The apparatus disclosed in the referenced PCT application is used to generate the screen displays described below. In FIG. Display 10 could be generated by a conventional television receiver with interlaced scan lines, by a VCR, by a PC monitor with progressive scan lines, or by another other type of video display device. In the upper left hand corner of the screen is a PIP window The remainder of the screen area is typically occupied moving from top to bottom of the screen by an action key bar 18, a navigation bar 20, a grid guide 22 "Grid Guide" , and an information box 24 the "detailed information area.
Remote controller 26 could have other keys for activating the functions of a user video device, such as a television receiver, a VCR, or a cable box. Remote control 26 has up, down, right, and left arrows keys 28, 30, 32, and 34, respectively, for controlling the movement of a cursor 36 on display Cursor 36 can select, i.
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Windows 12, 14, and 16 are highlighted by adding a border around the window or changing the color of the border, if the border is permanent. The titles and channels in Grid Guide 22 and navigation bar 20 are highlighted by changing color. For instance, the border of a selected window, or the selected Grid Guide or navigation component, can be made to appear to flash. Another way to highlight a viewer selection is to make the selected window or feature appear to become brighter than the rest of the on screen display.
Yet another way to highlight a viewer selection is to blur all portions of the on screen display, except for the viewer selected component. Still another way to highlight a viewer selection is to make all portions of the on screen display, except for the viewer selected component, appear transparent.
Still yet another way to highlight a viewer selection is to add animation to the selected component. When a portion of the EPG is selected, the system issues graphic display commands to the on screen display OSD controller to implement one or more of the desired enhancement technique s. A real time television program is displayed in window The PIP Window can be locked or unlocked. That is, the lock unlock status for the PIP Window in the EPG is maintained when the viewer leaves the Guide and later re-enters the Guide, including when the viewer turns off the television.
If the viewer selects the "lock" status, the last channel to which the tuner was set in the PIP. Window continues to be displayed regardless of the actions exercised by the viewer. In the unlocked status, the channel highlighted by cursor 36 in Grid Guide 22 is displayed if the Grid Guide is displaying currently telecast programs and the last currently telecast channel that was highlighted is displayed if the Grid Guide is displaying future programs.
There are generally three results to leaving the Guide, depending upon the way the viewer leaves the Guide. If the viewer, while in the EPG, wants to watch in full screen mode the program shown in the PIP Window, then the viewer can press the Guide button on the remote control device.
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If the viewer, while in the EPG, highlights a particular channel in the Grid Guide, and then presses the "select" button, the viewer will leave the Guide to view in the full screen mode the television program that the viewer highlighted in the Guide. If the viewer, while in the EPG, presses the "clear" or "cancel" button on the remote control device, then the viewer will leave the Guide and return to the television program that the viewer was watching immediately before entering the Guide.
Typically, an ad for a future telecast program is displayed in window This ad is linked to the time and channel of the program in RAM so the viewer can watch or record the program automatically by pressing the blue left action button to watch the program, or the green right action button to record the program. Typically, an ad for a product or service is displayed in window This ad is linked to more information about the product or service in RAM so the viewer can read one or more pages about the product or service in window 16 by pressing an "info" key 40 one or more times.
Alternatively, this ad is linked to the time and channel in RAM that an infomercial about the product or service will be telecast so the viewer can watch or record the infomercial automatically by pressing "select" key Remote controller 26 has corresponding keys 48 and 50, respectively, to activate the functions represented by blocks 44 and From window 12, 14, or 16 the viewer moves to grid guide 22 by pressing arrow key From grid guide 22 the viewer moves to window 12, 14, or 16 by pressing arrow key In grid guide 22 the viewer moves cursor 36 to highlight one of the nine tiles in which channel and title are displayed by pressing arrow keys 28 and The viewer can view program listings scheduled at future times by pressing keys 32 or 34 to move horizontally about the Grid.
From grid guide 22 the -viewer moves to navigation bar 20 by pressing arrow key Initially, the center button is highlighted. To highlight a different button, arrow key 32 or 34 is pressed. To enter the screen represented by the highlighted button, "select" key 42 is pressed. In grid guide 22 details about the program represented by the highlighted tile are displayed.
If more information is available this fact is indicated by an icon and such information is displayed in the area occupied by grid guide 22, instead of the grid guide by pressing "info" key To return to the grid guide, "info" key 40 is pressed again. After an action button has been pressed or an icon on navigation bar 20 has been activated, an instructional prompt may be substituted for the program information in information box In addition to the tiles representing television programs, a virtual channel ad can be displayed in grid guide 22 on a tile A virtual channel ad may promote, for instance, a current or future television program.
Such a virtual channel ad for a television program is linked to the time and channel of the program in RAM so the viewer can watch or record the program automatically by pressing "select" key 42 in the manner described in the referenced application. More than one virtual channel ad may be stored in RAM, but preferably only one such ad is displayed at a time.
One embodiment of the hardware for this invention includes a circuit board consisting of a gate array that provides all of the control functions for access by the processor e. Included in the chip is a timing subsystem that produces a number of different timing signals of varying frequency— from clocks to long millisecond time measurement, and interrupts. Synchronization signals for the television monitor are also generated by the internal timing subsystem. The system also typically includes circuits for functions including but not limited to: data receiver, memory controller, timing interface with the processor, data deinterleaving, error correcting, and synchronous timing generator with horizontal and vertical counters.
Another feature of one embodiment of the EPG system hardware is that display list hardware is capable of both video input and output on the same DMA hardware. The system has multiple clocks.
The display memory has the capability to store 8 screen tiles in a horizontal plane. Improved viewer control of video recording of future-scheduled programming, including:. Parental control of the EPG display; E. Improved television program information access by the viewer, including:. Improved opportunities for the commercial advertiser to reach the viewer, including:.
Improved product information access by the viewer, including: 1.
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Ad Window product detail. Ad Window program-related recording. Creation of a viewer's profile, including:.
Collecting viewer profile information. Analyzing and characterizing viewer profile information. A Variety of Operating Modes. Under the improved EPG system, there are multiple modes in which the viewer can operate the television. Television Mode. In the Television Mode, the viewer watches a full screen display of the television video programming. In one embodiment, in order to enter the EPG, the viewer presses the "Guide" key on the viewer's remote control device.
In one embodiment, at the viewer's option, as identified in the EPG set up procedure, the viewer can override the EPG Grid Guide default mode by selecting to automatically enter the Television Mode whenever the viewer first turns on the television. During setup procedures, the viewer can further instruct the EPG to automatically tune to the last-watched channel as identified when the viewer last turned off the television.
The viewer can further instruct the EPG to automatically tune to the viewer's favorite channel, as is deduced from analyzing the viewer's profile information, described below. Alternatively, the viewer can instruct the EPG to automatically tune to a particular channel, e. Scrolling through the Guide is described below. The viewer can press the "Menu" key on the viewer's remote control device to go to the top of the Guide. The viewer can return to the full screen display of the video television programming in a number of ways. One way is to press the "Guide" key on the viewer's remote control device.
Grid Guide for a program that is available for real-time viewing. Another way is to press the "last channel" key on the viewer's remote control device to return to the program the viewer was watching before entering the Guide, or the last program on which the PIP window was locked an option explained further below.here
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Each Theme Guide presents program listings associated with a particular theme, e. The Theme Guide display format only displays program listings, and consequently channels, for certain times of the day, with content appropriate for the selected theme. For instance, the Sports Theme Guide will display, typically in schedule order, only listings for channels that carry sports programs that are scheduled during a certain period of time, e. In the Record Selection Function, also referred to as the Recording Function, the viewer instructs the EPG what programs to add to the Record List, which is the list of programs and related programming schedule information, for programs that the viewer want to have recorded.
The viewer can enter the Recording Function in a number of ways. The viewer can press the "Record" key, if there is one, on the viewer's remote control device. Alternatively, the viewer can "press" a "Record" action button on the EPG display. In the Watch Scheduling Function, also referred to as the Watch Function, the viewer instructs the EPG what programs to add to the Watch List, which is the list of programs and related programming schedule information, for programs that the viewer want to watch. The viewer can enter the Watch Function in a number of ways. The viewer can press the "Watch" key, if there is one, on the viewer's remote control device.
Alternatively, the viewer can "press" a "Watch" action button on the EPG display. Data Download Function.
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