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Publication numberUS20060288368 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/213,247
Publication dateDec 21, 2006
Filing dateAug 26, 2005
Priority dateJun 17, 2005
Publication number11213247, 213247, US 2006/0288368 A1, US 2006/288368 A1, US 20060288368 A1, US 20060288368A1, US 2006288368 A1, US 2006288368A1, US-A1-20060288368, US-A1-2006288368, US2006/0288368A1, US2006/288368A1, US20060288368 A1, US20060288368A1, US2006288368 A1, US2006288368A1
InventorsNicholas Huslak, Arnold McQuaide
Original AssigneeHuslak Nicholas S, Mcquaide Arnold C Jr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Methods, systems, and products for sampled content
US 20060288368 A1
Abstract
Methods, systems, apparatuses, devices, and products provide sampled content. One such method receives a programming guide comprising a listing of available content. An ancillary stream of data is received and includes samples of content listed in the programming guide. A user input is received that selects a particular content from the programming guide. Unselected samples of content are filtered from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content. The sample is processed for preview of the selected particular content.
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Claims(20)
1. A system for providing sample content, comprising:
at least one processor for receiving a programming guide comprising a listing of available content and for receiving an ancillary stream of data, the ancillary stream of data comprising multiple samples of content listed in the programming guide; and
a user interface for receiving a user input that selects a particular content from the programming guide and for communicating the user input to the processor, wherein the processor filters unselected samples of content from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content as a preview of the selected particular content.
2. A system according to claim 1, further comprising a display, wherein the processor processes the sample into a video signal and communicates the video signal to the display for displaying the video signal as a preview of the selected content.
3. A system according to claim 1, further comprising a transceiver for wirelessly communicating the sample to a communications device.
4. A system according to claim 3, wherein the communications device is a remote control.
5. A system according to claim 1, wherein the ancillary stream of data comprises samples of at least a portion of the available content listed in the programming guide.
6. A system according to claim 1, wherein the ancillary stream of data comprises samples of content matching a profile of the user.
7. A system according to claim 1, wherein the programming guide is an electronic programming guide.
8. A method for providing sample content, the method comprising:
receiving a programming guide comprising a listing of available content;
receiving an ancillary stream of data comprising samples of content listed in the programming guide;
receiving a user input that selects a particular content from the programming guide;
filtering unselected samples of content from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content; and
processing the sample for preview of the selected particular content.
9. A method according to claim 8, further comprising processing the sample into a video signal and displaying the video signal at a communications device as a preview of the selected particular content.
10. A method according to claim 9, wherein the communications device is a remote control.
11. A method according to claim 8, wherein receiving the ancillary stream of data comprises receiving samples of at least a portion of the available content listed in the programming guide.
12. A method according to claim 8, wherein receiving the ancillary stream of data comprises receiving samples of content matching a profile of the user.
13. A method according to claim 8, wherein the programming guide is an electronic programming guide.
14. A method according to claim 8, wherein receiving the ancillary stream of data comprises receiving samples of all available content listed in the programming guide.
15. A method according to claim 8, wherein receiving the ancillary stream of data comprises receiving samples of a subset of available content listed in the programming guide.
16. A computer-readable medium on which instructions are encoded for performing the steps of:
receiving a programming guide comprising a listing of available content;
receiving an ancillary stream of data comprising samples of content listed in the programming guide;
receiving a user input that selects a particular content from the programming guide;
filtering unselected samples of content from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content; and
processing the sample for preview of the selected particular content.
17. A computer readable medium according to claim 16, wherein the sample is processed at a communications device into a video signal for display as a visual preview of the selected particular content.
18. A computer readable medium according to claim 17, wherein the communications device is a remote control.
19. A computer readable medium according to claim 16, wherein receiving the ancillary stream of data comprises receiving samples of at least a portion of the available content listed in the programming guide.
20. A computer readable medium according to claim 16, wherein receiving the ancillary stream of data comprises receiving samples of content matching a profile of the user.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation-in-part of the commonly assigned U.S. application Ser. No. 11/156,190 (Attorney Docket BS040438), filed Jun. 17, 2005 and entitled “Methods, Systems, and Products for Providing Sample Content,” which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION
  • [0002]
    A portion of this disclosure and its figures contain material subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, but otherwise reserves all copyrights whatsoever.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    This application generally relates to data processing and to interactive distribution systems and, more particularly, to content sampling.
  • [0004]
    Interactive distribution of content is currently achieved using programming guides, e.g., electronic programming guides (EPGs). Current electronic programming guides are generally linear. That is, the subscribing user continuously scrolls along the electronic programming guide and views the programming available at different time slots (or “cells”). Digital cable or digital satellite subscribers might receive a slightly more sophisticated programming guide, but the subscriber still scrolls along the cells or watches a repeating “carrousel” loop of program offerings. The subscriber, regardless of the type of electronic programming guide, must decipher some abbreviated phrasing that cryptically describes the program (such as the name of the program or a brief description of the subject matter). The subscriber is forced to tune to a particular program to truly determine whether the program meets the subscriber's entertainment desires.
  • [0005]
    What is needed, however, are improved methods, systems, devices, and products for providing a user with a fuller description of a particular program, thus helping the subscriber gain a better understanding of the subject matter of the program. Ideally, the subscriber would also be provided with a sample of the content, e.g., a video sample of some or all of the listed programs in a programming guide.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0006]
    The aforementioned problems, and other problems, are reduced, according to the exemplary embodiments, using methods, systems, apparatuses, and products that provide sampled content for electronic programming guides. The exemplary embodiments allow a user to view an electronic programming guide and select content for sampling. That is, the exemplary embodiments allow the user to browse, or sample, content listed in the electronic programming guide. As the user browses the electronic programming guide, the user may wish to sample some movie, program, or other content listed in the electronic programming guide. The exemplary embodiments permit the user to highlight, select, or otherwise input a selection that indicates the content to be sampled. The exemplary embodiments, however, deliver that sampled content to any communications address. That is, although the user may view the sample on a television, the exemplary embodiments permit the user to view the sample at any communications device. The exemplary embodiments, for example, allow the user to view the electronic programming guide on a television, while the sampled content is delivered to a communications address associated with a wireless cell phone. As the following paragraphs explain, the sampled content may be additionally or alternatively delivered to any communications device, such as a computer, a personal digital assistant, and/or a remote control. The user is thus not constrained to view both the electronic programming guide and the sampled content at the same device. The exemplary embodiments permit the user, if the user so chooses, to “split” the sampled content from the electronic programming guide and deliver the sampled content to any communications address.
  • [0007]
    The exemplary embodiments describe a system for providing sample content. The system has at least one processor for receiving a programming guide and for receiving an ancillary stream of data. The programming guide comprises a listing of available content, and the ancillary stream of data comprises multiple samples of content listed in the programming guide. A user interface receives a user input that selects a particular content from the programming guide. The user interface communicates the user input to the processor. The processor filters unselected samples of content from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content as a preview of the selected particular content.
  • [0008]
    In another of the embodiments, a method provides sample content. The method receives a programming guide comprising a listing of available content. An ancillary stream of data is received and includes samples of content listed in the programming guide. A user input is received that selects a particular content from the programming guide. Unselected samples of content are filtered from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content. The sample is processed for preview of the selected particular content.
  • [0009]
    In yet another embodiment, a computer program product also provides sampled content. The computer program product includes a computer-readable medium on which instructions are encoded. The instructions command a device to receiving a programming guide and an ancillary stream of data. The programming guide comprises a listing of available content, and the ancillary stream of data comprises samples of content listed in the programming guide. A user input is received that selects a particular content from the programming guide. Unselected samples of content are filtered from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content. The sample is processed for preview of the selected particular content.
  • [0010]
    Other systems, methods, and/or computer program products according to the exemplary embodiments will be or become apparent to one with ordinary skill in the art upon review of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, and/or computer program products be included within this description, be within the scope of the claims, and be protected by the accompanying claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the exemplary embodiments are better understood when the following Detailed Description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • [0012]
    FIGS. 1 and 2 are schematics illustrating a sampling application, according to the exemplary embodiments;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic illustrating a sample communicating to a remote control, according to more exemplary embodiments;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic illustrating an ancillary stream delivered to a communications device, according to even more exemplary embodiments;
  • [0015]
    FIGS. 5 and 6 are schematics illustrating various routings for the ancillary stream of data, according to more exemplary embodiments;
  • [0016]
    FIGS. 7 and 8 are schematics illustrating routings for an electronic programming guide, according to yet more exemplary embodiments;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 9 is a schematic illustrating a preview command, according to still more exemplary embodiments;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 10 is a block diagram showing the sampling application residing in a processor-controlled system, according to even more exemplary embodiments;
  • [0019]
    FIGS. 11-17 are schematics illustrating the sampling application operating within various communications devices, according to more exemplary embodiments; and
  • [0020]
    FIG. 18 is a flowchart illustrating a method of providing sample content, according to still more exemplary embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0021]
    The exemplary embodiments will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings. The exemplary embodiments may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. These embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those of ordinary skill in the art. Moreover, all statements herein reciting embodiments, as well as specific examples thereof, are intended to encompass both structural and functional equivalents thereof. Additionally, it is intended that such equivalents include both currently known equivalents as well as equivalents developed in the future (i.e., any elements developed that perform the same function, regardless of structure).
  • [0022]
    Thus, for example, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the diagrams, schematics, illustrations, and the like represent conceptual views or processes illustrating the exemplary embodiments. The functions of the various elements shown in the figures may be provided through the use of dedicated hardware as well as hardware capable of executing associated software. Similarly, any switches shown in the figures are conceptual only. Their function may be carried out through the operation of program logic, through dedicated logic, through the interaction of program control and dedicated logic, or even manually, the particular technique being selectable by the entity implementing this invention. Those of ordinary skill in the art further understand that the exemplary hardware, software, processes, methods, and/or operating systems described herein are for illustrative purposes and, thus, are not intended to be limited to any particular named manufacturer.
  • [0023]
    According to exemplary embodiments, methods, systems, and products provide sample content from electronic programming guides. The exemplary embodiments allow a user to view an electronic programming guide and select content for sampling. That is, the exemplary embodiments allow the user to browse, or sample, content listed in the electronic programming guide. As the user browses the electronic programming guide, the user may wish to sample some movie, program, or other content listed in the electronic programming guide. The exemplary embodiments permit the user to highlight, select, or otherwise input a selection that indicates the content to be sampled. The exemplary embodiments, however, deliver that sampled content to any communications address. That is, although the user may view the sample on a television, the exemplary embodiments permit the user to view the sample at any communications device. The exemplary embodiments, for example, allow the user to view the electronic programming guide on a television, while the sampled content is delivered to a communications address associated with a wireless cell phone. As the following paragraphs explain, the sampled content may be additionally or alternatively delivered to any communications device, such as a computer, a personal digital assistant, and/or a remote control. The user is thus not constrained to view both the electronic programming guide and the sampled content at the same device. The exemplary embodiments permit the user, if the user so chooses, to “split” the sampled content from the electronic programming guide and deliver the sampled content to any communications address.
  • [0024]
    FIGS. 1 and 2 are schematics illustrating exemplary embodiments. According to one embodiment, a sampling application 20 is stored in memory 22 of a media device 24. Some or all portions of the sampling application 20 may be stored in memory in a remote computer server, as will be detailed later. Although the media device 24 is generically shown, the media device 24, as will be later explained, may be a computer, a television, a television integrated with a decoder (or set-top box), a personal digital assistant (PDA), a cordless/cellular/EP phone, or any other wireline/wireless communications device. The media device 24 receives a programming guide, e.g., an electronic programming guide (EPG) 26 from a communications network 28. The electronic programming guide 26 comprises an electronic listing of available content, such as movies, programs, music, games, or other content that is currently playing, playing at a scheduled time in the future, or available on demand for viewing at any time. The electronic programming guide 26 may additionally or alternatively comprise a listing of available channels and the programming available on each channel. It should be appreciated that the programming guide received by the media device 24 is not limited to an EPG but may be any other type of programming guide. The media device 24 also receives an ancillary stream 30 of data via the communications network 28. The ancillary stream 30 of data comprises samples of content listed in the electronic programming guide 26. As the following paragraphs further explain, the sampling application 20 provides a sample 32, or preview, of content listed in the electronic programming guide 26. That is, as a user reviews the electronic programming guide 26, the sampling application 20 processes the ancillary stream 30 of data to provide a preview 32 of content listed in the electronic programming guide 26. The sampling application 20 then communicates that sample 32 or preview to any communications address 34 the user specifies. FIG. 1, for example, illustrates the sampling application 20 communicating the sample 32 to a communications device 36. The sample 32 communicates via the communications network 28 to the communications address 34 associated with the communications device 36.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic further illustrating exemplary embodiments. Here the media device 24 is shown as an integrated television 38 and decoder 40. The decoder 40, however, may be a separate component, commonly termed a set-top box. A processor 42 receives the electronic programming guide 26 and the ancillary stream 30 of data. The processor then causes the electronic programming guide 26 to be visually presented via a display device 44. As a subscriber browses the electronic programming guide 26, the subscriber can preview content. The processor 42 receives a subscriber input that selects a particular content from the electronic programming guide 26. The subscriber, for example, places an on-screen cursor 46 over listed content. The sampling application 20 filters and processes the ancillary stream 30 of data to produce the sample 32 of the content listed in the electronic programming guide 26. How the sampling application filters and processes the ancillary stream 30 of data is described in more detail in the commonly assigned U.S. application Ser. No. 11/156,190 (Attorney Docket BS040438), filed Jun. 17, 2005 and entitled “Methods, Systems, and Products for Providing Sample Content,” which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0026]
    The sampling application 20 then communicates the sample 32. The sampling application 20 includes computer code that instructs the processor 42 to communicate the sample 32 to any communications address 34 the user specifies. The processor 42 may communicate with one or more communications interfaces or transceivers 48 that permit access to the communications network 28. The sample 32 is communicated via the communications network 28 to the communications address (shown as reference numeral 34 in FIG. 1) associated with the communications device 36. FIG. 2, for example, illustrates the communications device 36 as a wireless phone 50. The wireless phone 50 includes an auxiliary processor 52 communicating with an auxiliary transceiver 54 and with a display 56. The auxiliary transceiver 54 wirelessly receives the sample 32, and the auxiliary processor 54 processes the sample 32 into a video signal. That video signal is communicated to the display 56. The display 56 visually presents the video signal as a preview 58 of the selected particular content. If the communications device 36 includes audio processing circuitry 60, audio portions of the received sample 32 are processed and audibly presented as audible, sampled content.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 2, for example, shows the cursor 46 hovering over the particular content “True Grit.” The sampling application 20 filters and processes the ancillary stream 30 of data to produce the sample 32 of the content “True Grit.” The sampling application 20 may produce an actual video clip and/or any descriptive information describing the content “True Grit” (such as actors/actresses, director/producer, duration, start/stop times, ratings, textual description, and other information that describes the movie). The sample 32 routes via the communications network 28 to the communications address associated with the wireless phone 50. The wireless phone 50 receives, processes, and displays the sample 32 as the preview 58 of the movie “True Grit.” The user of the wireless phone 50 may watch/listen to the preview 58 and decide if the particular content satisfies the user's expectations. If the user chooses, instead, to sample other content, the user moves the on-screen cursor 46 and selects other listed content to similarly experience other samples.
  • [0028]
    The communications network 28 may have any configuration. The communications network 28, for example, may be a cable network operating in the radio-frequency domain and/or the Internet Protocol (IP) domain. The communications network 32, however, may also include coaxial cables, copper wires, fiber optic lines, and/or hybrid-coaxial lines. The communications network 28 may be a distributed computing network, such as the Internet (sometimes alternatively known as the “World Wide Web”), an intranet, a local-area network (LAN), and/or a wide-area network (WAN). The communications network 32 may even include wireless portions utilizing any portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and any signaling standard (such as the I.E.E.E. 802 family of standards, GSM/CDMA/TDMA or any cellular standard, and/or the ISM band).
  • [0029]
    The preview 58, displayed at the wireless phone 50, may have any resolution. The typically small screen area of the display 56, however, facilitates a low resolution sample to suit the display 56. An even lower resolution sample, however, could be communicated that occupies a smaller portion of the viewable area of the display 56. Any resolution, in fact, may be communicated that allows the user to decide whether the particular content satisfies the user's expectations.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic further illustrating exemplary embodiments. Here the sample 32 is communicated to a remote control 62. The remote control 62 is another of the communications devices 36 that may receive the sample 32. The remote control 62 operates to remotely control the media device 24 (still shown as the integrated television 38 and decoder 40). The remote control 62, however, may remotely control additional devices or alternatively control other devices. The remote control 62 is associated with the communications address 34, so the sample 32 communicates from the sampling application 20 via the communications network 28.
  • [0031]
    The remote control 62 receives the sample 32. The remote control 62 includes the auxiliary processor 52 communicating with the auxiliary transceiver 54. The auxiliary processor 52 and the auxiliary transceiver 54 are tailored to suit the needs and functions of the remote control 62. The auxiliary transceiver 54 wirelessly receives the sample 32, and the auxiliary processor 54 processes the sample 32 as a video signal. The remote control 62 may also include the display 56, and the display 56 visually presents the video signal as the preview 58 of the selected particular content. If the remote control 62 includes the audio processing circuitry 60, audio portions of the received sample 32 are processed and audibly presented as audible, sampled content.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 3, then, illustrates how a user may preview content at the remote control 62. When the user places or hovers the cursor 46 above the particular content “True Grit,” the sampling application 20 filters and processes the ancillary stream 30 of data to produce the sample 32 of the content “True Grit.” The sample 32 routes via the communications network 28 to the remote control 62. The remote control 62 receives, processes, and displays the sample 32 on the display 56 as the preview 58 of the movie “True Grit.” Here, then, the user observes the electronic programming guide 26 on the media device 24 (e.g., the television 38), while the user observes the preview 58 at the remote control 62. If the preview 58 of “True Grit” does not satisfy the user, the user may move the on-screen cursor 46 and select other listed content for sampling.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic illustrating the ancillary stream 30 being delivered to the communications device 36, according to more exemplary embodiments. Here the electronic programming guide 26 is delivered to the media device 24 (e.g., the television 38), while the ancillary stream 30 of data is delivered to the communications device 36. The communications device 36 is shown as the wireless phone 50. Remember, the ancillary stream 30 of data comprises samples of content listed in the electronic programming guide 26. So, here, while the user views the electronic programming guide 26 on the media device 24 (such as the television 38 in FIGS. 2 and 3), the samples are separately delivered to the user's wireless phone 50. That is, the user views the electronic programming guide 26 on the television, while the samples are delivered and viewed on the user's wireless phone 50. This exemplary embodiment, then, allows the user to preview content at the wireless phone 50. The wireless phone 50 is only one example of the communications devices that the user may use to remotely preview samples of content.
  • [0034]
    As shown in detail in FIG. 4, the sampling application 20 may be stored in the memory 22 of the media device 24. A companion sampling application 70 may be stored in memory 72 of the communications device 36. The sampling application 20 and the companion sampling application 70 may have the same or different computer code, but they cooperate together and/or communicate between each other. As FIG. 4 illustrates, the media device 24 receives the electronic programming guide 26 via the communications network 28, while the ancillary stream 30 of data is communicated via the communications network 28 to the communications device 36.
  • [0035]
    The communications device 36 receives the ancillary stream 30 of data. FIG. 4 illustrates the communications device 36 as the wireless phone 50. The wireless phone 50 includes the auxiliary processor 52 communicating with the auxiliary transceiver 54 and with the display 56. The auxiliary transceiver 54 wirelessly receives the ancillary stream 30 of data, and the ancillary stream 30 of data communicates to the auxiliary processor 52. When the user places the on-screen cursor 46 over the content listed in the electronic programming guide 26, the sampling application 20 communicates that user input 74 to the communications address associated with the wireless phone 50. The user input 74 is received by the wireless phone 50, and the companion sampling application 70 filters and processes the ancillary stream 30 of data to produce a sample of the content selected by the user from the electronic programming guide 26. The auxiliary processor 52 then processes the sample as a video signal, and the display 56 visually presents the video signal as the preview 58 of the selected content. Again, when the user places or hovers the cursor 46 above the content “True Grit” shown in the electronic programming guide 26, a preview of the movie appears on the display 56 at the wireless phone 50. If the user wishes to preview other content, the user need only move the cursor 46 and select other listed content for sampling.
  • [0036]
    FIGS. 5 and 6 are schematics illustrating various routings for the ancillary stream 30 of data, according to more exemplary embodiments. As FIG. 4 illustrated, the ancillary stream 30 of data communicates via the communications network 28 to the communications device 36 (e.g., the wireless phone 50). FIG. 5 illustrates that the ancillary stream 30 of data may be routed from a service provider's server 76 to the communications device 36. The service provider's server 76 may even store and execute a second companion sampling application 78, and the second companion sampling application 78 cooperates with, and/or communicates with, the sampling application 20 and the companion sampling application 70. Here, then, the service provider 80 routes the electronic programming guide to the media device (shown, respectively, as reference numerals 26 and 24 in FIG. 4), while the service provider 80 routes ancillary stream 30 of data to the communications address associated with the communications device 36 (e.g., the wireless phone 50).
  • [0037]
    FIG. 6 illustrates another routing. Here the ancillary stream 30 of data routes to the media device 24, and the media device 24 then forwards the ancillary stream 30 of data to the communications device 36. As FIG. 6 illustrates, the service provider 80 routes both the electronic programming guide 26 and the ancillary stream 30 of data to the media device 24. The media device 24 then forwards the ancillary stream 30 of data to the communications device 36. The sampling application 20, operating in the media device 24, may include code that instructs the processor 42 to process, condition, or otherwise alter the ancillary stream 30 of data to suit the hardware and/or communication medium between the media device 24 and the communications device 36. The sampling application 20, for example, may alter a resolution or bit rate to compensate for bandwidth limitations.
  • [0038]
    FIGS. 7 and 8 are schematics illustrating alternative routings for the electronic programming guide 26, according to yet more exemplary embodiments. FIG. 7 illustrates that the electronic programming guide 26 may be directly routed from the service provider's server 76 to the communications device 36. The service provider 80 routes the electronic programming guide to the communications address associated with the communications device 36 (e.g., the wireless phone 50). The second companion sampling application 78, operating in the server 76, may include code that processes, conditions, or otherwise alters the electronic programming guide 26 to suit the hardware capabilities and/or the communication medium between the server 76 and the communications device 36. The second companion sampling application 78, for example, may alter the resolution or the bit rate of the electronic programming guide 26 to compensate for bandwidth limitations.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 8 illustrates yet another routing. Here the electronic programming guide 26 routes to the media device 24, and the media device 24 then forwards the electronic programming guide 26 to the communications device 36. The sampling application 20, operating in the media device 24, may include code that instructs the processor 42 to process, condition, or otherwise alter the electronic programming guide 26 to suit the hardware and/or communication medium between the media device 24 and the communications device 36. Perhaps, for example, the media device 24 and the communications device 36 communicate via an RF or infrared link (or any other portion of the electromagnetic spectrum), and the sampling application 20 conditions the electronic programming guide 26 to suit the bandwidth capabilities (or “bottlenecks”) of this link.
  • [0040]
    As the above paragraphs mention, the exemplary embodiments may compensate for communications bottlenecks. If any portion of the communications network 28 experiences a bandwidth bottleneck, the exemplary embodiments may process the electronic programming guide 26 and/or the ancillary stream 30 of data to account for this bottleneck. If, for example, the communications network 28 utilizes a wireless I.E.E.E. 802 portion, the permissible bit rate over this wireless link may be slower than higher bandwidth portions of the communications network 28. The exemplary embodiments, then, may reduce bit rates to compensate for this bottleneck. The exemplary embodiments may also compensate or tailor for hardware capabilities, such as the screen size of the display 56 of the communications device 36. Should the display 56 require a low resolution video signal, then the exemplary embodiments can tailor electronic programming guide 26 and/or the ancillary stream 30 of data to suit the display 56 capabilities.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 9 is a schematic illustrating a preview command, according to still more exemplary embodiments. As the user views the preview 58, the user may wish to take some action involving the previewed content. Suppose, again, that the user is previewing the movie “True Grit” on the display 56 of the wireless phone 50. The user may wish to view the preview 58 at another destination having a larger display. The exemplary embodiments, then, allow the user to redirect or transfer the preview 58 to any destination. Similarly, should the user decide to record the preview 58, or the entire content, the exemplary embodiments allow the user to issue recording commands. The exemplary embodiments also allow the user to share the preview 58 with friends and family, simply by entering additional communications addresses or destinations.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 9, then, illustrates a command menu 90. The command menu 90 is a graphical user interface that presents options to the user. The command menu 90 is invoked by a command or keypad sequence entered via the communications device 36 (in this example, the wireless phone 50 has a keypad 92, and the user enters a key sequence on the keypad 92). The command menu 90, however, may also be invoked using the sampling application 20 at the media device 24. FIG. 9 shows the command menu 90 displayed on the display 56 of the communications device 36, although the command menu 90 may also be displayed at some other destination (such as at the television 38 shown in FIG. 2). While FIG. 9 shows the command menu 90 enlarged for clarity, the command menu 90 could be a tile or window appearing along with the preview 58.
  • [0043]
    The command menu 90 visually and/or audibly presents options. As the above paragraphs mention, the user may desire to record the preview 58 or the entire content. The command menu 90 may include a record command button 94 that permits recording the sample 32. When the user highlights or otherwise selects the record command button 94, the command menu 90 may prompt the user to choose a storage destination. That is, the sample 32 may be locally stored on memory of the communications device 36 (such as the wireless phone 50). The sample 32 may also be stored in memory of the media device 24, and/or the sample 32 may be remotely stored at any destination accessible via the communications network 28. Not only may the preview sample 32 be stored, by the user may also wish to store the entire content (e.g., the user may wish to store the video preview of “True Grit” and/or the entire movie). The entire content file may be locally or remotely stored, in much the same way as the sample 32.
  • [0044]
    The user may also choose to redirect the sample 32. Because the communications device 36 may have a small display screen, monochromatic color capabilities, or limited audio/video capabilities, the user may wish to view the preview 58 at another destination. The wireless phone 50, for example, typically has a small screen size, so the user may wish to redirect the sample 32 to some other destination. The command menu 90 may include a redirect command button 96 that permits redirecting the sample 32 to another destination. The redirect command button 96 instructs the sampling application 20, operating in the media device 24, to redirect or transfer the sample 32 to another destination. When the user highlights or otherwise selects the redirect command button 96, the command menu 90 may prompt the user to input one or more communications addresses associated with an alternate destination. The communications device 36 (e.g., the wireless phone 50) sends a message to the sampling application 20, and the message instructs the sampling application 20 to redirect the sample 32 to the chosen destination. The command menu 90 may also visually or audibly present a sub-menu that lists recently or frequently selected destinations, and the user may select an alternate destination from the list.
  • [0045]
    The sample 32 may also be shared. Perhaps the user would like other people to view the preview 58 to ensure the content meets a group's expectations. The user may wish that friends also view the preview 58. The command menu 90, then, may include a share command button 98, and the share command button 98 permits the user to share the sample 32 with other destinations. When the user highlights or otherwise selects the share command button 98, the command menu 90 may prompt the user to input one or more communications addresses associated with the shared recipients. The communications device 36 (e.g., the wireless phone 50) sends a message to the sampling application 20, and the message instructs the sampling application 20 to send copies of the sample 32 to the shared recipient's communications address. The command menu 90 may also visually or audibly present a sub-menu that lists recently or frequently selected shared destinations, and the user may select a shared destination from the list.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 10 depicts another possible operating environment for the exemplary embodiments. FIG. 10 is a block diagram showing the sampling application 20 residing in a processor-controlled system 150 (such as the media device 24 or the communications device 36). FIG. 10, however, may also represent a block diagram of any computer or communications device in which the sampling application 20 may operate. The sampling application 20 operates within a system memory device. The sampling application 20, for example, is shown residing in a memory subsystem 152. The sampling application 20, however, could also reside in flash memory 154 or peripheral storage device 156. The computer system 150 also has one or more central processors 158 executing an operating system. The operating system, as is well known, has a set of instructions that control the internal functions of the computer system 150. A system bus 160 communicates signals, such as data signals, control signals, and address signals, between the central processor 158 and a system controller 162. The system controller 162 provides a bridging function between the one or more central processors 158, a graphics subsystem 164, the memory subsystem 152, and a PCI (Peripheral Controller Interface) bus 166. The PCI bus 166 is controlled by a Peripheral Bus Controller 168. The Peripheral Bus Controller 168 is an integrated circuit that serves as an input/output hub for various peripheral ports. These peripheral ports could include, for example, a keyboard port 170, a mouse port 172, a serial port 174, and/or a parallel port 176 for a video display unit, one or more external device ports 178, and networking ports 180 (such as USB, SCSI, or Ethernet). The Peripheral Bus Controller 168 could also include an audio subsystem 182. Those of ordinary skill in the art understand that the program, processes, methods, and systems described herein are not limited to any particular computer system or computer hardware.
  • [0047]
    One example of the central processor 158 is a microprocessor. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., for example, manufactures a full line of ATHLON™ microprocessors (ATHLON™ is a trademark of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., One AMD Place, P.O. Box 3453, Sunnyvale, Calif. 94088-3453, 408.732.2400, 800.538.8450, www.amd.com). The Intel Corporation also manufactures a family of X86 and P86 microprocessors (Intel Corporation, 2200 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara, Calif. 95052-8119, 408.765.8080, www.intel.com). Other manufacturers also offer microprocessors. Such other manufacturers include Motorola, Inc. (1303 East Algonquin Road, P.O. Box A3309 Schaumburg, Ill. 60196, www.Motorola.com), International Business Machines Corp. (New Orchard Road, Armonk, N.Y. 10504, (914) 499-1900, www.ibm.com), and Transmeta Corp. (3940 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, Calif. 95054, www.transmeta.com). Those skilled in the art further understand that the program, processes, methods, and systems described herein are not limited to any particular manufacturer's central processor.
  • [0048]
    According to an exemplary embodiment, any of the WINDOWS® (WINDOWS® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond Wash. 98052-6399, 425.882.8080, www.Microsoft.com) operating systems may be used. Other operating systems, however, are also suitable. Such other operating systems would include the UNIX® operating system (UNIX® is a registered trademark of the Open Source Group, www.opensource.org), the UNIX-based Linux operating system, WINDOWS NT®, and Mac® OS (Mac® is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, Calif. 95014, 408.996.1010, www.apple.com). Those of ordinary skill in the art again understand that the program, processes, methods, and systems described herein are not limited to any particular operating system.
  • [0049]
    The system memory device (shown as memory subsystem 152, flash memory 154, or peripheral storage device 156) may also contain an application program. The application program cooperates with the operating system and with a video display unit (via the serial port 174 and/or the parallel port 176) to provide a Graphical User Interface (GUI). The Graphical User Interface typically includes a combination of signals communicated along the keyboard port 170 and the mouse port 172. The Graphical User Interface provides a convenient visual and/or audible interface with a subscriber of the computer system 150.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 11 is a schematic illustrating still more exemplary embodiments. FIG. 11 illustrates that the sampling application 20 may alternatively or additionally operate within various other communications devices 36. FIG. 11, for example, illustrates that the sampling application 20 may entirely or partially operate within a personal digital assistant (PDA) 200, a Global Positioning System (GPS) device 202, an interactive television 204, an Internet Protocol (IP) phone 206, a pager 208, a cellular/satellite phone 210, or any computer system and/or communications device utilizing a digital signal processor (DSP) 212. The communications device 36 may also include watches, radios, vehicle electronics, clocks, printers, media devices, and other apparatuses and systems.
  • [0051]
    FIGS. 12-14 are schematics further illustrating various other communications devices for providing sample content, according to the exemplary embodiments. FIG. 12 is a block diagram of a Subscriber Identity Module 220, while FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate, respectively, the Subscriber Identity Module 220 embodied in a plug 222 and the Subscriber Identity Module 220 embodied in a card 224. As those of ordinary skill in the art recognize, the Subscriber Identity Module 220 may be used in conjunction with many communications devices (such as the wireless phone 50 shown in FIG. 2 or the remote control 62 shown in FIG. 3). The Subscriber Identity Module 220 stores subscriber information (such as the subscriber's International Mobile Subscriber Identity, the subscriber's Ki number, and other subscriber information), perhaps the subscriber's profile (shown as reference numeral 108), and any portion of the sampling application 20. As those of ordinary skill in the art also recognize, the plug 222 and the card 224 each interface with the communications device according to GSM Standards 2.17 and 11.11 and ISO Standard 7816, with each incorporated herein by reference. The GSM Standard 2.17 is formally known as “European digital cellular telecommunications system (Phase 1); Subscriber Identity Modules, Functional Characteristics (GSM 02.17 V3.2.0 (1995 January)).” The GSM Standard 11.11 is formally known as “Digital cellular telecommunications system (Phase 2+) (GSM); Specification of the Subscriber Identity Module—Mobile Equipment (Subscriber Identity Module—ME) interface (GSM 11.11 V5.3.0 (1996 July)).” Both GSM standards are available from the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (650 route des Lucioles, 06921 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, FRANCE, Tel.: +33 (0)4 92 94 42 00, Fax: +33 (0)4 93 65 47 16, www.etsi.org). The ISO Standard 7816 is formally known as “Information technology—Identification cards—Integrated circuit(s) cards with contacts,” and the standard is available from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (1, rue de Varembé, Case postale 56CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland, Telephone +41 22 749 01 11, Telefax +41 22 733 34 30, www.iso.org).
  • [0052]
    FIG. 12 is a block diagram of the Subscriber Identity Module 220, whether embodied as the plug 222 of FIG. 13 or as the card 224 of FIG. 14. Here the Subscriber Identity Module 220 comprises a processor 226 (μP) communicating with memory modules 228 via a data bus 230. The memory modules may include Read Only Memory (ROM) 232, Random Access Memory (RAM) and or flash memory 234, and Electrically Erasable-Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) 236. The Subscriber Identity Module 220 stores some or all of the sampling application 20 in one or more of the memory modules 228. FIG. 12 shows the sampling application 20 residing in the Erasable-Programmable Read Only Memory 236, yet the sampling application 20 could alternatively or additionally reside in the Read Only Memory 232 and/or the Random Access/Flash Memory 234. An Input/Output module 238 handles communication between the Subscriber Identity Module 220 and the media device. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, there are many suitable ways for implementing the operation and physical/memory structure of the Subscriber Identity Module. If, however, the reader desires more information on the Subscriber Identity Module, the reader is directed to the following sources: LAWRENCE HARTE et al., GSM SUPERPHONES 99-100, 113-14 (1999); SIEGMUND REDL et al., GSM AND PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS HANDBOOK 303-69 (1998); and JOACHIM TISAL, GSM CELLULAR RADIO TELEPHONY 99-130 (1997), with each incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 15 is a schematic further illustrating various communications devices for providing sample content, according to the exemplary embodiments. FIG. 15 is a block diagram of another communications device 250 utilizing any portion of the sampling application 20. In one embodiment, the communications device 250 comprises a transceiver unit 252, an antenna 254, a digital baseband chipset 256, and a man/machine interface (MMI) 258. The transceiver unit 252 includes transmitter circuitry 260 and receiver circuitry 262 for receiving and transmitting radio-frequency (RF) signals. The transceiver unit 252 couples to the antenna 254 for converting electrical current to and from electromagnetic waves. The digital baseband chipset 256 contains a digital signal processor (DSP) 264 and performs signal processing functions for audio (voice) signals and RF signals. As FIG. 15 shows, the digital baseband chipset 256 may also include an on-board microprocessor 266 that interacts with the man/machine interface (MMI) 258. The man/machine interface (MMI) 258 may comprise a display device 268, a keypad 270, and the Subscriber Identity Module 220. The on-board processor 266 performs GSM protocol functions and control functions for the radio circuitry 260 and 262, for the display device 268, and for the keypad 270. The on-board processor 266 may also interface with the Subscriber Identity Module 220 and with the sampling application 20 residing in the memory module 228 of the Subscriber Identity Module 220. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that there may be many suitable architectural configurations for the elements of the communications device 250. If the reader desires a more detailed explanation, the reader is invited to consult the following sources: LAWRENCE HARTE et al., GSM SUPERPHONES 105-120 (1999); SIEGMUND REDL et al., GSM AND PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS HANDBOOK 389-474 (1998); and JOACHM TISAL, GSM CELLULAR RADIO TELEPHONY 99-130 (1997), with each incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0054]
    The sampling application 20 may be utilized regardless of signaling standard. As those of ordinary skill in the art recognize, FIGS. 12-15 illustrate a Global System for Mobile (GSM) media device. That is, the communications device utilizes the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications signaling standard. Those of ordinary skill in the art, however, also recognize the sampling application 20 is equally applicable to any media device utilizing the Time Division Multiple Access signaling standard, the Code Division Multiple Access signaling standard, the “dual-mode” GSM-ANSI Interoperability Team (GAIT) signaling standard, or any variant of the GSM/CDMA/TDMA signaling standard.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 16 is a block diagram further illustrating the communications device 36, according to yet more of the exemplary embodiments. Here the communications device 36 is shown as a digital high definition television (HDTV) system 300. Although an HDTV system is shown, the exemplary embodiments are applicable to any television design. The concepts, for example, are applicable to analog circuitry, digital circuitry, analog signals, and/or or digital signals. The television may include an encoder/decoder, such as an embedded set-top box. The term “television,” however, may encompass a stand-alone set-top box that is a separate component from the television. The television may also utilize any display device technology, such as a cathode-ray, a liquid crystal, a diode, digital micromirror, light processor, or plasma. The content sharing application 22 may be stored in any memory location or device in the television 16. FIG. 16, though, is only a simplified block diagram. The operating and engineering principles are already known in the art and will not be repeated here. If, however, the reader desires more information on the television, the reader is directed to the following sources: MICHEAL ROBIN & MICHEL POULIN, DIGITAL TELEVISION FUNDAMENTALS (2000); JERRY WHITAKER AND BLAIR BENSON, VIDEO AND TELEVISION ENGINEERING (2003); JERRY WHITAKER, DTV HANDBOOK (2001); JERRY WHITAKER, DTV: THE REVOLUTION IN ELECTRONIC IMAGING (1998); and EDWARD M. SCHWALB, ITV HANDBOOK: TECHNOLOGIES AND STANDARDS (2004), with each incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 17 is a block diagram of the remote control 62 shown in FIG. 3, according to even more exemplary embodiments. The remote control 22 includes the auxiliary processor 52 interfacing with the display 56 and with a keypad 330. The processor 52 also interfaces with the auxiliary transceiver 54 to wirelessly send control signals to the media device (shown as reference numeral 24 in FIG. 1). The remote control 62 includes means 340 for audibly presenting the sample (shown as reference numeral 32 in FIG. 1-3 and 9). The means 340 for audibly presenting the sample may include a speaker, a piezoelectric element, and/or any other device that emits sounds. The remote control 62 may also include a video encoder/decoder 350 for decoding video signals and a media player 360 for executing media files. The remote control 62 may include camera circuitry 360 for capturing digital images and video (such as still photos, movies, and video calls). A web browser 370 may be stored in memory 380, and the web browser 370 allows navigation of local and remote content destinations. While the processor 52 is shown as a component distinct from the other components in FIG. 17, it should be appreciated that the processor and one or more of the components shown in FIG. 17 may be integrated within the same component.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 18 is a flowchart illustrating a method of providing sample content, according to still more exemplary embodiments. An electronic programming guide, comprising a listing of available content, is received (Block 400). An ancillary stream of data is also received, and the ancillary stream of data comprises samples of content listed in the electronic programming guide (Block 402). The ancillary stream of data may comprise samples of all available content listed in the electronic programming guide (Block 404). The ancillary stream of data may comprise samples of a subset of available content listed in the electronic programming guide (Block 406). The ancillary stream of data may comprise samples of content matching a profile of the user (Block 408). A user input is received that selects a particular content from the electronic programming guide (Block 410). Unselected samples of content are filtered from the ancillary stream of data to produce a sample of the selected particular content (Block 412). The sample is processed into a video signal at a communications device (Block 414). The video signal is displayed, thus producing the preview of the selected particular content (Block 416).
  • [0058]
    The sampling application (shown as reference numeral 20 in FIGS. 1-17) may be physically embodied on or in a computer-readable medium. This computer-readable medium may include CD-ROM, DVD, tape, cassette, floppy disk, memory card, and large-capacity disk (such as IOMEGA®, ZIP®, JAZZ®, and other large-capacity memory products (IOMEGA®, ZIP®, and JAZZ® are registered trademarks of Iomega Corporation, 1821 W. Iomega Way, Roy, Utah 84067, 801.332.1000, www.iomega.com). This computer-readable medium, or media, could be distributed to end-subscribers, licensees, and assignees. These types of computer-readable media, and other types not mentioned here but considered within the scope of the exemplary embodiments, allow the sampling application to be easily disseminated.
  • [0059]
    The sampling application may be physically embodied on or in any addressable (e.g., HTTP, I.E.E.E. 802.11, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)) wireless device capable of presenting an IP address. Examples could include a computer, a wireless personal digital assistant (PDA), an Internet Protocol mobile phone, or a wireless pager.
  • [0060]
    While the exemplary embodiments have been described with respect to various features, aspects, and embodiments, those skilled and unskilled in the art will recognize the exemplary embodiments are not so limited. Other variations, modifications, and alternative embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the exemplary embodiments.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification725/46, 348/E05.104, 725/135, 348/E05.105, 725/136
International ClassificationH04N7/16, G06F13/00, H04N5/445
Cooperative ClassificationH04N21/4722, H04N21/42204, H04N21/25891, H04N21/23439, H04N21/4316, H04N21/44222, H04N21/482, H04N21/8549, H04N5/44543, H04N21/47
European ClassificationH04N21/442E2, H04N21/4722, H04N21/8549, H04N21/258U3, H04N21/2343V, H04N21/482, H04N5/445M
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 5, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: BELLSOUTH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CORPORATION, DELAW
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HUSLAK, NICHOLAS STEVEN;MCQUAIDE, ARNOLD C.;REEL/FRAME:018854/0592
Effective date: 20050823