History Assist when Selecting TV Shows
Original Publication Date: 2001-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
This invention is an enhancement to the online TV guide commonly available to subscribers of television services who use television set top boxes which provide television signals and channel options into the attached television set. This enhancement will track the shows viewed by the user and highlight entries that have already been viewed. The set top box will keep a history of what has been viewed back to some programmable period of time, such as one year. When a show is about to be broadcast or the user brings up the on-line TV Guide, the system will compare the current show to what has been viewed in the past and then highlight accordingly. This highlighting can include: Highlight or other indication within the on-line TV Guide that this show has already been seen. Highlight using a message or icon on the TV screen to indicate whether the current show has been viewed or not. So even if the user does not use the on-line guide, the user can still be informed that the show just beginning on this channel has been viewed before. This could be done with an icon that comes on at the beginning of the show or when the viewer first turns to the show. This icon would indicate whether show is new to the user or has already been viewed previously. The support will determine if a particular episode of a show has been viewed in the past by comparing the descriptive information associated with the current show to information saved in the viewing history. Where space is limited this history need not contain all the descriptive information, but could contain a hash code or CRC (cyclic redundancy check), so that if a hash code computed from the information associated with the current show matches one of the hash codes computed in the past and saved with the viewing history for that show, then it can be asserted that the episode has been viewed.