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A System and Method for Bookmarking in Interactive Television Applications Disclosure Number: IPCOM000018701D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Aug-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 166K

Publishing Venue



The emerging field of interactive television (ITV) offers a new set of services and applications which television viewers can utilize to make purchases, request information, and navigate through multimedia content. A key element in the design of ITV systems is the user interface. One issue in user interface design for ITV systems relates to the relative speeds of the television viewing experience and the shopping or browsing experience - the former is fast-paced, the latter less so. When user are asked to respond to on-screen offers, their reaction times may not be fast enough to interact, resulting in lost opportunities. How can items which appear on the screen for brief amounts of time be made accessible to users who may not have responded to them at the time of their appearance? The present invention comprises a feature-rich system and method whereby users can conveniently "bookmark" ITV items which appear on screen (such as purchase or information offers), and interact with these bookmarks at their leisure. Alternatively, the system (the users? equipment or other devices) can bookmark items on behalf of the user. Setting a bookmark affords users a means to access at their leisure items which would otherwise have appeared on the screen briefly and disappeared.

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A System and Method for Bookmarking in Interactive Television Applications

  Unlike bookmarking in the context of Web browsing, ITV bookmarking requires and enables a number of special considerations and features, which are accommodated by the invention. Among these are:

Expiration - Purchase offers in the context of ITV are typically valid for only a limited time, and this time window is usually much shorter than the life of the typical Web page. The expiration date and time need to be built in to the bookmark itself, and maintenance must be periodically performed to rid the bookmark list of expired bookmarks.

Storage - Unlike a PC, the storage for bookmarks in a television set-top box (STB) is quite limited. Also, the storage may be volatile. Clearly, bookmarks must be stored in a manner that is storage-efficient and reliable. A system for reliable storage could reside at the user device, the head end of a cable company or the data center for a satellite system. Embedding - In order to enable bookmarking, information (such as a URL for a Web page of a bookmark-able item) must be added to the broadcast audio/video stream. This embedding may be performed at an authoring stage prior to broadcast, or live at the time of broadcast.

Figure 1 shows a display of bookmarks sorted by topic category.

The invention concerns the interaction between a television viewer and his/her television equipment. One typical scenario for this interaction involves a program or commercial message which is modified, prior to being broadcast, to have supplemental information embedded, such as graphic icons and URLs (universal resource locators). Bookmarking information can be potentially embedded every minute during the program or ad, or even more frequently.

When the program or commercial is broadcast, software in the receiving equipment (usually a set-top box (STB) or integrated digital television set (...