WO2006127673A1 - Self-contained interactive multimedia presentation system - Google Patents

Self-contained interactive multimedia presentation system Download PDF

Info

Publication number
WO2006127673A1
WO2006127673A1 PCT/US2006/019858 US2006019858W WO2006127673A1 WO 2006127673 A1 WO2006127673 A1 WO 2006127673A1 US 2006019858 W US2006019858 W US 2006019858W WO 2006127673 A1 WO2006127673 A1 WO 2006127673A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
system
user
media content
housing
content
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2006/019858
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Craig S. Gravina
Arthur A. Gravina
Eric D. Frey
Everett K. Wallace
John P. Kavanagh
Brad Hoffert
Original Assignee
Bright Entertainment, Limited
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 US59494105P priority Critical
Priority to US60/594,941 priority
Priority to US76624806P priority
Priority to US60/766,248 priority
Priority to US60/766,267 priority
Priority to US76626706P priority
Application filed by Bright Entertainment, Limited filed Critical Bright Entertainment, Limited
Publication of WO2006127673A1 publication Critical patent/WO2006127673A1/en

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G11INFORMATION STORAGE
    • G11BINFORMATION STORAGE BASED ON RELATIVE MOVEMENT BETWEEN RECORD CARRIER AND TRANSDUCER
    • G11B20/00Signal processing not specific to the method of recording or reproducing; Circuits therefor
    • G11B20/10Digital recording or reproducing

Abstract

A self-contained interactive media presentation system for interactively viewing prerecorded audiovisual content of an optical disk includes a housing in which are substantially fully retained a reading device for receiving an optical disk and reading prerecorded audiovisual content and a script stored thereon, a display for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content, a user interface for actuation by a user, and a controller. The script is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content and represents navigational logic for determining an order of presentation of the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk. The script is provided in a non-synchronized format in a special audio track of the optical disk. The controller runs an interpreter for reading the script and interactively controls the display to present the media content to the user based upon the script and upon interactive actuation of the user interface by the user.

Description

SELF-CONTAINED INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATION SYSTEM

I. CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

For purposes of the United States, the present application is a nonprovisional of, and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to, each of: Gravina et al. U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/594,941 , filed May 20, 2005; Kavanagh et al. U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/766,267, filed January 5, 2006; and Kavanagh et al. U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/766,248, filed January 4, 2006. The entire disclosure of each of these patent applications is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

IL INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

The present application and the following patent properties are all owned, either directly or through corporate parent/subsidiary relationship, by a common owner:

( 1 ) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0054826, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(2) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0125075, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(3) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0140997, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(4) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0140998, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(5) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0005043, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(6) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0060238, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(7) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0246458, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(8) U.S. Patent Application No. 11/039,646, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(9) U.S. Patent Application No. 11/042,672, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(10) U.S. Patent Application No. 11/163,580, which is incorporated herein by reference;

(11) Application serial no. 60/594,941, pending, incorporated herein by reference;

(12) Application serial no. 60/596,038, pending, incorporated herein by reference; (13) Application serial no. 60/596,815, pending, incorporated herein by reference; and

(14) International Patent Application Publication No. WO 2005/116847, which is incorporated herein by reference.

III. COPYRIGHT STATEMENT

All of the material in this patent document is subject to copyright protection under the copyright laws of the United States and of other countries. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in patent files and/or records of government agencies of countries wherein the patent document is filed, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Since its development, the optical disk has become the delivery vehicle of choice for a wide variety of applications in the fields of computing, sound reproduction and video. Early optical disk technologies that have found at least some commercial success include compact discs (CDs), laserdiscs, magneto-optical discs and ultra density optical technology. Later optical disk technologies include minidisks, digital versatile discs (DVDs), digital multilayer disks, digital video express technology, fluorescent multilayer discs, GD-ROMs, phase- change dual technology and universal media discs.

Among these technologies, DVDs have been among the most ubiquitous forms of optical disks for the delivery of video content for both entertainment and informational purposes. Like other optical disks, DVDs are capable of holding a large amount of data in a small, inexpensive, portable, durable package that is easily delivered, stored and used.

As shown in FIG. 1 , entertainment and informational DVD systems typically include a DVD player, a television or video monitor, and a DVD with such entertainment or informational media stored thereon. In systems of this type, a user inserts the DVD into the DVD player and the DVD content is displayed sequentially on the television for viewing by the user. Controls on the DVD player or on a separate remote control device typically permit the user to maneuver manually through the normal sequence, but no further interactivity with the DVD content is provided in this simple system.

More recently, systems have been developed that permit the user to interact, to a much greater degree, with the media content stored on the DVD. Such a system typically further includes a control unit, with or without a removable memory device whose contents correspond to that the DVD. FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an interactive optical disk system that includes a control unit, while FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an interactive optical disk system that includes a control unit having a removable memory device whose contents correspond to that of an associated DVD. The system of FIG. 3 is disclosed and described in detail in U.S. Patent No. 7,003,598 to Kavanagh, which patent is hereby incorporated herein by reference. Such system 130 includes a control unit 103, a DVD player 101, a television 100, a DVD 106 selected from a plurality of DVDs, and a removable memory device 104 whose content corresponds to that of DVD 106. In the prior art system 130, the control unit 103 uses existing multimedia infrastructure such as the conventional DVD player 101 and television 100 for displaying multimedia content in accordance with logic stored on the memory device 104. Such systems use existing multimedia infrastructure such as a conventional DVD player and television for display of multimedia content in accordance with logic stored on the memory device 104.

Such systems provide low-cost options for entertainment, e.g., video gaming, and for providing information to consumers in a retail setting. However, assembling the various components necessary for operation of the system can be cumbersome and can require the use of expensive components, such as a DVD player and television, that could otherwise be used for other purposes, such as for conventional movie viewing. Further, such known systems are not portable, unless the DVD player and television are likewise portable.

Thus, it would be advantageous to have an entertainment or information system wherein all of the necessary components are disposed together within a housing. As such, the components would be pre-assembled for operation and for ease of use. Additionally, having the necessary components disposed in a housing would facilitate portability of the systems.

With regard to the information system, a particularly useful system is an interactive media kiosk. Typically such kiosks are used to display product information in retail outlets such as those for consumer electronics, office supplies, furniture, and automobile dealerships. In addition such kiosks are used in facilities of travel agencies, doctors, dentists, hospitals, drug stores, airports, food stores, and banks.

Conventionally, interactive media kiosks include a computer kiosk solution containing a computer, a touch display screen, and disk. Unfortunately, the computer kiosk is relatively costly and producing and distributing content for the kiosk to geographically distant destinations is both costly and logistically complex. Furthermore, the cost of the hardware as well as the programming to enable a typical computer kiosk to display the data is relatively high, thus limiting the use of the application. In addition, once programmed, typical kiosks are rather inflexible as to a change in the data to be displayed. Recently this inflexibility has been overcome by connecting kiosks to the Internet. Unfortunately, these computer kiosks require an internet connection, which adds to the cost and setup complexity of the kiosks. Additional expenses incurred by connecting computer kiosks to the Internet are the cost of the server hardware and the software to support the Internet-based kiosks.

Another significant hurdle to interactive product displays has been the complexity of displaying the product data. Such displays require two disciplines: the content producer, and the computer programmer.

Accordingly, an interactive media kiosk that is relatively inexpensive and provides content that is relatively easy to program initially and later revise is needed.

IV. SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention includes many aspects and features.

In an aspect of the invention, a self-contained interactive media presentation system for interactively viewing prerecorded audiovisual content of an optical disk includes: (a) a housing; (b) a reading device, substantially fully retained in the housing, for receiving an optical disk and reading prerecorded audiovisual content stored thereon; (c) a display, substantially fully retained in the housing, for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content; (d) a user interface, substantially fully disposed in the housing; (e) a script that is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content and that represents navigational logic for determining an order of presentation of the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk based on user action via the user interface such that an interactive experience is provided to the user; (f) a script interpreter that is capable of processing the script; and (g) a controller, substantially fully disposed in the housing, for controlling the presentation, via the display, of prerecorded audiovisual content read from the optical disk by the reading device, the controller including a processor that runs the script interpreter and executes the script whereby a sequence of display of prerecorded audiovisual content is at least intermittently determined based on user action via the user interface.

In a feature of this aspect, wherein the reading device is a DVD player core for selectively receiving one or more DVDs and reading media content stored thereon.

In a feature of this aspect, the user interface includes conventional controls for a DVD player.

In a feature of this aspect, the system further comprises an optical disk received by the reading device. In accordance with this feature, the optical disk is a DVD. In further accordance with this feature, the system further comprises at least one speaker, disposed in the housing, and wherein the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk further includes audio soundtrack content for presentation to the user via the at least one speaker. Also in accordance with this aspect, the optical disk further includes stored thereon the script that is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content.

In a feature of this aspect, the system further includes at least one output for connection to an external display that is distinct from the display in the housing. In accordance with this feature, the controller is adapted to cause the external display to present first visual media content while simultaneously presenting second visual media content, on the display in the housing, that is different than the first visual media content. One of the first and second visual media content may be written information while the other of the first and second visual media content may be pictorial information.

In another feature of this aspect, further comprising at least one output for connection to an external speaker that is distinct from the display in the housing.

In a feature of this aspect, the housing comprises a tamper-resistant kiosk housing having a securable access opening; the reading device is an optical disk player core, securely disposed in the kiosk housing, for receiving an optical disk and reading media content stored thereon; and the securable access opening permits authorized access to the optical disk player core to permit optical disks to be loaded and unloaded therefrom. In accordance with this feature, the media content pertains to an informational user experience that corresponds to the placement of the kiosk housing. Also in accordance with this feature, the media content pertains to a game experience.

In a feature of this aspect, the housing comprises a handheld housing. In accordance with this feature, wherein the housing forms a generally flat configuration, and wherein, when the housing is in a generally horizontal orientation, the reading device is oriented horizontally within the housing, the display is oriented to face upward, and the user interface is generally arranged on upper surfaces of the housing. Also in accordance with this feature, the media content pertains to a game experience.

In a feature of this aspect, the controller includes control hardware implemented on an ASIC.

In a feature of this aspect, the optical disk further includes non-synchronized data stored in an audio-track format thereon, wherein the reading device is configured to read the non-synchronized data in the audio-track format, and wherein the non-synchronized data comprises the script.

In an aspect of the invention, a self-contained interactive media presentation system, includes: (a) a user interface for actuation by a user; (b) a display for presenting said media content; (c) a reading device for receiving a storage medium and reading media content and a script stored thereon, the script being specific to the media content; and (d) a controller running a software program for reading the script and interactively controlling the display to present the media content to the user based upon the script and upon interactive actuation of the user interface by the user, Furthermore, when said storage medium is disposed in said reading device, said program executes the script in order to interpret actuation of said user interface by the user to control said reading device in presenting said media content on said display.

In a feature of this aspect, the reading device is a DVD player core for selectively receiving one or more DVDs and reading media content stored thereon.

In a feature of this aspect, the system further comprises a storage medium that may be received by the reading device.

In a feature of this aspect, the storage medium is an optical disk.

In a feature of this aspect, the system further comprises a housing, wherein the user interface, reading device, controller and display are all supported and retained by the housing.

In yet another feature of this aspect, the system further comprises control hardware implemented on an ASIC.

In an aspect of the invention, a method of interacting with a self-contained interactive media presentation system includes: (a) inserting a storage medium, having media content stored thereon, into a reading device in a self-contained interactive media presentation system, the self-contained interactive media presentation system including a housing for supporting and carrying the other components of the self-contained interactive media presentation system; (b) reading, via a reading device disposed in the housing, the media content from the storage medium; (c) viewing the read media content on a display that is disposed in the self- contained interactive media presentation system; (d) repeatedly, and at least intermittently, responding to an interactive portion of the viewed media content by actuating at least a portion of a user interface disposed in the housing; and (e) viewing a next portion of the media content that is automatically selected by the self-contained interactive media presentation system based on the nature of the response to the interactive portion of the view media content. In a feature of this aspect, at least one of the steps is carried out at least partially using control hardware implemented on an ASIC.

Another aspect of the invention relates to a self-contained interactive media presentation system having a housing, an integrated reading device for receiving a storage medium and reading data stored thereon, a integrated video display for presenting said media content to a user, and an integrated user interface. In accordance with this aspect, a method of interactively presenting media content to a user includes: (a) reading media content from a storage medium loaded in the integrated reading device; (b) reading script information from the storage medium; (c) based on the script information, presenting a segment of the media content to a user via the integrated video display, the segment ending with an interactive portion of media content; (d) accepting, via the integrated user interface, at least one input indicative of the user's response to the interactive portion of media content; and (e) repeating the presenting and accepting steps a plurality of times, wherein each segment presented is selected according to the user's response in conjunction with the script information. In a feature of this aspect, at least one of the steps is carried out by control hardware implemented on an ASIC.

In an aspect of the invention, a method of accessing, from a storage medium, media content and non-synchronized information pertaining to the media content for an interactive media presentation system, the storage medium having data recorded thereon in audio-track format, includes: (a) loading a storage medium into an interactive media presentation system for reading by a reading device disposed in the interactive media presentation system, the storage medium having media content recorded conventionally thereon and non-synchronized supplemental data recorded thereon in an audio-track format; (b) generating by the reading device a signal that conveys said data recorded on said storage medium; (c) accessing the signal by way of one or more audio output of said reading device; and (d) interpreting at least a portion of the signal to derive supplemental information, asynchronous relative to the media content, for the interactive media presentation system. In a feature of this aspect, the loading the storage medium includes loading a storage medium having synchronized visual and audio media content recorded conventionally thereon and non-synchronized supplemental data recorded thereon in an audio-track format.

In a feature of this aspect, the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of a script, specific to the media content, that is read by a controller and used to interactively control the display to present the media content to a user based upon the script and upon interactive input provided by the user via a user interface.

In another feature of this aspect, the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of audio responses to be generated in a non-synchronized manner relative to the presentation of the media content.

In a feature of this aspect, the audio responses are voice prompts to guide a user.

In another feature of this aspect, the audio responses are audio responses to be played in response to the pressing of respective buttons in a user interface. In a feature of this aspect, the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of audio content to be stored and presented to a user in a non-synchronized manner relative to the presentation of the media content.

In still yet a feature of this aspect, the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of questions and responses to be presented to the user in order to control the sequence of playback of the media content. In still another feature of this aspect, the non- synchronized supplemental data is representative of questions and responses used to evaluate and score a user's reaction to the media content. In a feature of this aspect, at least one of the steps is carried out by control hardware implemented on an ASIC.

In yet another aspect of the invention, an interactive media presentation system for presenting prerecorded audiovisual content includes: (a) a storage medium having prerecorded audiovisual content conventionally stored thereon and non-synchronized supplemental data stored in an audio-track format on the storage medium; (b) a reading device for receiving the storage medium and reading the audiovisual content and for reading the non- synchronized supplemental data recorded thereon; (c) a display for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content; and (d) a controller for controlling the presentation, via the display, of the prerecorded audiovisual content from the storage medium by the reading device, the controller including a decoder that receives audio-track content from the storage medium, via the reading device, and extracts the non-synchronized supplemental data therefrom. In a feature of this aspect, the non-synchronized supplemental data represents navigational logic for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content in an interactive manner.

In an aspect of the invention, a method of using kiosks to disseminate media content to users includes: (a) installing one or more kiosk in one or more locations available to users, wherein each kiosk includes: (i) a housing; (ii) a reading device, substantially fully retained in the housing, for receiving an optical disk and reading prerecorded audiovisual content stored thereon; (iii) a display, substantially fully retained in the housing, for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content; (iv) a user interface, substantially fully disposed in the housing; (v) a script that is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content and that represents navigational logic for determining an order of presentation of the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk based on user action via the user interface such that an interactive experience is provided to the user; (vi) a script interpreter that is capable of processing the script; and (vii) a controller, substantially fully disposed in the housing, for controlling the presentation, via the display, of prerecorded audiovisual content read from the optical disk by the reading device, the controller including a processor that runs the script interpreter and executes the script whereby a sequence of display of prerecorded audiovisual content is at least intermittently determined based on user action via the user interface; (b) distributing an optical disk, containing the prerecorded audiovisual content and the script, to at least one of the one or more kiosks; and (c) operating the kiosk to interactively present the audiovisual content to one or more users according to the script so as to provide an interactive user experience in viewing of the prerecorded audiovisual content by the one or more users. In a feature of this aspect, the step of distributing the optical disk includes opening a secured portion of the housing, loading the optical disk into the reading device, and re-securing the secured portion of the housing. In another feature, the step of distributing the optical disk includes distributing the optical disk to an independent third party for loading into the reading device.

In addition to the foregoing aspects and features, the invention further includes the combinations and permutations of the foregoing aspects and features.

Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

V. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features, embodiments, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description with reference to the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating the components of a prior art DVD entertainment or informational system, including a DVD player, a television and one of a plurality of DVDs;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating the components of another prior art DVD entertainment or informational system, including a control unit, a DVD player, a television, one of a plurality of DVDs, and a removable memory device;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating the components of a prior art gaming system, including a game control unit, a DVD player, a television, one of a plurality of DVDs, and a removable memory device;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a self-contained interactive multimedia presentation system in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a front view of a first exemplary implementation of the system of FIG. 4; FIG. 6 is a schematic view of the elements of the exemplary implementation of the system of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7A is a simplified high-level block diagram of one implementation of the control hardware of the interactive control system of FIG. 6;

FIG. 7B is a schematic diagram of an ASIC implementation of the control hardware of FIG. 7A;

FIG. 7C is a functional block and I/O diagram of the ASIC of FIG. 7B;

FIGS. 8A-C are schematic diagrams of various types of reconfigurable buttons;

FIG. 9A is a schematic diagram of the content of a first type of specially- programmed DVD;

FIG. 9B is an exemplary script for implementing responses to two user inputs on the self-contained interactive personal entertainment system of FIG. 5;

FIG. 9C is a schematic diagram of the content of a second type of specially- programmed DVD;

FIG. 9D is an illustration of exemplary code stored on the DVD of FIG. 9C;

FIG. 9E is an illustration of the hierarchy of an exemplary map stored on the DVD of FIG. 9C;

FIG. 10 is a top view of a second exemplary implementation of the system of FIG. 4;

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of the elements of the exemplary implementation of the system of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a simplified high-level block diagram of one implementation of the control hardware of the interactive control unit of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 A is a schematic diagram of the video and audio portions of a particular technology implementation of the DVD of FIG. 9A;

FIG. 13B is a schematic view of the video and audio portions of a particular technology implementation of the DVD of FIG. 9C;

FIG. 14 is a schematic view of the elements of an alternative arrangement of the kiosk implementation of the system of the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of the elements of a similar alternative arrangement of the portable personal game system implementation of the system of the present invention; and

FIG. 16 is a block diagram of an alternative system multimedia presentation system that utilizes digital encoding in a special audio track. VL DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As a preliminary matter, it will readily be understood by one having ordinary skill in the relevant art ("Ordinary Artisan") that the present invention has broad utility and application. Furthermore, any embodiment discussed and identified as being "preferred" is considered to be part of a best mode contemplated for carrying out the present invention. Other embodiments also may be discussed for additional illustrative purposes in providing a full and enabling disclosure of the present invention. Moreover, many embodiments, such as adaptations, variations, modifications, and equivalent arrangements, will be implicitly disclosed by the embodiments described herein and fall within the scope of the present invention.

Accordingly, while the present invention is described herein in detail in relation to one or more embodiments, it is to be understood that this disclosure is illustrative and exemplary of the present invention, and is made merely for the purposes of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the present invention. The detailed disclosure herein of one or more embodiments is not intended, nor is to be construed, to limit the scope of patent protection afforded the present invention, which scope is to be defined by the claims and the equivalents thereof. It is not intended that the scope of patent protection afforded the present invention be defined by reading into any claim a limitation found herein that does not explicitly appear in the claim itself.

Thus, for example, any sequence(s) and/or temporal order of steps of various processes or methods that are described herein are illustrative and not restrictive. Accordingly, it should be understood that, although steps of various processes or methods may be shown and described as being in a sequence or temporal order, the steps of any such processes or methods are not limited to being carried out in any particular sequence or order, absent an indication otherwise. Indeed, the steps in such processes or methods generally may be carried out in various different sequences and orders while still falling within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of patent protection afforded the present invention is to be defined by the appended claims rather than the description set forth herein.

Additionally, it is important to note that each term used herein refers to that which the Ordinary Artisan would understand such term to mean based on the contextual use of such term herein. To the extent that the meaning of a term used herein — as understood by the Ordinary Artisan based on the contextual use of such term — differs in any way from any particular dictionary definition of such term, it is intended that the meaning of the term as understood by the Ordinary Artisan should prevail. Furthermore, it is important to note that, as used herein, "a" and "an" each generally denotes "at least one," but does not exclude a plurality unless the contextual use dictates otherwise. Thus, reference to "a picnic basket having an apple" describes "a picnic basket having at least one apple" as well as "a picnic basket having apples." In contrast, reference to "a picnic basket having a single apple" describes "a picnic basket having only one apple."

When used herein to join a list of items, "or" denotes "at least one of the items," but does not exclude a plurality of items of the list. Thus, reference to "a picnic basket having cheese or crackers" describes "a picnic basket having cheese without crackers", "a picnic basket having crackers without cheese", and "a picnic basket having both cheese and crackers." Finally, when used herein to join a list of items, "and" denotes "all of the items of the list." Thus, reference to "a picnic basket having cheese and crackers" describes "a picnic basket having cheese, wherein the picnic basket further has crackers," as well as describes "a picnic basket having crackers, wherein the picnic basket further has cheese."

Interactive Media Kiosk

Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals represent like components throughout the several views, the preferred embodiments of the present invention are next described. The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a self-contained interactive multimedia presentation system 160 in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention; and FIG. 5 is a front view of a first exemplary implementation of the system 160 of FIG. 4. The exemplary implementation of FIG. 5 takes the form of a kiosk suitable for standalone use in a store, mall, museum, park, office building lobby, or the like.

Generally, the interactive media kiosk may find use wherever information rich content is to be disseminated. The information being viewed will typically be navigated by a user by pushing appropriate buttons on the kiosk to select the information desired.

For example, a DVD containing data about large screen televisions may contain the following information: an overview of large screen technology, a segment on each technology, descriptions of products contained within each area, individual segments describing pertinent features of each product, and other informative and entertaining content. Utilizing the interactive media kiosk, the user can browse the available data in any desirable order. In addition, the interactive media kiosk may also store information on the segments consumers are viewing for review by product planners.

The interactive media kiosk overcomes many of the drawbacks present in current product display systems. The interactive media kiosk comprises a low cost microcontroller (preferably below $1), a DVD player, and a series of buttons for the user to make a selection. The retail cost of the device to the user is preferably approximately $100.

A DVD for use with the kiosk is distributed with content and a script that will determine the interactions between the user and the content. The scripting language enables a robust amount of user interaction with the DVD content, while at the same time being easy to create. The advanced skills of a computer programmer are preferably not needed. A producer of the content of the DVD can easily create the scripts that will determine how the content is to be viewed.

To distribute the data to a kiosk, a DVD is created and sent to each kiosk location. Once the DVD is inserted in the interactive media kiosk, the script is read; and the device is ready to interact with the user, displaying the most recent content available.

Further, because the navigation of the DVD is contained within the script, DVD's can be created in-house since there is no need for complex DVD navigation to be put on the DVD.

Specifically, the system 160 includes a housing 152, an interactive control system 153, an integrated DVD player core 151, a video monitor 150, one or more speakers 157, and one or more specially-programmed DVDs 156. The interactive control system 153 is interfaced with the DVD player core 151. Video and audio outputs are provided by the DVD player core 151 to present media content 303 to the user. The interactive control system 153 (and more particularly, a controller 210 that may comprise a CPU 201 and any related peripheral devices, described hereinbelow and illustrated in FIGS. 7A-7C) is responsible for controlling all devices and interpreting script read from any one of a plurality of DVDs 156, the DVD 156 having been selected by the user and loaded in the DVD tray of the DVD player core 151. The entire system 160 is preferably designed to be self-contained in the housing 152 in order to present users with a single unit with which to interact with a multimedia program without the need for additional elements or components. In addition, the system 160 is preferably protected by the housing 152, since the kiosk is intended to be placed in relatively unsecured areas and used without supervision.

The housing 152 may be of any desired dimensions and configuration, but preferably is of a height and configuration sufficient to place the user-accessible portions of the interactive control system 153, the video monitor 150 and the speakers 157 at appropriate locations relative to the intended users. For some applications, the housing 152 may be sized and configured to stand on the floor or the ground, while for others it may be supported on a table, counter or shelf, and for still others it may be supported by a special support frame or structure, such as a pole or wall mounting bracket. As will be well known to the Ordinary Artisan, the walls of the housing 152 are generally preferred to be solid enough to resist accidental damage and intentional tampering, with the various electrical components being secured inside through the use of a locking panel or door or the like. In particular, it may be further desirable to include a locking access panel 158, which may or may not give a user access to all of the internal components of the system 160, that may be used to load and unload DVDs 156 into or from the DVD player core 151. This permits the content presented by the kiosk implementation of the system 160 to be readily changed, in many cases merely by replacing the DVD 156 that has been loaded into the system 160. Finally, it may be necessary to provide environmental features such as cooling fans to prevent overheating the components, water and moisture protection for outdoor use, and the like. Other kiosk features, some of which may be dependent upon the particular application for which the system 160 is being used, will be apparent to the Ordinary Artisan.

The DVD player core 151 of the preferred embodiment of the invention is controlled by the interactive control system 153 and may or may not need to provide typical control buttons such as those found in commercially available home-use standalone DVD players 101. In one preferred commercial implementation, the DVD player core 151 is an OEM DVD player core without typical control buttons and is generally not readily accessible to the user except to load and unload the DVD tray. In another preferred commercial implementation in which standard DVDs may also be played for viewing in a conventional manner, the DVD player core 151 is an OEM DVD player core that has at least a minimal set of control inputs connected to control buttons in a keypad 206 provided as part of the interactive control system 153. Exemplary control buttons include but are not limited to a power button 170, a "start" button 171, a "pause" button 172, a "reset" button 173, a "fast forward" button 174 and a "rewind" button 175. These buttons may be provided to permit the user to carry out such basic functions as starting and stopping the DVD 156 in the player core 151, resetting the DVD player core 151 to the start of a boot sequence, fast forwarding and rewinding through sections of the media content (or alternatively, stepping directly to the beginning of the next or preceding section), and the like. Other buttons 177, several implementations of which are set forth hereinbelow, may have more flexible functions. In general, buttons and other elements of the interactive control system 153 are also more completely described hereinbelow.

The video output signal of the DVD player core 151 can be presented on the integrated video monitor 150, or the output may optionally be communicated to another display (such as the separate television 100 of FIGS. 1-3) by wireless communication or a cabled connection. This may be useful in applications in which the kiosk is to be mofre fully integrated with its environment. In the illustrated embodiment, this may be accomplished, for example, with a video output jack 167 allows the user to utilize any video device he desires. The system 160 may be designed to route the video output signal to only one video display at a time (i.e., either the integrated video monitor 150 or the external video device, but not both), with the signal optionally being switched from the integrated video monitor 150 to the external video device automatically when the external device is connected to the jack 167, or may, in some circumstances, be designed to transmit the video output signal to both the integrated video monitor 150 and the external video device at once. In another embodiment, separate video output signals may be generated, with one signal being provided to the integrated video monitor 150, and another, different, signal being provided to the video output jack 167. This may be useful in providing dual screen interactivity, permitting, for example, navigation or menu information to be displayed on the integrated video monitor 150 while the main video content is displayed on an external video device, such as the television 100 of FIGS. 1-3.

Similarly, the audio output signal of the DVD player core 151 can be presented on the integrated speakers 157, or the output may optionally be communicated to another audio device (such as the speaker or speakers of the separate television 100 of FIGS. 1-3, or such as one or more separate speakers) by wireless communication or a cabled connection. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, a pair of stereo audio output jacks 168 allow the user to utilize any audio device they desire. As with the video signal, the system 160 may be designed to route the audio output signal (or pair of stereo signals) to only one speaker or set of stereo speakers at a time (i.e., either the integrated speakers 157 or an external audio device, such as the television of FIGS. 1-3, but not both), with the signal optionally being switched from the integrated speakers 157 to the external audio device automatically when the external device is connected to the jacks 168, or may, in some circumstances, be designed to transmit the audio output signal to both the integrated speakers 157 and the external audio device at once. In another embodiment, separate audio output signals may be generated, with one signal (or pair of stereo signals) being provided to the integrated speakers 157, and another, different, signal or pair of signals being provided to the audio output jack 168. This may be useful in providing independent audio information to a user that is separate from the primary audio content, permitting, for example, audible instructions or voice-over information to be provided on the integrated speakers 157 while the audio soundtrack for the main video content is heard from, for example, speakers integrated into the television 100 of FIGS. 1-3, or perhaps a secondary set of integrated speakers in the kiosk (not shown). Separate speakers may be particularly useful in applications in which the kiosk is to be more fully integrated with its environment. Like the prior art system 110, the interactive control system 153 of the system 160 of the present invention may incorporate components that use conventional technology, but unlike the prior art system 110, the present system 160 integrates these components into a single unit in the form of a kiosk, as shown in FIG. 5. More particularly, the system 160 of the present invention utilizes the conventional DVD player core 151 for presentation of multimedia content in accordance with presentation logic or other control information stored on the DVD 156 or another memory device 154.

As a result, the interactive control system 153 can be relatively inexpensive, using relatively conventional components such as a conventional DVD player core 151 and video monitor 101, but can provide fairly sophisticated and robust interactive informational presentation or other interactive activity with a very rich multimedia experience for the user. Specifically, specially-programmed DVDs 156 include audio/visual clips and other content which represent portions of a multimedia presentation of infoπnation or other interactive activity. In addition, the specially-programmed DVDs 156, or in some embodiments a supplemental memory device 154, also include the programming for the interactive informational experience or activity itself. Collectively, the clips and other content of such a DVD 156 represent all possible permutations of the multimedia presentation of the interactive informational experience or other interactive experience that has been programmed on the DVD 156 or supplemental memory device 154. During execution of the informational presentation or other interactive activity, the interactive control system 153 issues signals to the DVD player core 151 to play specific clips of multimedia content in succession to present a full, multimedia, interactive informational presentation or activity experience to the user. Thus, the full multimedia capabilities of currently available and relatively ubiquitous DVD player cores and video monitors could supply a rich, multimedia experience in a single, dedicated unit housed in the same package as the interactive control system 153. Although perhaps more expensive than interactive control systems such as the interactive control unit 103 of FIG. 1, the system 160 of the present invention nevertheless provides a rich informational experience at a cost substantially below that of traditional interactive kiosks, such as those containing computers accessing the Internet to enable an interactive experience.

In this implementation of the system 160 of the present invention, the interactive control system 153 includes the interactive controls for the system 160 and the control hardware for the system 160. The interactive control system 153 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 6, which is a schematic view of the elements of the exemplary implementation of the system 160 of FIG. 5. As shown, the interactive control system 153 includes a number of different control elements, many of which are implemented as integrated circuits (ICs), which together provide control functionality for the system 160.

FIG. 7A is a simplified high-level block diagram of one implementation of the control hardware of the interactive control system 153 of FIG. 6. At its core, the interactive control system 153 includes a general purpose processor or CPU 201 for executing computer instructions stored on the DVDs 156 or the supplemental memory device 154 (if applicable). In one commercial embodiment, the CPU 201 may be a low-cost, low power consumption 16- bit processor unit, although in some implementations, an 8-bit processor unit may be sufficient. At power up, the CPU 201 performs a standard bootstrap process as defined by read-only memory (ROM) 203. The ROM 203 may also contain a list of predefined IR control codes for controlling external devices such as a television or other video monitor. Furthermore, in some cases, the design and implementation of the system 160 of the present invention may be more straightforward if the DVD player core 151 is controlled via an IR- based interface rather than via direct (wired) control, in which case the ROM 203 may also contain the IR control codes for communicating with the DVD player core 151. It will be apparent, however, that either type of interface may be utilized without departing from the scope of the present invention.

After booting, the CPU 201 checks a non-volatile random access memory (NvRAM) module 202 for system patches that are preferably delivered via the DVD 156, but which may optionally be delivered via the supplemental memory device if such a device is used. In this way, the DVD 156, or the memory device 154 if applicable, can be used as a transport for updates to the operational programming of the interactive control system 153. The NvRAM module 202 is preferably a relatively small cache that retains its contents when the power is switched off and is used to store configuration information such that control of the system 160 is properly maintained without requiring re-initialization of the interactive control system 153.

The interactive control system 153 also includes random-access memory (RAM) 205, which is volatile RAM in this illustrative embodiment, to provide a fast-access workspace for data during operation of the interactive control system 153. During operation, the RAM module 205 serves as a small cache used during program execution.

Optionally, the interactive control system 153 may include an LCD screen 208, separate from the video monitor 150, through which additional informational feedback may be presented to the user. However, in the more straightforward preferred embodiment, the LCD screen 208 is omitted and the interactive control system 153 relies solely on the video monitor 150 for visual feedback of the executing program. Also optionally, a wireless IR or RF interface 207 may be provided for any of a variety of purposes, including making it possible for the interactive control system 153 to communicate with external devices such as a television or other video monitor.

The design and implementation of suitable control hardware and accompanying circuits in accordance with the arrangement shown in FIG. 7 A, which would be apparent to the Ordinary Artisan, is suitable for use in one or more commercial embodiments. However, in a preferred embodiment, most or all of the IC elements are implemented in a single IC element such as an integrated ASIC solution. FIG. 7B is a schematic diagram of an ASIC implementation of the control hardware of FIG. 7A. In addition to the ASIC 310 itself, the components thereof primarily include a speaker 312, a 256 Byte EEPROM 314, a L,R or Ferrite Bead (Audio power feature) 316, a PLL filter 318 comprising a resistor and two capacitors, a 1% current set resistor 320, a power transistor 322 (regulator), a 32.768 kHz crystal 324 and associated capacitors, and various other components, particularly including various capacitors.

In summary, the ASIC 310 preferably serves as a digital signal processor ("DSP") and is compatible with the ADSP218x family. The ASIC 310 preferably utilizes a virtualized platform architecture with high-level data types and operations with the CPU architecture and implementation being independent from the platform architecture. The ASIC 310 preferably accepts user input from dedicated buttons, a touchpad matrix and page-indicator switches (all described in greater detail hereinbelow); provides audio clip playback from both compressed and uncompressed audio clips; provides audio tone and tone sequence generation; provides a plurality (twelve in the illustrated embodiment) of LED outputs, each with independent intensity control and selectable constant current drive; provides an IR remote control block 52 to control the DVD player core 151, including an RF feed-forward interface as described hereinbelow; provides a cartridge interface complete with a cartridge presence detect signal, a two-wire I2C bus, an SPI bus with support for three slaves, and an external processor bus supporting both RAM and ROM devices with separate 16 MByte address spaces; and provides battery based, low power management and soft power on/off with software cleanup.

FIG. 7C is a functional block and I/O diagram of the ASIC 310 of FIG. 7B. The ASIC 310 includes a processor core 10, program memory 12 and data memory 14, a flash ROM 16, a power regulation and control section 18, 20, 22, 24, a reset control block 26, a timing section 28, 30, 32, an external interface section 34, 36, 38, a card reader block 40, a general purpose I/O block 42, a non-volatile memory (EEPROM) 44, an audio section 46, 48, an LED controller block 50, an IR remote controller block 52, a touchpad controller block 54, an external controller block 56 and any "glue logic" as needed 58. The processor core 10 is preferably an ARC Turbo86 or Turbo 186 processor core. The program memory 12 is preferably 32 or 48 Kbytes of RAM that is byte addressable and allows byte/word accesses. The data memory 14 is preferably 16 Kbytes of RAM that is also byte addressable and also allows byte/word accesses. The flash ROM preferably includes a main ROM and a boot ROM. The main ROM is preferably 256 Kbytes, is byte and linearly addressable and also allows byte/word accesses with protected boot sectors. The boot ROM is preferably 4 Kbytes.

The power regulation and control blocks include a power supply regulation and conditioning block 18, a power on/off control block 20, a battery voltage monitoring block 22 and a power-on and low-voltage reset generator 24. External inputs to the power supply regulation and conditioning block 18 include a plurality of voltage supply inputs (labeled VIO33) from the +3.3 VDC supply 326, a plurality of ground connections (labeled GND) and a plurality of battery voltage supply inputs (labeled VBATT). The only external output from the power supply regulation and conditioning block 18 is a Voltage Regulator FET Control (labeled VREGCTRL). The only external connection to the power on/off control block 20 is the power button input (labeled PWRBTN). There are no external connections to either the battery voltage monitoring block 22 or the power-on and low-voltage reset generator 24.

The reset control block 26 includes a single input (a reset input, labeled RSTIN) and a single output (a reset output, labeled RSTOUT, to external bus).

The timing section includes an internal oscillator and clock generation block 28, a watchdog timer 30 and three general timers 32. At least one of the general timers 32 is provided with wakeup support. The only external input to the internal oscillator and clock generation block 28 is a crystal oscillator interface input (labeled XTALI). External outputs from the internal oscillator and clock generation block 28 include a crystal oscillator interface output (labeled XTALO) and the PLL Filter (C//RC circuit) output (labeled PLLFLT). There are no external connections to either the a watchdog timer 30 or the three general timers 32.

The external interface section 34, 36, 38 includes a serial peripheral interface ("SPI") controller block 34, an inter-integrated circuit ("I2C") controller block 36, one or more universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter ("UART") controller blocks 38. The only external input to the SPI controller block 34 is a serial data input connection to the SPI bus (labeled SPI_SDI). External outputs from the SPI controller block 34 include a serial data output connection to the SPI bus (labeled SPI_SDO), a clock output connection to the SPI bus (labeled SPI_SCK) and a plurality of chip select lines connected to the SPI bus (labeled SPI_CS). The only external I/O to the I2C controller block 36 are an I2C bus clock line (labeled SCL) and an I2C bus data line (labeled SDA). Each UART controller block 38 preferably includes a baud rate generator ("BRG"). The only external input and output to each UART controller block 38 is a UART receive line and a UART transmit line (labeled RxDl and TxDl, respectively).

The card reader block 40 includes a plurality of inputs and an equal number of outputs (labeled CRINP and CROUT, respectively).

The audio section 46, 48 includes an audio decompression support block 46 and an audio subsystem block 48. The audio decompression support block 46 preferably uses a QualCore DSP core that is ADSP218x compatible, and includes IMEM 70 that is preferably 4K x 24 bits in size and XMEM 71 that is preferably 4K x 16 bits in size. The audio decompression support block 46 may further utilize a CPU-to-DSP gasket 72. The audio subsystem block 48 includes a plurality of control registers 73 and a plurality of channels, each including a DMA 74, an interp. filter 75 and a volume controller 76 feeding a mixer and master volume control 77 which in turn feeds a digital speaker amplifier 78, producing a plurality of differential speaker outputs (labeled SPKR_OUT+ and SPKR_OUT-).

The LED controller block 50 includes a plurality of control registers 79 and a plurality of circuits, one for each LED to be used. The illustrated design provides a total of twelve LEDs. Each circuit includes a seq. engine 80, an intensity pulse width modulator ("PWM") 81, and a constant "I" driver 82 to produce an LED driver output (labeled LED_1, LED_2, and so on). Each output preferably has selectable constant current, 9mA nominal.

The IR remote controller block 52 includes a sequencing FIFO buffer 83, a mark/space generator 84, and a carrier frequency generator (PWM) 85 feeding a plurality of constant "I" drivers 86, each producing an IR transmit driver output (labeled IR LED l, IR LED 2, and so on). The illustrated design provides a total of six IR_LEDs that share a selectable constant current, nominally 9OmA, with a low duty cycle. The IR remote controller block 52 also preferably includes an RF feed-forward interface (labeled RF_FWD) to enable subsequent development of a cost-effective RF forward-link, if needed. It should also be noted that a conventional wired interface may alternatively be provided for communication with the DVD player core 151, or that a plurality of different interfaces may be provided for more design flexibility.

The touchpad controller block 54 includes a plurality of control registers 87, a plurality of buffered scan map registers 88, a scan sequencer 89 that includes timing generation, and a wakeup controller 90 for the general purpose I/O block 42, which includes a plurality of touchpad column and row I/O (labeled TP_COL- and TP_ROW-, respectively). The general purpose I/O block 42 includes any number of additional inputs and outputs, including IRQ inputs, an RF control interface, button inputs, page inputs, volume inputs, detection circuit inputs, and others.

External inputs to the external bus controller 56 include a boot mode select input line (labeled BOOTSEL) and eight I/O connected to the external data bus for the lower half of the data. Other outputs include 24 bits of an external address bus (labeled A[23:0], and two external bus read/write strobes (labeled RD- and WR-).

The interactive control system 153 also includes a touchpad or keypad 206 made up of various input keys or buttons that may take any of a wide variety of forms and arrangements, some of which are described below. The keypad 206 is the primary user input device of the interactive control system 153. In various embodiments, the keys of the keypad 206 can mimic the main functions of a standard DVD remote control, provide application- specific assignable keys, provide custom key operation, or any combination thereof. The keypad 206 can also provide visual feedback confirmation of user input or as directed by the content under CPU 201 control. Such visual feedback can be in the form of keys which are controllably lighted in accordance with computer instructions executed by CPU 201. The layout of the keypad 206 is preferably designed to facilitate user-interaction with the displayed content rather than to facilitate disc navigation as found on a standard remote control. For example, the keypad 206 may include directional keys, namely, up, down, left, and right. Alternatively, the keypad 206 may include a directional rocker key which can be used in a manner similar to a joystick. Still further alternatively, the keypad 206 may include keys of unique but easily recognizable shapes or colors or with icons depicted thereon, such icons including shapes, colors, cartoon characters or single alphanumeric characters. In the latter case, the icons may correspond visually to icons displayed on the video monitor 150 by the programming in a manner more fully described in U.S. Patent Application No. 10/334,540 of Diercks (filed December 31, 2002, and published as patent application publication No. US 2004/0125075 Al on July 1, 2004), applicable sections of both of which are incorporated by reference herein.

As to the construction of the keys themselves, many options are available. The keys may comprise physical buttons such as electromechanical switches or membrane buttons for direct actuation by the user, or they may comprise physical buttons and an associated dynamic display to identify the physical buttons, as shown schematically in FIG. 8A. For keys of the latter type, the graphics to be displayed may come from the DVD 156, thereby allowing for button redefinitions. In yet another alternative, shown schematically in FIG. 8B, the keys may comprise a touch sensitive display device, or a touch-sensitive area of a multi-purpose display device, that displays button graphics and accepts button presses. A touch sensitive display area, sometimes referred to herein as a "touchpad," may, for example, be included on the integrated video monitor 151. Further, for additional flexibility, a number of keys of the keypad 206 (particularly of the physical type) may also be visually configurable by the use of plastic overlays which specify functions of overlaid keys in the context of the interactive informational experience or other interactive activity represented by the program, the implementation of such programs being described below. Such overlays can be packaged with the DVD 156 and if applicable, with the memory device 154. This arrangement, which represents a cost effective solution, is schematically shown in FIG. 8C. If overlays are used, it may be necessary to affix the overlays in such a way as to prevent their accidental or intentional removal from the kiosk.

In a preferred commercial embodiment, the keypad 206 includes the conventional DVD control buttons 171, 172 described previously and several other buttons intended for relatively standard functionality, all implemented as standard physical buttons, and in addition, the video monitor 151 will include a touchpad on which additional graphical buttons may be displayed and which accepts button presses. The graphical buttons permit additional functionality, particularly of a non-standard type, to be easily implemented through software (based on data preferably stored on the DVDs 156). The interface for the touchpad and for the other buttons of the keypad 206 and the like is described above.

FIG. 9A is a schematic diagram of the content of a first type of specially-programmed DVD 156. In addition to media content to be presented to the user, this type of DVD 156 also includes software 220 that may be accessed by the CPU 201 through the DVD player core 151. The software 220 is in the form of a script that is interpreted by the CPU 201 by running a program that is a script engine or script interpreter (sometimes referred to simply as an "Interpreter"). Furthermore, the script stored on the DVD 156 is preferably at least partially compiled.

FIG. 9B is an exemplary script for implementing responses to two user inputs on the self-contained interactive personal entertainment system of FIG. 5. The script 220 essentially comprises control or navigational rules by which the Interpreter determines an appropriate response to receipt of a signal upon actuation of a user input. The script 220 provided is specific to media content 303 stored on the same DVD 156. The scripts 220 provide the specific control or navigational rules appropriate to the media content 303 on the DVD 156; in essence, the script 220 provides the logic by which the Interpreter operates. As alluded to previously, although it is preferred that the script 220 be stored in the same media element as the media content 303 (in this case, on the same DVD 156), it will be apparent that the script storage element may instead comprise, for example and not by way of limitation, a magnetic strip, a removable memory cartridge, a memory disk, a read only memory (ROM) device, an erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM) device, any read only or read write memory device, an EEPROM or FLASH ROM device, an I2C standard device on a serial chip, or any magnetic or optical media memory storage device.

The script language preferably comprises a complete media programming language written in modular fashion that includes features of conditional branches; states maintained; and variable data created, read, and updated. The Interpreter also preferably is backwards compatible for interpreting script written for older versions of the Interpreter, thereby allowing the software language to evolve without requiring hardware upgrades in the field. The script language preferably contains high level verbs that allow users to easily control interactive media, and contains all of the normal programming constructs, such as conditional statements, loops, macros, parameters, variable data, data storage, etc. Each script preferably is developed utilizing an application programming interface (API) which can be a simple scripting language based upon standard XML protocols. The script language also preferably utilizes standards based on widely accepted XML syntax to provide the mechanism for scriptable media interactivity. Robust conditional logic and an event driven model enable considerable flexibility in the adaptability of instructions, making complex forms of interactivity possible.

In operation, the interactive control system 153 detects insertion of a DVD 156 into the DVD player core 151 and reads the script 220. The CPU 201 commences execution of the script 220 supplied on the DVD 156. During such execution, the Interpreter receives signals from the keypad 206 or other sources and refers to the script for the appropriate response. Upon determining the proper response, the Interpreter refers to a protocol for the DVD player core 151 to determine the command or commands that should be transmitted thereto in order to achieve the appropriate response as identified with reference to the* script. The Interpreter then causes the appropriate command or commands to be transmitted to the DVD player core 151, either directly or by the IR emitter, as applicable. For example, an appropriate response to a signal that is received by the Interpreter may be, pursuant to the current script, to access a particular title and chapter, begin playing the content stored there, and then pause playback until another signal is received as a result of a subsequent user actuation of a keypad input.

Because the DVD player core 151 and the integrated control system 153, and particularly the controller 210, are packaged and housed together, and preferably marketed and distributed together, in a single unit, the operational commands used by the DVD player core 151 may be well known to the controller 210, having been downloaded to the controller 210 at time of manufacture, but for ease of manufacturability, replaceability, or the like, the controller 210 may be adapted to work interchangeably with different DVD player cores 151, having different operational commands, through use of a library or updatable storage area into which different command codes may be loaded. The Interpreter may access and read command codes of a particular DVD player core 151 as part of an initialization process, or the Interpreter may read command codes periodically or upon actuation of a user input. Regardless, upon receipt of an input signal, the Interpreter first refers to the script for the appropriate response, and then refers to the particular protocol and command or commands of the DVD player core 151, as reflected in the protocol for that DVD player core 151, in order to achieve the appropriate response as identified with reference to the script. The Interpreter then causes the appropriate command or commands to be transmitted to the DVD player core 151, either directly or by the IR emitter, as applicable.

A complete explanation of scripts, interpreters, and the like is available in PCT International Application No. PCT/US2005/027606 of Gravina et al. (filed August 4, 2005), the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

In an alternative embodiment of a specially-programmed DVD 176 that is less favored because of its more limited flexibility, each DVD 176 stores a different type of data 240 with the media content 303. In this embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 9C, the data 240 contains a code 302 (FIG. 9D) and a DVD map 301 (FIG. 9E) which, like the software 220 of the first type of specially-programmed DVD 156, are specific to each DVD 176. The code 302 is a computer program which includes computer instructions and data which specify a behavior of the interactive control system 153. The DVD map 301 is a navigation map specifying hierarchical relationships between various chapters of the multimedia content stored on the DVD 176. The organization of the media content 303 (which may be multimedia content) stored on any type of DVD 106, 156, 176 is known and is described below in some detail for the benefit of the reader. Briefly, the multimedia content 303 of a DVD 106, 156, 176 is divided into chapters 304, as shown in FIG. 9E, which are organized hierarchically. Users who have viewed multimedia content 303 of a DVD 106, 156, 176 and have selected episodes or various edits and/or commentary using the keypad 206 (or other input means) have followed the rudimentary logic and hierarchical chapters 304 of multimedia content 303 stored on a DVD 106, 156, 176.

In operation, the interactive control system 153 detects insertion of such an alternative DVD 176 into the DVD player core 151 and reads the code 302 and the DVD map 301. The CPU 201 commences execution of the code 302 supplied on the DVD 176. During such execution, the CPU 201 (i) processes signals received by physical manipulation of keypad 206 by the user, (ii) navigates the DVD map 301 of the DVD 176, and (iii) provides functionality pertaining to the programmed user experience such as timers, random number generation and scoring.

Additional details regarding this alternative DVD embodiment, as well as an interactive control unit or system adapted to control the reading and display of content stored thereon on a television (but without integrating either the television or the DVD player) are more fully described in U.S. Patent Application No. 11/045,510 of Kavanagh, filed January 28, 2005 and published as patent application publication No. US 2005/0246458 Al on November 3, 2005, applicable sections of which are incorporated by reference herein.

Portable Personal Entertainment System

FIG. 10 is a top view of a second exemplary implementation of the system 160 of FIG. 4. In this implementation, which takes the form of a portable personal entertainment system, the system 160 includes a housing 252, an interactive control unit 253, an integrated DVD player core 151, a video monitor 150, one or more speakers 157, and one or more specially-programmed DVDs 156. The interactive control unit 253 is interfaced with the DVD player core 151. Video and audio outputs are provided by the DVD player core 151 to present media content 303 to the user. The interactive control unit 253 (and more particularly, a controller 210 that may comprise a CPU 201 and any related peripheral devices, described above and illustrated in FIGS. 1 A-IC) is responsible for controlling all devices and interpreting script read from any one of a plurality of DVDs 156, the DVD 156 having been selected by the user and loaded in the DVD tray of the DVD player core 151. The entire system 160 is preferably designed to be self-contained in a single unit in order to permit a user to interact with a multimedia program without the need for additional elements or components. In addition, the unit is preferably portable in order to permit the entire system 160 to be easily packed, carried or transported from place to place, and otherwise handled easily.

The unit is contained in a housing 252, which may be of any desired dimensions and configuration, but preferably is of a size and configuration to permit the entire system to be easily carried or transported from place to place, i.e., to be easily portable. For some applications, the housing 252 may be sized and configured to be supported on a table, counter or shelf, and for still others it may be sized and configured such that it may be easily held between the hands of a user when being used, i.e., the housing 252 may be small enough and light weight enough to not need to be placed on a surface for support. As will be well known to the Ordinary Artisan, the walls of the housing 252 are generally preferred to be solid enough to resist accidental damage and intentional tampering, with the various electrical components being secured inside through the use of a locking panel or door or the like. In particular, it may be further desirable to include a locking access panel, which may or may not give a user access to all of the internal components of the system 160. Finally, it may be necessary to provide environmental features such as cooling fans to prevent overheating the components, water and moisture protection for outdoor use, and the like. Other handheld device features, some of which may be dependent upon the particular application for which the system 160 is being used, will be apparent to the Ordinary Artisan.

The DVD player core 151 of the preferred embodiment of the invention is controlled by the interactive control unit 253 and may or may not need to provide typical control buttons such as those found in commercially available home-use standalone DVD players 101. In one preferred commercial implementation, the DVD player core 151 is an OEM DVD player core without typical control buttons and is generally not readily accessible to the user except to load and unload the DVD tray. In another preferred commercial implementation in which standard DVDs may also be played for viewing in a conventional manner, the DVD player core 151 is an OEM DVD player core that has at least a minimal set of control inputs connected to control buttons in a keypad 206 provided as part of the interactive control unit 253. Exemplary control buttons include but are not limited to a power button 170, a "start" button 171, a "pause" button 172, a "reset" button 173, a "fast forward" button 174 and a "rewind" button 175. These buttons may be provided to permit the user to carry out such basic functions as starting and stopping the DVD 156 in the player core 151, resetting the DVD player core 151 to the start of a boot sequence, fast forwarding and rewinding through sections of the media content (or alternatively, stepping directly to the beginning of the next or preceding section), and the like. Buttons and other elements of the interactive control unit 253 are more completely described hereinbelow.

The video output signal of the DVD player core 151 can be presented on the integrated video monitor 150, or the output may optionally be communicated to another display (such as the separate television 100 of FIGS. 1-3) by wireless communication or a cabled connection. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, a video output jack 167 allows the user to utilize any video device they desire. The system 160 may be designed to route the video output signal to only one video display at a time (i.e., either the integrated video monitor 150 or the external video device, but not both), with the signal optionally being switched from the integrated video monitor 150 to the external video device automatically when the external device is connected to the jack 167, or may, in some circumstances, be designed to transmit the video output signal to both the integrated video monitor 150 and the external video device at once. In another embodiment, separate video output signals may be generated, with one signal being provided to the integrated video monitor 150, and another, different, signal being provided to the video output jack 167. This may be useful in providing dual screen interactivity, permitting, for example, navigation or menu information to be displayed on the integrated video monitor 150 while the main video content is displayed on an external video device, such as the television 100 of FIGS. 1-3.

Similarly, the audio output signal of the DVD player core 151 can be presented on the integrated speakers 157, or the output may optionally be communicated to another audio device (such as the speaker or speakers of the separate television 100 of FIGS. 1-3, or such as one or more separate speakers) by wireless communication or a cabled connection. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, a pair of stereo audio output jacks 168 allow the user to utilize any audio device they desire. As with the video signal, the system 160 may be designed to route the audio output signal (or pair of stereo signals) to only one speaker or set of stereo speakers at a time (i.e., either the integrated speakers 157 or an external audio device, such as the television of FIGS. 1-3, but not both), with the signal optionally being switched from the integrated speakers 157 to the external audio device automatically when the external device is connected to the jacks 168, or may, in some circumstances, be designed to transmit the audio output signal to both the integrated speakers 157 and the external audio device at once. In another embodiment, separate audio output signals may be generated, with one signal (or pair of stereo signals) being provided to the integrated speakers 157, and another, different, signal or pair of signals being provided to the audio output jack 168. This may be useful in providing independent audio information to a user that is separate from the primary audio content, permitting, for example, audible instructions or voice-over information to be provided on the integrated speakers 157 while the audio soundtrack for the main video content is heard from, for example, speakers integrated into the television 100 of FIGS. 1-3.

Like the prior art system 110, the interactive control unit 253 of the system 160 of the present invention may incorporate components that use conventional technology, but unlike the prior art system 110, the present system 160 integrates these components into a single unit in the form of a portable personal entertainment system, as shown in FIG. 10. More particularly, the system 160 of the present invention utilizes the conventional DVD player core 151 for presentation of multimedia content in accordance with game logic or other control information stored on the DVD 156 or another memory device 154.

As a result, the interactive control unit 253 can be relatively inexpensive, using relatively conventional components such as a conventional DVD player core 151 and video monitor 101, but can provide fairly sophisticated interactive game play or other interactive activity with a very rich multimedia experience for the user. Specifically, specially- programmed DVDs 156 include audio/visual clips and other content which represent portions of a multimedia presentation of game play or other interactive activity. In addition, the specially-programmed DVDs 156, or in some embodiments a supplemental memory device 154, also include the programming for the game or activity itself. Collectively, the clips and other content of such a DVD 156 represent all possible permutations of the multimedia presentation of the game or other interactive experience that has been programmed on the DVD 156 or supplemental memory device 154. During execution of the game or other interactive activity, the interactive control unit 253 issues signals to the DVD player core 151 to play specific clips of multimedia content in succession to present a full, multimedia, interactive game play or activity experience to the user. Thus, the full multimedia capabilities of currently available and relatively ubiquitous DVD player cores and video monitors could supply the rich, multimedia experience of video games in a single, dedicated unit housed in the same package as the interactive control unit 253. Although perhaps more expensive than interactive control units such as the interactive control unit 103 of FIGS. 1-3, the system 160 of the present invention nevertheless provides a rich video game play experience at a cost substantially below that of the combination of such a game control unit 103, conventional DVD player 101, and conventional television 100, and provides considerable additional flexibility, and thus usability, than prior art systems.

In this implantation of the system 160 of the present invention, the interactive control unit 253 is an integrated component comprising the interactive controls for the system 160, the control hardware, and the packaging for the controls and hardware as well as for the DVD player core 151, the video monitor 150, and other components of the self-contained system 160. The interactive control unit 253 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 11, which is a schematic view of the elements of the exemplary implementation of the system 160 of FIG. 10. As shown, the interactive control unit 253 includes a number of different control elements, many of which are implemented as integrated circuits (ICs), which together provide control functionality for the system 160.

FIG. 12 is a simplified high-level block diagram of one implementation of the control hardware of the interactive control unit 253 of FIG. 11. Like the interactive control system 153 of the kiosk implementation of FIG. 7A, the interactive control unit 253 includes, at its core, a general purpose processor or CPU 201 for executing computer instructions stored on the DVDs 156 or the supplemental memory device 154 (if applicable). In one commercial embodiment, the CPU 201 may be a low-cost, low power consumption 16-bit processor unit, although in some implementations, an 8-bit processor unit may be sufficient. At power up, the CPU 201 performs a standard bootstrap process as defined by read-only memory (ROM) 203. The ROM 203 may also contain a list of predefined IR control codes for controlling external devices such as a television or other video monitor. Furthermore, in some cases, the design and implementation of the system 160 of the present invention may be more straightforward if the DVD player core 151 is controlled via an IR-based interface rather than via direct (wired) control, in which case the ROM 203 may also contain the IR control codes for communicating with the DVD player core 151. It will be apparent, however, that either type of interface may be utilized without departing from the scope of the present invention.

After booting, the CPU 201 checks a non-volatile random access memory (NvRAM) module 202 for system patches that are preferably delivered via the DVD 156, but which may optionally be delivered via the supplemental memory device if such a device is used. In this way, the DVD 156, or the memory device 154 if applicable, can be used as a transport for updates to the operational programming of the interactive control unit 253. The NvRAM module 202 is preferably a relatively small cache that retains its contents when the power is switched off and is used to store configuration information such that control of the system 160 is properly maintained without requiring re-initialization of the interactive control unit 253.

The interactive control unit 253 also includes random-access memory (RAM) 205, which is volatile RAM in this illustrative embodiment, to provide a fast-access workspace for data during operation of the interactive control unit 253. During operation, the RAM module 205 serves as a small cache used during program execution.

Optionally, the interactive control unit 253 may include an LCD screen 208, separate from the video monitor 150, through which additional game play feedback may be presented to the user. However, in the more straightforward preferred embodiment, the LCD screen 208 is omitted and the interactive control unit 253 relies solely on the video monitor 150 for visual feedback of the executing program. Also optionally, a wireless IR or RF interface 207 may be provided for any of a variety of purposes, including making it possible for the interactive control unit 253 to communicate with external devices such as a television or other video monitor.

The design and implementation of suitable control hardware and accompanying circuits in accordance with the arrangement shown in FIG. 12, which would be apparent to the Ordinary Artisan, is suitable for use in one or more commercial embodiments. However, in a preferred embodiment, most or all of the IC elements are implemented in a single IC element such as an integrated ASIC solution. The design shown in FIGS. 7B and 7C of an ASIC implementation of control hardware for the kiosk implementation may likewise be used for control hardware for the portable personal entertainment system implementation.

The interactive control unit 253 also includes a touchpad or keypad 206 made up of various input keys or buttons that may take any of a wide variety of forms and arrangements, some of which are described below. The keypad 206 is the primary user input device of the interactive control unit 253. In various embodiments, the keys of the keypad 206 can mimic the main functions of a standard DVD remote control, provide application-specific assignable keys, provide custom key operation, or any combination thereof. The keypad 206 can also provide visual feedback confirmation of user input or as directed by the content under CPU 201 control. Such visual feedback can be in the form of keys which are controllably lighted in accordance with computer instructions executed by CPU 201. The layout of the keypad 206 is preferably designed to facilitate user-interaction with the displayed content rather than to facilitate disc navigation as found on a standard remote control. For example, the keypad 206 may include directional keys, namely, up, down, left, and right. Alternatively, the keypad 206 may include a directional rocker key which can be used in a manner similar to a joystick. Still further alternatively, the keypad 206 may include keys of unique but easily recognizable shapes or colors or with icons depicted thereon, such icons including shapes, colors, cartoon characters or single alphanumeric characters. In the latter case, the icons may correspond visually to icons displayed on the video monitor 150 by the programming in a manner more fully described in U.S. Patent Application No. 10/334,540 of Diercks (filed December 31, 2002, and published as patent application publication No. US 2004/0125075 Al on July 1, 2004), applicable sections of both of which are incorporated by reference herein.

As to the construction of the keys themselves, many options are available. The keys may comprise physical buttons such as electromechanical switches or membrane buttons for direct actuation by the user, or they may comprise physical buttons and an associated dynamic display to identify the physical buttons. For keys of the latter type, the graphics to be displayed may come from the DVD 156, thereby allowing for button redefinitions. In yet another alternative, the keys may comprise a touch sensitive display device, or a touch- sensitive area of a multi-purpose display device, that displays button graphics and accepts button presses. A touch sensitive display area, sometimes referred to herein as a "touchpad," may, for example, be included on the integrated video monitor 151. Further, for additional flexibility, a number of keys of the keypad 206 (particularly of the physical type) may also be visually configurable by the use of plastic overlays which specify functions of overlaid keys in the context of the game or other interactive activity represented by the program, the implementation of such programs being described below. Such overlays can be packaged with the DVD 156 and if applicable, with the memory device 154. This arrangement represents a cost effective solution.

In a preferred commercial embodiment, the keypad 206 includes the conventional DVD control buttons 171, 172 described previously and several other buttons intended for relatively standard functionality, all implemented as standard physical buttons, and in addition, the video monitor 151 will include a touchpad on which additional graphical buttons may be displayed and which accepts button presses. The graphical buttons permit additional functionality, particularly of a non-standard type, to be easily implemented through software (based on data preferably stored on the DVDs 156). The interface for the touchpad and for the other buttons of the keypad 206 and the like is described above.

Like the kiosk implementation of the system 160 of the present invention, the portable personal game system implementation may utilize the specially-programmed DVD 156 shown in FIG. 9A and scripts such as the exemplary script shown in FIG. 9B, and utilizes an Interpreter, all as described previously in relation to the kiosk implementation. As noted previously, a complete explanation of scripts, interpreters, and the like is available in PCT International Application No. PCT/US2005/027606 of Gravina et al. (filed August 4, 2005).

In operation, the interactive control unit 253, like the interactive control system 153 of the kiosk implementation, detects insertion of a DVD 156 into the DVD player core 151 and reads the script 220. The CPU 201 commences execution of the script 220 supplied on the DVD 156. During such execution, the Interpreter receives signals from the keypad 206 or other sources and refers to the script for the appropriate response. Upon determining the proper response, the Interpreter refers to a protocol for the DVD player core 151 to determine the command or commands that should be transmitted thereto in order to achieve the appropriate response as identified with reference to the script. The Interpreter then causes the appropriate command or commands to be transmitted to the DVD player core 151, either directly or by the IR emitter, as applicable. For example, an appropriate response to a signal that is received by the Interpreter may be, pursuant to the current script, to access a particular title and chapter, begin play, and then pause playback until another signal is received as a result of a subsequent user actuation of a keypad input.

Because the DVD player core 151 and the integrated control unit 253, and particularly the controller 210, are packaged and housed together, and preferably marketed and distributed together, in a single unit, the operational commands used by the DVD player core 151 may be well known to the controller 210, having been downloaded to the controller 210 at time of manufacture, but for ease of manufacturability, replaceability, or the like, the controller 210 may be adapted to work interchangeably with different DVD player cores 151, having different operational commands, through use of a library or updatable storage area into which different command codes may be loaded. The Interpreter may access and read command codes of a particular DVD player core 151 as part of an initialization process, or the Interpreter may read command codes periodically or upon actuation of a user input. Regardless, upon receipt of an input signal, the Interpreter first refers to the script for the appropriate response, and then refers to the particular protocol and command or commands of the DVD player core 151, as reflected in the protocol for that DVD player core 151, in order to achieve the appropriate response as identified with reference to the script. The Interpreter then causes the appropriate command or commands to be transmitted to the DVD player core 151, either directly or by the IR emitter, as applicable.

Like the kiosk implementation of the system 160 of the present invention, the portable personal game system implementation may also utilize the alternative type of DVD 176 shown collectively in FIGS. 9C-9E. In operation, the interactive control unit 253 detects insertion of a DVD 176 into the DVD player core 151 and reads the code 302 and the DVD map 301. The CPU 201 commences execution of the code 302 supplied on the DVD 176. During such execution, the CPU 201 (i) processes signals received by physical manipulation of keypad 206 by the user, (ii) navigates the DVD map 301 of the DVD 176, and (iii) provides functionality pertaining to the programmed user experience such as timers, random number generation and scoring. As noted previously, additional details regarding this alternative DVD embodiment, as well as an interactive control unit adapted to control the reading and display of content stored thereon on a television (but without integrating either the television or the DVD player) are more fully described in U.S. Patent Application No. 11/045,510 of Kavanagh, filed January 28, 2005 and published as patent application publication No. US 2005/0246458 Al on November 3, 2005.

Encoding Digital Information on a Storage Medium

In both of the illustrated exemplary implementations of the system 160 of the present invention, it is preferred, as described previously, that all data pertaining to a programmed user experience be contained on a single DVD 156, 176 rather than requiring the use of a DVD 156, 176 in conjunction with a separate memory device 104. One means of accomplishing this relates to a scheme for encoding digital information on the audio track(s) of the DVD 156, 176, and communicating the digital information in such a manner as to allow low-cost recovery of the information in the controller 210, which has no direct digital connection to the device (in this case the DVD player core 151) that reads the storage medium. Assuming the content of the DVD 156 has been prepared in a manner in which the desired digital data to be communicated to the controller 210 has been inserted at the appropriate place in the audio channel of the DVD 156, this may be accomplished using a decoding component 164 that decodes non-soundtrack data and passes it to the controller 210, while normal audio is separated and passed through to the speakers 157. The digital non- soundtrack information is utilized in controlling the DVD player core 151 in presenting video and soundtrack content of the DVD 156, 176 for a more interactive user experience. The oneway digital communications channel thus established may be used for diverse purposes, including, but not limited to: transmission of control programs, such as the scripts 220 described above, used to provide a user an interactive experience with the media content 303 of a DVD 156, 176; transmission of audio responses to be generated independently of the video replay of the DVD 156, as illustrated by voice prompts to guide the user or responses to buttons in the keypad 206; transmission of other audio content that is not played in response to particular user input but is available to be played back independently from the video playback; and, transmission of questions and responses to be presented to the user in order to control the sequence of playback of DVD information or to evaluate and score a user's reaction to the DVD content 303.

For purposes of illustrating and describing a broader invention, particular examples are described below. It should be noted that these examples and related information are somewhat similar to one or more examples more fully described previously in U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/594,941 of Gravina et al. (filed May 20, 2005), applicable sections of which are incorporated by reference herein. However, those particular examples related to encoding digital information on the audio channel of a DVD and recovering the encoded digital information using a separate set-top device that received the audio output of a conventional DVD player 101. In the present invention, on the other hand, the decoding component 164 is integrated directly into the system 160.

In these examples, respective DVDs 156, 176, shown in FIGS. 13 A and 13B, have recorded thereon data content including video and audio components 804 and 806 respectively. The video component 804 of the content of each DVD 156, 176 includes video information (media content 303) for conventional presentation on the video monitor 150 or another audio-video device. The audio component 806 of the data content of the DVD 156, 176, however, includes both conventional and novel sub-components. Soundtrack information 806a may be provided in the audio content for conventional playback. For example, the soundtrack information 806a may be associated with the video component 804 in a conventional sense for audio-video presentation by the video monitor 150. Thus, the media content 303 presented to the user may include both the soundtrack information 806a and some or all of the video component 804, as schematically illustrated in FIGS. 13 A and 13B. Furthermore, according to the invention, non-conventional data 806b may also be embedded in the audio component 806 of the content of the DVD 156. As stated previously, this data 806b may include but is not limited to audio that is intended for audio playback independent of video playback; script data that determines interactive informational experience, and audio to be played as audio responses to interactive informational experience (i.e., prompts and sounds that would play when buttons are pressed independent of video content).

The DVD player core 151 that receives the DVD 156, 176 may have conventional audio and video output connectors, such as RCA connectors, or it may provide a hardwired connection. The video output of the DVD player core 151 is connected conventionally to the controller 210, and from there the video signal is passed to the video input of the video monitor 150 or other audio-video device as appropriate. However, the audio output of the DVD player core 151, according to this example, is connected to a separate decoding component 164, which may be a separate chip, or may be integrated into an ASIC design. The decoding component 164 separates the conventional soundtrack information 806a from the other data, with the soundtrack information 806a being passed through to the video monitor 150 or other audio-video device using conventional connectors and cables (such as RCA connectors and cables), hardwired connections, or a combination thereof. The decoding component 164 also separately conveys the data 806b to the controller 210 for further processing.

While various other encoding protocols are generally within the scope of this description with regard to encoding digital infoπnation on the audio track(s) of a storage medium, the encoding of the data 806b in the audio component 806 of the DVD 156 is preferably of a protocol in which the data to be encoded consists of a series of bits. These may be encoded into a self-clocking NRZI signal using any of the various encoding schemes designed for this purpose, such as Manchester encoding. The fundamental frequency of this signal is equivalent to the sampling rate of the Dolby digital encoder used to encode the DVD recorded signal. The data rate will therefore be at least fifty percent of this frequency (or in other words, one bit for every two samples).

Data may be encoded using data redundancy such that any common signal error conditions, such as single bit errors in encoding or decoding, can be automatically detected and corrected. The encoded data signal is encoded onto the audio channel of the DVD 156 by using a constant carrier signal of minimal amplitude needed to ensure its reliable detection at the audio output of the DVD 156, and varying the channel carrying the carrier signal such that when the carrier signal is present on the L channel, a binary 0 is signaled, and that when the carrier signal is present on the R channel, a binary 1 is signaled. It will be noted that these binary 0 and 1 values are used to reproduce the self-clocking NRZI signal encoding the data, not the data itself. This signal may then be decoded to provide a digital result. So that the soundtrack played by the speakers 157 be free of distortion or artifacts from the data 806b, the decoding component 164 can provide filtering or muting capabilities. With regard to filtering capabilities, the audio frequency at which the data 806b is conveyed to the separate device 164 from the DVD player core 151 may be filtered or suppressed to prevent bleeding of the data into the soundtrack. With regard to muting capabilities, the soundtrack output of the separate device 164 may be muted when a data signal is present in the audio tracks. Alternatively, the frequency at which data 806b is conveyed to the decoding component 164 may be outside of the audible hearing range of humans.

According to the invention, data encoded in the audio tracks of a storage medium can be used for many purposes. Such purposes, without being limited to these examples, include: obtaining a list of content on the DVD 156; 176, providing media state information ("where are we"); providing synchronization capabilities between the DVD player core 151 and the CPU 201 or other controller; providing prompts for the user to be played from the CPU 201 or other controller wherein the controller includes an audio output device such as a speaker, a video output device such as a screen, or both a speaker and a screen; providing scripts stored on the DVD 156 to the CPU 201 or other controller; and providing graphical user interface information stored on the DVD 156 to the CPU 201 or other controller.

When properly implemented, all of the scripts and audio tracks that in previous systems needed to be stored on a separate memory device 104 may instead be encoded directly onto a special audio track on the DVD 156, or encoded along side audio content that corresponds to the video in non audible way, and then extracted therefrom with reasonable speed and data integrity. This allows products built on a technology platform such as described herein to be made, distributed, sold and used via only a single DVD 156 rather than via the combination of a DVD 156 and a separate memory device 104 if so desired.

In one specific possible implementation, use may be made of the header bytes in a standard AC3 stream that allow for the insertion of user data fields that may be easily distinguished from standard audio and can thus be encoded and extracted as program and audio data as if they were coming from a separate cartridge or other memory device 104. The beauty of this solution is the relative high speed (~3MHz clock speeds) of SP/DIF and the highly structured and packetized format of the AC3 stream. In one proposed design using this technology, a hand-coded AC3 header may be built with essentially "quiet" audio encoded with very few bits but with a large bit rate allocation. The remaining bits in each block could be stuffed with code and map data 301, 302 (previously stored on and provided from the memory device 104) that could be readily extracted using an SP/DIF receiver and some simple reconstruction logic to dump this information into a FLASH device 165 that would simulate the memory device 104 from the perspective of the interactive controller system 153 or unit 253.

This system could also be used to extract data from audio and send it via IR or RF to an interactive controller type device for a feedback loop. One significant advantage of this method is the potential to actually share the channel bandwidth between actual audio and data simultaneously, allowing the seamless playing of audio while data is being extracted and thus facilitating some of the advantageous features described hereinabove. This cannot be easily accomplished using an analog audio extraction technique.

Additional Applicability of Encoding Digital Information on a Storage Medium

The Ordinary Artisan will recognize that the extraction of content from a special audio track may be implemented in systems other than the self-contained interactive multimedia presentation systems of FIGS. 6, 11 and the like. For purposes of illustrating and describing a broader invention, a particular example is shown in FIG. 16 and is described in the following. Briefly described, this particular example relates to encoding digital information on the audio channel of a DVD 156 and recovering the encoded digital information using a set-top device 812 that receives the audio output of a DVD player 810. The digital information of the example is utilized in controlling the DVD player 810 in presenting video and soundtrack content of the DVD 156 for an interactive user experience, provided as described elsewhere herein.

According to the example shown in FIG. 16, a DVD 156 has recorded thereon media content including video and audio components 804 and 806 respectively. The video component 804 of the content of the DVD 156 includes video information for conventional presentation on an audio-video device 808. The audio component 806 of the content of the DVD 156, however, includes conventional and inventive sub-components. Soundtrack information 806a is provided in the audio content for conventional playback. For example, the soundtrack information 806a is preferably associated with the video component 804 in a conventional sense for audio- video presentation by the device 808. Furthermore, according to the invention, data 806b is embedded in the audio component 806 of the content of the DVD 156.

A DVD player 810 that receives the DVD 156 can be a conventional DVD player having audio and video output connectors such as RCA connectors. The video output of the DVD player 810 is connected conventionally to the video input of the audio-video device 808. The audio output of the DVD player 810, according to the example of FIG. 16, is connected to a set-top device 812. The set-top device 812 further conveys the soundtrack information 806a to the audio-video device 808, for example, by way of RCA connectors and cables. Furthermore, the set-top device 808 conveys the data 806b to a controller 814.

The controller 814 receives the data 806a from the set-top device 812. The data 806a includes software that is specific to the media content of the DVD 802. The controller 814 utilizes the data 806a in controlling the DVD player 810 to present the media content of the DVD 802 in providing an interactive experience to a user.

In the example of FIG. 16, the set-top device 812 is connected to the DVD player 810 by way of RCA audio connectors. The set-top device 812 furthermore includes an RF or IR transmitter 816 that wirelessly transmits data to the controller. In another example (not shown), a set-top device may be connected to a controller by one or more cables. In yet another example, a set-top device and a controller are components of a consolidated device that receives the audio output of a DVD player and transmits IR command signals to the DVD player in controlling the DVD player.

Other Options

A wide variety of additional options are available for various elements and techniques of the present invention. For example, as described herein, it is generally preferred that the DVD 156 loaded in the DVD player core 151 contain the video media content 303 for navigation by the user (and accompanying audio media content 303, if applicable), and the content-specific control logic to be interpreted in providing media content interactivity to the user. In this manner, all of the software necessary to provide an entire interactive informational experience or other interactive content experience (sometimes referred to as the programmed user experience) may be manufactured, distributed, sold and used in a single physical package, which in the preferred commercial embodiment is a single DVD 156. FIGS. 6 and 11 are schematic views of the elements of exemplary arrangements of this type of system 160 for the kiosk implementation and the portable personal entertainment system, respectively. However, as will be apparent to the Ordinary Artisan, it is possible to provide the control portion of the software in a supplemental memory device 154, while providing the media content 303 itself on the DVD 156. FIG. 14 is a schematic view of the elements of an alternative arrangement of the kiosk implementation of the system 160 of the present invention, and FIG. 15 is a schematic view of the elements of a similar alternative arrangement of the portable personal game system implementation of the system 160 of the present invention, each utilizing such a design. In these particular arrangements, the supplemental memory device 154 is a memory card module that is accessed through a memory card reader 209. However, other memory devices suitable for use in such an implementation include but are not limited to a magnetic strip, a removable memory cartridge, a memory disk, a read only memory (ROM) device, an erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM) device, any read only or read write memory device, an EEPROM or FLASH ROM device, an I2C standard device on a serial chip, or any magnetic or optical media memory storage device. The use of such a supplemental memory device 154 may be valuable in providing additional content or features beyond what is available through one of the special DVDs 156.

Notably, in the arrangements shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, it may no longer be necessary to utilize the special audio track of the DVD 156, 176, the decoding component 164 and the decoding processes as described previously. Conversely, it may be desirable to utilize additional control data from both the audio track and from a supplemental memory device 154. In the kiosk implementation, the special audio track may be used to provide control logic for the corresponding multimedia content, while the supplemental memory device 154 may contain personalized user information that provides an additional level of control of the presentation experience based on information, data or characteristics unique to the user.

Options are also available with regard to the controller 210. As described herein, the CPU 201 and peripherals of the interactive control system 153 or unit 253 described and illustrated herein may function as the controller 210. Alternatively, a separate controller (not shown) may be utilized. Several controllers suitable for use, or similar in design to controllers suitable for use, in the preferred embodiments of the present invention are further discussed in the U.S. non-provisional patent application No. 10/904,039 of Gravina et al. (filed on October 20, 2004, and published as patent application publication No. US 2005/0060238 Al on March 17, 2005, the entirety of both which are hereby incorporated herein by reference). For example, in said published patent application, a controller bearing reference numeral "204" is shown in FIG. 19 and is discussed with regard thereto. That controller 204 receives software bearing reference numeral 210 that is specific to media content and utilizes the software in controlling an interactive presentation of the media content to which the software is specific.

Options are also available with regard to the types of media that may be played by the system 160. As described previously, it is preferred that the DVD player core 151 and controller 210 be adapted to play conventional DVDs over the video monitor 150 and speakers 157. Optionally, the system 160 of the present invention is also adapted to play other conventional media types, such as CDs, MP3s, MPEG video, and the like. Operational control of playback and the like of these media types is preferably effected using the same controls as those used for playback of conventional DVDs in order to make it easier for the user to learn and remember and to simplify the interface(s) required. Based on the foregoing information, it is readily understood by those persons skilled in the art that the present invention is susceptible of broad utility and application. Many embodiments and adaptations of the present invention other than those specifically described herein, as well as many variations, modifications, and equivalent arrangements, will be apparent from or reasonably suggested by the present invention and the foregoing descriptions thereof, without departing from the substance or scope of the present invention.

Accordingly, while the present invention has been described herein in detail in relation to its preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that this disclosure is only illustrative and exemplary of the present invention and is made merely for the purpose of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the invention. The foregoing disclosure is not intended to be construed to limit the present invention or otherwise exclude any such other embodiments, adaptations, variations, modifications or equivalent arrangements; the present invention being limited only by the claims appended hereto and the equivalents thereof. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for the purpose of limitation.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A self-contained interactive media presentation system for interactively viewing prerecorded audiovisual content of an optical disk, comprising:
(a) a housing;
(b) a reading device, substantially fully retained in the housing, for receiving an optical disk and reading prerecorded audiovisual content stored thereon;
(c) a display, substantially fully retained in the housing, for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content;
(d) a user interface, substantially fully disposed in the housing;
(e) a script that is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content and that represents navigational logic for determining an order of presentation of the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk based on user action via the user interface such that an interactive experience is provided to the user;
(f) a script interpreter that is capable of processing the script; and
(g) a controller, substantially fully disposed in the housing, for controlling the presentation, via the display, of prerecorded audiovisual content read from the optical disk by the reading device, the controller including a processor that runs the script interpreter and executes the script whereby a sequence of display of prerecorded audiovisual content is at least intermittently determined based on user action via the user interface.
2. The system of Claim 1, wherein the reading device is a DVD player core for selectively receiving one or more DVDs and reading media content stored thereon.
3. The system of Claim 2, wherein the user interface includes conventional controls for a DVD player.
4. The system of Claim 1, further comprising an optical disk received by the reading device.
5. The system of Claim 4, wherein the optical disk is a DVD.
6. The system of Claim 4, further comprising at least one speaker, disposed in the housing, and wherein the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk further includes audio soundtrack content for presentation to the user via the at least one speaker.
7. The system of Claim 4, wherein the optical disk further includes stored thereon the script that is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content.
8. The system of Claim 1, further comprising at least one output for connection to an external display that is distinct from the display in the housing.
9. The system of Claim 8, wherein the controller is adapted to cause the external display to present first visual media content while simultaneously presenting second visual media content, on the display in the housing, that is different than the first visual media content.
10. The system of Claim 9, wherein one of the first and second visual media content is written information while the other of the first and second visual media content is pictorial information.
11. The system of Claim 1, further comprising at least one output for connection to an external speaker that is distinct from the display in the housing.
12. The system of Claim 1, wherein: the housing is a tamper-resistant kiosk housing having a securable access opening; the reading device is an optical disk player core, securely disposed in the kiosk housing, for receiving an optical disk and reading media content stored thereon; and the securable access opening permits authorized access to the optical disk player core to permit optical disks to be loaded and unloaded therefrom.
13. The system of Claim 12, wherein the media content pertains to an informational user experience that corresponds to the placement of the kiosk housing.
14. The system of Claim 12, wherein the media content pertains to a game experience.
15. The system of Claim 1, wherein the housing comprises a handheld housing.
16. The system of Claim 15, wherein the housing forms a generally flat configuration, and wherein, when the housing is in a generally horizontal orientation, the reading device is oriented horizontally within the housing, the display is oriented to face upward, and the user interface is generally arranged on upper surfaces of the housing.
17. The system of Claim 15, wherein the media content pertains to a game experience.
18. The system of Claim 1, wherein the controller includes control hardware implemented on an ASIC.
19. The system of Claim 1, wherein the optical disk further includes non-synchronized data stored in an audio-track format thereon, wherein the reading device is configured to read the non-synchronized data in the audio-track format, and wherein the non- synchronized data comprises the script.
20. A self-contained interactive media presentation system, comprising: (a) a user interface for actuation by a user; (b) a display for presenting said media content;
(c) a reading device for receiving a storage medium and reading media content and a script stored thereon, the script being specific to the media content; and
(d) a controller running a software program for reading the script and interactively controlling the display to present the media content to the user based upon the script and upon interactive actuation of the user interface by the user; wherein, when said storage medium is disposed in said reading device, said program executes the script in order to interpret actuation of said user interface by the user to control said reading device in presenting said media content on said display.
21. The system of Claim 20, wherein the reading device is a DVD player core for selectively receiving one or more DVDs and reading media content stored thereon.
22. The system of Claim 20, further comprising a storage medium that may be received by the reading device.
23. The system of Claim 22, wherein the storage medium is an optical disk.
24. The system of Claim 20, further comprising a housing, wherein the user interface, reading device, controller and display are all supported and retained by the housing.
25. The system of Claim 20, further comprising control hardware implemented on an ASIC.
26. A method of interacting with a self-contained interactive media presentation system, the method comprising:
(a) inserting a storage medium, having media content stored thereon, into a reading device in a self-contained interactive media presentation system, the self-contained interactive media presentation system including a housing for supporting and carrying the other components of the self-contained interactive media presentation system;
(b) reading, via a reading device disposed in the housing, the media content from the storage medium;
(c) viewing the read media content on a display that is disposed in the self- contained interactive media presentation system;
(d) repeatedly, and at least intermittently, responding to an interactive portion of the viewed media content by actuating at least a portion of a user interface disposed in the housing; and (e) viewing a next portion of the media content that is automatically selected by the self-contained interactive media presentation system based on the nature of the response to the interactive portion of the view media content.
27. The method of Claim 26, wherein at least one of the steps is carried out at least partially using control hardware implemented on an ASIC.
28. On a self-contained interactive media presentation system having a housing, an integrated reading device for receiving a storage medium and reading data stored thereon, a integrated video display for presenting said media content to a user, and an integrated user interface, a method of interactively presenting media content to a user, the method comprising:
(a) reading media content from a storage medium loaded in the integrated reading device;
(b) reading script information from the storage medium;
(c) based on the script information, presenting a segment of the media content to a user via the integrated video display, the segment ending with an interactive portion of media content;
(d) accepting, via the integrated user interface, at least one input indicative of the user's response to the interactive portion of media content; and
(e) repeating the presenting and accepting steps a plurality of times, wherein each segment presented is selected according to the user's response in conjunction with the script information.
29. The method of Claim 28, wherein at least one of the steps is carried out by control hardware implemented on an ASIC.
30. A method of accessing, from a storage medium, media content and non-synchronized information pertaining to the media content for an interactive media presentation system, the storage medium having data recorded thereon in audio-track format, the method comprising:
(a) loading a storage medium into an interactive media presentation system for reading by a reading device disposed in the interactive media presentation system, the storage medium having media content recorded conventionally thereon and non-synchronized supplemental data recorded thereon in an audio-track format;
(b) generating by the reading device a signal that conveys said data recorded on said storage medium; (c) accessing the signal by way of one or more audio output of said reading device; and
(d) interpreting at least a portion of the signal to derive supplemental information, asynchronous relative to the media content, for the interactive media presentation system.
31. The method of Claim 30, wherein loading the storage medium includes loading a storage medium having synchronized visual and audio media content recorded conventionally thereon and non-synchronized supplemental data recorded thereon in an audio-track format.
32. The method of Claim 31, wherein the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of a script, specific to the media content, that is read by a controller and used to interactively control the display to present the media content to a user based upon the script and upon interactive input provided by the user via a user interface.
33. The method of Claim 31, wherein the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of audio responses to be generated in a non-synchronized manner relative to the presentation of the media content.
34. The method of Claim 33, wherein audio responses are voice prompts to guide a user.
35. The method of Claim 33, wherein audio responses are audio responses to be played in response to the pressing of respective buttons in a user interface.
36. The method of Claim 31, wherein the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of audio content to be stored and presented to a user in a non- synchronized manner relative to the presentation of the media content.
37. The method of Claim 31, wherein the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of questions and responses to be presented to the user in order to control the sequence of playback of the media content
38. The method of Claim 31, wherein the non-synchronized supplemental data is representative of questions and responses used to evaluate and score a user's reaction to the media content.
39. The method of Claim 30, wherein at least one of the steps is carried out by control hardware implemented on an ASIC.
40. An interactive media presentation system for presenting prerecorded audiovisual content, comprising: (a) a storage medium having prerecorded audiovisual content conventionally stored thereon and non-synchronized supplemental data stored in an audio- track format on the storage medium;
(b) a reading device for receiving the storage medium and reading the audiovisual content and for reading the non-synchronized supplemental data recorded thereon;
(c) a display for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content; and
(d) a controller for controlling the presentation, via the display, of the prerecorded audiovisual content from the storage medium by the reading device, the controller including a decoder that receives audio-track content from the storage medium, via the reading device, and extracts the non- synchronized supplemental data therefrom.
41. The system of claim 40, wherein the non-synchronized supplemental data represents navigational logic for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content in an interactive manner.
42. A method of using kiosks to disseminate media content to users, comprising the steps of:
(a) installing one or more kiosk in one or more locations available to users, wherein each kiosk includes:
(i) a housing;
(ii) a reading device, substantially fully retained in the housing, for receiving an optical disk and reading prerecorded audiovisual content stored thereon;
(iii) a display, substantially fully retained in the housing, for presenting the prerecorded audiovisual content;
(iv) a user interface, substantially fully disposed in the housing;
(v) a script that is specific to the prerecorded audiovisual content and that represents navigational logic for determining an order of presentation of the prerecorded audiovisual content of the optical disk based on user action via the user interface such that an interactive experience is provided to the user;
(vi) a script interpreter that is capable of processing the script; and
(vii) a controller, substantially fully disposed in the housing, for controlling the presentation, via the display, of prerecorded audiovisual content read from the optical disk by the reading device, the controller including a processor that runs the script interpreter and executes the script whereby a sequence of display of prerecorded audiovisual content is at least intermittently determined based on user action via the user interface;
(b) distributing an optical disk, containing the prerecorded audiovisual content and the script, to at least one of the one or more kiosks; and
(c) operating the kiosk to interactively present the audiovisual content to one or more users according to the script so as to provide an interactive user experience in viewing of the prerecorded audiovisual content by the one or more users.
43. The method of Claim 41, wherein distributing the optical disk includes opening a secured portion of the housing, loading the optical disk into the reading device, and re-securing the secured portion of the housing.
44. The method of Claim 41, wherein distributing the optical disk includes distributing the optical disk to an independent third party for loading into the reading device
PCT/US2006/019858 2005-05-20 2006-05-22 Self-contained interactive multimedia presentation system WO2006127673A1 (en)

Priority Applications (6)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US59494105P true 2005-05-20 2005-05-20
US60/594,941 2005-05-20
US76624806P true 2006-01-04 2006-01-04
US60/766,248 2006-01-04
US76626706P true 2006-01-05 2006-01-05
US60/766,267 2006-01-05

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2006127673A1 true WO2006127673A1 (en) 2006-11-30

Family

ID=37452350

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/US2006/019858 WO2006127673A1 (en) 2005-05-20 2006-05-22 Self-contained interactive multimedia presentation system

Country Status (1)

Country Link
WO (1) WO2006127673A1 (en)

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN102770308A (en) * 2010-03-04 2012-11-07 松下电器产业株式会社 Information display system, information display device, and information providing device

Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP1175087A2 (en) * 2000-07-17 2002-01-23 Sony Corporation Bi-directional communication system, display apparatus, base apparatus and bi-directional communication method
US20020131759A1 (en) * 2001-03-19 2002-09-19 Cynthia Lakhansingh Portable entertainment device
US20050053365A1 (en) * 1997-10-06 2005-03-10 Adams Dale R. Portable DVD player
US20060034044A1 (en) * 2004-08-16 2006-02-16 Sinolink Incorporation Ltd. Portable DVD player having an externally-exposed LCD display

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20050053365A1 (en) * 1997-10-06 2005-03-10 Adams Dale R. Portable DVD player
EP1175087A2 (en) * 2000-07-17 2002-01-23 Sony Corporation Bi-directional communication system, display apparatus, base apparatus and bi-directional communication method
US20020131759A1 (en) * 2001-03-19 2002-09-19 Cynthia Lakhansingh Portable entertainment device
US20060034044A1 (en) * 2004-08-16 2006-02-16 Sinolink Incorporation Ltd. Portable DVD player having an externally-exposed LCD display

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN102770308A (en) * 2010-03-04 2012-11-07 松下电器产业株式会社 Information display system, information display device, and information providing device
CN102770308B (en) * 2010-03-04 2014-12-10 松下电器产业株式会社 Information display system and an information display apparatus

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US7331869B2 (en) Method and apparatus for creating and playing soundtracks in a gaming system
JP5258145B2 (en) Intelligent music track selection
KR100969966B1 (en) System and method of playback and feature control for video players
KR100897639B1 (en) System and method for selecting contents, and computer readable recording media
US7346920B2 (en) System, method and article of manufacture for a common cross platform framework for development of DVD-Video content integrated with ROM content
US5957695A (en) Structure and method for displaying commercials and sending purchase orders by computer
EP1513151B1 (en) Device and method for editing moving picture data
US7930305B2 (en) Information processing apparatus and method, and program
US7313809B1 (en) Convergence-enabled DVD and web system
US9558141B2 (en) System and method for accessing a user interface via a secondary device
US20040017997A1 (en) Automated playlist generation
US7581182B1 (en) Apparatus, method, and 3D graphical user interface for media centers
US6421524B1 (en) Personalized electronic talking book
US8636558B2 (en) Interactive toy and entertainment device
JP4670438B2 (en) Method of providing content and the play list
US20140220856A1 (en) Interactive toy providing dynamic, navigable media content
US20050193322A1 (en) Presentation of media content
US5617407A (en) Optical disk having speech recognition templates for information access
US8959437B2 (en) System and method for personalizing the user interface of audio rendering devices
US7503059B1 (en) Method of enhancing media content and a media enhancement system
US20060117344A1 (en) Presentation of media content
US20030049591A1 (en) Method and system for multimedia production and recording
US8122466B2 (en) System and method for updating digital media content
US7120509B1 (en) Sound and image producing system
WO2000043914A1 (en) Method and apparatus for creating multimedia playlists for audio-visual systems

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
121 Ep: the epo has been informed by wipo that ep was designated in this application
NENP Non-entry into the national phase in:

Ref country code: DE

NENP Non-entry into the national phase in:

Ref country code: RU

122 Ep: pct application non-entry in european phase

Ref document number: 06770912

Country of ref document: EP

Kind code of ref document: A1