WO2007139571A1 - Hybrid client and network based personal video recorder - Google Patents

Hybrid client and network based personal video recorder Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2007139571A1
WO2007139571A1 PCT/US2006/036250 US2006036250W WO2007139571A1 WO 2007139571 A1 WO2007139571 A1 WO 2007139571A1 US 2006036250 W US2006036250 W US 2006036250W WO 2007139571 A1 WO2007139571 A1 WO 2007139571A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
system
local
video recorder
personal video
remote
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2006/036250
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Sagar Gordhan
Original Assignee
Nokia Siemens Networks Gmbh & Co. Kg
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 US80878906P priority Critical
Priority to US60/808,789 priority
Application filed by Nokia Siemens Networks Gmbh & Co. Kg filed Critical Nokia Siemens Networks Gmbh & Co. Kg
Publication of WO2007139571A1 publication Critical patent/WO2007139571A1/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
    • H04N7/173Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems with two-way working, e.g. subscriber sending a programme selection signal
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/20Servers specifically adapted for the distribution of content, e.g. VOD servers; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/27Server based end-user applications
    • H04N21/274Storing end-user multimedia data in response to end-user request, e.g. network recorder
    • H04N21/2747Remote storage of video programs received via the downstream path, e.g. from the server
    • 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
    • H04N21/414Specialised client platforms, e.g. receiver in car or embedded in a mobile appliance
    • H04N21/4147PVR [Personal Video Recorder]
    • 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
    • H04N21/431Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering
    • H04N21/4312Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering involving specific graphical features, e.g. screen layout, special fonts or colors, blinking icons, highlights or animations
    • 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
    • H04N21/431Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering
    • H04N21/4312Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering involving specific graphical features, e.g. screen layout, special fonts or colors, blinking icons, highlights or animations
    • H04N21/4314Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering involving specific graphical features, e.g. screen layout, special fonts or colors, blinking icons, highlights or animations for fitting data in a restricted space on the screen, e.g. EPG data in a rectangular grid
    • 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
    • H04N21/432Content retrieval operation from a local storage medium, e.g. hard-disk
    • H04N21/4325Content retrieval operation from a local storage medium, e.g. hard-disk by playing back content from the storage medium
    • 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]
    • H04N21/60Network structure or processes for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signalling between clients, server and network components; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client 
    • H04N21/63Control signaling related to video distribution between client, server and network components; Network processes for video distribution between server and clients or between remote clients, e.g. transmitting basic layer and enhancement layers over different transmission paths, setting up a peer-to-peer communication via Internet between remote STB's; Communication protocols; Addressing
    • H04N21/632Control signaling related to video distribution between client, server and network components; Network processes for video distribution between server and clients or between remote clients, e.g. transmitting basic layer and enhancement layers over different transmission paths, setting up a peer-to-peer communication via Internet between remote STB's; Communication protocols; Addressing using a connection between clients on a wide area network, e.g. setting up a peer-to-peer communication via Internet for retrieving video segments from the hard-disk of other client devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/76Television signal recording
    • H04N5/765Interface circuits between an apparatus for recording and another apparatus

Abstract

A system includes a network (800); a local personal video recorder system (102) operably coupled to the network (800), including a local personal video recorder client (108) and a local personal video recorder server (110); a remote personal video recorder system (104) operably coupled to the local personal video recorder system (102), including a remote personal video recorder client (114) and remote personal video recorder server (116); wherein video recording functionality is selectively provided, using resource optimization heuristics, to a local user (106) by either the local personal video recorder system (102) or the remote personal video recorder system (104), the local personal video recorder client (108) providing a user interface client

Description

HYBRID CLIENT AND NETWORK BASED PERSONAL VIDEO

RECORDER

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[1001] This invention relates to interactive television systems. More particularly, the invention relates to systems and methods for operating a personal video recorder system.

Description of the Related Art

[10023 Most Internet Protocol television (IPTV) systems today that offer personal video recorder (PVR) functions stream content in real-time for either recording or viewing directly from a head-end encoder to subscribers' set-top boxes. The types of PVR offered today are usually client-side PVR (cPVR) or network-based PVR (nPVR) where each type of PVR service receives content streamed in real-time for recording. The main difference is where the content is stored.

[1003] In nPVR systems, the multimedia content is streamed in real-time from an nPVR server in order to be viewed by a subscriber. One advantage cPVR has over nPVR is that the content does not have to be streamed over a network connection in order to be watched at a later time, thus alleviating the impact on network connections. One disadvantage of cPVR over nPVR is that recording of content being streamed in real-time (at a rate necessary for viewing) has an impact on the available bandwidth being used for other applications. That is, the same amount of bandwidth is required for recording as viewing.

[1004] Thus, both nPVR and cPVR systems may be relatively limited in that they do not necessarily make effective use of bandwidth or memory resources. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[1005] The present invention provides a system and method including a personal video recording architecture having both customer premises and service provider located content stores. In one embodiment, the system is implemented in an Internet Protocol television system.

[1006] A system according to an embodiment of the present invention includes a network; a local personal video recorder system operably coupled to the network, including a local personal video recorder client and a local personal video recorder server; a remote personal video recorder system operably coupled to the local personal video recorder system, including a remote personal video recorder client and remote personal video recorder server; wherein video recording functionality is configured to be selectively provided using resource optimization heuristics to a local user by either the local personal video recorder system or the remote personal video recorder system, the local personal video recorder client providing a user interface client

[1007] A system according to an embodiment of the present invention includes a controller operably coupled to a video display user device, the video display user device configured to display video programming and video playback functionality of stored programming, from local or remote content store to the video display user device and the user interface of the controller; a local personal video recorder system operably coupled to the controller and configured to provide video recording functionality of programming displayable on the video display user device; a remote personal video recorder system operably coupled to the controller and configured to provide video recording functionality of programming displayable on the video display user device; wherein the controller is configured to select which of the local personal video recorder system or remote video recorder system is to provide recording or playback of programming displayable on the video display user device.

[1008] A method according to embodiments of the present invention includes selectively providing video recording and playback services to a local user from a local video recording service; and selectively providing video recording and playback services to said local user from a remote video recording service; using said local video recording service to control which of said local video recording service and said remote video recording service provides said video recording or playback services.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[1009] The present invention may be better understood, and its numerous objects, features, and advantages made apparent to those skilled in the art by referencing the accompanying drawings. The use of the same reference symbols in different drawings indicates similar or identical items.

[1010] FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary system according to an embodiment of the present invention..

[1011] FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B illustrate exemplary user interfaces for use with a system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[1012] FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating operation of an embodiment of the present invention.

[1013] FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating operation of an embodiment of the present invention.

[1014] FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating operation of an embodiment of the present invention.

[1015] FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating operation of an embodiment of the present invention.

[1016] FIG. 7 is a diagram illustrating operation of an embodiment of the present invention.

[1017] FIG. 8A-FIG. 8B illustrate an exemplary media distribution system that may be used in with a layered user interface system according to embodiments of the present invention. [1018] FIG. 9A- FIG. 9B is a diagrammatic representation of a user station and system that may be used to implement methods according to embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[1019] Turning now to the drawings and, with particular attention to FIG. 1 , a diagram of a personal video recording system according to an embodiment of the present invention is shown and generally identified with the reference numeral 100.

[1020] The system 100 includes a local or customer premises PVR system 102 and a remote, or service provider PVR system 104. The local PVR system includes a user device 106, such as a remote control operably coupled to or in communication with a controller 109 in a local PVR client 108, a video display device 107, and a local PVR server 110. A local content store 112 couples to the local PVR server 110 to store content for later playback.

[1021] In operation, source content 120a is received at the local PVR server. Such content can be provided, e.g., as Internet Protocol television or other multimedia sources. The user 106 commands the controller 109 within the local PVR client 108 to watch and/or record a particular channel. The local PVR client 108 controls content flow using a stream control protocol (SCP) 126 and controls recording a particular stream using a capture control protocol (CCP) 128. A suitable stream control protocol is the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) at RFC 2326, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein. A suitable capture control protocol is the Device Control Protocol for Scheduled Recording, from the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Forum, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein. The local PVR server 110 provides the content as a data flow 124a. Typically, the content is streamed as MPEG-2 format data, although other formats are contemplated. [1022] The local PVR client 108 may be embodied, for example, as a set top box, and the local PVR server 110 and local PVR content store 112 may be embodied as a cohesive stream server, although other configurations are possible. The set top box may be coupled to or in communication with one or more televisions for viewing or receiving the content. Thus, the local PVR client 108 may include a user interface component (not shown) that can provide or modify content being provided to the television associated therewith (e.g., to display a menu of services or to select one or multiple channels from content provided by a third party). In addition, in some embodiments, the local PVR client 108 is connected to or in communication with one or more switched telephone network central offices (not shown) via, e.g., one or more DSL (digital subscriber line) lines. In such embodiments, packet-switched IP data routing is used to provide information about viewer interactions (e.g., content selection, recording control, and other content viewing interactions), such as for viewers that are subscribers of a service providing various types of content and content-related services.

[1023] The remote PVR system 104 likewise includes a remote PVR client 114 and a remote PVR server 116. Content can be stored at remote content store 118. Source content 120b can be provided to the remote PVR server 116 at 120b. The local PVR client 108 communicates with the remote PVR client 114 using the CCP at 130; the remote PVR client 114 in turn communicates for storing content with the remote PVR server 116 using CCP at 134. Content flow can be received at the local PVR client 108 under control of SCP 132 from the remote PVR server 116 at 124b. The remote PVR system 104 and the local PVR system 102 may be in communication with one another via one or more switches, etc., using packet switched IP data routing.

[1024] As will be described in greater detail below, in operation, a user 106 can control his local PVR client 108 to record and/or watch a program. Depending on system capability, such as bandwidth and storage capacity, or device processing capacity, or other device or network constraints or limits (such as, for example, a number of programs that can be recorded simultaneously), the program content can be recorded and stored at the local content store 112 or the remote content store 118. In certain embodiments, recording locally or remotely is transparent to the user.

[1025] FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B illustrate exemplary user interfaces200a, 200b that can be used in conjunction with the system of the present invention. In particular, such interfaces may be displayed on the screen of a television used in conjunction with a set top box or local PVR client. The interface 200a of FIG. 2A may be used, for example, to record a program. The interface 200b of FIG. 2B may be used to watch a previously recorded program.

[1026] The interface 200a of FIG. 2A includes a thumbnail window 202 to identify a program whose information is currently being displayed; an information window 204 for displaying information about the program; and controls 206, including a RECORD control, which may be used to activate a recording of the program. The interface 200b of FIG. 2b includes a control 208, including a PLAY control for playing a program and an information window 210 for displaying information about the program.

[1027] In general, in operation, a user can simply select a program for viewing or recording and activate the desired function. He need not know whether the program is stored on or is to be recorded at the local store 112 or the remote store 118. It is noted that the interfaces of FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B are exemplary only. Other user interface configurations, including more or fewer controls, are possible. A user interface that may be adapted for use in accordance with embodiments of the present invention is the Myrio user interface, available from Siemens Corporation.

[1028] Turning now to FIG. 3, a flowchart 300 illustrating operation of embodiment of the present invention is shown. The particular arrangement of elements in the flowchart 300 is not meant to imply a fixed order to the elements; embodiments can be practiced in any order that is practicable.

[1029] As indicated in process block 302, a user can log in to the system. For example, he can turn on or otherwise initialize a television set and/or set top box, or can log in to or activate an appropriate interface. In a process block 304, the user can select a program to record. Again, this may be done via an interface such as that of FIG. 2A. For example, the user could elect to program the PVR to record a program while he watches another or he can program the PVR to record a program at a later date and time.

[1030] In response to the selection, in a process block 306, the local PVR client 108 will make a capabilities determination. Thus, for example, the local PVR client 108 could communicate with the local PVR server 110 to determine if sufficient bandwidth, storage space, service provider policy on authorization to record that program etc., is available locally. If the default is acceptable (e.g., recording locally), then in a process step 310, the local PVR client 108 communicate via the CCP with the local PVR server 110 to receive the program content stream and record/save the program on local content store 112.

[1031] Otherwise, in a process step 312, the local PVR client 108 communicates with the remote PVR client 114 using the CCP protocol carrying instructions to record the selected program. In a process step 314, the remote PVR client 114 makes its own capabilities determination, typically using the same criteria discussed above. If, as determined in a process step 316 a recording is within the current capabilities, then in a process step 316, the remote PVR client 114 communicates with the remote PVR server 116 using the CCP to record/save the content. In addition, the local PVR client 108 can, at a process step 320, communicate using the SCP to the remote PVR server 116 to receive the content when it is available for playback at remote PVR server 116. If the system did not have sufficient capabilities, as determined in process step 316, then, in a process step 322, the record will fail.

[1032] It is noted that, while the use of the local PVR server 110 and store 112 has been discussed above as occurring first, or as a default, in other embodiments, the system could be configured such that the local PVR client 108 will initially make use of the remote PVR system 104 for storing programs.

[1033] Turning now to FIG. 4, a flowchart 400 illustrating operation of embodiment of the present invention is shown. The particular arrangement of elements in the flowchart 400 is not meant to imply a fixed order to the elements; embodiments can be practiced in any order that is practicable.

[1034] In a process step 402, a user can log in to the PVR system 102. As discussed above, depending on the particular implementation, this can include the user turning on a television and/or set top box, or can log in to or activate an appropriate interface maintained by the local PVR client 108.

[1035] In a process step 404, the user can select stored program content to watch. As noted above, this can include the user using the interface of or similar to that of FIG. 2. Typically, the program would be identified independently of where it is stored (i.e., locally or remotely), although some embodiments may provide such information, i.e., allow a user to browse either the local or remote content store by name.

[1036] In a process step 406, the local PVR client 108 checks if the program content is stored locally or remotely. If, as determined in process step 408, the content is stored locally, then in a process step 410, the local PVR client 108 communicates using the SCP with the local PVR server 110 to receive the content. In a process step 412, the local PVR server 110 then accesses the local store 112 for the content and sends it to the user's video display device as a content stream 124a (FIG. 1) via the local PVR client 108.

[1037] Back in process step 408, if the content was not stored locally, then in a process step 414, the local PVR client 108 communicates using the SCP with the remote PVR server 116 to access the content. In a step 416, the remote PVR server 116 accesses the remote content store 118 for the content and sends it to the local client 108 as content stream 124b.

[1038] Operation of an embodiment of the present invention is shown in greater detail with reference to the diagram of FIG.5. In particular, FIG. 5 illustrates operation of program or content recording when local recording is the default option. Shown is a system 100 similar to that of FIG. 1.

[1039] At 501 , source content can be provided or be accessible to the local PVR server 110. As noted above, such source content can come from a variety of sources, including IP television, satellite, and the like. At 502, a user can log in to the system. As discussed above, this can include the user turning on the television set and set top box and, for example, using an infrared remote control to select programming in conjunction with a suitable user interface. In response, at 504, the local PVR client 108 communicates with the local PVR server 112 using the appropriate stream control protocol (SCP). The local PVR server 112 delivers the program content to the local PVR client 110 at 505, which then provides the content to the user.

[1040] If the user wishes to record a program (e.g., either a program he is watching or while watching another or for later recording), he/she will execute one or more commands to the local PVR client 108, again for example, through use of an infrared remote control and interface, at 503. The local PVR client 108 will then determine if the local PVR system 102 has the capabilities, or indeed, if it is programmed to be the default to record the program. If so, then at 506, the local PVR client 108 will issue the appropriate signaling using the CCP to the local PVR server 110 to save the source content 501 to the local content store 112. Stopping the recording is handled similarly.

[1041] If the system is to record the content remotely, e.g. due to lack of resources on local PVR system, then the local PVR client 108 communicates at 513 using the capture control protocol. The remote PVR client may then make its own capabilities determination and fail at the recording if resources are not available. Otherwise, the remote PVR client 114 will communicate at 514 using the capture control protocol with the remote PVR server 116. The remote PVR server 116 then captures the source content 511 which is to be recorded (provided it has the capabilities, i.e. resources), and stores the content in the remote content store 118, using the CCP at 516. [1042] In addition, in certain embodiments, the local PVR client 108 can communicate with the remote PVR server 116 at 510 to receive recorded content from the remote content store 118 as a media stream 512 while recording is occurring at the local PVR server of content 501. In other embodiments, the content provided to the user can be the recorded content 505 in the local content store 112 being sent from the local PVR server 110 while recording is occurring at the remote PVR server of content 511.

[1043] Operation of an embodiment of the present invention is shown in greater detail with reference to the diagram of FIG.6. In particular, FIG. 6 illustrates operation of program or content recording when remote recording is the default option. Shown is a system 100 similar to that of FIG. 1.

[1044] Source content 601 may be provided to the remote PVR server 116. At 602, a user may log in to the local PVR client 108. At 604, the local PVR client 102 communicates using the stream control protocol to receive a content stream 606 from the remote PVR server 116. The user may then decide to record some content. After receiving the appropriate commands from the user, the local PVR client 108 communicates at 608 with the remote PVR client 114, if the local PVR client 108 determines that there is sufficient capacity at the remote system 104 (the local PVR 102 may, for example, receive on or more status signals from the remote system 104). The remote PVR client 114 communicates using the capture control protocol at 610 with the remote PVR server 116. Then, at 610, the remote PVR server 116 saves the content at the remote store 118.

[1045] If the local PVR client 108 had determined that the remote PVR system 104 did not have the capability of recording the content, then the local PVR client 108 could communicate to the local PVR server at 620, if the local PVR client determines that the local system has sufficient resources for the recording. The local PVR server 110 would then receive the content at 614 and save it to local content store 112 at 622. In addition, the local PVR client 108 may also communicate with the local PVR server 110 at 616 to control the content stream at 618. [1046] Operation of an embodiment of the present invention is shown in greater detail with reference to the diagram of FIG.7. In particular, FIG. 7 illustrates operation of playing recorded content. Shown is a system 100 similar to that of FIG. 1.

[1047] A user may log in to the system at 702. Recorded content may be provided to the user from either the local PVR server or the remote PVR server via the local PVR client 108 at 708a or 708b, respectively. If a user wishes to play a recorded content, then the local PVR client 108 will determine if the content is stored locally or remotely. For example, the local PVR client 108 could communicate with the local PVR server 110 at'704a or the remote PVR server 116 at 704b.

[1048] If the content is stored at the local store 112, then the local PVR server 110 will access it at 706a and provide it as content to the local PVR client 108 at 708a. Similarly, if the content is stored at the remote PVR store 118, then the remote PVR server 116 will access it at 706b and provide it as content to the local PVR client 108 at 708b.

[1049] As discussed above, embodiments of the present invention are suited to an internet protocol television media distribution system. FIG. 8A depicts a representative environment according to the invention. Central to FIG. 8A is a network with ATM network backbone 800. This ATM network is capable of fiber data rates of OC3, OC12, OC48, OC192 or as is available in the art. A plurality of content providers place information onto ATM network 800. Typical sources of content served include broadcast content 802, cable content 804, , satellite content 808, and video 810.

[1050] In a representative central plant, a plurality of ATM switches 812 interface with network 800 to receive and distribute data from the various content sources. Information flows from ATM switches 812 via a plurality of paths 813 to a plurality of DSL modems 814. DSL modems 814 connect via DSL twisted pair lines 818 to a plurality of modems 816 in various subscribers residences or establishments 819. From a representative modem 816, there can be attached a telephone 820 and/or a set top box with associated television set 822 and/or computer 824 . The graphical user interface of embodiments of the present invention may thus be operable on or in association with devices such as the television with set top box 822, and/or computer 824.

[1051] The remote PVR client 114, server 116, and store 118 may be provided in association with the central plant and with one or more of the ATM switches, etc. The local PVR system 102 may be provided at one or more of the subscriber residences or establishments 819.

[1052] FIG. 8B depicts an overview of a digital programming content distribution system according to a particular embodiment of the present invention. One or more central channel server(s) 850 collect(s) information about available programming services distributed from a multiplicity of content providers 860. In a preferable embodiment, this information is multicast by the content providers using the session announcement protocol. Channel server 850 maintains a channel list database 870 which tracks available content channel offerings for PVR purposes and a subscriber database 880, which contains subscriber identifications and permitted PVR capabilities for each subscriber. The central channel server 850 may also implement the remote PVR system 104 in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[1053] Subscribers 890 interact with central channel server 850 to obtain programming content information, and with content providers 160 to obtain programs. In related embodiments, the channel server 850 and content providers 860 may be co-located on the same machine, or may reside on separate machines.

[1054] In related embodiments, subscriber database 880 and channel list database 870 may be co-located on the same machine, or may reside on separate machines. Thus, the figure is exemplary only. It is noted that the present invention is applicable in any video delivery system, including, for example, DSL, coaxial cable, fiber optic, wireless, and in networks provided by IP television operators, cable operators, or satellite operators.

[1055] In a representative embodiment, the clients and servers of embodiments of the present invention may be practiced using a control system with the basic subsystems and functions depicted in FIG. 9A. In the representative system of FIG. 9A, a control unit 10 includes bus 12, which is shown schematically as a single bus, but can also be a number of buses such as a local bus and one or more expansion buses (e.g., ADB, SCSI, ISA, EISA, MCA, NuBus, or PCI), which interconnect subsystems such as a central processor 14, which may be an 80x89, 98xxx, RISC, Pentium family, or other suitable microprocessor family, system memory 19, which may be RAM, ROM, or a combination thereof, input/output (I/O) controller 18, an external device such as a serial port 28, such as a USB port, and parallel port 32, detachable keyboard 30, mouse 29, fixed disk drive 32, which may be a hard disk drive or an optical drive or a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive or other suitable medium; and a floppy disk drive 33 operative to receive a floppy disk.

[1056] Network connections are usually established through a device such as a network adapter 44 attached to one of the buses or a modem on a serial port. Network adapters may include 10 Base T, 100 Base T, optical, ATM, DSL, or other network formats.

[1057] MPEG decoder 39 and Audio subsystem 42 coupled via bus 12 provide multimedia capability. Many other devices can be connected in a similar manner. Also, it is not necessary for all of the devices shown in FIG. 9A to be present to practice the invention. The devices and subsystems may be interconnected in different ways from that shown in FIG. 9A without impairing the operation of the system. Source code to implement processing functions in accordance with the present invention may be operably disposed in system memory 16 or stored on storage media such as fixed disk 32 or floppy disk 33. [1058] Video interface 24 may be any standard video format, such as S- video. Various forms of user input devices may be used. For example, a touch screen allows a user to point to objects on the screen to select the object and to move the selected object by pointing to a second position on the screen. Alternatively, an infrared or other coupled handheld control unit may be interfaced, allowing the user to interact with the unit, make changes, and indicate preferences. Various buttons and controls may be displayed on the screen for activation by using the mouse, touch screen, or a remote control via infrared IF 34.

[1059] Operatively disposed in memory 16, or resident on fixed disk 32, operating system software may be PSOS, DOS, UNIX, WINDOWS95, WINDOWS CE, WINDOWS XP, or other operating systems known in the art. Executing concurrently and cooperatively with operating system software 910 (FIG. 9B), IP Multicast capable TCP/IP software 912 manages the flow of information into and out of the control unit over the network interface 44. A JAVA enabled Internet browser 914, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer or their equivalent in the art may provide a web-browser user interface to networked resources through TCP/IP software 912. Client control code 919 implements functions specific to the PVR system operation, such as the processes depicted herein. Output to the users television set is provided by user interface 918 in conjunction with Video Interface 920. Other clients 922 such as Video on Demand, Games, video conferencing applications or voice mail may also be supported.

[1060] In a related embodiment, the functions of a local PVR control unit are integrated into a television, forming an Internet capable, interactive "Smart Television." In a related embodiment, the functions of the local PVR control unit are integrated into a personal computer, forming an Internet: capable, interactive "Workstation Television."

[1061] As used herein, whether in the above description or the following claims, the terms "comprising," "including," "carrying," "having," "containing," "involving," and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, that is, to mean including but not limited to. Only the transitional phrases "consisting of" and "consisting essentially of," respectively, shall be considered exclusionary transitional phrases, as set forth, with respect to claims, in the United States Patent Office Manual of Patent Examining Procedures (Eighth Edition, August 2001 as revised October 2005), Section 2111.03.

[1062] Any use of ordinal terms such as "first," "second," "third," etc., in the claims to modify a claim element does not by itself connote any priority, precedence, or order of one claim element over another, or the temporal order in which acts of a method are performed. Rather, unless specifically stated otherwise, such ordinal terms are used merely as labels to distinguish one claim element having a certain name from another element having a same name (but for use of the ordinal term).

[1063] The above described preferred embodiments are intended to illustrate the principles of the invention, but not to limit the scope of the invention. Various other embodiments and modifications to these preferred embodiments may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A system, characterized by: a network (800); a local personal video recorder system (102) operably coupled to the network (800), including a local personal video recorder client (108) and a local personal video recorder server (110); a remote personal video recorder system (104) operably coupled to the local personal video recorder system (102), including a remote personal video recorder client (114) and remote personal video recorder sever; wherein video recording functionality is configured to be selectively provided to a local user (106) by either the local personal video recorder system (102) or the remote personal video recorder system (104), the local personal video recorder client (108) providing a user interface client.
2. A system in accordance with claim 1 , wherein the network (800) includes an Internet protocol television network (800).
3. A system in accordance with claim 1 , wherein the local personal video recorder system (102) is in communication with the remote personal video recorder system (104) to select which of the local personal video recorder system (102) or remote personal video recorder system (104) is to provide video recording functionality.
4. A system in accordance with claim 1 , wherein the remote personal video recorder system (104) is configured to provide video recording functionality for the local personal video recorder system (102) if the local personal video recorder system (102) is at a capacity limit.
5. A system in accordance with claim 4, said capacity limit comprising a network limit.
6. A system in accordance with claim 4, said capacity limit comprising a storage limit.
7. A system in accordance with claim 4, said capacity limit comprising a bandwidth limit.
8. A system in accordance with claim 4, said capacity limit comprising a device processing limit.
9. A system in accordance with claim 8, said device processing limit comprising a number of programs that can be recorded simultaneously.
10. A system, characterized by: a controller (109) operably coupled to a video display user device (107), the video display user device (107) configured to display video programming; a local personal video recorder system (102) operably coupled to the controller and configured to provide video recording functionality of programming displayable on the video display user device (107); a remote personal video recorder system (104) operably coupled to the controller and configured to provide video recording functionality of programming displayable on the video display user device (107); wherein the controller is configured to select which of the local personal video recorder system (102) or remote video recorder system is to provide recording or playback of programming displayable on the video display user device (107).
11. A system in accordance with claim 10, wherein the remote personal video recording system is configured to provide video recording functionality for the localpersonal video recording system if the local personal video recording system is at a capacity limit.
12. A system in accordance with claim 11 , said capacity limit comprising a device processing capacity limit.
13. A system in accordance with claim 11 , said capacity limit comprising a storage limit.
14. A system in accordance with claim 12, said device processing limit comprising a number of programs that can be recorded simultaneously.
15. A method characterized by: selectively providing video recording and playback services to a local user (106) from a local video recording service (102); and selectively providing video recording and playback services to said local user (106) from a remote video recording service (104); using said local video recording service (102) to control which of said local video recording service (102) and said remote video recording service (104) provides said video recording or playback services.
16. A method in accordance with claim 15, further comprising the local personal video recorder system (102) determining if a capacity limit has been exceeded and, if so, causing the remote personal video recorder system (104) to provide video recording functionality for the video recording.
17. A method in accordance with claim 16, said capacity limit comprising a bandwidth limit.
18. A method in accordance with claim 16, said capacity limit comprising a storage limit.
19. A method in accordance with claim 16, wherein the capacity limit is a device processing limit
20. A method in accordance with claim 19, said device processing limit comprising a number of programs that can be recorded simultaneously.
PCT/US2006/036250 2006-05-25 2006-09-18 Hybrid client and network based personal video recorder WO2007139571A1 (en)

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