g., shown in Figure 1) included within set-top box 203 can use data storage device 104 to store the broadcast data stream as it is being received from cable TV provider 202. Data storage device 104 also stores the associate profile data stream received from profiler 207. When the user wants to view the program, set-top box 203 plays back the stored program (e.g., the stored broadcast data stream) while automatically processing the broadcast data stream to "skip" the commercials included therein, as indicated by the associate profile data stream.

Data storage device 104 need not store the entire program. For example commercial free viewing can be implemented by buffering an initial amount of the program (e.g., the first 10 minutes of a 30 minute program) using data storage device 104, removing the commercials as indicated by the profile data stream, and sending the resulting video signal to the television 204, free of commercials. Thus, the program continues to be played back across television 204 while the remainder the program continues to be recorded and stored in data storage device 104.

Another application can be commercial free recording, wherein set- top box 203 automatically records the program (e.g. broadcast data stream) while omitting the commercials. In this case, set-top box 203 uses the profile data stream as an "edit decision list" which determines when to record (e.g. when to store) and when not to record the broadcast data stream. This allows set-top box 203 to record the desired program commercial free.

As opposed to using a data storage device 104 built into computer system 112, set-top box 203 can use an externally coupled storage device, such as, for example, a digital VCR or a DVD RAM device, to provide data storage capacity. Such an external device can be coupled to set-top box 203 in the same manner as television 204 is coupled set-top box 203, or modem 205, or cable TV provider 202.

As yet another application, set-top box 203 can use the profile data stream to implement viewer selection of cuts, wherein particular camera angles, camera shots,, or camera views of a broadcast can be displayed as desired by the user. For example, in the case of a sporting event broadcast, the user can specify, via the user criteria list, the more preferable camera angles, shots, views, etc., thereby instructing set-top box 203 which video streams to display on television 204. In this application, the various viewing angles, shots, views, etc. are each synchronously included within the broadcast data stream received from cable TN provider 202. As another example, any case where a director includes several different views, camera angles, etc., of a motion picture, the user can specify the more preferable camera angles shots and views. Different directors makeup material in different ways. Some users may prefer slower cuts, while other users may prefer more active cuts. By transmitting different synchronous views within the broadcast data stream, the present invention is able to better accommodate the user's tastes and make the viewing experience a more interesting one, with more viewing choices. With reference now to Figure 3, a diagram of the system 300 in accordance with an alternative implementation of the present invention is shown. System 300 is substantially similar to system 200 of Figure 2, however, system 300 shows broadcast signal source 201 depicted as a satellite signal source which transmits the broadcast data stream to cable TN provider 202 and profiler 207 via satellite antenna 305 and satellite antenna 306, respectively. Thus system 300 shows that the broadcast data stream provided by cable TN provider 202 can be obtained by profiler 207 through differing means. System 300 also depicts set-top box 203 and modem 205 being integrated into a single device 301. System 300 also shows set-top box/modem 301 being coupled to Internet 206 via the cable TV provider 202 (e.g., using a cable modem), as opposed to being coupled to the Internet 206 via telephone lines. As with set-top box 203 of system 200, device 301 includes embedded computer system 112 to implement its functionality.

With reference now to Figure 4, a diagram of a system 400 in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention shown. System 400 shows the present invention as implemented with a radio tuner/amplifier 401. As depicted in Figure 4, radio tuner/amplifier 401 is coupled to a desktop computer system 402, which is in turn coupled to profiler 207 via modem 403 and the Internet 206. The broadcast signal source 201, in this case, is a radio broadcast signal received via antenna 410 and antenna 411 by radio tuner/amplifier 401 and by profiler 207, respectively. The profile interpreter device, in this case, is the desktop computer system 402. The digital tuner device, in this case, is radio tuner/amplifier 401. In contrast, in system 200 and system 300, the profile interpreter device (e.g., implemented on computer system 112) and the digital tuner device (e.g., digital tuner 110- of Figure 1) were both included within set-top box 203. In addition, as opposed to receiving and displaying full motion video data broadcast streams, system 400 receives and plays audio broadcast data streams. As opposed to system 200 and system 300, the functionality of system 400 is included within the desktop computer system 402. Desktop computer system 402 is substantially the same as computer system 112, however desktop computer system 402 is configured as a stand-alone desktop device as opposed to being an embedded computer system within a consumer electronics device (e.g., set-top box 203 or device 301). In other respects, system 400 functions in a substantially similar way to system 200.

With reference now to Figure 5. A memory diagram of the contents of RAM 102 (e.g., shown in Figure 1) within computer system 112 is shown. As described above, the functionality the present invention is implemented as software executing on computer system 112. Figure 5 diagrams this software. Computer system 112 implements a broadcast data stream sampler 501. Broadcast data stream sampler 501 samples the broadcast data stream to determine samples of the content of the broadcast data stream 550 as it is being received. This information is coupled to a profile interpreter 502, also implemented by computer system 112. Profile interpreter 502 receives the profile stream 560 from profiler 207 and uses the information contained therein to assess the information received from the broadcast data stream sampler 501. As described above, profile interpreter 502 also uses the information contained in the user criteria list 503 to further assess the information received the broadcast data stream sampler 501. Based upon the content of the broadcast data stream 550, as determined by the profile data stream 560, and based upon the user-defined user criteria list 503, profile interpreter 502 generates a profile output 570 which controls the operation of the digital tuner device, or any other coupled device which may be used to record, view, playback, or otherwise process the broadcast data stream.

As described above, in the case of system 200 and system 300, this digital tuner device is built into computer system 112 (e.g., digital tuner 110). In the case of system 400, the digital tuner device is in a separate device (e.g., radio tuner/amplifier 401) while the profile interpreter 502, user criteria list 503, and broadcast data stream sampler 501 are implemented within the memory of the desktop computer system 402. In system 400, the profile output 570 is coupled to the external radio tuner/amplifier 401 via a communications link.

With reference now Figure 6, a flowchart of the steps of a process 600 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is shown. Process 600 shows the steps involved generally in implementing a third party profiling process of a broadcast data stream in accordance with the present invention. For example, process 600 shows the steps involved in a third party profiling process implemented on system 200 of Figure 2.

Process 600 begins in step 601, where system 200 generates a user criteria list. As described above, the user criteria list can be generated using various methods. For example, the user criteria list can be obtained from an Internet Web Site which caters to users having a common interest, hobby, occupation, profession, etc. The user criteria list can be generated locally, for example, by prompting the user to enter desired criteria by checking off appropriate selections on a series of menus displayed on television 204. Once the user criteria list is defined or obtained, it is stored within the computer readable memory of computer system 112 (e.g., RAM 102).

In step 602, a profiler (e.g., profiler 207) at a profiler location receives a broadcast data stream from a broadcast signal source. The profiler location can be an Internet Web Site or some other entity which generates a profile data stream. For example, a neighbor in a community can volunteer to provide the profile information for a television program received by the community. In step 603, the profiler generates a profile data stream. As described above, the profiler essentially characterizes the contents and attributes of the broadcast data stream. This information is encoded onto a signal and transmitted as the profile data stream.

Referring still to process 600 of Figure 6, in step 604 the broadcast data stream from the broadcast signal source is received using a digital tuner device at the user's location. In the case of system 200, the digital tuner device (e.g., digital tuner 110) is built into the computer system 112 within set-top box 203. The broadcast data stream is received from the cable TN provider 202. Alternatively, the broadcast data stream can be received via satellite, or some other means. In step 605, the profile data stream from profiler 207 is received. As described above, the profile data stream is received by a profile interpreter, wherein the profile interpreter is implemented as a software program executing on computer system 112. In step 606, the broadcast data stream is process to in accordance with the user-defined criteria contained in the user criteria list and the content of the broadcast data stream as described by the profile data stream. The profile interpreter uses these inputs to generate a profile output.

Subsequently, in step 607, the profile output is used to control the digital tuner device, and thereby implement the functionality desired by the user. As described above, this functionality can include any of the number of different applications, such as, for example, commercial free viewing, commercial free program recording, parental control viewing, and the like. Then, in step 608, the resulting video signal, as generated by the digital tuner device operating in accordance with the profile output, is displayed using a television device (e.g., television 204).

In this manner, the system of the present invention uses profile information to control the operation of a digital tuner device and thereby implement sophisticated functionality as determined by the desires and wishes of the user. This greatly increases the flexibility provided the user regarding the consumption of broadcast content.

Thus, the present invention provides a system for collecting information regarding broadcast data available to a user with a home AV system. The present invention provides a system for analyzing and sifting through the various viewing/listening choices available to the user and assisting the user in identifying choices of interest. The system of the present invention automatically identify choices of interest and performed predetermined actions based upon the users desires, interests, etc. Additionally, the system of the present invention influences the processing of a broadcast data streams (e.g. a television broadcasting received in realtime) in accordance with the wishes and desires in the user, all in a manner which is intuitively obvious to the user and readily available.

The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to. limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order best to explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, thereby to enable others skilled in the art best to utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the Claims appended hereto and their equivalents.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. A method for processing a broadcast data stream in accordance with user defined criteria, the method comprising:
receiving, using a digital tuner device, a broadcast data stream from a broadcast signal source; receiving, using a profile interpreter device, a profile data stream from a profiler, the profile data stream including attributes of the broadcast data stream; generating a user criteria list describing desirable attributes of the broadcast data stream; controlling, using the profile interpreter device, the digital tuner device automatically in accordance with the attributes of the broadcast data stream and the user criteria list .
2. The method of Claim 1, wherein the broadcast data stream is received from a cable television provider and wherein the digital tuner device is built into a set top box.
3. The method of Claim 1, wherein the digital tuner device and the profile interpreter device are integrated within a single device.
4. The method of Claim 1, wherein the profile data stream is received via a modem device and coupled to the profile interpreter device.
The method of Claim 1, further including the steps of : recording the broadcast data stream using a data storage device coupled to the digital tuner device; recording the profile data stream using the data storage device; and processing the broadcast data stream in accordance with the profile data stream using the profile interpreter to generate an output stream.
6. The method of Claim 1, further including the step of processing the broadcast data stream of an individual broadcast program in accordance with the profile data stream.
7. The method of Claim 1 wherein the profile data stream is received via a modem coupled to the internet, the profile data stream generated by a profiler coupled to the internet .
8. The method of claim 1 wherein the method is a computer implemented method accomplished by means of a consumer electronics device including the digital tuner device and an embedded computer system having a processor coupled to a memory via a bus, wherein the profile interpreter is implemented by the computer system.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein the method is implemented by an embedded computer system within a system for receiving and processing a broadcast data stream in accordance with user defined criteria with a consumer electronics device, the device including a digital tuner and the embedded computer system which has a processor coupled to a memory via a bus, the memory of the computer system storing computer readable code which when executed by the processor cause the computer system to implement the method wherein the profile interpreter is implemented by the computer system
10. The method of claim 8 or 9, wherein the user criteria list is generated by the user and is operable for indicating the manner in which the profile data stream is to be used to process the broadcast data stream.
11. The method of Claim 10, wherein the user criteria list is generated by prompting the user to enter preferences using a series of menus.
12. The method of Claim 10, wherein the user criteria list is stored in the memory of the computer system.
13. The method of Claim 8 or 9, wherein the profile data stream is received via a modem device coupled to the computer system.
14. The method of Claim 1,8 or 9, wherein the attributes of the profile data stream describe corresponding attributes of the broadcast data stream.
15. The method of Claim 1, 8 or 9, wherein the profile data stream is generated by a profiler by sampling the broadcast data stream, compiling attributes of the broadcast data stream into signal, and transmitting the signal as the profile data stream.
16. The method of Claim 8 or 9, wherein the computer system further performs the steps of: recording the broadcast data stream using a data storage device coupled to the computer system; recording the profile data stream using the data storage device; processing the broadcast data stream in accordance with the profile data stream using the profile interpreter to generate an output stream; and controlling the digital tuner and the recording device using the output stream.
17. The method of Claim 16, wherein the recording device is a video tape recorder device.
18. The method of Claim 16, wherein the recording device is implemented using the data storage device of the computer system.
19. The method of Claim 15, wherein the profile data stream is transmitted synchronously with the transmission of the broadcast data stream.
20. The method of Claim 15, wherein the profile data stream is generated by the profiler prior to the transmission of the broadcast data stream and subsequently transmitted synchronously with the transmission of the broadcast data stream.
PCT/US1999/028632 1998-12-03 1999-12-02 A method and system for processing broadcast data WO2000033577A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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US20564598A true 1998-12-03 1998-12-03
US09/205,645 1998-12-03

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AU17501/00A AU1750100A (en) 1998-12-03 1999-12-02 A method and system for processing broadcast data

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Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO1995008226A1 (en) * 1993-09-15 1995-03-23 Meteomedia/The Weather Network A communication network comprising a plurality of receivers with user profile dependent selection of programmes
WO1997013368A1 (en) * 1995-10-02 1997-04-10 Starsight Telecast, Incorporated Systems and methods for providing television schedule information
US5668917A (en) * 1994-07-05 1997-09-16 Lewine; Donald A. Apparatus and method for detection of unwanted broadcast information
EP0849948A2 (en) * 1992-12-09 1998-06-24 Discovery Communications, Inc. Remote control for cable television delivery system

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0849948A2 (en) * 1992-12-09 1998-06-24 Discovery Communications, Inc. Remote control for cable television delivery system
WO1995008226A1 (en) * 1993-09-15 1995-03-23 Meteomedia/The Weather Network A communication network comprising a plurality of receivers with user profile dependent selection of programmes
US5668917A (en) * 1994-07-05 1997-09-16 Lewine; Donald A. Apparatus and method for detection of unwanted broadcast information
WO1997013368A1 (en) * 1995-10-02 1997-04-10 Starsight Telecast, Incorporated Systems and methods for providing television schedule information

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