AGIVEN PROGRAM ]

AGIVEN PROGRAM ]
US005635989A
Umted States Patent [19]
[11] Patent Number:
5,635,989
Rothmuller
[45] Date of Patent:
Jun. 3, 1997
[54]
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SORTING
5,479,268 12/1995 Young et a1. ........................... .. 348/13
AND SEARCHING A TELEVISION
PROGRAM GUIDE
5,485,197
5,488,409
1/1996 Hoarty ....... ..
348/12
1/1996 Yuen et a1. ................................ .. 348/5
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
[75]
Inventor:
Michael Rothmuller, San Diego, Calif.
_
_
1995
Primary Examiner-John K Peng
Assistant Examiner-Nathan J. Flynn
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—John T. Whelan; Wanda Denson
[21] Appl. No.: 600,576
[22] Filed:
_
V1deoGu1de User’s Manual, V1deoGu1de, Inc., pp. 11-15
[73] Assignee: Hughes Electronics, Los Angeles,
Calif-
_
Low
Feb. 13, 1996
[57]
ABSTRACT
[51]
Int. 01.6 ..................................................... .. H04N 7/17
[52]
US. Cl. ............................... .. 348/563; 348/1; 348/10;
.
_
343/553; 348/569; 348/906
comprising program information for a plurality of di?erent
[58]
Field of Search .............................. .. 348/906 12 13
Pmg‘am “mm The Pmg‘am infmna?on incl‘ldes “16
A method and aPParatus for Searchmg a Progmm gulde
titles of the programs, the channel on which each program
[56]
348/1’ 2’ 5’ 6‘ 10’ 468’ 473’ 553’ 55%,;
is to be shown, and the time at which each program is to be
References Cited
shown. The viewer ?rst enters the title of a desired program
The program guide is then reviewed so as to identify each
occurrence of the title of the desired program If the desired
program is contained in the guide, the time and channel
associated with each identi?ed occurrence of the program is
U'S' Pm DOCUMENTS
4,751,578
5,253,066
5,410,367
6/1988 Reiter et a1. ........................ .. 348/13 X
10/1993
Vogel ............. ..
displayed.
..
4/1995 Zahavi et a1. ......................... .. 348/725
15 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
PROGRAM
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Jun. 3, 1997
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Jun. 3, 1997
Sheet 2 of 5
PROGRAM GUIDE
5,635,989
WED, NOV 23 - |2:33PM
COMPLETE NORMAL
[ MAIN MENU )[ CATEGORIES )( TYPES X uSTSjUumES )[CLASSES) TODAY
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US. Patent
Jun. 3, 1997
Sheet 3 of 5
5,635,989
PROGRAM
GUIDE
REVIEW PROGRAM
GUIDE TO DETERMINE
IF GUIDE CONTAINS
DESIRED PROGRAMS
YES
RECORD TIME AND
CHANNEL INFORMATION
FOR EACH OCCURRENCE
OF DESIRED PROGRAM
DISPLAY TIME AND
CHANNEL INFORMATION
OF DESIRED PROGRAMS
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FIG. 3
US. Patent
Jun. 3, 1997
Sheet 4 of 5
PROGRAM
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5,635,989
US. Patent
Jun. 3, 1997
Sheet 5 of 5
PROGRAM
GUIDE
GENERATE FAVORITE
PROGRAM LIST
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REVIEW PROGRAM 7'
GUIDE
TO DETERMINE IF A
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FAVORITE PROGRAM
CONAIN IN PROGRAM
GUIDE
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NOTIFY VIEWER OF P]
TIME ANY CHANNEL OF
BROADCAST OF FAVORITE
PROGRAM
5,635,989
5,635,989
1
2
The present invention relates generally to a method of
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SORTING
AND SEARCHING A TELEVISION
PROGRAM GUIDE
searching a program guide comprising program information
for a plurality of different program sources. The program
information includes the titles of the programs, the channel
on which each program is to be shown, and the time at which
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
each program is to be shown. According to the novel
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to a subscription
As the subscription television industry has grown, pro
viders of subscription television continually offer more and
method, the viewer ?rst enters the title of a desired program.
The program guide is then reviewed so as to identify each
occurrence of the title of the desired program. If the desired
program is contained in the guide, the time and channel
associated with each identi?ed occurrence of the program is
displayed on a display screen.
The present invention also relates generally to a method
of generating a favorite program list from a program guide
more channels to the individual subscriber. Typical systems
offer more than 100 different channels. Such systems also
programs, for a plurality of different program sources. The
television system and more particularly, to a method and
apparatus for sorting and searching program guides based on
the viewer’s favorite programs.
2. Description of the Prior Art
typically display a channel or program guide, which iden
ti?es all available channels, the programs currently airing on
each channel and upcoming programs.
For example, US. Pat. No. 4,751,578, US. Pat. No.
5.353.121 (the ’l21 patent), US. Pat. No. 5,253,066, all of
10
comprising program information, including the titles of the
method comprises the steps of monitoring the duration of
20
which are herein incorporated by reference, disclose typical
channel guides. As shown, for example, in FIG. 1 of the ’121
patent, the channel guide comprises a plurality of channel
identi?ers and a listing of the shows and programs upcoming
on each channel. The channel guide illustrated in FIG. 1 is
native method of generating a favorite program list from a
25
nate the title of a program to be included on the favorite
program list, and then storing the title of the viewer
designated program in memory means. The titles of pro
the viewer to sort the guide on the basis of prede?ned
categories or themes, such as, movies, sports, news, etc., or
by a user de?ned favorite channel list. Sorting the channel
guide by themes allows the viewer to display a subset
schedule of the entire channel guide, which contains only
35
displayed in the channel guide.
Notwithstanding the foregoing methods of sorting and
program on the favorite program list is included in a
for example, via an on-screen message or prompt, if any
program on the favorite program list is included in the
signi?cant number of channels, typically in excess of 100, in
an e?ort to determine whether a speci?c television program
is airing currently, or sometime in the near future, remains
do not provide a simple means for the user to determine the
next time the program will be broadcast or aired. Indeed, at
any given time. Star TrekTM could be airing on any of a
number of channels. As such, the viewer would be forced to
scan the entire guide and review programs currently airing,
as well as future events for all channels. to determine all
scheduled broadcasts of the desired program With the
plethora of channels provided by most systems, this search
ing can require a considerable amount of time.
Accordingly, there exists a need for displaying and sorting
a channel guide which allows the viewer to readily deter
mine and identify when a desired program will be broadcast
without the viewer having to perform an extensive search on
the entire channel guide for current and future events.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a method and apparatus
for sorting and displaying a channel guide which satis?es the
aforementioned needs. Speci?cally, the present invention
provides a method and apparatus for sorting and displaying
a channel guide based on the name or title of the program.
grams stored in the memory means form the favorite pro
gram list.
The present invention also relates generally to a method
of notifying a viewer when a predetermined favorite pro
gram is to be broadcast. The method comprises generating a
favorite program list which includes the titles of programs,
analyzing the favorite program list to determine if any
program guide comprising program information for a plu
rality of ditferent program sources, and notifying the viewer,
displaying the channel guide, the necessity to scan over a
a signi?cant problem. For example, assuming the viewer
desires to watch an episode of Star Trekm, current systems
program guide comprising program information, including
the titles of the programs, for a plurality of different program
sources. The method comprises enabling a viewer to desig
sorted (i.e., arranged or ordered) by channel number (i.e.,
program source).
Such known systems for generating channel guides allow
programs in the selected category. The user de?ned favorite
channel list allows the user to specify favorite channels and
then de?ne the order in which those channels will be
time a given program is selected for viewing, and then
storing the title of the program in memory means if the
program is selected for viewing for a prespeci?ed period of
time. The titles of programs stored in the memory means
fonn the favorite program list.
The present invention also relates generally to an alter
program guide.
45
As described in detail below, the method and apparatus of
the present invention provide important advantages over the
prior art. Most importantly, the present invention allows the
viewer to readily determine and identify when a desired
program will be broadcast without the need for performing
an extensive search of the entire channel guide for current
and future events.
The invention itself, together with further objects and
attendant advantages, will best be understood by reference
to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction
with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram of an apparatus
capable of generating program guides and display screens in
accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary program guide produced
by the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a ?ow chart illustrating a method of generating
a display screen identifying each occurrence of a speci?ed
program in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a ?ow chart illustrating an exemplary method of
generating a favorite program list.
5,635,989
4
3
The microprocessor 15 operates to periodically update the
FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method of notifying a
viewer when a predetermined favorite program is to be
broadcast.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram of an apparatus 10
capable of generating program guides and display screens in
accordance with the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1.
the apparatus 10 includes receiving means comprising tuner
12. demodulator 13 and FEC decoder 14. The receiving
means is controlled by a microprocessor 15, and operates to
receive a signal which includes program guide information,
and video and audio information for all channels available
on the given system.
10
Upon reaching the expiration date/time. the microprocessor
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, an antenna 8 and low noise
?lter 9 function to receive the signal from a satellite source
15 updates the program guide stored in system RAM 20 with
the program guide currently being transmitted.
and to couple the signal to the tuner 12 of the receiving
means of the apparatus 10. However, it is noted that the
Returning to FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 of the present
invention further comprises a MPEG chip 22. The MPEG
chip 22 comprises a video decoder and an on-screen display
24, and an audio decoder 25. The MPEG chip 22 functions
to decompress the audio and video data output by the
channel demultiplexor 16, which is transmitted by the pro
vider in a compressed format. The NTSC encoder 26 and
audio subsystem 27 format the decompressed audio and
present invention is not limited to system providers which
utilize satellite transmissions to broadcast signals. The novel
system of the present invention could be readily used with
system providers who supply signals via, for example, cable
or telephone lines. The program guide information could
also be provided via such mediums as CD ROM.
Upon receipt of the signal, tuner 12 functions to down
convert the received signal to an intermediate frequency
(“IF”) signal. The IF signal is then converted to a digital
equivalent by the demodulator 13 and coupled to FEC
decoder 14, which provides forward error correction on the
received signal.
Apparatus 10 also comprises a transport chip 11. The
transport chip 11 preferably comprises a channel demulti
25
audio and video information of each channel. and also
separates the program guide information. Under control of
30
program guide, which can be accomplished by selecting the
prede?ned channel associated with the program guide, via
front panel 30 or a remote control 40, the microprocessor 15
retrieves the program guide information from system RAM
20, and then accesses a font table stored in memory. The
35
microprocessor 15 then converts the program guide infor
mation stored in memory 20 into a displayable font data. The
displayable font data is then coupled to the MPEG chip 22.
As described above, the MPEG chip 2 in combination with
the microprocessor 15, the channel demultiplexor 16 pro
vides at its output port, the audio and video information of
a selected channel or the program guide information.
video data, respectively, for display on, for example, a
television receiver. The output drivers 28 function to trans
mit the audio and video information of a selected channel to
the display screen of the television receiver.
In the event the subscriber/viewer selects to display the
plexor 16, a decryption unit 17 and an access card interface
18. The output of the FEC decoder 14 is coupled to the
channel demultiplexor 16, which functions to separate the
program guide information stored in the system RAM 20. In
the present embodiment, the program guide information is
preferably updated one of two ways. First, the microproces
sor 15 periodically analyzes the program guide information
transmitted by the system provider to determine if the
information has been updated. This can be accomplished, for
example, by utilizing a flag bit which indicates that the
program guide has been modi?ed. If the program guide has
been modi?ed, the microprocessor 15 stores the updated
guide in the system RAM 20. Second, as an independent
process, the microprocessor 15 monitors an expiration date/
time transmitted along with the program guide information.
40
Transport chip 11 further comprises an access card reader
NTSC encoder 26 and the output drivers 28, functions to
write the program guide information to the television
receiver at the start of the next available frame. FIG. 2
19 which is coupled the access card interface 18. The access
illustrates an exemplary program guide produced by appa
card interface 18 operates in conjunction with the decryption
ratus 10. As shown in FIG. 2, each screen of the program
unit 17 and the access card reader 19 to provide a means of
preventing. for example. unauthorized pay-per-view movies
from being ordered by children.
Apparatus 10 further comprises a telco modem 31 which
allows the microprocessor 15 to be coupled to the public
telephone network, microprocessor peripherals 33, such as
CD ROM, and a power supply 35 for supplying power.
In the satellite system illustrated in FIG. 1, multiple
transponders located in a satellite (not shown) are utilized to
transmit channel information (e.g., audio, video) to the
apparatus 10. Each transponder transmits information
regarding multiple channels (i.e., multiple program sources,
such as ABC, CBS, etc.). However, each transponder also
45
guide comprises approximately seven program sources and
the corresponding programs. The program source and the
programs being shown thereon are displayed on a single line
comprising multiple cells of varying length. The ?rst cell in
each line indicates the program source and the channel
number assigned to the source. In order to view additional
50
55
transmits the program guide information for every channel
program information, the viewer simply presses a desig
nated key, such as a page down key (i.e., scroll down key),
and the foregoing process is repeated for the new program
data to be displayed.
In accordance with the present invention, the apparatus 10
is also capable of generating a display screen identifying
each occurrence of user-speci?ed programs of interest (i.e.,
tuned to, the program guide information is available at the
output of the channel demultiplexor 16. Under control of the
favorite programs). FIG. 3 is a ?ow chart illustrating a
method of generating such a display screen. Referring to
FIG. 3, the ?rst step 50 in the method requires the viewer to
enter the title of each program of interest (e. g., Star Trek“).
One method of entering the title of the program is via an
infra-red “IR” remote 40 control device. (The IR remote 40
microprocessor 15, the program guide information is stored
includes a switch array which provides means for users to
provided by the system provider on one of the frequencies
available within the given transponder.
As such, regardless of which transponder the tuner 12 is
in random access memory (“RAM”) 20, which is coupled to
the transport chip 11. The system RAM 20 also functions to
buffer the digital data associated with the audio and video
data of a given channel.
65
issue instructions to the microprocessor 15. The IR remote
40 communicates with the microprocessor 15 via lRreceiver
42.) To enter the title. the viewer maneuvers a cursor on the
program glide 49, for example, as shown in FIG. 2, so as to
5,635,989
5
6
highlight the program of interest. Once the program is
20. Each time a given program is viewed for a period of time
highlighted, the viewer depresses a SEARCH key provided
exceeding the predetermined period of time, the program
on the IR remote 40.
title is stored in memory. The list of program titles stored in
memory 20 forms the favorite program list.
Depression of the SEARCH key commands the micro
processor 15 to determine if the program currently high
More speci?cally, the microprocessor 15 operates to tune
lighted by the viewer is contained anywhere else in the
program guide (Step 51). More speci?cally, upon depression
of the SEARCH key, a search command is forwarded to the
microprocessor 15 via the IR receiver 42. Upon receipt of
the search command, the microprocessor 15 records the title
of the program currently identi?ed and compares the
10
recorded title with the title of each program contained in the
current program guide 49 stored in RAM 20 (Step 52). If no
the tuner 12 to the desired channel in response to the
viewer’ s channel selection (Step 60). In accordance with the
present method, upon forwarding a tuning command to the
tuner 12. the microprocessor 15 records the selected channel
and starts a counter (Step 61). The microprocessor 15 also
records the title of the program currently broadcasting on the
selected channel. The title of the program is obtained by
retrieving the program guide information associated with the
selected channel from memory 20. As noted above, the
program guide information for every channel is transmitted
by the system provider and stored in memory 20. If the
additional matches are found, the process proceeds to Step
53 to determine if any additional program titles need to be
compared to the program guide 49. If there are no additional
program titles, the process is complete.
Returning to step 52. if additional matches are found, the
microprocessor 15 records the channel of broadcast and time
viewer continues watching the same program for a prede
termined period of time (Step 62), the microprocessor 15
stores the title of the program in memory 20 in a list, which
has heretofore been referred to as the favorite program list
of broadcast of each occurrence of the program (Step 54),
and then proceeds to determine if additional program titles
need to be compared to the program guide 49 (Step 55). If
not, the process proceeds to Step 56 and displays the time
and channel information recorded in Step 54 for each
(Step 63). The prede?ned period of time is programmable,
and can be set by the viewer.
Each time a program is viewed for a duration exceeding
the predetermined period of time, the microprocessor 15 will
occurrence of a desired program The information is dis 25 function to store the title of the program on the favorite
played on the display screen via the same components
program list. The microprocessor 15 also functions to store
the date and time the program title was added to the favorite
program list. If the program title is already on the list, the
utilized to display the program guide.
Alternatively, the title of the desired program can be
entered via a keyboard (not shown) and/or an IR remote
microprocessor 15 simply functions to update the date and
time stamp of the given program. Furthermore, the micro
which provides for entry of alphanumeric characters. The
processor 15 can be programmed to arrange the ordering of
keyboard or IR remote must be coupled to the micropro
cessor via an appropriate data channel. According to this
entry method. the viewer types the title of the program to be
located. The viewer then depresses a SEARCH key located
on the keyboard or IR remote, which causes the transfer of
the programs contained on the favorite program list on the
35
the program title to the microprocessor 15, and which
commands the microprocessor 15 to perform the search as
described above.
As noted, the foregoing method of the present invention
provides for multiple programs to be searched simulta
The present method also provides for the deletion of
program titles from the favorite program list. For example,
in the event that the memory allocated for the favorite
program list is full and a new program title should be stored,
multiple titles or via the keyboard. In the event that multiple
titles are entered, the microprocessor 15 searches the pro
gram guide 49 currently stored in RAM 20 for each program
the microprocessor 15 will determine the program title
having the oldest (i.e., most prior in time) date/time stamp
and then replace the oldest program title with the new
program title to be stored.
Another method of deleting program titles from the
favorite program list is to automatically remove the program
title, and all occurrences of each program title are identi?ed
on the display screen.
It is also noted that all steps subsequent to step 50 in the
50
processor 15.
As mentioned above, the present invention also relates to
a method for automatically generating a favorite program
list. The favorite program list identi?es by title, the programs
most frequently watched by the viewer. The favorite pro
gram list can also include information. such as, the time and
channel of the next occurrence of each program contained in
program list, the second most frequently watched program
will appear second, and so on. Of course, the microprocessor
15 will arrange the ordering of the list as necessary to
maintain the proper order.
neously. More speci?cally, during the title entry process, the
viewer may enter multiple titles, either by highlighting
foregoing process are performed automatically by the micro
basis of which programs are most frequently watched. Thus,
the most watched program will appear ?rst in the favorite
55
title from the list after expiration of a prede?ned time period
According to this method, if the date/time stamp associated
with a given program exceeds the prede?ned time, for
example, two months, the program title is removed from the
list. The microprocessor 15 can be programmed to periodi
cally review the favorite program list to determine if any
programs should be deleted. This method provides a means
for automatically “aging” programs off the favorite program
list. The period of time prior to expiration is also
programmable, and can be set by the viewer.
the favorite program list.
FIG. 4 is a ?ow chart illustrating an exemplary method for
automatically generating a favorite program list. As shown
in FIG. 4. once the viewer selects a channel for viewing (step
60), the microprocessor 15 records the time the viewer
selected the channel and the name (i.e., title) of the program
currently broadcasting on the selected channel. If the viewer
continuously views the same program for a predetermined
49 on the display screen. Then, the viewer maneuvers a
65 cursor on the program guide so as to highlight the program
period of time, the microprocessor 15 functions to store the
title of the program in memory, for example, system RAM
of interest. Once the program is highlighted, the viewer
depresses a FAV-STORE key provided on the IR remote 40.
In an alternative method for generating a favorite program
list, the viewer designates the titles of the programs to be
included on the favorite program list. More speci?cally, the
viewer commands apparatus 10 to display the program guide
5,635,989
7
8
Depression of the FAV-STORE key commands the micro
processor 15 to determine if the program currently high
lighted by the viewer is contained on the favorite program
list. More speci?cally, upon depression of the FAV-STORE
by the microprocessor 15 preferably lists all such programs,
as well as their respective channels and start times.
key, a command is forwarded to the microprocessor 15 via
the 1R receiver 42 which instructs the microprocessor 15 to
review the current favorite program list and add the program
title to the list, in the event the program title is not already
on the list.
If the program title is currently on the favorite program
list, the microprocessor 15 generates a message which is
displayed on the display screen inquiring whether the viewer
desires to delete the highlighted program title from the
10
favorite program list. If so. the viewer depresses a DELETE
key provided on the IR remote 40. Depression of the
DELETE key commands the microprocessor 15 to delete the
highlighted program title from the favorite program list.
Alternative methods of entering program titles on the
favorite program list include depression of the FAV-STORE
key when viewing a speci?c program. When the FAY
STORE key is depressed While viewing a program, the
microprocessor 15 records the title of the program currently
broadcasting on the selected channel by retrieving the pro
gram guide information associated with the selected channel
from memory 20. The microprocessor 15 then stores the
program title of the current program on the favorite program
The foregoing method also allows the viewer to command
the microprocessor 15 to automatically tune the receiver to
the channel broadcasting the favorite program at the appro
priate time. More speci?cally, upon receiving an on-screen
display indicating that a favorite program will be broadcast
in the near future, the microprocessor 15 generates an
“Auto-Tune” prompt which is also displayed on the display
screen. If auto-tuning is desirable. the viewer depresses an
AUTO-TUNE key provided on the IR remote 40. Depres
sion of the AUTO-TUNE key commands the microprocessor
15 to record the channel and time of broadcast of the favorite
program, and subsequently to tune the tuner 12 to the
appropriate channel at the time of broadcast.
The method and apparatus of the present invention pro
vides several important advantages over the prior art. Most
importantly, the present invention allows the viewer to
readily determine and identify when a desired program will
be broadcast without the need for performing an extensive
search of the entire channel guide for current and future
events.
.
In addition, each of the favorite program lists described
25
list if it is not there already. If the program title is already
contained on the list, the microprocessor 15 generates the
above can be employed to create timer events, which are
utilized to control devices, such as a VCR for recording a
future program. For example, a viewer can bring-up a
favorite program list and select a program for which a timer
event should be created. Upon selection of the program, the
microprocessor 15 accesses the relevant information (i.e.,
delete prompt as described above.
It is noted that the favorite program list generated by
either method described above can be displayed on com
mand of the viewer. The favorite program list identi?es each
occurrence of the programs contained in the current program
guide. In other words, the favorite program list identi?es, at
a minimum, the time and channel of each occurrence of the 35
programs. Further, in the event that no program on the
favorite program list is contained in the program guide, the
viewer is noti?ed of this fact via a display screen.
The present invention also relates to a method of notifying
a viewer when a favorite program is to be broadcast. The
method allows the viewer to be noti?ed in advance, via an
date, time channel, length) which is stored in the favorite
program list, and then forwards this information to the
designated device at the appropriate time.
Of course, it should be understood that a wide range of
changes and modi?cations can be made to the preferred
embodiment described above. It is therefore intended that
the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative
rather than limiting and that it be understood that it is the
following claims, including all equivalents, which are
on-screen message, that a program on the favorite program
intended to de?ne the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A method of generating a favorite program list from a
list will be broadcast in the near future. The viewer can
program guide comprising program information for a plu
rality of different program sources, said program informa
specify how far in advance (e.g., 5 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.)
the noti?cation occurs.
45
Referring to FIG. 5, the ?rst step in the method (Step 70)
enabling a viewer to designate the title of a program to be
included on said favorite program list; and
comprises generating a favorite program list. This can be
accomplished. for example, by any of the various methods
described above. Once the viewer activates the apparatus 10,
the microprocessor 15 periodically compares the favorite
program list to the program guide 49 currently stored in
,storing the title of the viewer-designated program in
memory means,
said titles of programs stored in said memory means
memory 20 (Steps 71 and 72). In the event that a program
on the favorite program list is contained in the program
forming said favorite program list.
2. The method of generating a favorite program list
according to claim 1, wherein designating the title of a
guide 49, the microprocessor 15 records the title of the
program. the time of broadcast and the channel of broadcast
(Step 73). Then, at a predetermined time prior to broadcast,
the microprocessor 15 generates an on-screen message con
taining this information (Step 74).
In the event that a favorite program is being broadcast
when the apparatus 10 is initially turned on, the micropro
tion includes the titles of the programs, said method com
prising the steps of:
55
program comprises selecting the desired program from said
program guide via user input means.
3. The method of generating a favorite program list
according to claim 1, wherein designating the title of a
program comprises depression of a predetermined key on
said user input means while viewing the desired program.
4. The method of generating a favorite program list
according to claim 1, wherein said favorite program list
favorite program is currently running. The message will
includes the channel on which each program is to be shown,
indicate the title of the program, the channel of broadcast
and the time at which each program is to be shown.
and that the program is currently on.
5. The method of generating a favorite program list
65
according to claim 4, wherein said favorite program list is
In the event that a plurality of favorite programs are to be
displayed.
broadcast at the same time, the on-screen message generated
cessor 15 will generate an on-screen message in the same
manner as described above to inform the viewer that a
5,635,989
10
9
13. An apparatus according to claim 9, wherein said titles
of programs forming said favorite program list are arranged
6. The method of generating a favorite program list
according to claim 1, further comprising the step of:
on the basis of which programs are most frequently watched.
14. A method of generating a favorite program list from
storing the title of the program in memory means if said
program is selected for viewing for a prespeci?ed
a program guide comprising program information for a
plurality of different program sources, said program infor
mation including the titles of the programs, said method
period of time.
7. The method of generating a favorite program list
according to claim 1. further comprising the step of:
comprising the steps of:
deleting a title of a program stored in said memory means
if said program is not selected for viewing for a
monitoring the duration of time a program is selected for
prespeci?ed period of time.
viewing; and
8. The method of generating a favorite program list
according to claim 1, wherein said favorite program list is
storing the title of the program in memory means if said
program is selected for viewing for a prespeci?ed
utilized to create a timer event.
period of time,
9. An apparatus for generating a favorite program list
from a television program guide. said apparatus comprising:
said titles of programs stored in said memory means
forming said favorite program list,
means for receiving a signal. said signal including pro
and wherein a viewer can store the title of a program in
said memory means.
gram information for a plurality of di?erent program
sources. said program information including the titles
of the programs, the channel on which each program is
to be shown. and the time at which each program is to
15. An apparatus for generating a favorite program list
from a television program guide, said apparatus comprising:
means for receiving a signal, said signal including pro
be shown;
memory means coupled to said receiving means;
user input means for enabling a viewer to designate a title
of a program to be included on said favorite program 25
list, said title being stored in said memory means;
a system controller coupled to said memory means and
said user input means, said system controller operative
for storing the title of the program designated by said
viewer in said memory means; and
display means coupled to said system controller, said
display means operative for displaying said titles of
programs stored in said memory means forming said
favorite program.
10. The apparatus for generating a favorite program list
according to claim 9, wherein designating the title of a
35
selected for viewing for a prespeci?ed period of time;
and
program comprises selecting the desired program from said
program guide via user input means.
11. The apparatus for generating a favorite program list
according to claim 9, wherein said favorite program list
includes the channel on which each program is to be shown,
and the time at which each program is to be shown.
12. A method according to claim 1, wherein said titles of
programs forming said favorite program list are arranged on
the basis of which programs are most frequently watched.
gram information for a plurality of di?erent program
sources, said program information including at least the
titles of the programs, the channel on which each
program is to be shown, and the time at which each
program is to be shown;
memory means coupled to said receiving means;
user input means for selecting a program for viewing;
a system controller coupled to said memory means and
said user input means, said system controller operative
for monitoring the duration of time a program is
selected for viewing, and for storing the title of the
program in said memory means if said program is
display means coupled to said system controller, said
display means operative for displaying said ti?es of
40
programs stored in said memory means forming said
favorite program list, wherein said user input means
further operates to allow an operator input a title of a
program in said memory means.
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