|Publication number||US20050076360 A1|
|Application number||US 10/994,599|
|Publication date||Apr 7, 2005|
|Filing date||Nov 22, 2004|
|Priority date||Jun 11, 1999|
|Also published as||US6832386|
|Publication number||10994599, 994599, US 2005/0076360 A1, US 2005/076360 A1, US 20050076360 A1, US 20050076360A1, US 2005076360 A1, US 2005076360A1, US-A1-20050076360, US-A1-2005076360, US2005/0076360A1, US2005/076360A1, US20050076360 A1, US20050076360A1, US2005076360 A1, US2005076360A1|
|Inventors||Dean Jerding, Robert Banker, Gregory Durden, Arturo Rodriguez|
|Original Assignee||Jerding Dean F., Banker Robert O., Durden Gregory S., Arturo Rodriguez|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (19), Referenced by (4), Classifications (62), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of Application No. 09/494,209, filed Jan. 28, 2000, which claims the benefit of provisional Application No. 60/138,757, filed Jun. 11, 1999, and to provisional Application No. 60/170,302, filed Dec. 13, 1999, and entirely incorporated herein.
The present invention relates to a television program guide in a subscriber television system and, more specifically, to allowing a user to quickly navigate within the program guide to an established reference point such as the program information associated with the last channel viewed and the current time.
In a subscriber television system, television services have traditionally included little more than an analog broadcast video source. Recently, however, digital programming has become a reality with the home communications terminal (“HCT”), otherwise known as the set-top box, becoming a powerful computing device for accessing video services, and navigating a user through the maze of available services. In addition to supporting traditional analog broadcast video and functionality, digital HCTs (or “DHCTs”) now also support an increasing number of services that are not analog, but rather digital; are not broadcast, but rather two-way communication as for example video-on-demand; and are not video, but are data such as e-mail or web browsers. These are all in addition to the host of other television services that are available to subscribers using DHCTs, examples of which include audio and audio/visual programming, advanced navigation controls, impulse pay-per-view technology, and online commerce to name but a few. There is an increase by several orders of magnitude of the services that are increasingly available in the digital world.
As more services and applications are provided, subscriber television systems are providing television program information to the HCT so that the subscriber can view the program information on the television itself. This program information has traditionally been organized for presentation purposes into a program guide format that presents the guide information by time and channel only. The program guides have been little more than grids with channel number and time presented on the x and y axes and the program information about the related programs within the grid. The program guide can, for instance, automatically scroll through the available television channels to present the program information, such as name and description, starting at the current time and for a set time range into the future, usually an hour and a half to two hours.
With the advent of program guide “browsers”, including interactive program guides (IPG), mini-guides, and browse banners for use in subscriber television systems, subscribers can linearly scan program information by time and channel while watching the tuned channel. In analog systems that offer a limited number of television channels, these browsers permit the subscriber to easily scan the available programs one-by-one in order of channel number. A subscriber can scan program information typically by using several buttons or keys on a remote control to scroll through the programs. Each press of the button or keystroke changes the selected guide channel or time by one unit. However, many digital subscriber television systems provide hundreds or even thousands of channels and several days or even weeks of programming information for each of the multitude of channels. In such systems, scanning program information sequentially can require hundreds of keystrokes by the subscriber and can consume tremendous amounts of time. Furthermore, locating a particular program can be quite difficult if the subscriber does not already know the channel number for the program for which they are searching.
In addition, traditional subscriber television systems have failed to provide the types of complex, graphically rich interactive program guide applications that are becoming popular with more sophisticated consumers of current digital systems. The operator of a subscriber television system needs to provide a program guide that is as user friendly as possible to encourage the subscribers to purchase, access, and use the additional programs and services they can locate through a program guide. To help make the guide as user friendly as possible, it would be beneficial for the subscriber to be able to easily navigate to an established reference point should they lose their way while navigating all the program information that is available in the program guide. Even with simple program guides a standard reference is useful and with more complicated and interactive program guides it becomes essential.
Thus in a user friendly subscriber television system program guide, there is a need for an efficient method and system that allows a user to quickly navigate within a program guide to an established reference point.
The present invention is directed to an efficient method and system that allows a user to quickly navigate within a program guide to an established reference point, such as the program information associated with the last viewed channel and the current time. To help make the guide as user friendly as possible, the present invention provides a way for a subscriber, by pushing a single button on a remote control, to easily navigate to an established reference point should they lose their way while navigating all the program information that is available in program guides.
The present invention is best understood within the context of a subscriber television system. Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals represent like elements throughout the several figures, a subscriber television system and exemplary embodiments of the present invention will be described.
An example of a program guide for use within a subscriber television system is provided in U.S. Pat. No. 6,005,631,
entitled “Method for Searching Electronic Program Guides”, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Information displayed on an EPG graphical user interface (GUI) is representative of the program information stored in the memory of HCT 155 as the EPG database. The information displayed in an EPG GUI is representative of the machine state of the EPG software application executing in the HCT 155 computational resources, such as the CPU and memory. Alternatively the EPG database, in whole or part, may reside in a data storage device such as an optical or magnetic hard drive internally part of HCT 155 or externally connected to HCT 155. In another embodiment, the EPG database resides in a data server located in a headend or node of the subscriber television system. The EPG database can be accessed via a network interface such as a channel tuner.
In one embodiment, the present invention allows a user to quickly navigate within a program guide to the program information associated with an established reference point “Home”, as indicated in
The present invention can also be used with other methods of displaying program information, such as browse banners, barkers, category window, or Pay-per-view guides, to allow a user to quickly navigate to program information associated with an established reference point. A browse banner allows a user to view the current and future programming for a single channel or category. Even with a simple browse banner the user could end up at program information days into the future. The use of a single button to quickly return to the program information for the current time provides a user friendly navigation option for the subscriber. Program information displayed by Theme could use a reference point associated with the theme of the current program at the current time and date or it could be associated with the first alphabetical listing of the theme of the current program. Program information displayed by Title could use a reference point associated with the first letter of the current program at the current time and date or it could be the first title listed in the program information by alphabetical order and a selection within that first title information.
Establishing and defining the point of reference can be accomplished by a variety of methods. The system operator for subscriber television system 100 located at headend 110 can set the program guide parameters such that the established reference point is the last viewed channel, prior to the display of the program guide, and the current time and date. The system operator using system control parameters could establish any of a variety of reference points for the program guide and other program information related display methods. In addition, the established reference point could be defined by or related to a subscriber selection. The subscriber could be allowed to select from a list of alternative reference points provided by the system control parameters or the established reference point could be associated with a Favorite setting within a program guide. The Favorite associated reference point is not directly selected by the subscriber but would be related to the subscriber's selection of a Favorite channel. For example, a subscriber selects ESPN as their favorite channel. The established reference point could then be defined as the ESPN related channel and the current time and date. Pushing the “C” button on a remote control, while viewing the program guide, would always return this subscriber to the program information for ESPN at the current time and date.
In another embodiment, pressing the “C” or HOME key generates the display of a menu of reference points from which a user can select. The user could scroll up and down using directional arrows on a remote control unit and use a select button to chose a highlighted reference point. The machine-state of each reference point would be stored a priori in memory for quickly enacting a reference point machine-state upon selection.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the present invention provides an efficient method and system that allows a user to quickly navigate within a program guide to an established reference point, such as the program information associated with the last viewed channel and the current time.
The present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments, which are intended in all respects to be illustrative rather than restrictive. For example, the exemplary reference point, Home, could instead be labeled with any of a variety of names such as Jump, Start, Return, or Current. The reference point could be any of a variety of points with in the program information including other combinations of time, channel, category, and position within the program guide. For example, the reference point could be the last channel viewed prior to the display of the program guide at the last user selected time (not the current time) or a favorite channel at the current time or a single dimension parameter such as a selected category of program information, such as Sports or Movies.
The references to the last viewed channel or to the program viewed immediately prior to causing the program information to be displayed provides a reference from the subscribers perspective, typically while displaying the program information the HCT remains tuned to that channel until another channel is selected.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that although the present invention has been described in the context of icon displayed with the program information, a user could be informed of the functionality of the present invention via other methods such as a separate display, help window, or an instruction manual, and that other embodiments would not require an icon. In addition, there could be multiple icons representing different reference points.
In conclusion, while exemplary embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be clear that the invention is not so limited. Alternative embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains without departing from its spirit or scope. Accordingly the appended claims rather than the foregoing description define the scope of the present invention.
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|U.S. Classification||725/43, 348/564, 348/563, 348/E05.105, 348/E17.005, 348/E07.073, 348/E07.063, 348/E05.104, 348/E07.07, 348/E07.061, 725/41, 348/E07.071, 348/473, 348/E07.075|
|International Classification||H04N7/173, H04N5/445, H04N7/16, H04N17/04|
|Cooperative Classification||H04N21/4622, H04N7/17309, H04N21/482, H04N5/44591, H04N21/4316, H04N21/47, H04N21/47202, H04N7/17336, H04N21/4782, H04N21/2665, H04N21/8166, H04N17/04, H04N7/17354, H04N21/4821, H04N21/485, H04N21/8545, H04N21/25891, H04N21/84, H04N7/163, H04N21/262, H04N7/165, H04N7/17318, H04N5/44543|
|European Classification||H04N21/258U3, H04N21/462S, H04N21/262, H04N21/472D, H04N21/84, H04N21/482G, H04N21/81W, H04N21/4782, H04N21/8545, H04N21/431L3, H04N21/2665, H04N21/47, H04N21/482, H04N7/173B2, H04N5/445W, H04N7/16E2, H04N7/173B4, H04N7/173C2, H04N7/173B, H04N7/16E3, H04N5/445M|
|Nov 25, 2013||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CISCO TECHNOLOGY, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SCIENTIFIC-ATLANTA, LLC;REEL/FRAME:031719/0891
Effective date: 20131120
|Dec 10, 2014||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SCIENTIFIC-ATLANTA, LLC, GEORGIA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SCIENTIFIC-ATLANTA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:034609/0790
Effective date: 20081205