WO2007030400A2 - A method and system for downloading content to a target device - Google Patents

A method and system for downloading content to a target device Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2007030400A2
WO2007030400A2 PCT/US2006/034344 US2006034344W WO2007030400A2 WO 2007030400 A2 WO2007030400 A2 WO 2007030400A2 US 2006034344 W US2006034344 W US 2006034344W WO 2007030400 A2 WO2007030400 A2 WO 2007030400A2
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
content
target device
download
selected
method
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2006/034344
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2007030400A3 (en
Inventor
Brant L. Candelore
Leo M. Pedlow Jr.
Original Assignee
Sony Corporation
Sony Electronics, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US71471005P priority Critical
Priority to US71494005P priority
Priority to US60/714,710 priority
Priority to US60/714,940 priority
Priority to US11/452,868 priority
Priority to US11/452,868 priority patent/US20070288986A1/en
Application filed by Sony Corporation, Sony Electronics, Inc. filed Critical Sony Corporation
Publication of WO2007030400A2 publication Critical patent/WO2007030400A2/en
Publication of WO2007030400A3 publication Critical patent/WO2007030400A3/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/16Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems
    • H04N7/162Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing
    • H04N7/163Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing by receiver means only
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/4104Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/418External card to be used in combination with the client device, e.g. for conditional access
    • H04N21/4184External card to be used in combination with the client device, e.g. for conditional access providing storage capabilities, e.g. memory stick
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/433Content storage operation, e.g. storage operation in response to a pause request, caching operations
    • H04N21/4334Recording operations
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/472End-user interface for requesting content, additional data or services; End-user interface for interacting with content, e.g. for content reservation or setting reminders, for requesting event notification, for manipulating displayed content
    • H04N21/47202End-user interface for requesting content, additional data or services; End-user interface for interacting with content, e.g. for content reservation or setting reminders, for requesting event notification, for manipulating displayed content for requesting content on demand, e.g. video on demand
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2213/00Indexing scheme relating to selecting arrangements in general and for multiplex systems
    • H04Q2213/13095PIN / Access code, authentication
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2213/00Indexing scheme relating to selecting arrangements in general and for multiplex systems
    • H04Q2213/13103Memory
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2213/00Indexing scheme relating to selecting arrangements in general and for multiplex systems
    • H04Q2213/13175Graphical user interface [GUI], WWW interface, visual indication
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2213/00Indexing scheme relating to selecting arrangements in general and for multiplex systems
    • H04Q2213/13332Broadband, CATV, dynamic bandwidth allocation
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2213/00Indexing scheme relating to selecting arrangements in general and for multiplex systems
    • H04Q2213/13339Ciphering, encryption, security
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2213/00Indexing scheme relating to selecting arrangements in general and for multiplex systems
    • H04Q2213/13376Information service, downloading of information, 0800/0900 services

Abstract

A method for downloading content to a target device. Content and target device selection is initiated by a set-top-box. When the selection is approved by the content provider, the target device receives a message indicating that a selected content is ready for download. A user interface is generated, displaying the message and allowing the user to accept/refuse the download, download at a subsequent time, authorize a specific subscriber to upload content to the target device without authorization, refuse to download content from a specific subscriber, or download to the target device by explicit authorization only. As a result, a television-centric experience is provided while eliminating the need to transfer the downloaded content from the target device to another electronic device. Moreover, content selection is initiated by a device other than the target device while providing the target device with flexibility to initiate the download when the downloadable content is ready.

Description

A METHOD AND SYSTE1M FOR DOWNLOADING CONTENT TO A

TARGET DEVICE

BACKGROUND

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] Embodiments here described relate to the field of multi-media content. More particularly, embodiments here described relate to a method and system for downloading multi-media content to a target device.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] Over the past few years, increase in bandwidth efficiency and reduction in download time has increased the use of multi-media content. For example, the use of multi-media content (e.g., video and music) has become prevalent through use of electronic devices such as cellular phone, PC, IPod and set-top-box to name a few.

[0003] Generally content download is initiated by a device and the content is downloaded to the same device. For example, a PC may initiate a content download and the content is downloaded to the same PC. Similarly, a set- top-box may initiate a content download and the content is downloaded to the same [0004] set-top-box. Downloading mutti-media content to the initiating device slows the process if the content is needed by a device other than the initiating device (e.g., a target device) because it requires an additional transfer of content from the initiating device that receives the downloaded content to the target device. For example, to download content to an IPod, the download is initiated by a PC and once the files are downloaded to the PC they can be transferred to the IPod. Accordingly, in general the initiating device receives the content and thereafter the content is electronically transferred to another electronic device. For example, Figure 1 shows a PC downloading content from a server and upon completion of the content download, the downloaded content is transferred to an IPod, Play Station Portable (PSP), memory stick or other similar electronic devices. Therefore, this process necessarily requires a transfer of content from a PC to other electronic devices after completing the content download.

[0005] Using a personal computer (PC), IPod, cellular phone or other similar electronic device for downloading multi-media content in general require a web based system to enable the user to navigate screens in order to find and select a downloadable multi-media content. For example, Figure 1 shows a PC in communication with a server for downloading content. Using a web based system for a PC, cellular phone or IPod is sometime complex.

[0006] Electronic devices such as a set-top-box have been used to download content while avoiding using PC and a web based system all together. For example, video on demand (VOD) has been used by subscribers to order , f movies through their caole provider. Figure 2 shows one example for downloading content to a set-top-box initiated by the set-top-box. In Figure 2, the set-top-box generates a user interface for the subscriber and displayed using a television set. The subscriber then navigates the user interface (e.g., a menu) to select and download a desired content, thereby initiating the content download. The set-top-box then communicates with the content provider (headend) to initiate the download and receive the content. The use of set-top-box for initiating and receiving content, however, has its own restrictions. For example, once content (e.g., a movie) has been ordered and played, it is not saved. Moreover, the content from a set-top-box cannot be used by other electronic devices nor can it be transferred and used elsewhere. Additionally, currently set-top-boxes in use are not capable of initiating content download to electronic devices other than the set-top-box itself.

As such, the current technology for downloading multi-media content has not only proven complex at times but it further requires an additional electronic transfer of content between the initiating device and another electronic device thereby prolonging the process by necessarily requiring a transfer after completion of content download. Accordingly, initiating devices are not capable of initiating a content download to an electronic device other than the initiating device itself. SUMMARY

[0008] Accordingly, there is a need for a television-centric experience in order to ease the process for downloading content by eliminating a web based system. Additionally there is a need to eliminate the need to transfer content from initiating device to a target device after completion of content download. Moreover, there is a need to initiate a download from one device and download the selected content to a different device (e.g., a target device) in response to an acceptance of download by the user of the target device. Furthermore, there is a need to provide the user of a target device with more flexibility and control (e.g., to accept download of the selected content, reject download of the selected content or choosing to download the selected content at a subsequent time). It will become apparent to those skilled in the art after reading the detailed description of the present invention that the present invention remedies the above mentioned needs.

[0009] In one embodiment of the present invention a download is initiated by an electronic device (e.g., a set-top-box). The subscriber selects the content to be downloaded by using an initiating device (e.g., a set-top-box). Moreover, the subscriber selects a target device for downloading the selected content. The content provider (e.g., a cable provider) coupled to the initiating device (e.g., a set-top-box) receives the download initiation from the initiating device. The content provider in response to the selected content and the selected target device identifies the content and the target device. Thereafter, the content provider determines whether the subscriber is in good standing. The content provider iurther determines whether the selected target device is a valid device and registered with the content provider. If the subscriber is in good standing and the target device is registered, the content provider determines a proper encryption key and format for the target device and uploads the encrypted content to the target device. Alternatively, the content provider may provide available format and available encryption schemes to the subscriber for selection and in response thereto uploads content with the selected format and encryption scheme. The content provider sends a message to the target device indicating that a selected content initiated by the set-top-box is ready for download.

[00010] The user may accept the selected content for download to the target device. Alternatively, the user may request a download of the selected content at a subsequent time. Additionally, the user may refuse to download the selected content. The user may authorize a specific subscriber to upload content to the target device without further authorization by the user. Moreover, the user may refuse to download content from a specific subscriber. Furthermore, the user may accept a content download to the target device on a case by case situation and by explicit authorization only.

[00011] As a result, the embodiments of the present invention provide a television-centric experience while eliminating the need to electronically transfer the downloaded content from one electronic device to another. Additionally, the embodiments of the present invention provides a system to initiate a content download from one device and download the content to a device other than the initiating .device.. Furthermore, the embodiments of the present invention provide more control in granting authorization to download content by enabling the target device to accept or to refuse downloading the selected content.

[00012] More specifically, an embodiment of the present invention pertains to a method for downloading content to a target device that includes receiving a message from a content provider wherein the message in response to a set-top-box separate from the target device and indicates that a selected content by the set-top-box is ready for download to the target device when a download is initiated by the target device in response to the message; generating a user interface using the target device wherein the user interface is operable to allow a user to interact with the target device in response to the message; displaying the message wherein the user interface comprises a plurality of selectable actions; and in response to a user selection of the selectable actions, processing and performing a selected action.

[00013] Embodiments include the above and wherein the performing a selected action includes initiating the download in response to the message. The embodiments further include the above and wherein performing a selected action further includes receiving the selected content at the target device; and storing the selected content. Furthermore, embodiments include decrypting the selected content, and transferring the selected content to another electronic device wherein the selected content may be optionally encrypted prior to the transfer. ] Embodiments further include the above and wherein the download is aborted after the initiation of the download. Embodiments also include the above and wherein a signal is sent to the content provider requesting download of the selected content at a subsequent time in response to the message wherein the subsequent time may optionally be a predetermined time or alternatively cancelling download of the selected content in response to the message. Moreover, embodiments include the above and wherein user selection is selected from a group consisting of always permitting download of content initiated by the set-top-box, never permitting download of content initiated by the set-top-box and permitting download of content initiated by the set-top-box only in response to authorization by a user of the target device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[00015] The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

[00016] Figure 1 shows a prior art system for downloading content using a PC.

[00017] Figure 2 shows a prior art system for downloading content to a set- top-box.

[00018] Figure 3 shows an exemplary system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader.

[00019] Figure 4 shows an exemplary user interface for selecting a type of content for download in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00020] Figure 5 shows one embodiment of a user interface for selecting content.

[00021] Figure 6 shows one embodiment of a user interface for confirming the download for selected content. US2006/034344

[00022] Figure 7 shows one embodiment of a user interface for providing information prior to download.

[00023] Figure 8 shows one embodiment for indicating the download status of a content downloader.

[00024] Figure 9 shows one embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader.

[00025] Figure 10 shows one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader.

[00026] Figure 11 shows one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader.

[00027] Figure 12 shows one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader.

[00028] Figure 13 shows one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader.

[00029] Figure 14 shows one system embodiment of the present invention for creating a folder in a content downloader for storing a downloaded content. [00030] Figure 15A shows a flow diagram for downloading content to a content downloader in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00031] Figure 15B shows a flow diagram for downloading content to a content downloader in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00032] Figure 16 shows one embodiment of the present invention for uploading content to a target device.

[00033] Figure 17 shows a user interface for accessing subscriber information in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00034] Figure 18 shows a user interface for displaying available target devices for downloading content in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00035] Figure 19 shows a user interface for selecting a target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00036] Figure 20 shows a user interface for selecting a type of content download for a target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. [00037] Figure 21 shows a use/ interface for confirming the selection of the content and the target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00038] Figure 22 shows a user interface for providing the subscriber with additional options in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00039] Figure 23 shows a user interface for providing the subscriber with additional information in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00040] Figure 24 shows one system embodiment of the present invention for ' downloading content to a target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00041] Figure 25A shows a flow diagram for uploading content to the target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00042] Figure 25B shows a flow diagram for uploading content to the target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00043] Figure 26A shows a flow diagram for downloading content to a target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. [00044] Figure 26B shows a flow diagram for downloading content to a target device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[00045] Figure 27 illustrates a general purpose computer system that may serve as a platform for embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION *

[00046] Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with these embodiments, it will be understood that they are not intended to limit the invention to these embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternative, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the present invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be evident to one ordinary skill in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and circuits have not been described in detail as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the invention.

NOTATION AND NOMENCLATURE

[00047] Some portions of the detailed descriptions which follow are presented in terms of procedures, steps, logic blocks, processing, and other symbolic representations of operations on data bits that can be performed on computer memory. These descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the art to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. A procedure, computer executed step, logic block, process, etc., is. here, 'and generally, conceived to be a self- consistent sequence of steps or instructions leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities.

[00048] Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated in a computer system. It has proven convenient at times principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.

[00049] It should be borne in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from following discussions, it is appreciated that throughout the present invention, discussions utilizing terms such as "processing" or "creating" or "transferring" or "executing" or "determining" or "instructing" or "issuing" or "halting" or "clearing" or "accessing" or "aggregating" or "obtaining" or "selecting" or the like, refer to the action and processes of a computer system, or similar electronic computing device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the computer system's registers and memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computer system memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices. A METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR DOWNLOADING CONTENT TO A CONTENT DOWNLOADER

[00050] Downloading content to a content downloader, a standalone downloader, is described first. Downloading content to a selected target device is next described.

[00051] Referring now to Figure 3, one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content is shown. In this embodiment of the present invention, a display 310 (e.g., a television) for displaying a user interface may be coupled to a set-top-box 320. The user interface enables a user to find and select content for downloading. In one embodiment, the user interface is provided by functionality of the set-top-box 320. As such, the set- top-box 320 generates the user interface, receives an indication that content is selected and is ready to be downloaded. The set-top-box 320 is further coupled to a content downloader 330 which receives the content from a content provider 340 (e.g., a cable service provider). The content provider 340 provides the content in response to the user command initiated at the set-top-box 320.

[00052] System 300 provides a two way cable receiver to receive portable media content from a content provider 340 (e.g., a cable service provider) in a television-centric experience. System 300 eliminates the need to transfer the downloaded content from one electronic device to another. Moreover, the emDoαimeriTs oτ the present invention free the processor of download initiating device from downloading content since the content is being downloaded to a device other than the initiating device. Consequently, during the download period the user may continue with other applications (e.g., playing games, watching videos, or listening to music) without any impact on the processing speed of the application being run by the processor of the download initiating device. In one embodiment of the present invention a subscriber uses the user interface provided by the set- top-box 320 as displayed through a display, such as a television set 310 to navigate a selectable menu in order to find a desired content to download. When content is selected, the content provider 340 (e.g., a cable service provider) is contacted and download of the content to the content downloader 330 is initiated.

] For example, a subscriber may wish to watch a movie on a flight to New York. Referring now to Figure 4, an exemplary user interface is provided by the set-top-box 320 and displayed to the subscriber using the display 310. It is appreciated that the user interface may be a graphical user interface. In this example, the subscriber is provided with a selectable menu for different content to download. For example, the subscriber may be given an option, through a selectable tabs to download music videos 410, fun clips 420, movies 430, product reviews 440, TV shows 450, sport clips 460, magazine 470 or to read about the content downloader 480 to name a few. In this example, the subscriber uses the interface and selects the on-screen Movies 430 tab. It is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate action. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, a pop-up window or a link.

[00054] Referring now to Figure 5, a list of movies available for download to a content downloader is presented on-screen to the subscriber. In this example, available movies are Kill Bill Vol. 1 , Cheaper by the Dozen, Miracle, Spy Kids 3: Game Over, Stealing Candy and Timeline. It is appreciated that various information regarding downloadable content for instance may be displayed to the subscriber. For example, a short summary, the year and leading actors for example may. be displayed to assist the subscriber in selecting a downloadable content. In this example, Cheaper by the Dozen has been selected by the subscriber.

[00055] It is appreciated that a confirmation of a content selected may be desirable in order to ensure that a selected content for download is not by mistake. Referring now to Figure 6, the subscriber is asked to confirm the selection of the content for download. In this example, the subscriber is asked whether the subscriber wishes to purchase and download Cheaper by the Dozen. Other selectable tabs may provide the subscriber with additional options. In this example, selectable tabs are help 610, purchase 620 or cancel 630. Accordingly, the subscriber may confirm the selection of the content (e.g., Cheaper by the Dozen) by selecting the purchase 620 tab. Alternatively, the subscriber may select a help 610 tab for additional help or select a cancel 630 tab for canceling the download of the selected content (e.g., Cheaper by the Dozen). It is appreciated that even though three selectable options are provided, other options may be added or deleted as needed for a particular application. It is appreciated that the use of an onscreen tab is by way of example and not limitation. It is further appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate action. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, a pop-up window or a link.

[00056] In one embodiment of the present invention, the content downloader 330 may be associated with the subscriber's account. In this example, the content downloader 330 is tied to the subscriber's account and pre- registered with the content provider 340 (e.g., cable service provider). Prior to downloading the selected content, the content provider 340 may determine whether the subscriber is in good standing. For example, the content provider 340 may determine whether the subscriber has paid for the selected content or whether the subscriber has been approved for purchasing the selected content. Steps performed by the content provider 340 are later described.

[00057] The content provider 340 may also interrogate the content downloader 330 in order to determine whether the content downloader 330 has sufficient memory to download the selected content. The content provider 340 may send an on-screen-status-display to the set-top-box 320 stating whether sufficient memory exists. [00058] Alternatively, the content provider 340 may send an on-screen-display to the set-top-box 320 indicating how much memory is needed for downloading the selected content. Referring now to Figure 7, an exemplary on-screen-display to the set-top-box 320 is shown. In this example, the subscriber is thanked for purchasing a downloadable content (e.g., Cheaper by the Dozen). Moreover, a message is displayed notifying the subscriber that a content downloader 330 is enabled and that sufficient memory is required. In this example, the movie selected requires 248 megabytes of free space. The subscriber may be provided with further options. For example, a help 710 tab and a done 720 tab may provide the subscriber with additional options. Accordingly, the subscriber may confirm that the content downloader 330 has sufficient memory to store the selected content by selecting the done 720 tab. Alternatively, the subscriber may request help by selecting the help 710 tab. It is appreciated that even though two selectable tabs are provided in this example, other tabs may be added or deleted as needed for a particular application. It is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. It is further appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate action. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, a pop-up window or a link.

[00059] Once the content is selected and the download is initiated, the set- top-box 320 can act normally. In other words, once download is in progress the subscriber may continue surfing other channels, continue listening to music or continue playing games; Therefore, the processing speed of applications running by the processor is not affected by the download.

[00060] Moreover, the download status may be indicated using a status indicator. Referring now to Figure 8 a download status is displayed to the subscriber. For example, the subscriber may be provided with a set of information regarding the downloadable content such as whether the download is in progress and if so how much of the content is downloaded. In this example, the download is in progress and 83% of the download is completed. Moreover, the status indicator may provide additional information such as whether sufficient memory exists, whether content downloader is connected and whether the download has been completed. It is appreciated that other information may be similarly implemented and displayed to the subscriber. The subscriber is also provided with an option to cancel the download at any time by selecting the cancel 810 tab.

[00061] It is appreciated that other means may be employed to indicate the status. As such, the status may be indicated by sounding an alarm, or by using light emitting devices (LED). For example, flashing a red light rapidly may indicate that the content downloader 330 does not have sufficient memory to download the content. A solid red light may indicate that a download is in progress and flashing a green light may indicate that download has been completed. [00062] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the content may be stored on a removable memory device (e.g., a flash memory). Accordingly, when the content is downloaded to the removable memory (e.g., a flash memory), the subscriber may simply remove the memory card and carry it to watch the movie on the flight to New York.

[00063] It is appreciated that using a content downloader 330 as described eliminates the need to transfer the content from one electronic device to another after completion of the download e.g., as done with a PC as the receiver device. Moreover, it is now apparent that using the content downloader 330 provides a television-centric experience to the subscriber. Additionally, it is now clear that once the download is initiated by the initiating device (e.g., a set-top-box), the initiating device (e.g., a set-top-box) can return to previously running applications (e.g., listening to music, watching a video, playing games). Accordingly, the processing speed of the application running by the initiating device (e.g., a set-top-box) is not affected by the download because the download is to a device other than the initiating device. For example, the download is to the content downloader 330 separate than the set-top-box that initiated the download. As such, the subscriber may continue with previously running applications (e.g., listening to music, watching a video, playing games) on the initiating device (e.g., a set-top-box) without any impact on the processing speed of the applications being run by the set-top-box. Moreover, it is now apparent that content selection is performed at the set-top-box 320 and the selected content is downloaded to a content downloader 330 separate than the set-top-box 320. [00064] Referring now to Figure 9, one embodiment of a content downloader is shown. In this embodiment, the content downloader 330 comprises an input/output 910 connection which is in communication with the content provider 340 or other electronic devices. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the input/output 910 is a coax input/output. Optionally, an input/output connection 920 may be used to communicate with the set-top- box 320.

[00065] Referring still to Figure 9, memory card slots 930 may hold at least one memory card for storing content download. Memory cards may be removable memory. The content downloader 330 further comprises a status indicator 940. As described above, the status indicator 940 may be a display or a unit sending a message to the set-top-box 320 indicating the status of the download. In this embodiment, the status indicator 940 may be an LED device, flashing a red light rapidly for instance indicating that the content downloader 330 has insufficient memory to download the content; a solid red light indicating that a download is in progress; and flashing a green light indicating that the content download has been completed. It is appreciated that in other embodiments the status indicator may be a speaker for outputting an audio signal as its status indicator.

[00066] The content downloader 330 may further include additional input/output connections for connecting to additional electronic devices. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention the additional input/output connection is a USB2 master/slave Θ50. It is appreciated that other forms of connections may be used.

[00067] Referring still to Figure 9, the content downloader 330 may include an encryption/decryption unit 960. The encryption/decryption unit 960 is for providing secure access to content and prevent unauthorized users from accessing the content. For example, the desired content may be encrypted prior to download to make the content inaccessible to hackers and interceptors. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention the content is protected by a digital rights management (DRM). As such, Marlin codes are used for protecting content. Therefore, during download, the content is encrypted by the content provider 340 and the encrypted content received by the content downloader 330 is decrypted in order to make the downloaded content accessible. Similarly, to prevent unauthorized access, the received content may be encrypted before transferring the content to other electronic devices through input/output connection 950 or other connections.

[00068] The content downloader 330 includes a wireless device 980 for allowing communication between the content downloader 330 and other wireless devices. Content downloader 330 may optionally include a battery to enable it to operate without a need to connect to a power supply, thereby providing a greater mobility and flexibility. [00069] Referring now to Figure 10, one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader is shown. In this embodiment, the subscriber uses the user interface provided by the set-top- box 320 as displayed by the display, such as a television set 310, to navigate a selectable menu to find and select a downloadable content. When a content is selected, the content provider 340 (e.g., a cable service provider) is contacted. Accordingly, the download to the content downloader 330 is initiated.

[00070] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the content downloader 330, in addition to having a removable memory that may be used to play content on other electronic devices, is also coupled to other electronic devices such as an IPod 1040 and play station portable (PSP) 1050. Coupling, the content downloader 330 to other electronic devices enables the content to be transferred to other electronic devices or alternatively be played by other electronic devices without transferring the downloaded content. For example, IPod 1040 may be coupled to the content downloader 330 and play a music file that was downloaded without physically transferring the file from the content downloader 330 to the IPod 1050. Alternatively, downloaded content may be transferred to the IPod 1040. By transferring the files, the electronic device (e.g., IPod 1040) can play the transferred files without having to connect to the content downloader 330. Alternatively, the memory may be removed from the content downloader 330 and placed in other electronic devices in order to use the downloaded content. Therefore, using the removable memory eliminates the need to electronically transfer content after completion of content download.

[00071] Referring still to Figure 10, the content downloader 330 may be coupled to other electronic devices (e.g., PC 1030). By coupling the content downloader 330 to the PC 1030, the content downloader 330 can communicate with the PC 1030 and in response to the communication either transfer files between the two devices or simply enable the PC 1030 to use the downloaded content. The PC 1030 can be further coupled to a server 1010 via a cable modem 1020. It is appreciated that other means to connect to the server 1010 may be employed (e.g., wireless router). Coupling the PC 1030 to the server 1010 allows the content stored by the content downloader 330 to become accessible to other users that are connected to the server 1010. As a result, content may be shared between different electronic devices and different users. Moreover, coupling the content downloader 330 to the server enables the subscriber to upload content such as personal pictures to the server 1010.

[00072] It is appreciated that the content may be limited to subscribers in good standing. Therefore, a proper encryption may be used to limit the use of the content to those subscribers in good standing or those subscribers that have purchased the content. For example, the content can be protected by a Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme (e.g., Marlin encrypted). [00073] Referring now xo rigure 11 , one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader is shown. System 1100 is similar to the system described in Figure 10. In this embodiment, however, the content downloader 330 is coupled to the content provider 340 through a wireless router 1110. Accordingly, the content downloader 330 is in communication with the content provider 340 wirelessly. Moreover, the wireless router 1110 may be further coupled to a cable modem 1120 and a PC 1130. It is appreciated that the cable modem 1120 or the PC 1130 may be further coupled to a server (not shown). Accordingly, content stored on the content downloader 330 may become accessible to other electronic devices that are coupled to the server. Moreover, coupling the content downloader 330 to the server enables the subscriber to upload content such as personal pictures to the server.

[00074] Referring now to Figure 12, one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader is shown. In this embodiment, the content downloader 330 is integrated within a cable modem 1210. In this embodiment, the subscriber uses the user interface generated by the set-top-box 320 and displayed by a display such as a television set 310 to select content for download. The content is then downloaded from the content provider 340 to the content downloader 330 which is part of the cable modem 1210. It is appreciated that the cable modem 1210 may be further coupled to other electronic devices such as a PC (not shown) or a server (not shown). The cable modem 1210 may be used to network the content downloader 330 and other electronic devices together. Similar to before, -coupling the content downloader 330 to the server enables the subscriber to upload content such as personal pictures to the server.

[00075] Referring now to Figure 13, one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader is shown. In this embodiment, the content downloader 330 is integrated within a wireless router 1310. Similar to before, the subscriber may use the user interface generated by the set-top-box 320 which is displayed by a display such as a television set 310 to select content for download. The content is then downloaded from the content provider 340 to the content downloader 330 which is part of the wireless router 1310. It is appreciated that the wireless router 1310 may be further coupled to other electronic devices such as a PC or a server (not shown). The wireless router 1310 may be used to network the content downloader 330 and other electronic devices together. For example, the wireless router 1310 may be used to network the content downloader 330 and a PSP device (not shown). Similarly, the wireless router 1310 may be used to network the content downloader 330 and a PC, a server and an IPod (not shown).

[00076] Some electronic devices require content to be stored in certain folders for location thereof. Referring now to Figure 14, one system embodiment of the present invention for creating a folder in a content downloader 330 for downloading content is shown. For example, music files for a PSP device may be required to be written into a special folder such as PSP/MUSIC. Similarly, pictures Tor a PSP, device may be required to be written into a special folder such as PSP/PHOTO. In this embodiment, a folder is created if a folder is not present on the flash memory of the content downloader 330.

[00077] In one embodiment, the content provider 340 as a host 1410 sends a plurality of signals (e.g., SDIO 1412, BS 1414 and SCLK 1416) with default folder names to the memory component (e.g., memory stick 1420) of the content downloader 330. Upon receiving the signals from the host 1410 the content downloader 330 creates the default folder in the memory stick 1420 if the default folder is not present.

[00078] Alternatively, the content provider 340 may send simple read/write and paging commands to the content downloader 330. The content provider 340 may then examine the memory and determine the appropriate course of action depending on the target player(s). In one embodiment the content provider 340 may create the required folder in the content downloader 330.

[00079] Referring now to Figure 15A, a flow diagram 1500 for one embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a content downloader is shown. At step 1505 a set-top-box 320 generates a user interface. The user interface allows a user to select content by navigating a series of menus and/or windows. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the generated user interface provides a television-centric experience. [00080] At step 1510, the generated- user interface is displayed. The user interface contains a series of selectable items. For example, a user interface may have a number of tabs (e.g., Music, Video, PSP). The user may then activate a selectable tab (e.g., Music). After making a selection, the user is presented with further selectable options. For example, the user may be asked whether the user wishes to download R&B music, Classical music, or Hip-Hop music. Furthermore, the user may be asked to select the artist, or the recording studio, or the desired album and finally select the desired music content. ■

[00081] At step 1515, the content provider 340 receives the identification of the device (e.g., content downloader 330). The content provider 340 authenticates the device by comparing the identification of the device with identification of other pre-registered devices. In one embodiment, if the content provider 340 finds a match and if the subscriber is in good standing, the content may be downloaded to the content downloader 330.

[00082] If the device is not successfully authenticated, the process for downloading content terminates. Optionally, an error message may be displayed on screen indicating the reason why authentication failed. Moreover, additional information such as contact information for the content provider 340 may be displayed in order to resolve the problem.

[00083] If the device is successfully authenticated, at step 1525 the download is initiated in response to a user selection of a downloadable content. When the content download is initialed, th© downloadable content is prepared for download from the content provider 340 to the device (e.g., content downloader 330).

[00084] At step 1530 in preparation of the download, for security purposes and for preventing unauthorized access to the content, the content may be encrypted. In one embodiment, the user may be asked to select the proper encryption scheme. Alternatively, the content provider 340 may automatically select the appropriate encryption scheme.

[00085] At step 1535 the selected content is uploaded from the content provider 340 to the device (e.g., content downloader 330). At step 1540 the status of the device and the download is indicated. For example, the device may output a message on a display screen indicating that the device does not have sufficient memory to store the selected content. Similarly, the device may output a message indicating that the download is in progress or that the download has been completed. In other embodiments of the present invention, indicating the status of the device is achieved using LEDs. For example, a flashing red light may indicate that a download is in progress. Similarly, a solid red light may indicate that the content downloader 330 has insufficient memory and a solid green light may indicate that the content has been downloaded successfully.

[00086] At step 1545, the downloaded content is decrypted in order to make the content accessible. At step 1550, the received content is stored in the device (e.g., content αownlbader 330). It is appreciated that the device for storing the content is a device separate from the set-top-box 320. Alternatively, the encrypted content may be stored in the device. It is appreciated that the steps for the above method may be in a sequence other than the one presented and described.

[00087] The embodiments of the present invention may be extended to enable a user to select a target device for downloading content instead of a content downioader. A method and system for uploading/downloading content to a target device, enabling a user/subscriber to select a target device for downloading content to, is described below.

A METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR UPLOADING CONTENT TO A TARGET

DEVICE

[00088] Referring now to Figure 16, one system embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a selected target device is shown. In this embodiment of the present invention, a display 1610 (e.g., a television set) for displaying a user interface is coupled to a set-top-box 1620. The user interface is generated by the set-top-box 1620 and enables a user to find and select a particular downloadable content. Moreover, the user interface enables a user to select at least one target device 1640, for downloading the selected content. The set-top-box 1620 in addition to generating the user interface, receives an indication of the selected content for download to the selected target device 1640. The set-top-box 1620 is further coupled to a content provider itsyυ (.e.g., a cable .service provider). The content provider 1630 provides the content in response to the user command. Furthermore, the content provider 1630 may provide a list of target devices available for receiving the selected content.

[00089] System 1600 provides a system whereby a subscriber can use a set- top-box 1620 to select a downloadable content for a target device 1640, separate from the set-top-box 1620, in a television-centric experience. System 1600 eliminates the need to transfer the downloaded content from one electronic device to another because the content may be downloaded directly to the selected target device.

[00090] In one embodiment of the present invention, at least one target device is registered with the content provider 1630 prior to selecting the content and the target device. In one embodiment, target devices may be registered through a human operator. Alternatively, target devices may be registered through a customer support website with very little or no user involvement. For example, the target device 1640 may be coupled to the content provider 1630 and automatically register the target device 1630 by sending its corresponding information to the content provider.

[00091] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, connecting the target device 1640 to the content provider 1630 automatically detects and registers the target device. Therefore, information such as MAC address and the serial identification number and other information may be provided to the content provider 1630 automatically.. Alternatively, the user may provide the target device information through the customer support website.

[00092] Referring now to Figure 17, an exemplary user interface for registering a target device 1640, modifying user information and monitoring downloads in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is shown. The user interface enables the user to update profile by selecting an update profile 1710 tab. By selecting the update profile 1710 tab, the user can modify user's profile such as email address, password, and address. Moreover, the user may wish to register target devices by selecting the portable device registration 1720 tab. Selecting the portable device registration 1720 tab enables the user to register target devices by specifying their respective MAC address and by specifying the player type. Additionally, the user may monitor downloads by selecting the download 1730 tab. Selecting downloads 1730 tab enables the user to monitor past downloads as well as downloads in progress. The user may be provided with additional options (not shown). It is appreciated that the use of an on-screen tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate action. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, a pop-up window or a link. It is further appreciated that the user interface may be a graphical user interface.

[00093] After a target device is registered with the content provider 1630, a subscriber may use the user interface provided by the set-top-box 1620 to navigate a selectable menu . in order to tinα ana seieci a αownioaαauie content. Moreover, the subscriber may use the user interface provided by the set-top-box 1620 to select a target device 1640 for receiving the downloadable content. When the content and the target device are selected, the content provider 1630 (e.g., a cable service provider) is contacted.

[00094] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, a target device is selected before selecting the content for several reasons. The type of target device may result in a different content format. For example, some target devices are audio only versus other target devices that may be audio as well as video. The type of target device may require a corresponding codec. Moreover, the bit rate and frame rate of one target device varies from another. Additionally, the type of target device may dictate the resolution and the screen size. Furthermore, the type of target device may dictate the type of DRM and player security.

[00095] Moreover, in addition to the reasons provided above, device specific content has other advantages including optimizing flash memory space, optimizing system bandwidth and download time, and simplifying content offerings to the subscribers. For example, video on a SonyEricsson cell phone is 1/16 Common Intermediate Format (CIF) as compared to a PSP which is 1/4 GIF. Therefore, in comparison the amount content downloaded to a SonyEricsson cell phone is 1/4 of the file size of a PSP. Consequently, at an equivalent bit rate, it takes the SonyEricsson cell phone less time to download the content. As another example, Net Walkman only offers music or auαio DOOKS ana does not .render- video. Therefore, knowing the specific target device simplifies the content offerings to subscribers because video content is not offered to subscribers knowing that Net Walkman does not render video thereby simplifying content offerings to subscribers. Moreover, inherent player security might allow the content provider 1630 to offer content for a particular target device over other target devices because one may be perceived as more secure. For example, embedded flash may be perceived as being more secure because it cannot be copied to other devices and that the content can only be erased. Accordingly, the content is protected from being transferred without authorization (e.g., without purchasing the product).

[00096] Referring now to Figure 18, a list of target devices available for downloading content is presented to the user. In this example, the subscriber has previously registered three target devices, two PSP devices and a Sony Content Link. The two exemplary PSP have MAC address of 12:34:56:9A and 12:34:56:9B respectively. The third target device, the Sony Content Link, has a MAC address of 123456789. In other embodiments, additional target devices may be pre-registered and displayed.

[00097] From the list of available target devices, the subscriber selects at least one target device for downloading the selected content. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, if the desired target device is not listed or in order to register the target device, the subscriber may contact the content provider 1630 by calling the content provider 1630 or by simply W logging into the subscriber's account, Alternatively, the subscriber may seek additional help by selecting a help 1810 tab. Alternatively, the subscriber may wish to cancel target device selection by selecting the cancel 1820 tab. The subscriber may, however, proceed with target device selection by selecting the desired target device and selecting the ok 1830 tab.

[00098] After selecting the target device, the subscriber may select the type of the target device. Referring now to Figure 19, an interface for providing the subscriber with different types of players is shown. For example, in this embodiment the subscriber is provided with a set of target devices such as a Playstation portable (PSP) 1910, Net Walkman 1920, SonyEricsson Cell Phone 1930, IPod 1940, Content Downloader 1950 and PC 1960. In this example, the subscriber has selected PSP 1910. is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate player. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, pop-up window or a link. It is further appreciated that the user interface may be a graphical user interface.

[00099] After the subscriber has selected the target device for downloading content, the subscriber proceeds to selecting content types and the content offering available for that player. Referring now to Figure 20, a user interface for providing the subscriber with various content types is shown. In this embodiment, the subscriber may select various content types for a selected PSP. For example, the subscriber may select Music Videos 2010, Fun Clips 2020, Movies 2030, Product^ Review 2040, TV Shows 2050, Sport Clips 2060, Magazine 2070 or alternatively choose to learn about the PSP by selecting the About the PSP 2080 tab.

[000100] In this embodiment, a subscriber may wish to watch a movie on a flight to New York as presented before. Therefore, using the interface, the subscriber selects the Movies 2030 tab. It is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate content type. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, pop-up window or a link. It is further appreciated that the user interface may be a graphical user interface.

[000101] By selecting the Movies 2030 tab, the subscriber is presented with a set of available downloadable movies as shown above in Figure 5. As discussed above, the subscriber selects the movie, Cheaper by the Dozen.

[000102] In one embodiment of the present invention, a user interface is used to confirm the selection of the target device 1640 as well as confirming the selection of content which in this example is Cheaper by the Dozen. Referring now to Figure 21 , the subscriber is asked to confirm the selection of the content for download as well as confirming the MAC address of the target devices selected for download. In this embodiment, the subscriber is asked whether the selected content is Cheaper by the Dozen and whether the target devices selected for downloading content are the two PSP devices US2006/034344 with their respective MAC , address of 12:34:56:9A and 12:34:56:9B. Moreover, a message may be displayed to the subscriber that in order to select a different target device (e.g., a PSP), the subscriber should log into the user account and register the target device before selecting the target device for content download. In this embodiment, the subscriber may confirm the selection by selecting the purchase 21 10 tab. Alternatively, the subscriber may seek help and additional information may be displayed by selecting the help 2120 tab. Additionally, the subscriber may cancel the selection at any time by selecting the cancel 2130 tab. It is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to confirm the selection. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, pop-up window or a link. It is further appreciated that the user interface may be a graphical user interface.

[000103] It is appreciated that in one embodiment, the price for the content may be adjusted to reflect the number of players/target devices allowed to play the content. Moreover, there may be a limit to the total number of players/target devices allowed to play the content.

[000104] Referring now to Figure 22, the subscriber may be thanked for purchasing content for download to the selected target device. In the preferred embodiment of the present inventions, the subscriber is provided with additional information including the amount of memory needed to complete the download. In this embodiment, the subscriber is reminded that 248 megabytes of memory is needed to store the content.

[000105] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the subscriber is provided with additional options including selecting an alternative method for downloading the selected content by selecting the other download methods 2210 tab. Alternatively, the subscriber may seek help by selecting the help 2220 tab. The user may otherwise select to proceed with download of the selected content to the selected target device by selecting the done 2230 tab. It is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate action. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, pop-up window or a link.

[000106] In this example, the subscriber wishes to download using other methods. Referring now to Figure 23, a message is displayed, providing the subscriber with additional information as to other methods for downloading the selected content. For example, the subscriber may access the selected content using a PC or a PSP. Furthermore, the subscriber may log into the subscriber's account and select "Downloads" link 1730. Selecting "Downloads" link 1730, the subscriber may monitor previous content downloads as well as to choose the method for downloading content by selecting to download to a PC or a PSP. After selecting other methods for download, the subscriber may proceed by selecting the done 2310 tab. Alternatively, the suDscnber raay seek additional help by selecting the help 2320 tab. Optionally, the subscriber may cancel the selection and the content download (not shown). It is appreciated that the use of a tab is by way of example and not limitation. As such, it is appreciated that selectable means other than a tab may be employed in order to select an appropriate action. For example, a selectable option may be through a drop down menu, pop-up window or a link.

[000107] Referring now to Figure 24, one system embodiment for downloading content to a target device is shown. After the subscriber proceeds with content download, the content provider 1630 identifies the selected content and the selected target device 1640. The set-top box 2410 may be coupled to a video on-demand (VOD) management system 2420 for associating devices with a customer account in the billing system. When a content download is requested, the database under VOD management system 2420 may be accessed to determine the type of target devices registered under a particular account. After identifying the selected content and the selected target device, the content provider 1630 determines whether the subscriber is in good standing and whether the target device is pre-registered. The VOD management system 2420, order fulfillment 2430, portable content server 2440, DRM license acquisition server 2450 and the customer care site 2460 are collectively referred to as a content provider.

[000108] The VOD management system 2420 is further coupled to an order : fulfillment server 2430 for fulfilling the requested content for the selected target device. The orαer fulfillment 2430 server may be further coupled to a portable content server 2440 for providing content. Furthermore, the order fulfillment 2430 server may also be coupled to a DRM license acquisition 2450 server for providing an appropriate license for using the selected content for the selected target device.

[000109] The VOD management system 2420 may request a DRM packager to process the content for the customer's target device 1640. In one embodiment, the DRM determines the appropriate encryption key depending on a particular target device selected and the content selected. Unlike regular video on demand (VOD), which is fulfilled immediately through the set-top-box 1620, portable content and downloading to a target device is likely for a particular category of device like a PSP, cell phones, Blackberries and IPod to name a few. Therefore, the content provider 1630 may encrypt the content according to the proper encryption key for certain players in a customer's home network. In one embodiment, content is DRM encrypted (e.g., Marlin codes). Alternatively, the content provider 1630 may provide the subscriber with a list of available encryption keys and in response to the subscriber's selection the content provider 1630 encrypts the selected content.

[000110] In one embodiment of the present invention, content is pre-encrypted and stored on a server (e.g., a portable content server 2440). Accordingly, the target device receives the content and the license. Different methods may be used to handle the license. For example, the license may be appended to the content file: Alternatively, the license may be sent as a separate file. Moreover, the license may be obtained after the content download has been completed.

[000111] The content provider 1630 may also determine the appropriate format of the selected content for the selected target device 1640. Alternatively, the content provider 1630 may provide the subscriber with a list of available content formats, and in response to the subscriber's selection the content provider 1630 may encrypt the content.

[000112] The order fulfillment server 2430 may communicate with a customer care site 2460 when the content and the appropriate license are gathered. The content provider is further coupled to at least one target device. By way of example and not limitation, a plurality of target devices such as a PC 2470, PSP 2472, cell-phone 2474, content downloader 2476 and a set-top box 2478 are shown.

[000113] In one embodiment of the present invention, the selected target device continuously checks with the customer care site to determine whether a downloadable content is ready. If the content is available and sufficient memory exists, the target device downloads the content automatically. In other embodiments of the present invention, the target device may download the selected content manually, by initiating content download after receiving a message that a content is ready for download. [000114] It is appreciated that at various steps, an error message may be displayed. For example, an error message may be displayed if a target device is not registered. Moreover, an error message may be displayed if no memory is installed, or if there is insufficient memory to download the content. Furthermore, an error message may be displayed if the memory is removed during the download.

[000115] Referring now to Figure 25A, a flow diagram 2500 for one embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a target device is shown. At step 2505, the content provider 1630 receives a command originating from a set-top-box 1620. The command indicates a selected content and the target device 1640 for downloading the selected content. Moreover, the command identifies a user account.

[000116] At step 2510, the content provider processes the received command. Processing the user command identifies the selected target device 1640. At step 2515, the content provider 1630 determines whether the subscriber is in good standing by using for example the VOD management system 2420. For example, the content provider 1630 may determine whether the subscriber has paid all purchased content in the past. Moreover, the content provider 1630 may determine whether the subscriber is approved by the credit card company specified in the user profile. If the subscriber is not found to be in good standing, at step 2555, an error message may be displayed indicating the reason why the subscriber was not found in good standing. [000117] If the subscriber is found in good standing, at step 2520 the content provider 1630 determines and identifies the target device 1640 specified by the subscriber. The content provider 1630 determines whether the selected target device 1640 is valid and pre-registered with the content provider 1630 by using, for example, the VOD management system 2420. If the selected target device is found to be an invalid target device, at step 2555, an error message may be displayed indicating the reason why the target device is found to be invalid. In one embodiment, if the target device 1640 is not found to be registered, the subscriber may be provided with an option to register the target device 1640 (not shown).

[000118] If the target device 1640 is found to be registered, the content provider 1630 proceeds to step 2525. At step 2525, the content provider 1630 determines a proper format for the selected content for download to the identified target device 1640 and prepares the formatted content for download. In one embodiment, determining the proper format is based on the type of selected target device 1640. Alternatively, in one embodiment at step 2530, the content provider 1630 provides the subscriber with a set of available formats. The content provider 1630 in response to the subscriber's selection prepares the formatted content for download.

[000119] At step 2535, the content provider 1630 determines a proper encryption key for the selected content by using the DRM packager or DRM license acquisition 2450. In one embodiment, the proper encryption key is based on the selected target device. Alternatively, in one embodiment at step 2540, the content provider 1630 provides the suDscriDer witn a sex oτ available encryption keys and in response to the subscriber's selection proceeds to step 2545 and encrypts the selected content. At step 2450, the content provider 1630 uploads the encrypted content to the selected target device 1640.

[000120] The embodiments of the present invention may be extended such that a user of a target device is given the control and flexibility to accept or to refuse to download the selected content initiated by the set-top-box. A method and system for downloading content to the target device in response to acceptance by the user of the target device are described below.

A METHOD AND SYSTEM DOWNLOADING CONTENT TO A TARGET

DEVICE

[000121] In one embodiment of the present invention, after the target device and the content have been selected, the content provider 1630 does not automatically upload the content to the selected target device 1640. Instead, the content provider 1630 sends a message to the selected target device 1640 indicating that a downloadable content has been selected by the set- top-box 1620 and is ready for download. The user of the target device 1640 in response to the message from the content provider 1630 may wish to proceed with downloading the selected content. Alternatively, the user of the target device 1640 may wish to download the selected content at a subsequent time. Furthermore, the user of the target device 1640 may refuse to download the selected content. In one embodiment of the present invention the user of the target device may authorize a specific subscriber (e.g., a set-top-box) to upload content automatically. Alternatively, the user may reject all content downloads from a given subscriber. Moreover, the user may authorize download only through explicit authorization by the user.

[000122] Referring now to Figure 26A, a flow diagram 2600 for one embodiment of the present invention for downloading content to a target device in response to initiation of the download by the user of the target device is shown. At step 2605, a selected target device (e.g., cell-phone 2474) as identified by the set-top box 2410, receives a message from the content provider indicating that a content selected by the set-top box 2410 is ready for download. Furthermore, the message may also indicate that in order to download the selected content, the download must be initiated by the target device 2474.

[000123] At step 2610, the target device 2474 generates a user interface that is operable to allow the user of the target device 2474 to interact with the target device 2474 in response to the message received from the content provider. At step 2615, using the generated interface, the received message is displayed. The displayed message also provides a plurality of selectable actions that may be selected by the user. For example, selectable actions may be to download the selected content immediately, to download the selected content at a subsequent time, to reject downloading the selected content, to always permit downloading of content initiated by a particular set- top box 2410, to never permij downloading content initiated by a particular set-top box 2410, or alternatively to download content initiated by a particular set-top box 2410 in response to explicit authorization by the target device 2474 to name a few.

[000124] At step 2620, in response to a user selection, the target device 2474 processes and performs the selected action. For example, at step 2625, the target device 2474 may process the selected action to determine if dgwnload is initiated. At step 2625 if the download is initiated, the process continues to step 2640. Alternatively, at step 2630, if the download is not initiated the target device processes and determines whether a download is to be initiated at a subsequent time. The download at a subsequent time may be predetermined or specified by the user of the target device 2474. At step 2630, if the download is not initiated at a subsequent time, the process ends. Alternatively, if the download is initiated at a subsequent time, at step 2635 the target device 2474 keeps checking the status to determine whether the time has arrived to initiate the download. When the target device 2474 determines that it is time to initiate the download, the process continues to step 2640.

[000125] At step 2640, the target device 2474 receives the selected content from the content provider, as initiated by the set-top box 2410. Downloading the selected content may be aborted by the user of the target device 2474 at any time. At step 2645, the target device 2474 determines whether the received content is encrypted and if so, then the content is decrypted. At step 2650, the target device stores the received content. The content may be stored on a removable memory (e.g., flash memory). After the content is successfully downloaded to the target device 2474, at step 2655 the content may be transferred to other electronic devices depending on the type of licensing provided by the content provider (e.g., DRM license acquisition 2450). Optionally, at step 2655, the content may be encrypted prior to transfer of content as dictated by the license provider.

6] Figure 27 is a block diagram that illustrates a computer system 2700 upon which an embodiment of the present invention for downloading and uploading content to a target device, or downloading content to a content downloader may be implemented. Computer system 2700 for downloading/uploading content to a target device/content downloader as shown in Figures 1-26 includes a bus 2702 or other communication mechanism for communicating information, and a processor 2704 coupled with bus 2702 for processing information. Computer system 2700 also includes a main memory 2706, such as a random access memory (RAM) or other dynamic storage device, coupled to bus 2702 for storing information and instructions to be executed by processor 2704. Main memory 2706 also may be used for storing temporary variables or other intermediate information during execution of instructions to be executed by processor 2704. Computer system 2700 further includes a read only memory (ROM) 2708 or other static storage device coupled to bus 2702 for storing static information and instructions for processor 2704. A non-volatile storage device 2710, such as a magnetic disk or optical disk, is provided and coupled to bus 2702 for storing information and instructions and may store the persistent internal queue.

[000127] Computer system 2700 may be coupled via bus 2702 to an optional display 2712, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT), for displaying information to a computer user. An optional input device 2714, including alphanumeric and other keys, may be coupled to bus 2702 for communicating information and command selections to processor 2704. Another type of user input device is cursor control 2716, such as a mouse, a trackball, or cursor direction keys for communicating direction information and command selections to processor 2704 and for controlling cursor movement on display 2712.

[000128] An embodiment of the invention is related to the use of computer system 2700 for downloading and uploading content to a target device. According to one embodiment of the invention, the interface is used in response to processor 2704 executing one or more sequences of one or more instructions contained in main memory 2706 e.g., to implement process 1500, 2500 and 2600. Such instructions may be read into main memory 2706 from another computer readable medium, such as storage device 2710. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 2706 causes processor 2704 to perform the process steps described herein. One or more processors in a multi-processing arrangement may also be employed to execute the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 2706. In alternative embodiments, hardwired circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention are not limited to any specific combination of hardware circuitry and software.

[000129] The term "computer-readable medium" as used herein refers to any medium that participates in providing instructions to processor 2704 for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media includes, for example, optical or magnetic disks, such as storage device 2710. Volatile media includes dynamic memory, such as main memory 2706. Transmission media includes coaxial cables, copper wire and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise bus 2702. Transmission media can also take the form of acoustic or light waves, such as those generated during radio wave and infrared data communications.

[000130] Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, or any other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, a PROM, and EPROM, a FLASH-EPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave as described hereinafter, or any other medium from which a computer can read.

[000131] Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to processor 2704 for execution. For example, the instructions may initially be carried on a magnetic disk of a remote computer. The remote computer can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions over a telephone line using a modem. A modem local to computer system 2700 can receive the data on the telephone line and use an infrared transmitter to convert the data to an infrared signal. An infrared detector coupled to bus 2702 can receive the data carried in the infrared signal and place the data on bus 2702. Bus 2702 carries the data to main memory 2706, from which processor 2704 retrieves and executes the instructions. The instructions received by main memory 2706 may optionally be stored on storage device 2710 either before or after execution by processor 2704.

2] Computer system 2700 also includes a communication interface 2718 coupled to bus 2702. Communication interface 2718 provides a two-way data communication coupling to a network link 2720 that is connected to a local network 2722. For example, communication interface 2718 may be an integrated services digital network (ISDN) card or a modem to provide a data communication connection to a corresponding type of telephone line. As another example, communication interface 2718 may be a local area network (LAN) card to provide a data communication connection to a compatible LAN. Wireless links may also be implemented. In any such implementation, communication interface 2718 sends and receives electrical, electromagnetic or optical signals that carry digital data streams representing various types of information. [000133] Network link 2720 typically provides data communication through one or more networks to other data devices. For example, network link 2720 may provide a connection through local network 2722 to a host computer 2724 or to data equipment operated by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) 2726. ISP 2726 in turn provides data communication services through the worldwide packet data communication network now commonly referred to as the "Internet" 2728. Local network 2722 and Internet 2728 both use electrical, electromagnetic or optical signals that carry digital data streams. The signals through the various networks and the signals on network link 2720 and through communication interface 2718, which carry the digital data to and form computer system 2700, are example forms of carrier waves transporting the information.

[000134] Computer system 2700 can send and receive messages through the network(s), network link 2720 and communication interface 2718. In the Internet example, a server 2730 might transmit a requested code for an application program through Internet 2728, ISP 2726, local network 2722 and communication interface 2718. The received code may be executed by processor 2704 as it is received, and/or stored in device 2710, or other nonvolatile storage for later execution.

[000135] In the foregoing specification, embodiments of the invention have been described with reference to numerous specific details that may vary from implementation to implementation. Thus, the sole exclusive indicator of what is, and is intended by the applicants to be, the invention is the set of ""claims that issue from this application, in the specific form in which such claims issue, including any subsequent correction. Hence, no limitation, element, property, feature, advantage or attribute that is not expressly recited in a claim should limit the scope of such claim in any way. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.

Broadly, this writing has disclosed a method for downloading content to a target device. Content and target device selection is initiated by a set- top-box. When the selection is approved by the content provider, the target device receives a message indicating that a selected content is ready for download. A user interface is generated, displaying the message and allowing the user to accept/refuse the download, download at a subsequent time, authorize a specific subscriber to upload content to the target device without authorization, refuse to download content from a specific subscriber, or download to the target device by explicit authorization only. As a result, a television-centric experience is provided while eliminating the need to transfer the downloaded content from the target device to another electronic device. Moreover, content selection is initiated by a device other than the target device while providing the target device with flexibility to initiate the download when the downloadable content is ready.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. A method for downloading content to a target device, said method comprising: receiving a message from a content provider responsive to a set-top- box separate from said target device said message indicating that a selected content by said set-top-box is ready for download to said target device wherein said download being initiated by said target device in response to said message; generating a user interface using said target device wherein said user interface is operable to allow a user to interact with said target device in response to said message; displaying said message wherein said user interface comprises a plurality of selectable actions; and in response to a user selection of said selectable actions, processing and performing a selected action.
2. The method as described in Claim 1 wherein said performing a selected action comprises: initiating said download in response to said message.
3. The method as described in Claim 2 further comprising: receiving said selected content at said target device; and storing said selected content. .
4. The method as described in Claim 3 further comprising: decrypting said selected content.
5. The method as described in Claim 3 further comprising: transferring said selected content to another electronic device.
6. The method as described in Claim 5 further comprising: encrypting said selected content before transferring said selected content to another electronic device.
7. The method as described in Claim 3 further comprising aborting said download after said initiation of said download.
8. The method as described in Claim 1 further comprising: sending a signal to said content provider requesting download of said selected content at a subsequent time in response to said message.
9. The method as described in Claim 8 wherein said subsequent time is a predetermined time.
10. The method as described in Claim 1 further comprising: canceling download of said selected content in response to said message.
11. T he method as described in Claim 1 wherein user selection is selected from a group consisting of: always permitting download of content initiated by said set-top-box; never permitting download of content initiated by said set-top-box; and permitting download of content initiated by said set- top-box only in response to authorization by a user of said target device.
12. The method of any one of the preceding claims further comprising a computer-useable medium having computer-readable program code stored thereon for causing a computer system to execute said method for downloading content to a target device.
13. The method of any one of claims 1 -11 further comprising a target device comprising a processor coupled to a communication link and a memory coupled to said communication link wherein said memory comprises instructions for implementing said method of downloading content to said target device.
PCT/US2006/034344 2005-09-07 2006-09-01 A method and system for downloading content to a target device WO2007030400A2 (en)

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US71471005P true 2005-09-07 2005-09-07
US71494005P true 2005-09-07 2005-09-07
US60/714,710 2005-09-07
US60/714,940 2005-09-07
US11/452,868 US20070288986A1 (en) 2006-06-13 2006-06-13 Method and system for downloading content to a target device
US11/452,868 2006-06-13

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KR1020087005532A KR101242983B1 (en) 2005-09-07 2006-09-01 A method and system for downloading content to a target device
JP2008530123A JP5129748B2 (en) 2005-09-07 2006-09-01 Method and system for downloading content to a target device
EP06814104A EP1922599A4 (en) 2005-09-07 2006-09-01 A method and system for downloading content to a target device
CA 2621077 CA2621077A1 (en) 2005-09-07 2006-09-01 A method and system for downloading content to a target device

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KR20080043814A (en) 2008-05-19
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EP1922599A2 (en) 2008-05-21
CA2621077A1 (en) 2007-03-15
JP2009508404A (en) 2009-02-26
EP1922599A4 (en) 2011-01-05
WO2007030400A3 (en) 2007-12-13

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