(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,781,518 Bi
Hayes et al. (45) Date of Patent: Aug. 24,2004
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FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
DE 197 09 800 Al 9/1998
EP 0 513 443 Al 11/1992
JP 05083765 4/1998
WO PCT/US99/18648 3/2000
Jacob, Jr, Nov. 2001, Publish No. US 2001/0043145.* Ingrid Wickelgren, Apr. 1997, IEEE Spectrum, vol. Apr. 1997, pp. 20-25.*
* cited by examiner
Primary Examiner—Edwin C. Holloway, III (74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Gary R. Jarosik
Methods and systems are disclosed for setting up a universal remote control for operation with a system having devices to be controlled such as a TV, VCR, electronics appliances, wherein the devices are preferably interconnected. One method includes the steps of having the devices to be controlled provide a listing of the capabilities of each device, recognizing a single set of standard abstract feature indicators; processing said indicators; and, mapping said indicators into specific IR codes and keys according to said list of capabilities of said controlled device. One embodiment is optimized for use with a virtual remote control, wherein only icons corresponding to related capabilities is displayed on a touch screen of the virtual remote control. Such an embodiment is particularly well suited for controlling different families of function capability associated with correspondingly different entertainment devices to achieve an integrated entertainment, or task, grouping. Reduction of the icons displayed to the user perforce reduces the apparent complexity of the remote with which the devices are controlled.
29 Claims, 10 Drawing Sheets