Patents Examined by Chris Grant
  • Patent number: 6543052
    Abstract: An Internet-based electronic shopping system hosted on a television-set-top-box combination controlled by a remote control unit. The set-top box (STB) includes a tuner, an internal or external modem and/or cable modem, configured to communicate with an Internet service provider over the appropriate transmission media. The STB also includes purpose-type application software such as voice recognition software and bar code recognition software to support an electronic shopping system. The STB further includes an external interface for connection to a multiplicity of external peripheral devices, such as an interphone, VCR, video camera, printer, and the like. The remote control unit includes a keypad, a microphone, an optional speaker, an optional digital camera, and an optional speaker. Data input to an Internet shopping Web program accessed through the STB's Web browser may thus be made through the microphone, keypad, and optionally through the digital camera.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2003
    Assignee: Fujitsu Limited
    Inventor: Nobuo Ogasawara
  • Patent number: 6539548
    Abstract: An Operations Center for television entertainment systems that provide television programming to consumer homes is disclosed. The Operations Center organizes and packages television programming and program information for delivery to and from consumer homes. The Operations Center includes a computerized packaging system for creating a program control information signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2003
    Assignee: Discovery Communications, Inc.
    Inventors: John S. Hendricks, Alfred E. Bonner
  • Patent number: 6532589
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for providing a calendar-based on-screen planner in an electronic program guide for broadcast events are provided, wherein at least one electronic program guide is generated and displayed representing programming on a number of channels. A first on-screen planner is generated comprising at least one monthly calendar view. The first on-screen planner, which may be accessed from the electronic program guide, provides for a review of selected broadcast activity for a number of days of a selected month. The selected broadcast activity is selected from a group comprising broadcasts selected for automatic tuning, broadcasts selected for recording, and pay-per-view broadcasts selected for purchase. A second on-screen planner is generated comprising at least one daily calendar view. The second on-screen planner, which may be accessed from the first on-screen planner, provides for review and editing of the selected broadcast activity for at least one day of the selected month.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2003
    Assignees: Sony Corp., Sony Electronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Andy Proehl, Kim Mingo, Kazuto Mugura, Yuko S. Nishikawa, Jenny S. Chow
  • Patent number: 6526575
    Abstract: Multimedia distribution and broadcast systems and related processes are provided for transmitting multimedia contents and control information from a central uplink facility to a remote downlink via a satellite. The system is preferably implemented in order to generate sequences of multimedia that are broadcast from the remote downlink facility to viewers. The display arrangements of the multimedia sequences are varied and customized by each downlink facility using the control information in order to better inform and entertain viewers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2003
    Assignee: United Video Properties, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert H. McCoy, Edward R. Andes, David M. Berezowski, Bruce A. Blackwell, Franklin E. Boyer, Jon R. Braunsma, James T. Buckley, Eric Cockrell, Timothy B. Demers, Harlan Ford, Donald C. Kern, Pamela S. Klich, Terry J. Kroh, Randall C. Lievsay, Douglas E. Naufel, Steven P. Reiser, Alan K. Roper, Ronald R. Russell, Robert A. Wallis
  • Patent number: 6505348
    Abstract: A multiple Interactive Program Guide (IPG) system provides different television programming and different IPGs to several different users respectively. A single set-top box is capable of providing programming and scheduling data to several different television sets. Each of the different IPGs share a common database. Therefore, a first IPG being viewed by a first user can display data added or modified via a second IPG by a second user of the system. Furthermore, the data added or modified by the second user can influence the viewing rights of the first user. Also, all the competing and conflicting requests for limited resources, such as VCR scheduled recordings, will be brought to the users' attention and will be displayed by the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 7, 2003
    Assignee: Starsight Telecast, Inc.
    Inventors: James H. Knowles, Kenneth David Johnson, Gordon Chang
  • Patent number: 6502242
    Abstract: A system and method are described for providing interactive television services and for switching between television programs, such as to an interactive program session from another program. An interactive server, capable of providing requested interactive video services to a set of subscribers in a given geographic area, is coupled to a network to which subscriber set top boxes are also coupled. Television programming, which may be furnished by any number of sources, is accompanied by a signal that indicates the availability of other programming, such as interactive television service related to the program being viewed, as well as information to be used in requesting such service. The user, when notified by this signal, may input to the set top box a request for a second program, such as an interactive program or application. The identity of the original program channel is stored, and a session with the video service provider is established over the network.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2002
    Assignee: BellSouth Intellectual Property Corporation
    Inventors: Wayne R. Howe, Fred Thomas Danner, III, John R. Mauney
  • Patent number: 6493878
    Abstract: A television broadcasting system and method of using same for transmitting a plurality of television channel signals is provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2002
    Inventor: Lord Samuel A Kassatly
  • Patent number: 6486907
    Abstract: A satellite signal distribution system including a headend which includes a fiberoptic transmitter that combines satellite signals from a satellite antenna with non-satellite television signals, a plurality of signal receive and distribution units, a plurality of optical fiber links which communicate the combined satellite and non-satellite signals between the headend and the plurality of signal receive and distribution units, and a multiplicity of signal links which communicate signals between each of the plurality of signal receive and distribution units and a plurality of satellite signal receivers and non-satellite signal receivers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2002
    Assignee: Foxcom Ltd.
    Inventors: Allan Farber, Mor Alon, Howard Loboda
  • Patent number: 6481010
    Abstract: An integrated DSS/WebTV receiver is communicatively connected to an Internet service provider, a DSS service provider, and (optionally) a local broadcast station to provide a display of DSS programs, Internet web sites, and local broadcast channels in a seamless fashion. The DSS/WebTV receiver generates a graphical user interface (GUI), displayed on a television screen, for facilitating a user's navigation through the DSS, Internet, and local broadcast data. The GUI includes a TV Planner icon which, if selected by the user, causes the televison to display a monthly calender (or recording/reminder list) that indicates which programs are purchased and/or selected for recording by a VCR. A “Purchase” icon appears adjacent purchased programs and a “Record” icon appears adjacent programs to be recorded. If the user selects “Purchase” icon, the user is visually presented (e.g., via a pull-down screen) with the cost, date, and time of the program purchased or to be purchased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2002
    Assignees: Sony Corporation, Sony Electronics Inc.
    Inventors: Yuko S. Nishikawa, Jenny S. Chow, Kim Mingo, Kazuto Mugura
  • Patent number: 6463585
    Abstract: A novel multiple channel architecture is designed to allow targeted advertising directed to television terminals connected to an operations center or a cable headend. Program channels carry television programs. During commercial breaks in the television programs, advertisements, which are also broadcast on the program channel, are displayed. However, additional feeder channels carry alternate advertising that may be better suited for certain viewing audiences. The operations center or the cable headend generate a group assignment plan that assigns the television terminals to groups, based on factors such as area of dominant influence and household income. A switching plan is then generated that instructs the television terminals to remain with the program channel or to switch to one of the alternate feeder channels during the program breaks. The television terminals record which channels were viewed during the program breaks, and report this information to the cable headends and the operations center.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2002
    Assignee: Discovery Communications, Inc.
    Inventors: John S. Hendricks, Alfred E. Bonner, John S. McCoskey, Michael L. Asmussen
  • Patent number: 6463586
    Abstract: A terminal that facilitates efficient, flexible and user-friendly navigation of a plurality of program services provided by an associated television network. The terminal may be embodied in a home communication terminal (HCT) or other suitable device externally connected to a television or monitor, or as an integral component of a television or a computer. The terminal receives a user input identifying a user selected ordering scheme for the program services provided by the associated television system. The terminal either generates a display table or utilizes a previously generated display table, which in either case maps (i.e., orders) the program services as defined by a service table according to the selected ordering scheme for browsing by the subscriber. The ordering scheme is based upon at least one service attribute of the service information, such as the short description, long description, or service application associated with each program service.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2002
    Assignee: Scientific-Atlanta, Inc.
    Inventor: Dean F. Jerding
  • Patent number: 6460179
    Abstract: Method and arrangements for transmitting and receiving menus, e.g. for accessing an electronic television programme guide. Each menu comprises a plurality of menu items which can be selected by a user. With each menu item, a subpicture can be associated. A subpicture is displayed when the cursor touches an associated menu item on screen. Thus, by moving the cursor over the screen, the subpicture dynamically changes so as to display a brief explanation of the menu items.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2002
    Assignee: U.S. Philips Corporation
    Inventors: Christoph Kretz, Hugh Cautley
  • Patent number: 6449767
    Abstract: A control device for a system for displaying video data includes an output port configured to couple to the video display and input ports configured to couple to a plurality of sources for display content. An image generator is coupled to the input ports and the output port and generates a portal image to be displayed on the video display as a personalized portal screen. The personalized portal screen has a plurality of integrated display options personalized to a viewer's preferences. Each display option corresponds to one of the sources for display content or content within one of the sources. The display options include viewports that display content from selected sources and further including links to other sources.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2002
    Assignee: Keen Personal Media, Inc.
    Inventors: Russell M. Krapf, Bradley S. Masters
  • Patent number: 6442757
    Abstract: A channel map in an electronic television program guide system that includes channel numbers and alphanumeric channel labels is updated. The tuner in the system is tuned to a channel number of a television channel that is included in the channel map. Data is extracted from the television signal that includes an alphanumeric label for the tuned television channel. The channel mapis revised according to the alphanumeric label for the tuned television channel if the alphanumeric label in the extracted data for the tuned television channel does not correspond with the alphanumeric channel label stored in the channel map for the tuned television channel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2002
    Assignee: Index Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth S. Hancock, Peter C. Schoaff, Eric T. Shalkey, Wensdy Whitehead, Douglas B. Macrae
  • Patent number: 6430742
    Abstract: A television signal distribution device comprises a plurality of downgoing cables (1-4) corresponding to signals received from various satellites (10-40). Signals received by terrestrial transmission (50, T) are added to each of these cables. Digital data signals received from different satellites are converted to a lower frequency in down-converters (DC1-DC5) and together brought to within the range of the terrestrial signals (T). For each group of users there is provided a converter (94) for putting the digital data signals into a customary frequency band which can be used by a standard satellite modem (95).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2002
    Assignee: Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
    Inventor: Pierre Chanteau
  • Patent number: 6427238
    Abstract: A system and method implemented in an interactive television system for managing modules of interactive television applications. The system transmits modules from a broadcast station to a plurality of receiving stations through various paths, such as broadcast channels and modem channels. The receiving stations have module managers which store module requests and which monitor the various channels for modules corresponding to the requests. When modules are transmitted on the monitored channels, they are matched with the corresponding stored requests. If a module matches one of the requests, or if is an auto-loading module, it is stored in the receiving station. If a module has not been requested and is not an auto-loading module, it is ignored. The stored modules are added to a list of modules available for execution or for use by an executing application, and the corresponding requests are deleted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2002
    Assignee: OpenTV, Inc.
    Inventors: Andrew Goodman, Jean Rene Menand
  • Patent number: 6425128
    Abstract: A video system has an input port to receive video data that includes a plurality of premium contents, and an output port to couple to a video display for displaying video data selected by a viewer. A preference engine coupled to the input port tracks viewer selections of the video data and creates a viewer profile representing viewing preferences of the viewer. A storage device is coupled to the preference engine to store the viewer profile. An image generator is coupled to the input port, the output port and the storage device, wherein the image generator is responsive to the viewer profile and responsive to data representing available video data, including data representing the premium contents. The image generator generates a menu image to be displayed on the video display as a menu including a limited number of viewing preferences having a high probability of acceptance by the viewer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2002
    Assignee: Keen Personal Media, Inc.
    Inventors: Russell M. Krapf, Bradley S. Masters
  • Patent number: 6425133
    Abstract: A converter terminal is configured, for example, to receive and descramble premium cable television channels or to receive data services over the cable network. The converter terminal is configured by transmitting an abbreviated set of configuration data on an out-of-band control channel. This abbreviated set of configuration information includes an instruction to tune the terminal to a higher-bandwidth in-band data channel, which is used to transmit the remainder of the configuration data. With a substantial amount of the configuration information transmitted using a faster connection, configuration can be achieved in less time. In addition, the larger bandwidth facilitates the transmission of multiple sets of configuration information corresponding to different models of cable television converter terminals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2002
    Assignee: General Instrument Corporation
    Inventor: Patrick J. Leary
  • Patent number: 6415437
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for combining video frame sequences with a video display of an interactive program guide (IPG). The apparatus comprises a plurality of compositors that combine background information, video frame sequences and program guide graphics into a single video frame sequence. The sequence is then digitally encoded to form an MPEG-like bitstream. The same background information and video advertising is composited with a different program guide graphic to form another video sequence that is also encoded. A plurality of such sequences are produced with each sequence having a different program guide graphic. Each sequence is encoded and then multiplexed into a transport stream such that all the encoded sequences are transmitted to a subscriber's terminal using a single transport stream. As such, the subscriber can scroll from one program guide to the next without interruption of the background or video display as the program guide graphic is changed. Each graphic contains a set of programs (e.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2002
    Assignee: DIVA Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Ted Ludvig, Nathan Osborn, Donald F. Gordon
  • Patent number: 6408437
    Abstract: A novel reprogrammable set top terminal for a television program delivery system which suggests programs for viewing is described. The invention relates to methods and apparatus for reprogramming set top terminals, and selecting and displaying programs to suggest to subscribers for viewing. The invention is particularly useful in television program delivery systems with hundreds of channels of programming, a menu driven program selection system, and a program control information signal which carries data and identifies the available program choices. Specifically, the invention relates to remote reprogramming of terminal memory and the gathering and analysis of data for selecting programs to suggest to a subscriber. The invention is a terminal which includes a means for receiving incoming signals, a processor, memory, and a means to generate menu screens for display on a TV or monitor. Various data gathering and analysis techniques are used to customize selection of programs for display on a menu.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2002
    Assignee: Discovery Communications, Inc.
    Inventors: John S. Hendricks, Alfred E. Bonner, Richard E. Wunderlich