Browse Prior Art Database

Method for an enhanced TV program search

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000125086D
Publication Date: 2005-May-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 40K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for an enhanced TV program search. Benefits include improved functionality and improved user experience.

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Method for an enhanced TV program search

Disclosed is a method for an enhanced TV program search. Benefits include improved functionality and improved user experience.

Background

              Conventional TV receivers do not support program search. Consumers manually browse the electronic program guide (EPG) listings. Moreover, the EPG information is not always up to date, especially for unplanned live broadcasts. Even when the program is listed correctly, the information is very limited. For example, many local channels run news programs at 6 p.m. When the viewer is looking for sports updates, he/she is most interested in tuning to the channel where a sportscaster is currently describing the play. The EPG description does not (and can not) provide detailed programming information at the desired granularity.

              Closed captioning (CC) is very common in TV technologies worldwide. CC is primarily used to display the text of the spoken dialog (audio) for hearing-impaired viewers. In the

U.S.

, the Federal Communication Commission has mandated that all TV receivers larger than 13" must support CC decoding.

General description

              The disclosed method enables viewers to search for a TV program, using information that is already transmitted in TV broadcasts worldwide. The method combines conventional TV technologies, such as CC and EPG, with computing methods, such as buffers, text parsing, and searches. The disclosed method leads to new usage models that were not previously possible.

              The key elements of the method include:

•             Multichannel CC decoder

•             CC text buffer

•             Channel demultiplexer

•             Program search engine

•             EPG processor

•             Automatic channel selector

Advantages

              The disclosed method provides advantages, including:

•             Improved functionality due to using closed captioning information, which is extremely accurate

•             Improved functionality due to providing fully automated search capability

•             Improved functionality due to maintaining user preferences about most watched channels

•             Improved user experience due to providing additional TV operating modes

Detailed description

              The disclosed method is enhanced TV program search. The TV receiver examines closed caption information from multiple channels for search phrases. This method is accurate because CC information is always about the current program. CC-based search criteria is primarily free-form text.

              The disclosed method apples to several devices in addition to televisions, including:

•             Cable and satellite set-top boxes (STBs)

•             Personal video recorders (PVR)

•             Computer-based TV add-on cards

•             Home theatre devices

•             Handheld devices with TV receiver functionality

              The disclosed method includes several functional modules, including the following (see Figure 1):

•            ...