Device control system, method, and apparatus

Device control system, method, and apparatus
US007129855B2
(12)
(54)
United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
Krzyzanowski et a].
(45) Date of Patent:
US 7,129,855 B2
Oct. 31, 2006
DEVICE CONTROL SYSTEM, METHOD,
6,665,020 B1* 12/2003 Stahl et al. ............... .. 348/552
AND APPARATUS
6,885,643 B1 *
4/2005
Teramoto et al. ......... .. 370/252
(75) Inventors: Paul Krzyzanowski, Fanwood, NJ
(US); Glenn Harter, Wellington, FL
(US)
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
(73) Assignee: OpenPeak 1116-, B0021 RaIOII, FL (Us)
“Harmony RemoteiOverview”, URL http://wwwharmonyremote.
(*)
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
Pawnt is extended or adjusted under 35
com/productioverviewhtm, downloaded from the World Wide
Web on Feb, 9, 2004, 2 pages,
“Harmony RemoteiFeatures”, URL http://wwwharmonyremote.
U~S~C- 15403) by 0 day5~
corn/productifeatureshtm, downloaded from the World Wide Web
Notice:
on Feb. 9, 2004, 2 pages.
(21) Appl' NO‘: 10/783’017
.
(22)
“Speci?cations for Harmony Remote”, URL http://www.
_
harmonyremote.com/productispeci?cations.htm,
Flled'
Feb‘ 23’ 2004
(65)
Prior Publication Data
US 2005/0068222 A1
(Continued)
Mar. 31, 2005
P .
.
.
.
rzmary ExamzneriBrian
Zimmerman
Related US Application Data
_ _
(60)
_
ASSlSZLlI’lZ ExammeriVem'al Brown
_
(51)
(52)
US. Cl. ......................... ..
(58)
_
_ 340_5'2’ 340 5'1’ 340 5'22’ 340 5'27
Field of Cl2/lSSl?Catl0Il Search ......... .. 340/825.72,
FOX PLLC
(57)
ABSTRACT
(2006.01)
340/825.72; 340/825.69;
A System’ method and apparatus for Controlling Consumer
340/825'2/2’ 3140/5261’_340/f'64’_340/f'74’
electronic (CE) devices. A control unit obtains CE device
command codes and “metadata” from an interactive, wire
lessly accessible database The Control unit uses the metal_
629’
' ’
S
.
(74) Attorney, Agent, or FzrmiSterne Kessler Goldstem &
Prov1s1onal appl1cat1on No. 60/505,851, ?led on Sep.
26, 2003.
Int Cl
G08C 19/00
downloaded
from the World Wide Web on Feb. 9, 2004, 2 pages.
data, which is data relating to the unique control behaviors
' ’
'
’
'
’
’7 07 / 4 5’
1,
_
?l f
1
h h,
ee app lcanon e or Comp ete Seam
story‘
(56)
of a CE device, to translate between a universal control
’
command and one or more of the command codes associated
with the CE device. A Wireless access method is used to
References Cited
download the CE device metadata and command codes to a
central server or to the control unit itself. The control unit
US. PATENT DOCUMENTS
provides an interface by which end users can provide
5,410,326 A *
4/1995
5,537,463 A
5,552,917 A
5,953,144 A
7/1996 Escobosa et al.
9/1996 Darbee et a1.
9/1999 Darbee et a1.
6,267,678 B1 *
7/2001
Kubo et a1. ................. .. 463/44
6,563,430 B1 *
5/2003
Kemink et a1. ...... .. 340/825.49
feedback concerning downloaded metadata and command
Goldstein ................. .. 348/734
codes, such that erroneous data may be corrected or so that
other users may determine whether the data is Worth access
mg.
49 Claims, 9 Drawing Sheets
Am!!! mm“: m at
prluwiulsry mmmlnd codes 101
an: or
more wmmin? code: m m- CE
dew:
I
mmwe um input rnlltnd m on w
mum em n ma prudllined m ul N310
‘vlwrletry commlnd ma mam
meta-duh “a trurumll 1., run!
mmmd nod" Ind/er mam-dil
Ind hinIn/l \a ho“
US 7,129,855 B2
Page 2
“Harmony
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Remote
SST-768t”,
published
at
http://www.
harmonyremotecom, downloaded from the World Wide Web on
“Harmony RemoteiFrequently Asked Questions”, URL http://
www.harmonyremote.com/faqhtrn, downloaded from the World
Wide Web on Feb. 9, 2004, 2 pages.
“Harmony
Remote
SST-659”,
published
at
http://www.
harmonyremotecom, downloaded from the World Wide Web on
Feb. 9, 2004, 1 page.
“Harmony
Remote
SST-748”,
published
at
http://www.
Feb. 9, 2004, 1 page.
“Harmony Remote SST-659 User Manual”, dated Oct. 16, 2003,
published at http://wwwharmonyremotecom, downloaded from the
World Wide Web on Feb. 9, 2004, 20 pages.
“Harmony Remote SST-768 User Manual”, dated Mar. 25, 2003,
published at http://wwwharmonyremotecom, downloaded from the
World Wide Web on Feb. 9, 2004, 37 pages.
harmonyremotecom, downloaded from the World Wide Web on
Feb. 9, 2004, 1 page.
* cited by examiner
U.S. Patent
Oct. 31, 2006
Sheet 3 0f 9
US 7,129,855 B2
4J-SOO
Access prede?ned set of
prloprietary command codes for
N302
the CE device
i
Access meta-data for the CE
device
N304
7
Associate a universal command
with one or more command codes N306
selected from the proprietary set.
wherein the selection is based on
the meta-data
Execute the universal command in
response to user input by
N308
transmitting the selected one or
more command codes to the CE
device
t
Receive user input related to one or
more errors in the prede?ned set of "\31 O
proprietary command codes and/or
meta-data and transmit to host
i
Receive user input related to
approval or disapproval of the
prede?ned set of proprietary
command codes and/or meta-data
and transmit to host
FIG. 3
N31 2
U.S. Patent
Oct. 31, 2006
Sheet 4 0f 9
II [FREEWARE] — NetX MANAGE OT
Device Definition
TYPE:
MANUFACTURER:
MODEL:
ROOM:
NETWORK EXTENDER:
DISPLAY:
EXCLUDE FROM ALL OFF:
NAME:
SHARP
RCA
RFT
SAMSUNG
SANYO
SHARP
SONY
TECHNICS
THETA DIGITAL
TOSHIBA
TOTEVISION
FAMILY ROOM TV
@
FIG.4
US 7,129,855 B2
U.S. Patent
0a. 31, 2006
Sheet 5 0f 9
US 7,129,855 B2
400
I: [FREEWARE] - NetX MANAGE 0T
Device Definition
@
TYPE:
UV
M402
MANUFACTURER:
| SHARP
_|Z|’\ 404
AQUOS
v»\502
AQUOS
A
MODEL:
ROOMI
64LHP-5000
.
Lc-2ovM2
NETWORK EXTENDER.
EH00
DISPLAY:
KP-53V35
KP-53XBR200
KP-61XBR48
KV-13
KV-13M1O
EXCLUDE FROM ALL OFF:
NAME:
[
KV-13V5O
L
NEXT >>
i
U.S. Patent
0a. 31, 2006
Sheet 6 0f 9
US 7,129,855 B2
30
RESULTS FOUND: SHARP AQUOS TELEVISION
usER APPROVAL
RATING
APPROVALS
DISAPPROVALS
98%
92%
40%
10%
19s
27s
4
1
4
24
6
9
FIG.6
DATE
ENTERED
4/24/2006
8/17/2005
6/13/2007
1/12/2006
U.S. Patent
0a. 31, 2006
Sheet 8 0f 9
US 7,129,855 B2
800
/
APPROVE/DISAPPROVE EXISTING DATABASE ENTRY
DID THIS DATABASE ENTRY SUCCESSFULLY CONTROL YOUR SHARP AQUOS TELEVISION?
©YES
0 NO
I
susmrri
|
CANCH l
FIG.8
900
/
SUBMIT NEW DATABASE ENTRY
WOULD YOU UKE TO SUBMIT YOUR CHANGES FOR THE SHARP AOUOS TELEVISION?
IYESILNOI
FIG.9
U.S. Patent
0a. 31, 2006
Sheet 9 0f 9
US 7,129,855 B2
58
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US 7,l29,855 B2
1
2
DEVICE CONTROL SYSTEM, METHOD,
accessible by phone line, in Which case the remote control
AND APPARATUS
unit is required to doWnload data via a separate or built-in
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
APPLICATIONS
modem. Still further, IR command codes may be learned by
sampling the output of an existing remote control unit.
Although universal remote control units permit an end
user to remotely control more than one type of CE device,
the end user must still familiariZe themselves With the
This application claims the bene?t of the ?ling date of
US. provisional Application No. 60/505,851, ?led Sep. 26,
control idiosyncrasies of each type of CE device to properly
control each device using the remote control unit. For
2003, the entirety of Which is incorporated by reference as
if set forth fully herein.
example, tWo televisions having a different manufacturer or
model type may have control idiosyncrasies relating to
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
setting input state or channel tuning. As a result, a different
series of universal commands must be used for each televi
Field of the Invention
The present invention is generally directed to device
control. In particular, the present invention relates to a
system, method and apparatus for controlling consumer
electronic devices.
sion to achieve an identical function. Moreover, the user still
must control the devices individually: the user must put the
BACKGROUND
remote control in “VCR mode” or “TV mode” or “DVD
mode” instead of having an integrated control that Would,
for example, turn on the VCR, TV, or DVD player. Any such
combinations have to be programmed explicitly via macros
20
The majority of consumer electronic (CE) devices cur
rently available to end users are remotely controllable
through handheld remote control units that transmit com
mand codes via infra-red (1R) signals intelligible by the CE
25
devices. Such CE devices may include, but are not limited
to, televisions (TVs), digital video disc (DVD) players,
personal video recorders (PVRs), compact disc (CD) play
ers, and stereo receivers. Example command codes for
controlling such devices include, but are not limited to,
on remote controls that support them. Thus, conventional
universal remote control units do not provide true automated
or programistic control of a variety of CE device types.
As noted above, conventional remote control schemes
permit a user to upload IR command codes onto a remote
control unit via a serial link from an IR code database stored
on a PC. Such systems require the user to take his or her
remote control unit to the room Where the PC is located
(Which is often not the same room as Where the controllable
CE device is located), physically connect the remote control
30
poWer on/off, channel select, channel up/doWn, and volume
unit to the PC With a serial cable, use the PC user interface
up/doWn.
to doWnload data from the PC, disconnect the serial link, and
The set of command codes required to control the basic
functions of a CE device are typically stored in the ?rmWare
of the remote control unit. A command code corresponding
to a certain CE device operation or function is converted by
the remote control unit into IR signals that are transmitted to
and received by the CE device. In turn, the CE device
converts the received IR signals into a command code and
then executes a function corresponding to the code.
The most basic remote control units (i.e., single device
remote control units) store a single set of IR command codes
that can only be used to control CE devices of a certain
manufacturer and model type. The set of command codes is
adapted to enable the unique feature set of the CE device
type it is associated With. As a result, a set of command
codes useful for controlling one CE device having a par
ticular manufacturer/model type cannot be used to control
another CE device having a different type.
trollable CE device is located. Performing these steps can be
time consuming and inconvenient for the user.
What is desired, then, is a system, method and apparatus
for controlling CE devices that provides true automatic and
programistic control of a variety of CE device types using a
So-called multi-device or “universal” remote control units
return the remote control unit to the room Where the con
35
remote control unit employing a universal command set.
40
should permit a user to access necessary IR command codes
Without having to physically connect and disconnect the
remote control unit to a PC.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
45
The invention disclosed herein relates generally to a
50
system for controlling CE devices, and in particular, to a
system for controlling CE devices that includes an interac
tive, Wirelessly accessible database or library control codes
and device “metadata.” As Will be described in more detail
herein, an embodiment of the present invention utiliZes CE
attempt to address this limitation by storing multiple sets of
IR command codes for different CE device types. These
universal remote control units are typically pre-populated
With a ?xed, ?nite set of basic command codes for different
device models or devices made by different manufacturers,
Furthermore, the desired system, method and apparatus
device “metadata,” Which is data relating to the unique
control behaviors of a particular CE device, to associate a
55 universal remote control command With one or more com
Wherein a code set can be selected by the user. Some
universal remote control units are programmable to a certain
extent to alloW them to “leam” neW codes. In others,
mand codes associated With the CE device. The use of CE
device metadata in this manner permits for true automatic
additional IR command codes and updates can be uploaded
types.
to the remote control units from an IR command code
database maintained in a location separate from the remote
and programistic control of a variety of different CE device
60
control unit. For example, the IR command code database
may reside on the end user’s personal computer (PC) and be
accessed via a Wired serial connection betWeen the remote
control unit and the PC. Alternatively, as disclosed in US.
Pat. No. 5,537,463 to Escobosa et al., the IR command code
database may reside on a remotely located computer that is
65
The present invention also provides a Wireless access
method by Which a remote control unit can doWnload the CE
device metadata and command codes from a centraliZed,
Wireless-accessible database to a central server (in a client/
server environment) or to the remote control unit itself (in a
serverless environment). The present invention further pro
vides a means for end users to provide feedback concerning
doWnloaded metadata and command codes, such that erro
US 7,129,855 B2
3
4
neous data may be corrected or so that other users may
Further features and advantages of the invention, as Well
as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the
invention, are described in detail beloW With reference to the
accompanying draWings. It is noted that the invention is not
limited to the speci?c embodiments described herein. Such
embodiments are presented herein for illustrative purposes
only. Additional embodiments Will be apparent to persons
skilled in the relevant art(s) based on the teachings contained
herein.
determine Whether the data is Worth accessing.
In particular, an embodiment of the present invention
provides a method for controlling a CE device. In accor
dance With the method, metadata relating to unique control
behaviors of the CE device is accessed. A universal com
mand for controlling CE devices is associated With one or
more command codes selected from a prede?ned set of
command codes for the CE device, Wherein the one or more
command codes are selected based on the metadata. The
universal command is executed in response to user input, or
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE
DRAWINGS/FIGURES
in response to reaching some programmed time (e.g., turn
off all devices at 11:00 PM), or triggering action or event
The accompanying draWings, Which are incorporated
herein and form part of the speci?cation, illustrate the
(e.g., When TV is poWered on), Wherein the execution
includes transmitting the one or more command codes to the
present invention and, together With the description, further
CE device. The metadata and the set of command codes may
be stored in a database that is accessed via a Wireless
serve to explain the principles of the invention and to enable
a person skilled in the relevant art(s) to make and use the
netWork connection. User input related to one or more errors
in the metadata or the set of command codes or related to
approval or disapproval of the same may be transmitted to
a host that maintains the database.
In another embodiment of the present invention, an appa
20
ratus for controlling a CE device is provided. The apparatus
includes a netWork interface, such as an IEEE 802.11
Wireless interface, an IR transmitter, a user interface, and
FIG. 3 illustrates a ?owchart of a device control method
25
control logic coupled to the netWork interface, the IR
transmitter, and the user interface. The control logic is
adapted to access metadata related to unique control behav
iors of the CE device via the netWork interface, to associate
a universal command for controlling CE devices With one or
more command codes selected from a prede?ned set of
command codes for the CE device, Wherein the one or more
command codes are selected based on the metadata, and to
execute the universal command in response to user input,
30
Wherein executing the universal command includes trans
35
access a database that stores the metadata and the set of
command codes via the netWork interface. The apparatus
40
receive user input related to one or more errors in the
device, a server that includes a database that stores metadata
50
device via an IR link and to the server via a netWork. The
remote control unit is adapted to receive the metadata from
the server, to associate a universal command for controlling
CE devices With one or more command codes selected from
55
Wherein the one or more command codes are selected based
command includes transmitting the one or more command
comprise a personal digital assistant (PDA) or Web pad that
is further adapted to establish a Wireless connection With the
netWork in accordance With an IEEE 802.11 protocol. The
remote control unit may be further adapted to receive user
embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 illustrates an example GUI for providing user input
relating to approval or disapproval of CE device metadata
metadata and/or IR command codes in accordance With an
embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 10 depicts the elements of an alternate device control
system in accordance With an embodiment of the present
invention.
The features and advantages of the present invention Will
become more apparent from the detailed description set
forth beloW When taken in conjunction With the draWings, in
Which like reference characters identify corresponding ele
ments throughout. In the draWings, like reference numbers
generally indicate identical, functionally similar, and/or
structurally similar elements. The draWing in Which an
element ?rst appears is indicated by the leftmost digit(s) in
the corresponding reference number.
on the metadata, and to execute the universal command in
response to user input, Wherein executing the universal
codes to the CE device. The remote control unit may
CE device metadata and/or IR command codes in accor
dance With an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 depicts IR command code data for a CE device that
is accessed by a remote control unit in accordance With an
relating to the correction of one or more errors in CE device
45
In another embodiment of the present invention, a system
for device control is provided. The system includes a CE
a prede?ned set of command codes for the CE device,
FIG. 5 further illustrates an example GUI for accessing
and/or IR command codes in accordance With an embodi
ment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 illustrates an example GUI for providing user input
metadata or the set of command codes or related to approval
related to unique control behaviors of the CE device, and a
remote control unit communicatively connected to the CE
present invention.
FIG. 6 illustrates an additional example GUI for accessing
the IR transmitter. The control logic may be adapted to
or disapproval of the same. The control logic may be further
adapted to transmit the user input to a ho st that maintains the
database.
in accordance With an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates an example graphical user interface
(GUI) for accessing CE device metadata and/or IR com
mand codes in accordance With an embodiment of the
CE device metadata and/or IR command codes in accor
dance With an embodiment of the present invention.
mitting the one or more command codes to the CE device via
may further include a database user interface adapted to
invention.
FIG. 1 depicts the elements of a device control system in
accordance With an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a depiction of the functional elements of an
example remote control unit in accordance With an embodi
ment of the present invention.
60
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
INVENTION
A. Device Control System In Accordance With an Embodi
input related to one or more errors in the metadata or the set 65 ment of the Present Invention
of command codes or related to approval or disapproval of
the same and to transmit the user input to the server.
FIG. 1 depicts an example device control system 100 in
accordance With an embodiment of the present invention. As
US 7,129,855 B2
5
6
shown in FIG. 1, system 100 includes components internal
providing Wireless access in this manner, an embodiment of
the present invention permits a user to directly access the
to a home 102, including a remote control unit 104 and a
consumer electronic (CE) device 108. Remote control unit
necessary command codes and metadata ef?ciently from any
104 permits a user to execute a basic set of universal
room or area in the home 102. For example, the user may
commands for controlling a variety of CE devices each
having a different manufacturer and/or model type, includ
ing CE device 108. CE device 108 may comprise any type
of CE device including, but not limited to, conventional CE
devices such as a television, video cassette recorder (VCR),
access the necessary command codes and metadata While
residing in the room in Which CE device 108 is located.
Nevertheless, a Wired connection can also be used to connect
to the broadband modem 112.
FIG. 2 depicts the functional elements of an example
DVD player, stereo receiver, electronic thermostat, lamp,
remote control unit 104 in accordance With an embodiment
video camera, or the like. These examples are not intended
of the present invention. Remote control unit 104 may
to be limiting, hoWever, and CE device 108 may comprise
comprise a personal digital assistant (PDA) or Web-pad,
other electronic devices not listed above.
Remote control unit 104 executes a universal command
by transmitting to CE device 108 one or more command
codes selected from a set of command codes associated With
the CE device. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, the set
although the invention is not so limited. As shoWn in FIG.
2, remote control unit 104 includes a user interface 208 for
receiving user input and providing information to a user, a
netWork interface 206 for providing access to a netWork, and
a CE device interface 204 for transmitting information to,
of command codes associated With CE device 108 comprise
and optionally receiving information from, a CE device. In
IR command codes, Which are transmitted from remote
an embodiment, user interface 208 comprises a graphical
control unit 104 to CE device 108 via a Wireless commu 20 user interface (GUI) that receives user input via a touch
nication link, such as a one or tWo-Way infra-red (1R)
sensitive display, netWork interface 206 comprises a plug-in
communication link. The use of IR communication for
or built-in WiFI netWork card that includes an IEEE
remote control of CE devices is Well knoWn in the art.
802.11b-compliant transceiver, and CE device interface 204
HoWever, other Wireless communication protocols such as
comprises a one-Way IR transmitter or, alternately, a tWo
Way IR transceiver.
In an alternate embodiment, CE device interface 204
comprises a WiFi transmitter or transceiver adapted for
communication in accordance With an IEEE 802.11 proto
IEEE 802.11 or Bluetooth® and be used.
As Will be described in more detail herein, the selection
25
of the appropriate command codes for executing a particular
universal command in accordance With an embodiment of
the present invention is based, in part, on analysis of
metadata for CE device 108. Metadata refers to data that
30
pertains to the unique control behaviors of a particular CE
device, such as CE device 108. In order to select the
appropriate command codes, remote control unit 104 must
have access to a set of command codes for controlling CE
device 108 as Well as metadata for the device.
35
In system 100, the set of command codes and metadata for
CE device 108 is accessed by remote control unit 104 via a
and a CE device that communicates using an IR link is
described in commonly-oWned co-pending U.S. patent
connection to remote databases 120 and 122, Which com
prise a command code database and a metadata database,
respectively. Although tWo databases 120 and 122 are
col. Where the CE device interface 204 is implemented in
this fashion, and the CE device to be controlled is adapted
to perform IR communication only, an intermediate device
is necessary for converting betWeen 802.11 and IR commu
nication protocols. A bridge device that facilitates such
communication betWeen an 802.11-compliant control device
40
application Ser. No. 10/3 87,590 to KrZyZanoWski et al., ?led
Mar. 14, 2003 and entitled “Legacy Device Bridge for
Residential or Non-Residential Networks,” the entirety of
Which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth
depicted in system 100 for the sake of clarity, persons skilled
in the relevant art(s) Will readily appreciate that command
herein.
As shoWn in FIG. 2, remote control unit 104 further
codes and metadata may be stored in a single database as
includes control logic 202, Which is communicatively
Well. A database server 118 handles all accesses to remote
databases 120 and 122. Once remote control unit 104 has
obtained the necessary command codes and metadata from
remote databases 120 and 122, it stores this information in
a local database 106, Which preferably resides in memory
internal to remote control unit 104.
45
In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, remote control unit
50
features of the present invention as Will be described in more
104 accesses remote databases 120 and 122 via a broadband
connection to the Internet 116, access to Which is provided
by Internet Service Provider (ISP) 114. Access via Wide area
netWorks other than the Internet is also encompassed by the
present invention.
appreciated by persons skilled in the relevant art(s) based on
55
Remote control unit 104 also includes a memory 210 that
210 may be used to store local database 106, described
above in reference to FIG. 1. Accordingly, memory 210 may
60
Wirelessly connected to broadband modem 112, and hence
the 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11 g protocols. By
readily implemented in hardWare, softWare, or as combina
tion of hardWare and softWare.
is communicatively coupled to control logic 202. Memory
providing access to ISP 114 are Well knoWn to persons
Internet 116, via a Wireless access point 110. In an embodi
ment, Wireless communication betWeen remote control unit
104 and Wireless access point 110 is achieved in accordance
With the IEEE 802.11b communication protocol, or any of
the other IEEE 802.11 protocols, including but not limited to
detail herein, including but not limited to processing user
input received from user interface 208, accessing a set of
command codes and metadata for a particular CE device via
netWork interface 206, and transmitting command codes to
a CE device via CE device interface 204. As Will be
the teachings provided herein, control logic 202 may be
The connection to ISP 114 is implemented in home 102
using a broadband modem 112, although other means for
skilled in the relevant art(s). In accordance With an embodi
ment of the present invention, remote control unit 104 is
coupled to user interface 208, netWork interface 206, and CE
device interface 204. Control logic 202 is adapted to execute
be used to store a set of command codes and metadata for a
variety of CE devices, including CE device 108.
65
B. Device Control Method in Accordance With an Embodi
ment of the Present Invention
FIG. 3 illustrates a ?owchart 300 of a device control
method in accordance With an embodiment of the present
invention. The invention, hoWever, is not limited to the
US 7,129,855 B2
7
8
description provided by the ?owchart 300. Rather, it will be
accessed in step 304 and transmits the user input to a host or
apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art(s) from the
teachings provided herein that other functional ?ows are
within the scope and spirit of the present invention. Flow
and/or 304.
Various aspects of the foregoing method steps will now be
database manager of the database(s) accessed in step 302
chart 300 will be described with continued reference to
example system 100 described above in reference to FIG. 1.
The invention, however, is not limited to this embodiment.
The method of ?owchart 300 begins at steps 302 and 304
discussed in more detail.
1. Use of CE Device Metadata in Accordance with an
Embodiment of the Present Invention
A remote control unit in accordance with an embodiment
of the present invention permits a user to execute a basic set
in which a user utiliZes remote control unit 104 to access a
of universal commands for controlling a variety of CE
devices each having a different manufacturer and/or model
prede?ned set of command codes and metadata for a CE
device. For example, in accordance with an embodiment of
the present invention, the user employs remote control unit
type. As discussed elsewhere herein, this is achieved by
104 to establish a wireless connection with database server
utilizing CE device metadata to select one or more command
118 and download a prede?ned set of command codes and
metadata for CE device 108. In an embodiment, these steps
codes from a prede?ned set of command codes for the CE
device to implement a particular universal command. Meta
data refers to data relating to certain control behaviors that
are speci?c to a certain CE device type. Knowledge of these
control idiosyncrasies is essential to achieving true auto
mated control of CE devices. Examples of how metadata is
used to in?uence the selection of command codes for
are performed seriallyiin other words, the command codes
are accessed before the metadata, or vice versa. In an
alternate embodiment, however, these steps are performed
concurrentlyifor example, the command codes and meta
data may be downloaded as part of the same ?le.
At step 306, remote control unit 104 associates a universal
20
executing universal commands are provided below.
a. Setting Input State Using CE Device Metadata
Proper response by certain conventional CE devices to a
command for controlling a CE device with one or more
command codes selected from the set of command codes
accessed in step 302. The association is based, in part, on the
metadata accessed in step 304. Examples of how metadata
may be used to in?uence the selection of command codes for
executing universal commands will be provided in more
detail herein.
At step 308, remote control unit 104 executes the univer
sal command by transmitting the selected one or more
command codes from step 306 to CE device 108. In an
embodiment, remote control unit 104 executes the universal
command in response to user input. For example, the user
may employ remote control unit 104 to activate the universal
command, and, in response, remote control unit 104 trans
25
state. For example, if a user desires to watch a DVD movie
on his or her TV, he or she can see whether the TV is set to
the correct input state (e.g., VIDEO 1 for DVD input) and
select the proper input state if the TV is not set to receive the
30
enable the viewing of a movie on a DVD on a TV Such a
35
40
user to set the TV to the proper input before executing the
macro. The problem with the latter condition is that con
ventional remote control units have no practical means to
45
powered on). The concept of automatically executing uni
select the proper video input state without knowledge of the
input at which the TV is set at that moment.
versal commands in response to time or event triggers rather
An embodiment of the present invention takes advantage
than user intervention is described in more detail in com
of CE device behavior metadata to facilitate full automatic
or programistic control of CE devices. For example, an
50
“Method, System and Computer Program Product for Auto
matically Managing Components within a Controlled Envi
ronment,” to KrZyZanowski et al., ?led concurrently here
with, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference as if
fully set forth herein.
Steps 310 and 312 are optional steps by which the user
condition is that a remote control unit cannot assume that the
DVD input state has already been selected, and requires the
command in response to a predetermined action or event as
monly-owned US. patent application Ser. No. To Be Deter
mined (Attorney Docket No. 2100.0030004), entitled
series of commands, however, would not function correctly
unless the TV was either (i) already set to the appropriate
input state for receiving DVD signals, or (ii) the remote
control device could be programmed to set the TV to the
proper video input state. The problem with the former
mits the selected one or more command codes via an IR link
programmed by the user (e.g., in response to a TV being
DVD signals. This user intervention precludes fully auto
matic operation of the user’s home entertainment system.
In this regard, a remote control unit could be pre-pro
grammed to automatically execute a series of commands to
to CE device 108.
In an alternate embodiment, remote control unit 104
executes the universal command in response to reaching
some predetermined time as programmed by the user (e.g.,
turn o? all CE devices at 11:00 PM). In a still alternate
embodiment, remote control unit 104 executes the universal
received command code, such as an IR command code,
requires the CE device to be in the correct input mode or
55
AquosTM TV, manufactured by Sharp Corporation of Osaka,
Japan, has the following video input state cycle: TV, AV1,
and AV2. For the purposes of this example, AV1 is the input
state that receives input from a digital satellite receiver and
AV2 is the input state that receives input from a DVD player.
The Sharp AquosTM TV defaults to the TV tuner state
when it receives a channel up or channel down command
may provide feedback concerning the prede?ned set of
command codes accessed in step 302 and/or the metadata
from the remote control unit. This behavior idiosyncrasy of
the Sharp Aquo sTM TV represents a metadata that is included
accessed in step 304. In particular, in optional step 310,
in a database and accessed by a remote control unit in
remote control unit 104 receives user input related to one or 60 accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. If
more errors in the prede?ned set of command codes
the user desires to watch a DVD movie on a Sharp AquosTM
accessed in step 302 and/or the metadata accessed in step
TV, he or she can, for example, activate a universal com
304 and transmits the user input to a host or database
mand to “power on” the DVD player. In response to that
manager of the database(s) accessed in step 302 and/or 304.
In optional step 312, remote control unit 104 receives user
input related to approval or disapproval of the prede?ned set
of command codes accessed in step 302 and/or the metadata
activation, the remote control unit references the meta-data
65
for the Sharp AquosTM TV, which informs the unit of the
video input state cycle metadata described above. Accord
ingly, the remote control unit transmits a command code to
US 7,129,855 B2
10
key signal, and the “0” key signal. Consequently, When a
turn on the DVD player, and then sends a “channel up”
command code to the TV to set the TV’s video input state
to the TV tuner. Because the TV must noW be in the ?rst
user selects the Favorite Channel key, the remote control
unit Will ?rst transmit the “100” key signal to the TV and
then transmit signals corresponding to “6” and “0” in order
to properly tune the TV to that particular selected channel.
Another example of the idiosyncrasies of TV channel
selection is provided by TVs and devices that are capable of
tuning TVs, such as satellite boxes, cable boxes, VCRs, and
the like, that can accept varying numbers of digits for
purposes of tuning directly to a channel. For example, some
TV devices, such as the Sharp Linytron® TV, can accept
mode of the video input cycle, the remote control unit then
transmits a command code to the TV to select the next input
state in the cycle, AVl (satellite TV), and then sends another
command code to select the next input state to set the TV to
AV2 (DVD player). NoW that the TV has been properly set
to receive input from the DVD player, the remote control
unit can then transmit “play” and other commands to the
DVD player.
In other Words, in accordance With the foregoing example,
a remote control device in accordance With an embodiment
only tWo digits to select a channel, thereby effectively
limiting their tuning range to channels 1 through 99. Other
of the present invention Will associate the universal com
devices, such as the TiVo® Series 2 Satellite Tuner, can
mand for “powering on” the DVD player With the folloWing
accept four digits and thus are capable of tuning betWeen
command codes for the Sharp AquosTM TV based on the
channels 1 and 9999. Accordingly, a database in accordance
With the present invention stores metadata relating to the
maximum number of channel digits a TV device is capable
AquosTM TV metadata: “channel up,” “next input state,” and
“next input state.”
Alternatively, the Sharp Aquo sTM TV can also be set to the
TV tuner input state by entering a channel number. This
represents another metadata of the AquosTM TV. For
20
ensure that the remote control unit does not attempt to tune
the device to a channel that is out of its range (e.g.,
requesting a device tune to channel 555 When that device is
example, by issuing “0” and “3” channel commands (cor
responding to channel 3), the AquosTM TV Will be set to the
TV input state of the video input cycle regardless of What
input mode the TV Was in at that moment. With the TV set
to a knoWn mode, a remote control unit in accordance With
the embodiment of the present invention can then issue
of accepting. In accordance With the present invention, this
type of tuning-channel metadata is stored in the database to
25
only capable of tuning from channels 1 to 99).
A further example of the idiosyncrasies of TV channel
selection is provided by certain TVs require an “Enter” or
cation of the present invention. Any application that requires
“Select” key to be activated in order to tune to a desired
channel. For example, to select channel 2, some conven
tional CE devices require the user to press “0” and “2” and
then “Enter” (or “Select”) on a remote control unit. What is
more, some TV devices only alloW “Enter” or “Select” to be
a known input state of a CE device (e.g., stereo ampli?ers)
pressed When the user enters a number of digits correspond
appropriate commands to cycle through the video input
cycle until it arrives at the desired input.
The example described above illustrates only one appli
30
ing to a selected channel that is less than the maximum
can bene?t from the present invention. In accordance With
an embodiment of the present invention, a database stores
and organiZes information that permits the remote control
35
unit to set a CE device to a desired state Without user
intervention.
immediately tuning the TV to the four-digital channel. Thus,
b. Tuning TV Channels Using CE Device Metadata
The idiosyncrasies of TV channel selection present
another example of CE device metadata that can be stored
and used in accordance With an embodiment of the present
to tune to channel 16, the user Would press “0”, “0”, “1” and
40
Series 2 Satellite Tuner, the user may also achieve the same
result Without entering Zeros. To tune to channels With less
than four digits, the user need only enter the one, tWo, or
45
three digits corresponding to the desired channel folloWed
by the “Enter” key. For example, pressing “1”, “6” and then
Will Wait for the next digit. Similarly, to select channel 35,
the user must input “3” and “5”. HoWever, to select any
channel above 99, the user must ?rst press the “100” button
on the AquosTM remote control unit. Thus, to select channel
160, the user must press “100” and then “6” and “0”. If the
user presses “1”, “6” and “0” to tune to channel 160, the TV
“6” on the remote control unit.
HoWever, due to a command idiosyncrasy of the TiVo®
invention. For example, the Sharp AquosTM TV provides a
channel selection range of 1 to 999. To select channel 1, the
user must input “0” and “1” into the AquosTM remote control
unit. If the user merely inputs “1”, the TV Will assume that
the user intends to select a channel betWeen 10 and 19, and
number of channel digits that the TV device is capable of
receiving. An example of this is a TiVo® Series 2 Satellite
Tuner, Which can accept up to four digits corresponding to
a selected channel. Entering four digits results in this device
pressing “Enter” also results in a successful direct tune to
channel 16 for the TiVo® Series 2 Satellite Tuner. HoWever,
if the user uses the four-digit format to select a channel and
50
also presses the “Enter” key, the tuner Will change back to
the last channel, Which is erroneous behavior. A database in
accordance With an embodiment of the present invention
Will actually tune to channel 16, and start the tuning process
stores the foregoing types of tuning metadata to alloW direct
for a neW channel betWeen 1 and 9 (i.e., the TV Will accept
the ?nal “0” input as a signal for another tuning selection
and proper tuning of devices requiring use of the Enter or
55
Select key.
60
2. Interactive Database Access in Accordance With an
Embodiment of the Present Invention
In accordance With an embodiment of the present inven
tion, user interface 208 of remote control unit 104 includes
a dynamic graphical user interface (GUI) screen by Which a
and Wait for the next digit to be entered).
Thus, in accordance With the present invention, a remote
control unit accesses a database to obtain metadata regarding
these channel-tuning rules of the Sharp AquosTM TV. One
exemplary application of this channel-tuning metadata
Would be programming a “Favorite Channel” key to corre
spond to channel 160. For example, if channel 160 Was
user can access and navigate a remote database to acquire
desired command codes and metadata and interactively
communicate With the database. For example, the GUI may
be generated by database server 118 and presented to the
HBO®, the Favorite Channel key could be represented by
the HBO® logo on the user interface of a remote control
unit. Based on the metadata, the remote control unit Would
then associate the Favorite Channel key With the folloWing
AquoSTM TV command codes: the “100” key signal, the “6”
65
user on remote control unit 104. Alternately, the GUI may be
generated locally by remote control unit 104. In other Words,
remote control unit 104 may be provided With the database
US 7,129,855 B2
11
12
contents and generate its oWn user interface rendering for
The master database, hoWever, may include erroneous
data. Errors can be inadvertently introduced into the data
access, control, and navigation.
For example, in an embodiment, a user accesses the
base by including faulty command codes or by entering
appropriate set of command codes and metadata by using the
interested (e.g., television, VCR, CD player, DVD player,
valid command codes incorrectly. A reliable Way to detect
these data errors is through empirical evidence, such as
observing that a certain set of command codes does not
stereo receiver), the manufacturer of the CE device, and the
properly control the CE device in question. HoWever, the
model of the CE device. FIG. 4 illustrates an example GUI
400 for accessing CE device metadata and/or IR command
codes in accordance With an embodiment of the present
invention. More detail concerning the appearance and func
tion of example GUI 400 and related user interface embodi
codes, Which can easily number in the tens of thousands, to
verify that they are valid and correct.
In accordance With an embodiment of the present inven
tion, a central database (such as databases 120 and 122 and
GUI to specify the type of CE device in Which the user is
database host is not Well-suited to test all of the database
ments is provided in commonly-oWned US. Patent Appli
associated database server of FIG. 1), relies on data error and
cation Ser. No. To Be Determined (Attorney Docket No.
2100.0060001), entitled “User Interface for Multi-Device
correction input received through interactive communica
tion With users. For example, an embodiment of the present
Control,” to Killian et al., ?led concurrently hereWith, the
entirety of Which is incorporated by reference as if fully set
invention permits the validity of command codes and meta
data stored in the database to be veri?ed or challenged by
forth herein.
As shoWn in FIG. 4, the example GUI 400 includes a drag
and drop menu 402 for specifying the type of CE device
from a list of knoWn CE device types, and a drag and drop
menu 404 for specifying the manufacturer of the CE device
from a list of knoWn manufacturers. As shoWn in FIG. 4, the
end users Who have used data that has been doWnloaded
from the database. A user Who has observed that a database
entry is not valid can provide such input to the host via a
database user interface. Upon being alerted to such feedback
from the user, the ho st can then verify the data entry problem
and substitute the correct command codes or metadata into
the database.
20
user has identi?ed the CE device of interest as a TV, and has
selected the manufacturer as Sharp. In an embodiment, if the
CE device manufacturer is not in the list of knoWn manu
25
For example, after using command codes and metadata
doWnloaded from the database, a user can approve or
facturers, the user is presented With the option of creating a
disapprove of the database entry. FIG. 8 illustrates an
neW manufacturer.
example GUI 800 for providing user input relating to
approval or disapproval of CE device metadata and/or IR
After the user has selected the manufacturer of the CE
device, the user then selects the model type of the CE device.
30
command codes in accordance With an embodiment of the
FIG. 5 further illustrates example GUI 400, and in particular,
depicts a drag and drop menu 502 for specifying the model
present invention. This user-approval rating information is
then recorded and compiled into the database for use by
of CE device from a list of knoWn model types. As shoWn
other users.
in FIG. 5, the user has identi?ed the Sharp AquosTM model
type. In an embodiment, if the CE device model is not in the
list of knoWn models, the user is presented With the option
In accordance With an embodiment of the present inven
35
if it is found to be erroneous, including submitting corrected
of creating a neW model.
Once the user has identi?ed the CE device type, manu
facturer and model of the CE device, remote control unit 104
requests a set of command codes and metadata for that CE
device type from the database. In an embodiment, if the
database has more than one data entry for the selected CE
data to the database server. FIG. 9 illustrates an example
GUI 900 for providing user input relating to the correction
of one or more errors in CE device metadata and/or IR
40
device type, the database returns multiple data entry results.
For example, the user may be presented With a list of
available and responsive data entry roWs as shoWn in the
example GUI 600 of FIG. 6. As shoWn in GUI 600, the
database may reveal certain information about each entry,
such as approval or disapproval of the entry by other users,
to assist the user in selecting one of the entries. The user then
selects one of the available entries to doWnload to remote
inclusion into the database subject to acceptance thereof by
45
In Accordance With an Embodiment of the Present Invention
As discussed herein, an embodiment of the present inven
50
invention, a remote control unit can create an immediate link
55
60
populating the database grid With appropriate data.
to a centrally located master IR code database. In the
embodiment described in reference to FIG. 1, the user’s
remote control unit includes a Wireless netWork interface,
such as a plug-in or built-in WiFi netWork card for IEEE
802.11b Ethernet, that permits the remote control to Wire
lessly access a remotely hosted database that includes CE
device command codes and metadata over a Wide area
host or database manager to alloW users to doWnload data to
expand and update their personal IR code databases used by
tion obviates the steps required by conventional systems for
setting up a physical link betWeen a remote control unit and
a database for accessing CE device command codes. For
example, in accordance With an embodiment of the present
invention. In FIG. 7, the IR command code data is depicted
in a GUI 702 associated With the NotepadX application of
Microsoft WindoWs®.
their remote control units. The host creates the database by
the host.
C. Alternate Device Control System Using Local PC/ Server
rating.
3. Interactive Database Feedback in Accordance With an
Embodiment of the Present Invention
In accordance With an embodiment of the present inven
tion, the centraliZed database that stores CE device com
mand codes and metadata is created and maintained by a
command codes in accordance With an embodiment of the
present invention. In accordance With a further embodiment
of the present invention, a process can be implemented
Whereby a user can offer additional command codes for
control unit 104, such as the entry With a 98% user-approval
FIG. 7 depicts an example of IR command code data 700
that is doWnloaded from the database to the remote control
unit in accordance With an embodiment of the present
tion, the user can also propose modi?cations to a data entry
65
netWork, such as the Internet.
FIG. 10 depicts the elements of an alternate device control
system 1000 in accordance With an embodiment of the
present invention in Which a database of CE device com
mand codes and metadata 1008 is stored locally on a local
PC/server 1006 for access by a remote control unit 1002 via
US 7,129,855 B2
14
13
2. The method of claim 1, Wherein said executing said
a Wireless access point 1004. In an embodiment, local
PC/server 1006 comprises a centralized control server such
universal command comprises executing said universal
as is described in commonly oWned and co-pending U.S.
command in response to user input.
patent application Ser. No. 10/ 180,500, entitled “Method,
3. The method of claim 1, Wherein said executing said
System, and Computer Program Product for Managing
universal command comprises executing said universal
Controlled Residential or Non-residential Environments,”
command in response to reaching a predetermined time.
4. The method of claim 1, Wherein said executing said
the entirety of Which is incorporated by reference herein.
In accordance With system 1000, remote control unit 1002
establishes Wireless connectivity to local PC/ server 1006 via
universal command comprises executing said universal
a Wireless local area netWork, or intranet, to doWnload CE
5. The method of claim 1, Wherein said accessing said
database that stores metadata comprises Wirelessly access
ing said database that stores said metadata.
6. The method of claim 5, Wherein said Wirelessly access
ing said database comprises establishing a Wireless connec
command in response to a predetermined event or action.
device command codes and metadata from local database
1008. Thus, in this embodiment, method steps 302 and 304
described above in reference to FIG. 3 are performed
betWeen remote control unit 1002 and local PC/ server 1006.
In a further embodiment, remote control unit 1002 operates
as a “thin client,” merely providing a user interface betWeen
a user and local PC/server 1006 and communicates With the
PC/server 1002 on a continuous real time basis for control
data. In this embodiment, local PC/ server also performs
method step 306 described above in reference to FIG. 3.
In accordance With a further embodiment, local PC/ server
tion With a local area netWork.
7. The method of claim 5, Wherein said Wirelessly access
ing said database comprises establishing a Wireless connec
tion With a Wide area netWork.
8. The method of claim 5, Wherein said Wirelessly access
20
cation in accordance With an IEEE 802.11 protocol.
9. The method of claim 5, further comprising:
1006 can periodically update the CE device command codes
and metadata stored in local database 1008 by accessing
transmitting user input related to one or more errors in
remote databases 120 and 122 via Internet 116.
The Wireless connectivity described above in reference to
both system 100 of FIG. 1 and system 1000 of FIG. 10
ing said database comprises performing Wireless communi
said metadata to a host that maintains said database via
25
a database user interface.
10. The method of claim 5, further comprising:
transmitting user input related to approval or disapproval
enables a remote control unit to have instantaneous and
Wireless connectivity to a database that includes CE device
of said metadata to a host that maintains said database
command codes and metadata. As a result, a user does not
via a database user interface.
have to perform steps necessary to create a hard physical
connection to the database as in conventional systems.
30
Rather, if the user desires to update the remote control unit,
consumer electronic device.
12. The method of claim 11, Wherein said accessing said
he or she need only use the remote control unit to call up the
master database via a Wide or local area netWork and directly
prede?ned set of command codes comprises Wirelessly
doWnload desired data from the database.
accessing a database that stores said prede?ned set of
command codes.
D. Conclusion
While various embodiments of the present invention have
been described above, it should be understood that they have
been presented by Way of example only, and not limitation.
It Will be understood by those skilled in the relevant art(s)
that various changes in form and details may be made
therein Without departing from the spirit and scope of the
invention as de?ned in the appended claims. Accordingly,
the breadth and scope of the present invention should not be
limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodi
ments, but should be de?ned only in accordance With the
13. The method of claim 12, further comprising:
transmitting user input related to one or more errors in
40
of command codes via a database user interface.
45
of said prede?ned set of command codes to a host that
maintains said database that stores said prede?ned set
of command codes via a database user interface.
15. An apparatus for controlling a consumer electronic
device, comprising:
50
a netWork interface;
a transmitter;
a user interface; and
control logic coupled to said netWork interface, said
unique requirements for controlling the consumer elec
tronic device, Wherein said unique requirements for
controlling the consumer electronic device include at
said prede?ned set of command codes to a host that
maintains said database that stores said prede?ned set
14. The method of claim 12, further comprising:
transmitting user input related to approval or disapproval
folloWing claims and their equivalents.
What is claimed is:
1. An automated method for programmed control of a
consumer electronic device, comprising:
accessing a database that stores metadata that speci?es
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
accessing said prede?ned set of command codes for the
transmitter, and said user interface;
Wherein said control logic is adapted to access a database
55
that stores metadata that speci?es unique requirements
least one of: device activation requirements, tuning
for controlling the consumer electronic device via said
requirements, and input state selection requirements;
netWork interface, Wherein said unique requirements
associating a universal command for controlling con
for controlling the consumer electronic device include
at least one of device activation requirements, tuning
sumer electronic devices With one or more command
codes selected from a prede?ned set of command codes
60
for the consumer electronic device, Wherein said one or
more command codes are selected based on said meta
data; and
executing said universal command, Wherein executing
said universal command comprises transmitting said
one or more command codes to the consumer electronic
device.
requirements, and input state selection requirements, to
associate a universal command for controlling con
sumer electronic devices With one or more command
codes selected from a prede?ned set of command codes
65
for the consumer electronic device, Wherein said one or
more command codes are selected based on said meta
data, and to execute said universal command in
response to user input received via said user interface,
US 7,129,855 B2
15
16
wherein executing said universal command comprises
one of device activation requirements, tuning require
ments, and input state selection requirements; and
transmitting said one or more command codes to the
consumer electronic device via said transmitter.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, Wherein said transmitter
comprises an infrared (IR) transmitter.
17. The apparatus of claim 15, Wherein said transmitter
comprises a transmitter adapted for Wireless communication
in accordance With an IEEE 802.11 protocol.
18. The apparatus of claim 15, Wherein said netWork
interface device comprises a Wireless transceiver.
19. The apparatus of claim 18, Wherein said Wireless
transceiver comprises a Wireless transceiver adapted for
a remote control unit communicatively connected to said
consumer electronic device and to said server via a
5
netWork;
Wherein said remote control unit is adapted to receive said
prede?ned set of command codes and said metadata
from said server, to associate a universal command for
controlling consumer electronic devices With one or
more command codes selected from said prede?ned set
of command codes for said consumer electronic device,
Wherein said one or more command codes are selected
Wireless communication in accordance With an IEEE 802.11
based on said metadata, and to execute said universal
protocol.
command in response to user input, Wherein executing
20. The apparatus of claim 15, further comprising:
said universal command comprises transmitting said
a memory;
one or more command codes to said consumer elec
Wherein said memory stores said universal command, said
metadata, and said prede?ned set of command codes.
21. The apparatus of claim 15, Wherein said control logic
is adapted to access said database that stores said metadata
via said netWork interface.
22. The apparatus of claim 21, Wherein said user interface
20
comprises:
tronic device via an IEEE 802.11 link.
a database user interface adapted to receive user input
related to one or more errors in said metadata;
tronic device.
29. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
unit is communicatively connected to said consumer elec
tronic device via an infrared (IR) link.
30. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
unit is communicatively connected to said consumer elec
31. The system of claim 28, Wherein said consumer
25
electronic device comprises one of a television, a video
Wherein said control logic is further adapted to transmit
cassette recorder, a digital video disc player, a personal
said user input to a host that maintains said database via
video recorder, a compact disc player, a stereo receiver, an
said netWork interface.
23. The apparatus of claim 21, Wherein said user interface
comprises:
electronic thermostat, a lamp, or a video camera.
32. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
30
a database user interface adapted to receive user input
Web-pad.
related to approval or disapproval of said metadata;
Wherein said control logic is further adapted to transmit
said user input to a host that maintains said database via
said netWork interface.
35
24. The apparatus of claim 15; Wherein said control logic
is further adapted to access said prede?ned set of command
codes via said netWork interface.
25. The apparatus of claim 24, Wherein said control logic
is adapted to access a database that stores said prede?ned set
36. The system of claim 28, Wherein said netWork com
prises a Wide area netWork.
37. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
comprises:
a database user interface adapted to receive user input
related to one or more errors in said prede?ned set of 45
command codes;
unit is further adapted to receive user input related to one or
more errors in said metadata and to transmit said user input
to said server.
38. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
unit is further adapted to receiver user input related to
approval or disapproval of said metadata and to transmit said
Wherein said control logic is further adapted to transmit
said user input to a host that maintains said database
50
user input to said server.
39. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
unit is further adapted to receive user input related to one or
more errors in said prede?ned set of command codes and to
transmit said user input to said server.
comprises:
a database user interface adapted to receive user input
related to approval or disapproval of said prede?ned set
of command codes;
Wherein said control logic is further adapted to transmit
33. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
unit is further adapted to establish a Wireless connection
With said netWork.
34. The system of claim 33, Wherein said remote control
unit is adapted to establish a Wireless connection With said
netWork in accordance With an IEEE 802.11 protocol.
35. The system of claim 28, Wherein said netWork com
prises a local area netWork.
40
of command codes via said netWork interface.
26. The apparatus of claim 25, Wherein said user interface
that stores said prede?ned set of command codes via
said netWork interface.
27. The apparatus of claim 25, Wherein said user interface
unit comprises one of a personal digital assistant or a
55
40. The system of claim 28, Wherein said remote control
unit is further adapted to receive user input related to
said user input to a host that maintains said database
approval or disapproval of said prede?ned set of command
that stores said prede?ned set of command codes via
said netWork interface.
codes and to transmit said user input to said server.
28. A system, comprising:
41. A system, comprising:
60
prede?ned set of command codes for said consumer
electronic device and metadata that speci?es unique
requirements for controlling said consumer electronic
device, Wherein said unique requirements for control
ling said consumer electronic device include at least
a consumer electronic device; and
a remote control unit communicatively coupled to said
consumer electronic device, said remote control unit
including a database that stores a prede?ned set of
command codes for said consumer electronic device
a consumer electronic device;
a server, said server including a database that stores a
65
and metadata that speci?es unique requirements for
controlling said consumer electronic device, Wherein
said unique requirements for controlling said consumer
US 7,129,855 B2
17
18
45. The system of claim 41, Wherein said remote control
electronic device include at least one of device activa
tion requirements, tuning requirements, and input state
selection requirements;
Wherein said remote control unit is adapted to receive said
prede?ned set of command codes and said metadata
from said database, to associate a universal command
unit comprises one of a personal digital assistant or a
Web-pad.
46. A database for facilitating control of a consumer
5
electronic device, the database comprising:
a prede?ned set of command codes for the consumer
for controlling consumer electronic devices With one or
electronic device; and
metadata that speci?es unique requirements for control
more command codes selected from said prede?ned set
of command codes for said consumer electronic device,
Wherein said one or more command codes are selected
ling the consumer electronic device, Wherein the
based on said metadata, and to execute said universal
unique requirements for controlling the consumer elec
command in response to user input, Wherein executing
tronic device include at least one of device activation
requirements, tuning requirements, and input state
selection requirements.
said universal command comprises transmitting said
one or more command codes to said consumer elec
tronic device.
42. The system of claim 41, Wherein said remote control
unit is communicatively connected to said consumer elec
tronic device via an infrared (IR) link.
43. The system of claim 41, Wherein said remote control
unit is communicatively connected to said consumer elec
5
comprises a prede?ned set of infrared (IR) command codes.
48. The database of claim 46, further comprising:
one or more additional prede?ned sets of command codes
for the consumer electronic device.
tronic device via an IEEE 802.11 link.
49. The database of claim 46, further comprising:
44. The system of claim 41, Wherein said consumer
one or more additional metadata related to unique control
behaviors of the consumer electronic device.
electronic device comprises one of a television, a video
cassette recorder, a digital video disc player, a personal
video recorder, a compact disc player, a stereo receiver, an
electronic thermostat, a lamp, or a video camera.
47. The database of claim 46, Wherein said prede?ned set
of command codes for the consumer electronic device
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