USOO5652579A United States Patent [191  Patent Number: Yamada et al.  Date of Patent:  KNOWLEDGE-BASED ACCESS SYSTEM FOR CONTROL FUNCTIONS  References Cited 4,827,440 5,097,260 5,241,583  Assignee: Sony Corporation. Tokyo. Japan 5/1989 Wathor ....... .. 341/23 3/1992 Ahn ........... .. 348/734 X 8/1993 Martensson ............................. .. 379/58 Primary Examiner-Jeffery Hofsass Assistant Examiner—AndIeW Hill Attomey, Agent, or Firm——William S. Frommer; Alvin Sinderbrand Related US. Application Data  Jul. 29, 1997 U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS  Inventors: Fumiya Yamada. Aichi; Satoshi Ishiguro. Kanagawa. both of Japan  Appl. No.: 698,466  Filed: Aug. 15, 1996 5,652,579 Continuation of Ser. No. 400,452, Mar. 7, 1995, abandoned,  which is a continuation of Ser. No. 993,835, Dec. 21, 1992, abandoned. ABSTRACT An electronic apparatus having two or more functions Foreign Application Priority Data includes a nonvolatile store in which the identities of two or more keys are stored and two or more functions are classi  Dec. 27, Int.1991 01.6 ................................................... [JP] Japan .. H03K 17/94 ?ed into groups, each group being distinguished by two or more of the keys. A controller is coupled with the nonvola tile store and enables a function that is selected by operating    US. Cl. ........................ .. 341/23; 341/176; 340/825.3 Field of Search ................................ .. 341/22, 23. 26. 341/176; 348/734; 340/825.22. 825.24. 825.25. 825.3. 825.31. 825.32. 825.33, a key. which function matches an identi?cation number to be entered by a user. 7 Claims, 3 Drawing Sheets 825.34 [2 CPU RAM l l l/F l/F 5a 5b KEY >/OPERATION 6 ROM l/F 50; CIRCUIT NONVOLATILE BLOCK MEMORY L8 US. Patent Jul. 29, 1997 Sheet 1 0f 3 Qt H 5,652,579 US. Patent Jul. 29, 1997 Sheet 2 0f 3 5,652,579 Fig. 2 IS AN IDENTI F I CATIDN NUMBER ENTERED '? I01 READ OUT THE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER FROM THE MEMORY LI02 IS THE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER CORRECT ‘.7 103 ENABLE THE FUNOT ION I I 0 4 US.‘ Patent Jul. 29, 1997 Sheet 3 of 3 5,652,579 Fig.3 IS A CUWAND ENTERED '? 2 0 1 Y IS FUNCTIOPgDISABLED 2 0 2 N COMMAND PROCESSING I 203 5,652,579 1 2 FIG. 2 is a ?ow chart concerning enabling disabled KNOWLEDGE-BASED ACCESS SYSTEM FOR CONTROL FUNCTIONS functions; and FIG. 3 is a ?ow chart of the processing order when a command is entered by user. This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/400,452. ?led Mar. 7, 1995, abandoned which is a DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS continuation of application Ser. No. 07/993,835 ?led Dec. 21. 1992 abandoned. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to an electronic apparatus and, 10 more particularly, to a multifunctional electronic apparatus. 3. ROM 4, and interface blocks 5a. 5b, 50, etc. Interface block 5a is connected with key operation portion 6 having keys or push buttons, and interface block 5b is 2. Description of the Prior Art Typically. electronic apparatuses are in general provided with various functions and features. To operate these elec tronic apparatuses, it is essential for users to have enough connected with circuit block 8 such as a BS tuner circuit, a DSP (Digital Signal Processor), a video processor, an audio processor and a multivoice block (though not speci?cally shown in the ?gure). Interface block 5c is connected with knowledge and ability to use such functions. There are a variety of users from the point of view of the user’s knowledge and ability to use these functions. Such tendency is remarkable in particular in the users of television receivers, V'I'R’s and other consumer electronic apparatuses. In other words, some users have full knowledge of the operation of the apparatus while the majority of general users have but a little knowledge of that operation. 25 For the general users, consumer electronic apparatuses as mentioned above have been difficult to use and therefore not Concerning picture quality control . . . Hue, color density, In general, electronic apparatuses having various func 30 not so comfortable to general users. For these reasons, general users. Once malfunction occurs, the electronic appa ratuses do not operate as intended by the users. In addition. a user’s manual for such electronic appara 35 tuses is often a thick volume to explain the variety of functions available. The general users are hardly able to read such a detailed user’s manual in order to understand the operation. ability. According to an aspect of the present invention. there is provided an electronic apparatus having two or more func tions comprising: nonvolatile storage means in which the identities of two or more keys are stored; function control means in which two or more functions are classi?ed into groups, each group being distin guished by two or more of the keys; and control means which is coupled with the nonvolatile storage means and the function control means and enables a function that is selected by operating a key, which function matches an identi?cation number to be entered by a user. The above, and other, objects, features and advantage of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description thereof which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings. brightness, sharpness, color temperature, notch ?lter, noise reduction, etc. Concerning tone quality control . . . Balance between malfunction often occurs because of incorrect use by the OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is, therefore, to provide an electronic apparatus permitting the effective use thereof in accordance with a level of each user’s lmowledge and nonvolatile memory 7. Nonvolatile memory 7 stores identi?cation numbers for each of the functions or for each of two or more grouped functions. The identi?cation numbers are individual to each apparatus, and not common between apparatuses. The iden ti?cation numbers are stored in nonvolatile memory 7 at the time of shipment of the apparatus from the manufacturer. The functions mentioned above include the following: comfortable to use. tions and advanced features have been hard to operate and Hereunder, one embodiment of the invention will be described referring to FIGS. 1 to 3. In this embodiment, the invention is applied to a television receiver. As shown in FIG. 1, bus 1 is connected with CPU 2, RAM high-pitched and low-pitched tone, balance between the rear speakers of four speakers, surround sound (including Dolby Surround. Hall Surround, and Simulated Stereo), equalizing using DSP, etc. Others . . . Booking, current time, channel blocking function, daylight saving, channel caption, etc. It is possible to assign a diiferent identi?cation number to each function or each group of functions. The operation will now be described hereunder with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. In the ?ow chart as shown in FIG. 2, in step 101, it is determined whether an identi?cation number is entered by 45 the user from key operation portion 6 into CPU 2 through interface block 511. If the identi?cation number is not entered, the step returns to the start. If the identi?cation number is entered, the operation goes to step 102. In step 102, the identi?cation numbers stored in nonvola tile memory 7 are read through interface block 50 and bus 1. Then, the operation goes to step 103. In step 103, CPU 2 determines whether the entered 55 identi?cation number is the same as one of the identi?cation numbers stored in nonvolatile memory 7. If the entered identi?cation number does not match any one of the stored numbers, the operation returns to the start. If the entered identi?cation number matches one of them, the operation goes to step 104. In step 104, a function corresponding to the matched identi?cation number is enabled and becomes available to the user. In step 104, at least data such as the matched identi?cation number and functions corresponding to that BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 65 number are under the control of the CPU 2. FIG. 1 is a block diagram describing one embodiment of In the embodiment, enabling the functions is initiated by an electronic apparatus according to the invention; entry and matching of the identi?cation number, but not 5,652,579 4 3 What is claimed is: 1. An electronic apparatus operable to select a plurality of limited to this. For example. the functions can be enabled by simultaneously pushing two or more buttons provided in key operation portion 6. or by pushing them in a speci?ed order. For the other functions which remain disabled. CPU 2 controls a program of those functions to prevent them from running. or to prevent power supply to the circuit blocks functions implemented in conjunction with a circuit block. comprising: 5 said functions initially being impermanently disabled by said CPU means by preventing at least one of an operation of a software program and a supply of power to said circuit block; memory means for storing identi?cation numbers performing the functions. A user may sometimes enter a command to perform a particular function. In this case. it is necessary to con?rm whether the particular function or a group of functions to assigned to said disabled functions. said identi?cation numbers not being secret codes; key code input means operable by a user for generating a which the particular function belongs is enabled or not. The procedure in this regard will be given below. with reference to FIG. 3. key code; In step 201 in the ?ow chart shown in FIG. 3. CPU 2 determines whether a command is entered by the user or not. 15 If a command is not entered in step 201. the operation returns to the start. If a command is entered, the operation goes to step 202. an interface block coupled to said key code input means and to said CPU means; and wherein said CPU means further comprises function enabling means for comparing said key code generated by the user and said identi?cation numbers stored in said memory means and for enabling a corresponding one of said imperrnanently disabled functions if said key code matches one of said identi?cation numbers. In step 202. CPU 2 determines whether a particular function corresponding to the command or a group of functions including the particular function speci?ed by the user is enabled or not. If the function remains disabled. the operation returns to the start. If the function is enabled. the whereby a particular combination of said imperma nently disabled functions becomes available for selec operation goes to step 203. In step 203. the command is executed so that the particu lar function is carried out. Then. the operation is terminated. In the embodiment. an identi?cation number is given to CPU means for controlling said functions, at least one of 25 tion and control by the user. 2. The electronic apparatus according to claim 1. wherein said impermanently disabled functions are classi?ed into groups and a single identi?cation number is assigned to each group of said irnperrnanently disabled functions so that said impermanently disabled functions in a particular group are enabled upon entry of a single key code. each function or each group of functions which are disabled The disabled functions are not enabled until an identi?cation number entered by the user from key operation portion 6 matches an identi?cation number which is previously allot ted to each of the disabled functions and stored in nonvola tile memory 7. In other words. if the entered identi?cation number matches the stored identi?ed number. then the disabled function corresponding to the matched identi?ca 3. The electronic apparatus according to claim 1. wherein said key code input means comprises at least two push buttons for generating said key code when said push buttons attains a higher level of knowledge and ability of the are operated simultaneously by the user. 4. The electronic apparatus according to claim 1. wherein said key code input means comprises at least two push buttons for generating said key code when said push buttons are operated by the user in a speci?c order. 5. An electronic apparatus operable to select a plurality of operation. the user can use more functions after enabling 40 functions. comprising: tion number is enabled and becomes available to the user. Therefore. it becomes possible for a user to operate an 35 electronic apparatus with safety according to the user’s level of knowledge and ability to use the apparatus. If the user those functions by entry of the corresponding identi?cation function control means for controlling said functions, wherein said functions comprise at least a ?rst group numbers. Thereby. it is possible to protect the user from wrong and a second group. at least said second group of operation. functions initially being imperrnanently disabled; Furthermore. a user’s manual associated with an elec memory means for storing identi?cation numbers tronic apparatus can be thin and simple with a minimum of assigned to said irnpermanently disabled groups of information necessary to the general users so that such a functions; simple manual becomes more acceptable to the general key code input means operable by a user for generating a users. For users hoping to use advanced or varied functions. an advanced user’s manual and identi?cation numbers will 50 be assigned to the advanced functions. Having described a speci?c preferred embodiment of the present invention with reference to the accompanying drawings. it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to that precise embodiment. and that various changes and modi?cations may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or the spirit of the invention as de?ned in the appended claims. stored in said memory means and for enabling a corresponding one of said impermanently disabled groups of functions if said key code matches one of said 55 For example. in the above embodiment. all the functions for a television receiver are provided in advance. and a function corresponding to an identi?cation number becomes 60 available once the identi?cation number is entered by a user. However. the present invention is not limited to this. For example. a packaged circuit board prepared according to the levels of user’s operation knowledge and ability. can be key code; function enabling means for comparing said key code generated by the user and said identi?cation numbers identi?cation numbers. whereby a particular combina tion of said imperrnanently disabled functions becomes available for selection and control by said user. 6. The electronic apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said key code input means comprises at least two push buttons for generating said key code when said push buttons are operated simultaneously by the user. 7. The electronic apparatus according to claim 5. wherein said key code input means comprises at least two push buttons for generating said key code when said push buttons mounted in an apparatus and as a user’s level in operation 65 are operated by the user in a speci?c order. knowledge and ability increases. the functions of the appa ratus are made more advanced and more varied.