WO2004100536A1 - Method and apparatus for enabling psip guide information from disparate sources - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for enabling psip guide information from disparate sources Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2004100536A1
WO2004100536A1 PCT/US2004/013382 US2004013382W WO2004100536A1 WO 2004100536 A1 WO2004100536 A1 WO 2004100536A1 US 2004013382 W US2004013382 W US 2004013382W WO 2004100536 A1 WO2004100536 A1 WO 2004100536A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
guide
program guide
data
channel
program
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2004/013382
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Bret David Hawkins
Chad Andrew Lefevre
Original Assignee
Thomson Licensing S.A.
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.)
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Publication date
Priority to US46762903P priority Critical
Priority to US60/467,629 priority
Application filed by Thomson Licensing S.A. filed Critical Thomson Licensing S.A.
Publication of WO2004100536A1 publication Critical patent/WO2004100536A1/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
    • 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
    • H04N21/43Processing 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
    • H04N21/435Processing of additional data, e.g. decrypting of additional data, reconstructing software from modules extracted from the transport 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
    • H04N21/462Content 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
    • H04N21/482End-user interface for program selection
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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

Abstract

A system and apparatus is presented for associating an input source with a specified program guide (605). Tuning data from the selected program guide is then used to acquire programming from thee selected input source (620). Data from other program guides may be used to acquire programming (625) when the data from the selected program guide is incomplete for tuning purposes. An analog tuning technique (630) may optionally be employed when the available program guide data is insufficient to acquire programming from a broadcast channel.

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ENABLING PSIP GUIDE INFORMATION FROM DISPARATE SOURCES

Field of the Invention

This invention is related to the processing of broadcast Program Guides, input sources, system information, and program specific information.

Background of the Invention

In video broadcast and processing applications, digital video data is typically encoded to conform to the requirements of a known standard. One such widely adopted standard is the MPEG2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group) image encoding standard, hereinafter referred to as the "MPEG standard". The MPEG standard is comprised of a system encoding section (ISO/TEC 13818-1, 10th June 1994) and a video encoding section (ISO/EC 13818-2, 20th January 1995). Data encoded to the MPEG standard is in the form of a packetized datastream that typically includes the data content of many program channels (e.g. content corresponding to cable television channels 1-125). Further, several digital services and channels may occupy the frequency spectrum previously occupied by a single analog channel. A 6 MHz bandwidth previously allocated to an analog NTSC compatible broadcast channel may now be split into a number of digital sub-channels offering a variety of services. For example, the broadcast spectrum for RF channel 13 may be allocated to sub-channels including a main program channel, a financial service channel offering stock quotes, a sports news service channel and a shopping and interactive channel. In addition, data conveyed in different sub-channels may be in different data formats (e.g. analog, digital etc.). Further, both the quantity of sub-channels transmitted and the individual sub-channel bandwidth may be changed dynamically to accommodate changing broadcast programming requirements. In such a digital video system the proliferation in the quantity of services being broadcast and the increased variety of their content, as well as the ability of a broadcaster to dynamically vary the number and allocated bandwidth of these channels poses a number of problems. Specifically, the increase in the quantity of broadcast channels may increase the difficulty of tuning and lengthen the time required to acquire a selected program channel. Further, as the quantity of channels increases, so does the quantity of ancillary program specific information required in decoding the transmitted program data. The ancillary program specific information includes data used in identifying and assembling packets comprising selected programs and also includes program guide and text information associated with the transmitted program data. The acquisition and management of ancillary program specific information required to receive and decode programs and the management of channel numbering in a digital video system poses additional problems. These problems and derivative problems are addressed by a system according to the invention principles.

Summary of the Invention

A system and apparatus for associating a program guide type to a specified input source. The selected program guide association is used for acquiring programming from the specified input source.

Brief Description of the Drawings

In the drawing: Figure 1 is a block diagram of digital video receiving apparatus for processing broadcast signals, according to the principles of the invention.

Figure 2 shows a flowchart of a method for acquiring program guide information conveyed on a transmission channel conveying a user selected broadcast channel and for identifying and associating an individual broadcast channel with a specific program guide, according to the invention.

Figure 3 shows a flowchart of a decoder initialization method for scanning through received terrestrial broadcast channels to associate individual terrestrial broadcast channels with corresponding program guides, according to the invention.

Figure 4 shows a flowchart of a decoder initialization method for scanning through received cable broadcast channels to associate individual cable broadcast channels with corresponding program guides, according to the invention. Figure 5 shows a flowchart of a method for determining program guide availability on a broadcast channel in response to User entry of a channel identification number or in response to the addition of a new channel to a decoder channel line-up, for example, according to the invention

Figure 6 shows a flowchart of a method for associating an input source to a selected program guide, according to the invention.

Detailed Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 is a block diagram of digital video receiving apparatus for processing broadcast signals. The disclosed system involves processing video signals incorporating ancillary program specific information including program guide data in different encoding formats. These may include, for example, MPEG PSI format compatible with the Program Specific Information (PSI) requirements specified in section 2.4.4 of the MPEG systems standard, or it may comply with the Program and System Information Protocol for Terrestrial Broadcast and Cable, published by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), 10 November 1997, hereinafter referred to as the PSIP standard. The data formats may also include analog NTSC type video signal formats conveying program specific information in a vertical blanking interval (VBI) or proprietary and other data formats. In a digital video system, an individual channel may be specified by a physical transmission channel (PTC) number determining the carrier frequency of transmission of the channel. An individual channel may also be specified by first and second identification numbers. The first identification number (a major number) is associated with an information provider. The second identification number (a minor number), is used in identifying a broadcast channel from among a group of channels associated with the first identification number. The first and second identification numbers in conjunction, are used in identifying data constituting a program transmitted on the broadcast channel. An exemplary range for a major number is from 1-99 for terrestrial broadcast channels and from 1-999 for cable channels. An exemplary range for a minor number is from 1-999 for both terrestrial and cable channels. A broadcast channel determined from major and minor numbers may alternatively be termed a service or a virtual channel or a logical channel. In a disclosed embodiment, upon system initialization, channel scanning is advantageously performed to associate a particular program guide (e.g. either a PSJP guide, MPEG PSI guide or an analog VBI guide) to an individual channel. A similar procedure is also performed upon introduction of a new channel. Further, the decoder advantageously translates a User entered PTC number into a combination major- minor number for display.

The principles of the invention may be applied to terrestrial, cable, satellite, Internet or computer network broadcast systems employing different coding types or modulation formats. Such systems may include, for example, non-MPEG compatible systems, involving other types of encoded datastreams and other methods of conveying program specific information. Further, although the disclosed system is described as processing broadcast programs, this is exemplary only. The term 'program' is used to represent any form of packetized data such as audio data, telephone messages, computer programs, Internet data or other communications, for example.

In the video receiver system of Figure 1 (system 20), a terrestrial broadcast carrier modulated with signals carrying audio, video and associated data representing broadcast program content is received by antenna 10 and processed by unit 13. The resultant digital output signal is demodulated by demodulator 15. The demodulated output from unit 15 is trellis decoded, mapped into byte length data segments, deinterleaved and Reed-Solomon error corrected by decoder 17. The corrected output data from unit 17 is in the form of an MPEG compatible transport datastream containing program representative multiplexed audio, video and data components. The transport stream from unit 17 is demultiplexed into audio, video and data components by unit 22 that are further processed by the other elements of decoder system 100. These other elements include video decoder 25, audio processor 35, sub-picture processor 30, on-screen graphics display generator (OSD) 37, multiplexer 40, NTSC encoder 45 and storage interface 95. In one mode, decoder 100 provides MPEG decoded data for display and audio reproduction on units 50 and 55 respectively. In another mode, the transport stream from unit 17 is processed by decoder 100 to provide an MPEG compatible datastream for storage on storage medium 98 via storage device 90. In an analog video signal processing mode, unit 19 processes a received video signal from unit 17 to provide an NTSC compatible signal for display and audio reproduction on units 50 and 55 respectively.

In other input data modes, units 72, 74, 78, and 79 provide interfaces for Internet streamed video and audio data from telephone line 18, satellite data from feed line 11 and cable video from cable line 14, and video and guide data from network connection 19, respectively. The processed data from units 72, 74, 78, and 79 is appropriately decoded by unit 17 and is provided to decoder 100 for further processing in similar fashion to that described in connection with the terrestrial broadcast input via antenna 10. For purposes of the present invention, network connection 19 may be any type of network connection such as an Ethernet connection, IEEE-1394, USB, fiber optic, twisted wire, and the like.

A user selects for viewing either a TV channel or an on-screen menu, such as a program guide, by using a remote control unit 70. Processor 60 uses the selection information provided from remote control unit 70 via interface 65 to appropriately configure the elements of Figure 1 to receive a desired program channel for viewing. Processor 60 comprises processor 62 and controller 64. Unit 62 processes (i.e. parses, collates and assembles) program specific information including program guide and system information and controller 64 performs the remaining control functions required in operating decoder 100. Although the functions of unit 60 may be implemented as separate elements 62 and 64 as depicted in Figure 1, they may alternatively be implemented within a single processor. For example, the functions of units 62 and 64 may be incorporated within the programmed instructions of a microprocessor. Processor 60 configures processor 13, demodulator 15, decoder 17 and decoder system 100 to demodulate and decode the input signal format and coding type. Units 13, 15, 17 and sub-units within decoder 100 are individually configured for the input signal type by processor 60 setting control register values within these elements using a bi-directional data and control signal bus C.

The transport stream provided to decoder 100 comprises data packets containing program channel data and program specific information. Unit 22 directs the program specific information packets to processor 60 that parses, collates and assembles this information into hierarchically arranged tables..Individual data packets comprising the User selected program channel are identified and assembled using the assembled program specific information. The program specific information contains conditional access, network information and identification and linking data enabling the system of Figure 1 to tune to a desired channel and assemble data packets to form complete programs. The program specific information also contains ancillary program guide information (e.g. an Electronic Program Guide - EPG) and descriptive text related to the broadcast programs as well as data supporting the identification and assembly of this ancillary information.

In acquiring program guide information, decoder 100 (with processor 60) determines whether a received signal represents an analog or digital channel and also determines the type of program guide information available on the received channel. An analog channel VBI guide or a digital program guide (an MPEG PSI type guide or an ATSC PSIP type guide, for example) may then be subsequently acquired. Upon determining whether a PSIP, MPEG PSI, or VBI guide is present for a broadcast channel, or whether the broadcast channel is an analog channel with no VBI guide, decoder 100 (with unit 60) updates stored database information to associate one of the guides with the desired broadcast channel.

The different types of program specific information and program guides (e.g. PSIP, MPEG PSI, or VBI guide) are acquired and assembled by processor 60 to form their respective data structures. Processor 60 assembles a digital ATSC PSIP guide (and also an MPEG PSI guide), for example, into multiple hierarchically arranged and inter-linked tables. Similarly, processor 60 assembles analog VBI data to form a program guide database for use in performing program related decoder functions (e.g. time shifted program recording) and a guide for display in accordance with the system requirements.

An exemplary hierarchical PSIP table arrangement includes a Master Guide Table (MGT), a Channel Information Table (CIT), Event Information Tables (EITs) and optional tables such as Extended Text Tables (ETTs). The MGT contains information for acquiring program specific information conveyed in other tables such as identifiers for identifying data packets associated with the other tables. The CIT contains information for tuning and navigation to receive a User selected program channel. The EIT contains descriptive lists of programs (events) receivable on the channels listed in the CIT. The ETT contains text messages describing programs and program channels. Additional program specific information describing and supplementing items within the hierarchical tables is conveyed within descriptor information elements. The resulting program specific information data structure formed by processor 60 via unit 22 is stored within internal memory of unit 60.

If the acquired program specific information is conveyed in MPEG PSI format it is similarly formed into tables in accordance with the MPEG systems standard section 2.4.4. These tables may include a Program Association Table (PAT), a Program Map Table (PMT), and may also include a Network Information Table (NIT) and a Conditional Access Table (CAT). Each table is formed from data packets that are recognized by a particular PID. The PMT defines the PID labels that identify the individual packetized datastreams that constitute a program. These individual streams are termed elementary streams. Elementary streams include datastreams such as a video datastream and individual audio datastreams for various languages as well as caption datastreams. The PAT associates a program number with the PIDs that permit identification and assembly of the packets comprising the PMT. The NIT is optional and may be structured and used to define physical network parameters such as satellite transmission channel frequencies and transponder channels, for example. The CAT contains the conditional access information such as encryption codes that govern access to programs that are dependent upon user entitlement.

Figures 2-5 show methods employed by processor 60 in controlling the decoder of Figure 1 in acquiring different types of program guide information (e.g. analog-VBI type, MPEG PSI type or ATSC PSIP type) conveyed on multiple broadcast channels for use in capturing packetized program information comprising a program conveyed on an individual broadcast channel. Specifically, Figure 2 shows a flowchart of a method for acquiring program guide information and for identifying and associating an individual broadcast channel with a specific program guide. This advantageously reduces the need to search for a guide to be used in processing a future selected broadcast channel and reduces program and channel acquisition times. In step 105, following the start at step 100, processor 60 directs system 20 to tune to receive a physical transmission channel (PTC) conveying a user selected broadcast channel. If the received broadcast channel is digital, processor 60, in step 110, examines the data received on the channel to identify which program guides are available by looking firstly for a PSIP type of guide and then an MPEG PSI type of guide. If the received broadcast channel is analog (e.g. NTSC compatible), processor 60, in step 110, parses any data conveyed in the vertical blanking interval (VBI) of the analog signal to identify whether one or more program guides are available. In the event that both a PSIP guide and an MPEG PSI guide are available, processor 60 in step 115, selects a PSIP guide (designated as the highest priority guide) for acquisition and updates an internal database to associate the received broadcast channel with the selected PSIP guide. The PSIP guide is selected as the highest priority guide in accordance with a predetermined guide priority profile. In step 120, processor 60, in conjunction with demultiplexer 22, acquires PSIP data packets and assembles them to form a PSIP guide data structure within the unit 60 internal memory.

In an alternative embodiment, multiple guides (e.g. a PSIP and an MPEG PSI guide) may be acquired and assembled. The multiple guides may be compared and used by processor 60 to identify errors in the guide data or to identify additional broadcast services that are listed in one guide and omitted in another. Thereby, processor 60 may add such additional services to a user's service list by capture of data supporting user access to these services. In step 125, processor 60 parses the captured PSIP guide data to derive information supporting generation of a displayed program guide listing. The displayed program guide shows a user the programs and events and associated scheduled broadcast times available on the received physical transmission channel (PTC). Processor 60 in conjunction with decoder 100 processes the parsed information and presents the program guide listing display on reproduction device 50. The displayed program guide lists programs for the received transmission channel and the other available channels. In step 130, processor 60 uses the acquired PSIP guide data in directing decoder 100 in the capture and assembly of packetized data to form a program being broadcast on the user selected broadcast channel. The process of Figure 2 terminates at step 135.

Figure 3 shows a flowchart of an initialization method employed by processor 60 and decoder 100 involving iterative scanning through received terrestrial broadcast channels to associate individual terrestrial broadcast channels with corresponding program guides. Such an initialization method may be performed at power-on, or during low use periods (e.g. during the night) or during a background operation that is invisible to a User, for example. However, this type of scanning operation may not identify guides available for a newly added broadcast channel. Following the start at step 200, processor 60, in step 205, directs system 20 (the Figure 1 decoder) to tune to receive a next available terrestrial broadcast channel using previously stored physical transmission channel (PTC) tuning information. Further, processor 60, in step 210, directs system 20 to attempt to acquire a digital PSIP guide conveyed on this terrestrial broadcast channel. If processor 60 is successful, it stores the PSIP guide in internal memory and updates an internal database to associate this particular received channel as a PSJP guide type channel (steps 215 and 220 respectively). If acquisition of a PSJP guide was unsuccessful in step 215, processor 60 determines if the received broadcast channel is analog and if so acquires a program guide conveyed in VBI data (if available) in steps 225 and 230 respectively. If the received broadcast channel is not analog (step 225), processor 60 attempts to acquire a digital MPEG PSI guide comprising a program map table and a program association table (PMT and PAT). If processor 60 is successful, it stores the MPEG PSI guide in internal memory and updates the internal database to associate this particular received channel as an MPEG PSI guide type channel (steps 240 and 245 respectively). If acquisition of an MPEG PSI guide was unsuccessful in step 240, processor 60 identifies this particular received channel as being without an associated guide in step 250. Following the update of its internal database in steps 220, 230, 245 or 250, processor 60 repeats the channel scanning process by tuning to receive the next terrestrial broadcast channel in step 205. This iterative process is repeated until all the available terrestrial broadcast channels have been scanned and the process is complete at step 207.

Figure 4 shows a flowchart of an initialization method employed by processor 60 and decoder 100 involving iterative scanning through received cable broadcast channels to associate individual cable broadcast channels with corresponding program guides. Following the start at step 300, processor 60 in step 305 directs system 20 to tune to receive a next available cable broadcast channel using previously stored physical transmission channel (PTC) tuning information. Further, processor 60, in step 310, directs system 20 to attempt to acquire a digital MPEG PSI guide conveyed on this cable broadcast channel. If processor 60 is successful, it stores the MPEG PSI guide in internal memory and updates an internal database to associate this particular received channel as an MPEG PSI guide type channel (steps 315 and 320 respectively). If acquisition of an MPEG PSI guide was unsuccessful in step 315, processor 60 determines if the received broadcast channel is analog and if so acquires a program guide conveyed in VBI data (if available) in steps 325 and 330 respectively. If the received broadcast channel is not analog (step 325), processor 60 identifies this particular received channel as being without an associated guide in step 335. Following the update of its internal database in steps 320, 330 and 335, processor 60 repeats the channel scanning process by tuning to receive the next cable broadcast channel in step 305. This iterative process is repeated until all the available cable broadcast channels have been scanned and the process is complete at step 307.

Figure 5 shows a flowchart of a method for determining program guide availability on a broadcast channel in response to User entry of a channel identification number or in response to the addition of a new channel to a decoder channel line-up, for example. Following the start at step 400 and in response to User entry of a channel identification number, processor 60 in step 405 determines from its internal database if the User entered identification number corresponds to a previously scanned channel and is associated with an identified program guide. If a program guide is associated with the selected channel and has been previously acquired, processor 60 in step 430 directs system 20 to tune to receive the selected channel using this previously acquired program guide information. If the selected channel is a channel being received for the first time and has no associated program guide information (e.g. a channel being added to a User's channel line-up), processor 60 initiates a program guide availability scan. Processor 60 in step 410, directs system 20 to tune to receive the selected broadcast channel using previously stored physical transmission channel (PTC) tuning information and attempts to acquire a digital PSJP guide conveyed on the selected broadcast channel. If processor 60 is successful, it stores the PSJP guide in internal memory and updates an internal database to associate the selected channel as a PSIP guide type channel (step 415).

In step 430, processor 60 directs system 20 to tune to receive the selected channel using this previously acquired PSJP guide information. If acquisition of a PSJP guide was unsuccessful in step 410, processor 60 determines if the received broadcast channel is analog and if so acquires a program guide conveyed in VBI data (if available) in steps 420 and 425 respectively. Processor 60 directs system 20 to tune to receive the analog channel using pre-stored PTC tuning information in step 430. If the received broadcast channel is not analog (step 420), processor 60 attempts to acquire a digital MPEG PSI guide comprising a program map table and a program association table (PMT and PAT). If processor 60 is successful, it stores the MPEG PSI guide in internal memory, updates the internal database to associate this particular received channel as an MPEG PSI guide type channel and initiates tuning to receive the selected channel (steps 435, 440 and 430 respectively). If the selected channel was digital and neither PSJP nor MPEG PSI guides were acquired, processor 60 in step 445 initiates repetition of the guide acquisition process from step 410. This iterative process is repeated for a limited number of attempts (e.g. four attempts) or for a limited duration. If, following these attempts, a guide was not acquired; the channel is identified to a User as unobtainable via an on screen message. In certain situations such as during a satellite antenna tuning operation, this process may be set to repeat continuously as part of a channel tuning operation. Figure 6 is a flowchart of a method 600 for associating received guide data to a specific input source for acquiring programming where programming is media such as video signal for a display device delivered on a broadcast channel, video signals for a television, and the like. In step 605, a program guide is selected to be associated with a particular input source. This selection is preferably made by a user using remote control unit 70 to select between available program guides and inputs such as antenna 10, DBS access module 74, CATV cable module 78, and network interface 79. In the present example, the program guides data available to be selected are a ATSC based PSJP guide for antenna 10, a PSJP based guide received from on the air programming from DBS access module 74, a PSJP based guide received from CATV cable module 78, and a PSJP based guide received from recorded programming via network interface 79. It is to be appreciated that recorded programming tends to suffer from invalid PSJP data, where such data may be obsolete because the PSJP data is time sensitive or the recording process does not fully capture all of the received PSJP data. Optionally, a user in step 605 may designate that the PSJP guide data be received only from one source, as the PSJP guide data available from the other input sources may be inferior or lacking specific information. Alternatively, a user may designate an order of priority for the use of program guide information where the program guide information received from one input source is used over the program guide data from a second input source. For example, a user may want that the PSJP guide data from CATV cable module 78 be used over the PSJP guide data from DBS access module 74. Also, this invention allows one to select the program guide types such as PSJP, MPEG PSI, and VBI program guide to be associated with an input source, in accordance with the principles of the present invention. In step 610, the selected program guide information is used to generate a displayed program guide for an associated input source. The program guide information displays programming that is available through the selected input source. Beneficially, the displayed program guide may be capable of displaying more information about the programming available through an input source, than the guide data transmitted on the input source itself. For example, PSJP guide data received via DBS access module 74 provides more information about available programming that is part of the guide data received from CATV access module 78 or network interface 79. This step enables a user to select that the program guide displayed for programming received via antenna 10 be generated from the PSJP data received from DBS access module 74. Importantly, the program guide selected may come from a different input source than the input source the program guide is associated with. Other variations of what input source and guide data is used for a displayed program guide are to be appreciated in accordance with the principles of the present invention. Steps 615 and 620 disclose of using the selected guide data to acquire programming from the associated input source. Step 620 uses tuning information from the selected program guide to tune in a broadcast channel and to acquire programming from the selected input source, as explained above.

Step 625 details the case when the selected program guide data is not capable of receiving programming where program guide data from a non-selected program guide for a selected input source is used to acquire program data. For example, a user may select that the PSIP data received via CATV access module 78 be used to acquire programming from antenna 10. The PSJP data from the CATV access module however may not contain tuning information that permits system 20 to acquire programming via antenna 10. System 20 then may revert back to using the guide data received from antenna 10 to acquire programming. Other input sources and program guide information may be selected in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

Step 630 details when available program guide data is insufficient to acquire programming for a selected input source. Hence, instead of using PSJP data to receive programming via antenna 10, system 20 uses an analog based tuner to acquire available programming. Other alternative methods for acquiring programming without using tuning data from program guide data may be used in accordance with the principle of the present invention. Optionally, step 630 is utilized when a user does not specify the use of specific program guide or program guide information is not available after step 615.

The architecture of Figure 1 is not exclusive. Other architectures may be derived in accordance with the principles of the invention to accomplish the same objectives. Further, the functions of the elements of system 20 of Figure 1 and the process steps of Figures 2-6 may be implemented in whole or in part within the programmed instructions of a microprocessor. In addition, the principles of the invention apply to any form of analog or digital program specific (and program guide) information (including non-MPEG compatible program guide information).

Claims

1. A method for associating a program guide to a selected input source comprising the steps of: selecting a program guide (605) from a plurality of program guides: selecting an input source for acquiring programming delivered in a video based signal (605); acquiring programming (615) from said input source using data from said selected program guide.
2. The method of Claim 1, comprising an additional step of: displaying an on screen program guide from data corresponding to said selected program guide type.
3. The method of Claim 1 , comprising a further step of using tuning data from the selected program guide to acquire programming from said input source.
4. The method of Claim 1, comprising a further step of: using program guide information from a non-selected program guide to acquire programming from the selected input source.
5. The method of Claim 4, comprising a further step of: acquiring programming from the selected input source using an analog tuning technique.
6. The method of Claim 1, wherein said selected program guide is a PSJP based program guide.
7. The method of Claim 1, wherein the selected input sources is at least one of: a satellite input, a cable input, an antenna input, and a network interface input.
8. The method of Claim 1, wherein selected program guide is received from a second input source.
9. A receiving apparatus for implementing any of the method steps recited in Claims 1 to 8.
PCT/US2004/013382 2003-05-02 2004-04-30 Method and apparatus for enabling psip guide information from disparate sources WO2004100536A1 (en)

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