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WO2004032511A1 - Remote-settable tv program recording system and programming method therefor - Google Patents

Remote-settable tv program recording system and programming method therefor

Info

Publication number
WO2004032511A1
WO2004032511A1 PCT/EP2003/010232 EP0310232W WO2004032511A1 WO 2004032511 A1 WO2004032511 A1 WO 2004032511A1 EP 0310232 W EP0310232 W EP 0310232W WO 2004032511 A1 WO2004032511 A1 WO 2004032511A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
user
system
recording
tv
communication
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2003/010232
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Stefano Giuseppe Quintarelli
Original Assignee
Garden Ventures S.R.L.
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

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/4104Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices
    • H04N21/4135Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices external recorder
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/414Specialised client platforms, e.g. receiver in car or embedded in a mobile appliance
    • H04N21/4147Personal Video Recorder [PVR]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/422Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using Input-only peripherals, i.e. input devices connected to specially adapted client devices, e.g. Global Positioning System [GPS]
    • H04N21/4227Providing Remote input by a user located remotely from the client device, e.g. at work
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/433Content storage operation, e.g. storage operation in response to a pause request, caching operations
    • H04N21/4334Recording operations
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/436Interfacing a local distribution network, e.g. communicating with another STB, inside the home ; Interfacing an external card to be used in combination with the client device
    • H04N21/43622Interfacing an external recording device
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/45Management 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, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/472End-user interface for requesting content, additional data or services; End-user interface for interacting with content, e.g. for content reservation or setting reminders, for requesting event notification, for manipulating displayed content
    • H04N21/47214End-user interface for requesting content, additional data or services; End-user interface for interacting with content, e.g. for content reservation or setting reminders, for requesting event notification, for manipulating displayed content for content reservation or setting reminders; for requesting event notification, e.g. of sport results or stock market
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/60Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand] using Network structure or processes specifically adapted for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signaling specific to video distribution between clients, server and network components, e.g. to video encoder or decoder; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client
    • H04N21/61Network physical structure; Signal processing
    • H04N21/6156Network physical structure; Signal processing specially adapted to the upstream path of the transmission network
    • H04N21/6175Network physical structure; Signal processing specially adapted to the upstream path of the transmission network involving transmission via Internet
    • 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
    • H04N7/16Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems
    • H04N7/173Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems with two-way working, e.g. subscriber sending a programme selection signal
    • H04N7/17309Transmission or handling of upstream communications
    • H04N7/17318Direct or substantially direct transmission and handling of requests

Abstract

A tv programme recording system and a programming method thereof are disclosed, of the type comprising a digitally-controlled video recorder, equipped with a communication device, connected to a first communication network, capable of transferring to its operating and/or application system digital signals coming from said communication network, further including a remote programming server, itself connected to the same first communication network, and interfaced with a second network easily accessible by the user; in addition, a database is provided in said server which contains, associated with each user profile, at least one address of the user's video recorder communication device, said server collecting from the user, by means of communication through said second easily accessible network, a series of tv programme choices and sending them, in the form of a digital signal containing the tv channel and the recording starting and stopping times, to said video recorder application system through said communication device.

Description

"REMOTE-SETTABLE TV PROGRAM RECORDING SYSTEM AND PROGRAMMING

METHOD THEREFOR"

* § * § * § *

The present invention concerns a remote-settable recording system of a TV programme and its relevant programming method. In particular, it concerns a system of the type using a combination of latest-generation devices in an original way to achieve a completely innovative result which is easily accessible to any user.

It is a well-known fact that it has been possible for a long time for any domestic user to record television programmes that can subsequently be played back or kept for a certain time for documentary purposes or to be viewed later.

It is also known that devices of this type, commonly called video cassette recorders (VCRs) , mostly use videotapes as a recording means, i.e. magnetic tapes on which suitable magnetic heads analogically define a video and audio track.

These devices, however, are showing more and more signs of obsolescence when faced with the new emerging digital technology, especially in view of some notable limitations that are listed below.

First of all, as they use just one linear recording carrier, such as a magnetic tape, they cannot playback (i.e. read) while recording at the same time.

Furthermore, the recording quality in analogical mode is not always satisfactory. This is partly due to the fact that analogical signal quality inevitably deteriorates every time it is reproduced and every time the tape is handled by an electronic device, which makes cascade-copying of video and audio recordings impracticable. This limitation also makes analogical devices completely inadequate compared with the signal quality available today from digital television providers .

Finally, as far as processing, and control capability is concerned, analogical signals available from traditional video cassette recorders cannot be even compared to digital signal quality.

Therefore, the first digital video recorders have appeared on the market relatively recently, in which the recording carrier is a device completely equivalent to a conventional hard disk installed on personal computers . This technology makes it possible, for example, to record up to 20 hours of television broadcastings on a 40-GB hard disk.

Obviously, due to its very nature, a digital video recorder is best employed recording digital television programmes, which are currently accessible through so-called television decoders.

A decoder is a device suitable for receiving a digital signal transmitted via satellite or via cable and for converting it into an analogue signal which is later input into an ordinary tv set.

Consequently, decoder receivers are now appearing on the market which are already provided with an integrated hard disk, whose capacity can range from 20 to 60 GB. These hard disk decoders are also equipped with operating systems (in the future it is likely that the operating system LINUX or a version of the Microsoft8 Windows operating system will commonly be used) which allow to develop an application system with a number of functions and suitable to manage a variety of digital interfaces .

Due to this feature, the decoder can be employed as a digi- tal VCR in its own right, with a series of additional advantages .

First of all, this technology makes it possible to read recorded data while a new recording is in progress . This operating mode, as it can be gμessed, can dramatically modify the behav- iour and habits of the average user. In fact it is surprising what can be done with a decoder of this type: for example, launching the recording when the programme is on air, even while watching it, one can employ a great deal of functions, such as "immediate replay", or "stop and go"; it is also possible to stop the programme being watched at any time, for example to open the door to callers or to answer the phone, or to finish having dinner, and then resume watching it later from the exact point at which the programme was stopped, as in the meantime the decoder hard disk was set to record simply pushing on a button. What's more, using a connection to a personal computer, for example via a USB or i.Link (firewire) port, the recorded images can be transferred to the PC, where they can be compressed and saved onto a high-capacity portable means, such as a CD-ROM or a DVD, in a similar way to a traditional videotape, but providing the quality and durability of a digital recording.

Moreover, once videos are transferred to a computer, they may be modified and processed, employing the tools and calculating capabilities of the pc. Decoders with a hard disk of this type are available on the market, for example under the trade names Auriga Topfield TF4000PVR, Emtech EM300PWR40, Nokia Mediamaster 9902 S, and many others .

However, all receivers/recorders, both analogue and digi- tal, need to be adequately set by the user according to his or her wishes in order to record television programmes at a later time. The user sets the recording by operating on the controls found on the VCR console or on a nearby remote control, defining the tv channel and the beginning and ending time of each record- ing. To find one's way among available tv programmes and to programme the recording at least a few hours in advance, various publications can be found at newsagents ' or online over the Internet .

A particularly interesting service is offered by some Internet portals which allow to gain access to a complete set of television programmes spanning over a few days, making them accessible for consultation over the Internet. Moreover, registered users will be able to set up a personal profile and so view only TV listings they are interested in (for example west- ems, nature documentaries, and news only) or, in some cases, receive alert e-mails which advise in good time (for example at the beginning of the week) about the listing one is interested in.

Such a system is implemented for instance by PersonalTV on the Internet website www.personaltv.it.

However, the actual recording programming, despite being assisted by these systems available online, still occurs in the traditional way, carrying a significant disadvantage: the user still needs to take personal action - or act through a third party - next to his or her digital VCR to set the recording of the desired TV programmes .

This also implies certain organisational skills, because being away from home all day or even several days in a row requires remembering to set the VCR in advance on the programming basis already available through paper publications or online.

The present invention aims at solving the above disadvantage by providing a recording system and a programming method therefor that- fully exploits the capabilities provided by digi- tal technology, while allowing the user to set the recording of tv programmes in a convenient, simple, and intuitive way, and - above all - without wasting precious time to look up tv listings and without being tied to proximity operating the video recorder well in advance of the intended recording time. Such' object is achieved through a system and method as is substantially described in the attached main claims .

Other inventive aspects of the system and method are described in the dependent claims .

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of some preferred embodiments of it, which are given as an example.

A decoder with a hard disk, of the type commonly known per se, is designed to be connected to a tv set. Although a digital receiver is particularly preferable, as it offers a series of further advantages, it is understood that, for the teaching of the invention, any video recorder may be suitable too, provided it is of a digital-control type, i.e. it is equipped with at least one (digital or analogical) TV-signal receiver, with a control operating system loaded onto memory means (for example a hard disk, but it may be an EPROM, too) , a recording section with mass storage means, such as a hard disk or a traditional magnetic tape, and a time reference or clock in order to establish the correct time to start and to stop the recording.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the decoder with hard disk is also equipped with a communication device connected to the Internet network and controlled by the operating system installed on the hard disk.

The communication device is typically a network interface which should be connected to a network node (regardless of it being an Access Gateway, Access Point, Network Terminator, Network Interface, or a router) through an Ethernet card; this device may be preferably of the remote wake-up type, i.e. capable of receiving signals from the communication network - and further activating a series of functions - even when it is in stand-by mode .

The operating system itself, or an application system implemented on it, also incorporates a management mode of the recording section which may be set by digital signals coming from said communication device, as well as in the traditional way by acting on local decoder controls. Since any programmer can properly define this management mode of the recording section, based on the characteristics of the installed operating system, we shall not enter into further detail about such implementation, which can be carried out in many different ways .

Furthermore, the system comprises a remote server on which a tv listing portal is implemented of the type broadly described earlier, which is easily accessible and configurable by a user. The server is interfaced with the user's decoder through the communication device accessing a communication network (for example the Internet, or the satellite digital system employed to broadcast tv programmes) .

To that aim, according to the invention, the tv listing server stores in a database, together with each user's profile, the IP address, or equivalent, of the communication device installed on-board of the video recorder owned by the user. Preferably, together with the IP address, other data are stored in the database relating to the user's access codes (for example user ID code and password) and decoder type. These data are re- quired to gain access to said communication device and to properly operate on the specific operating system and/or application system of the user's decoder respectively.

Operation requires the user to register in a manner known per se at the tv listing portal, and then supply all the data concerning his or her preferences, IP address (or other unique identification mechanism of one's decoder device, for example ICQ's Unique Identification Number), type of decoder, and ID and passwords. Through a "passive" selection mask, i.e. one which is voluntarily called up by the user (for example an HTML page appearing on one's Internet browser), or a "push" -type mask, i.e. one which is actively suggested by the portal (for example via e-mail or SMS) , the user can define his/her programme recording choices, for example ticking the dialogue mask next to the tv programmes he/she is interested in. On the server side, each tv programme selected by the user is associated with a tv channel, a recording starting time and a stopping time; these data are suitably encoded and transmitted as recording instruction signals to the decoder associated with the address (e.g. IP address) provided by the user.

Said channel data and recording starting and stopping time signals are subsequently processed by the decoder application system, as if they had been fed in locally through ordinary programming buttons. On the basis of these signals and of the lo- cally-generated clock signal, the recording section of the decoder may be set and activated.

Alternatively, it is possible to allow for instruction signals to be sent in the correct time order from the server itself, using another time reference (for example the Time Net- work) : in this case a digital signal is initially sent representing the channel and the starting instruction to the recording section, followed by a signal representing a stopping instruction.

With the invention system the user can act remotely (for example from the office) - accessing a readily available tool such as an Internet client - on the recording settings of his/her decoder (for example one which is installed at home) , choosing intuitively and without any time-consuming selection burden (as a first filtering out of programmes has been carried out by the server according to the preferences set by the user) the desired programme or programmes, even without having first arranged to set recording from home: the aims illustrated in the preliminary remarks have therefore been fully achieved.

Furthermore, due to the implementation of the invention, a further advantage can be achieved in terms of additional economic results obtained from the management of the user community; in other words, the various flows of information on user activity represent precious data that can be exploited in various ways that can immediately be guessed by somebody skilled in this field.

Instead of the decoder being directly connected to the Internet, an alternative embodiment of the invention includes an interface with a different communication system, which is reachable from the programming portal server all the same. For exam- pie, the communication device may include a GSM, GPRS or UMTS mobile transceiver, or other forms of digital telephony, through which the decoder application system can receive digital signals

(for example SMS format) , which are suitably acquired in order to set the recording section. In that case, for example, in the database implemented in the portal server, the telephone number of the GSM card mounted on the user's decoder is stored, instead of the IP address .

Assembling and running costs of this variant may be higher than those of the embodiment described above, but they may nevertheless be justified for those users who cannot or do not want to use a permanent Internet connection (e.g. ADSL) on the site where the decoder is installed.

In a further embodiment, the TV listing portal sends noti- fication of an available tv programme through the mobile network: the user can take notice and later access the portal via the Internet, or advantageously,, choose by the same means again, i.e. via SMS. He/she may, for example, answer with a digital message containing the ID of the programme received in the pre- vious notification: the server is then capable of associating that specific choice with that user by reading the calling line identifier (CLI) of the GSM card sending the message; the database in fact stores user CLIs too, so that the server can later associate programming with the user's CLI and with the address of the user's communication device, in order to subsequently control the setting of the correct video recorder in the way described above.

It is understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the specific configurations illustrated above, which represent only non-limiting examples of the scope of the invention. A number of changes may be made, all within the reach of a skilled person in the field, without departing from the scope of the invention.

Claims

CLAIMS 1) TV programme recording system, of the type comprising a digitally-controlled video recorder, equipped with at least a) one tv signal receiver, a control operating system, and an ap- plication system that manages programming loaded onto first storage means, with at least b) a recording section equipped with second mass storage means to record a tv programme, and with at least c) time reference means, further characterised in that it comprises a communication device, connected to a first communication network, installed on board of the video recorder and capable of transferring digital signals coming from said first communication network to said operating and/or application system; a remote programming server, also connected to the same first communication network, and interfaced with a second communication network accessible by the user; a database in said programming server which stores, associated with each user profile, at least one address of said communication device of the user's video recorder; said server further receiving from the user, by way of communications on said second network, one or more choices of tv programmes and sending a digital signal of starting and stopping times and of tv channel selected for recording to said video recorder application system through said communication device. 2) System as in 1) , in which said second network is the Internet .
3) System as in 2) , in which said user choices are set onto dialogue masks displayed on an Internet browser.
4) System as in 3) , in which said masks are customised and contain a selection of tv programmes, among those available, chosen according to a user profile preset in said database.
5) System as in 2) , in which said choices are contained in coded instructions sent via e-mail.
6) System as in 1) , in which said second network is a digi- tal mobile network.
7) System as in 6) , in which said database further includes, associated with each user, a CLI identification code.
8) System as in any of the previous claims, in which said database further includes access codes to said communication de- vice in the user's video recorder.
9) System as in any of the previous claims, in which said first communication network is the Internet and said communication device address is an IP address . 10) System as in any of the claims 1-8, in which said first communication network is a digital mobile telephony network (GSM) and said communication device address is the telephone number of a mobile card.
11) System as in any of the claims 1-8, in which said first network is a satellite digital system through which TV programmes are also broadcast .
12) System as in any of the previous claims, in which the video recorder comprises a digital decoder and said mass storage means are in the form of a hard disk. 13) Programming method of a system capable of recording tv programmes, wherein a digitally-controlled video recorder - comprising a tv receiver, a recording section, and storage means loaded with an operating and/or application system for the management of the recording section - and a remote programming server - equipped with a database including user profiles and starting time, stopping time, and tv channel data of tv programmes available within a certain time - are connected through a first communication network by means of a communication device installed on said video recorder, characterised in that said server supplies the user with tv programme selection means through a second network; user choice is acquired by said server, which locates within said database, associated with a user identification code, an address of the relevant communication device; said server sends to said located communication device a digital signal, representing at least the beginning time and the channel of the tv programme chosen by the user, which is acquired by the video recorder application system in order to set said recording section; said recording section records the tv programme according to the data received with said digital signal with respect to a reference time signal .
14) Method as in 13), in which said digital signal also comprises the ending time of the chosen tv programme. 15) Method as in 13) or 14) , in which the user views his/her choice on said server and signals it to the server by means of masks that are displayed through a web browser.
16) Method as in 13) or 14) , characterised in that said second network is a mobile telephony network and said selection means are digital messages, also containing a tv programme identification code, which are sent to the user's mobile phone, and in that the selection performed by the user is notified to the server by sending digital messages containing said identifica- tion code of the chosen tv programme.
PCT/EP2003/010232 2002-10-03 2003-09-15 Remote-settable tv program recording system and programming method therefor WO2004032511A1 (en)

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ITMI20022096 2002-10-03

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