US008667549B2
(12) Ulllted States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
Reneris
(54)
(45) Date of Patent:
PERSONAL VIDEO RECORDER E-MAIL
*
ALERTS AND STATUS
_
(75)
IHVeHIOII
_
Kenneth 5- Rellerls, Clyde H111, WA
US
_
_
Not1ce:
_
_
C
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~ 725/58
onou
2007/0115389 A1
5/2007 McCarthy
2007/0124779 A1
5/2007
2007/0157281 A1*
2007/0168539 A1
7/2007 Ellis et a1, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,, 725/134
7/2007 Day
2007/0188902 A1*
8/2007
Casey
Patron et al. .................. .. 360/31
(Continued)
_
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
Subject to any d1scla1mer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
W0
WO0165862
U.S.C. 154(b) by 1090 days.
(21)
Mar. 4, 2014
gffgef 6t
(73) Assignee: l(\{llisc;osoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
(*)
US 8,667,549 B2
APP1~ NOJ 12/4311177
(22) Filed:
9/2001
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Providing Advanced Video Services on an Open Broadband Archi
tecture, Alcatel Telecommunications Review, 2nd Quarter 2003.
Apr. 28 2009
’
(65)
(Continued)
Prior Publication Data
Primary Examiner * Scott Beliveau
Us 2010/0272414 A1
(51)
Assistant Examiner * Alexander Q Huerta
(74
Int Cl
H04N 7/173
(52)
Oct‘ 28’ 2010
(2011.01)
US‘ Cl-
57
USPC .............. .. 725/121; 725/86; 725/89; 725/107
(58)
Allorn ey, A genl, or Firm * Micah Goldsmith; David
Andrews; Mlcky Mmhas
-
-
-
(
ABSTRACT
)
A Web-based service which
Field of Classi?cation Search
_
_ _
p
rovides a noti?cation such an
_
_
USPC ________________________ __ 72 5 67*61 86 89 107 121
ema1l to a user to fac1l1tate managmg the record1ng of broad
See application ?le for Complete seeirchshist’ory ’
cast content using a personal video recorder (PVR). The user
can agree to participate in the service in exchange for emails
(56)
References Cited
which can provide information such as a summary of pro
grams recorded over a few days, missed recordings, and
US. PATENT DOCUMENTS
*
scheduling con?icts. The noti?cation can include targeted
recommendations, targeted advertising and information
*
20026054750 A1,.
2;: """"""""" "
about recording habits of members of a social network of the
386/46
user. A noti?cation can be provided on an urgent basis if
2003/0084335 A1 * 5/2003 Moran et a1,
,, 713/200
2003/0237090 A1 * 12/2003 Boston et a1. ................. .. 725/37
program schedule con?icts or hardware or software problems
with the user’s equipment are detected. The user’s equipment
2004/0103434 A1*
*
5/2002 FiccOyet a1‘
5/2004 E1115
2006/0117040 A1
6/2006 Begeja
2006/0140584 A1
6/2006 Ellis
2006/0277272 A1
can include a PC-based PVR, or a PC which communicates
55335032351 """""""""" "7;
' """"""" "
12/2006 Cantalini
with a separate PVR device. PC-related information such as
events thrown can also be reported up to the web service.
17 Claims, 11 Drawing Sheets
“1
Cable/FiOs
set-top box
07 X‘\.
116
US 8,667,549 B2
Page 2
(56)
References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
2007/0220554
2007/0240187
2008/0016196
2008/0114905
2008/0168503
2008/0168513
2008/0208752
2008/0209469
2008/0222044
2008/0232783
2008/0247730
2009/0010612
2009/0142036
2009/0142042
2009/0150925
2009/0172457
9/2007
10/2007
1/2008
5/2008
7/2008
7/2008
8/2008
8/2008
9/2008
9/2008
10/2008
1/2009
6/2009
6/2009
6/2009
7/2009
Barton
Beach
MacMillan
Chen
2010/0071000 A1*
3/2010
2010/0088291 A1*
4/2010 Bhogal et a1.
2010/0107194 A1*
4/2010 McKissick et a1
5/2010
Tidwell et al. ................ .. 725/14
2010/0158477 A1*
6/2010
Kummer ....................... .. 386/83
2011/0078744 A1*
3/2011
Adimatyam et a1. ......... .. 725/58
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Samsung SMO 152QN 15“ Network Monitoring System (SMO
152QN),
http://WWWsolidsignal.com/prodidi splay.
asp?PROD:SMO-152QN, printed Jan. 29, 2009.
TiVo ’ s Mobile Interface Gets Things Recording on the Go, louisgray.
conn, Silicon Valley Blog, Nov. 28, 2008.
Branam et al. ................ .. 386/83
.... ..
.
386/ 124
Henderson .................... .. 725/34
Another Reason to Give ThanksiA Free, New Mobile Web Site Puts
TIVO Scheduling in the Palm of your Neighbor’s Hand, Everyone’s
Hand, Tivo Press Release, Nov. 25, 2008.
Gnanasambandam
et al.
707/705
.. 725/40
2010/0131969 A1*
Sparrell
Cha
Gottlieb
Gottlieb
Gottlieb
Boston
Barton
Allen
Branam
Amento et al. ............... .. 725/39
........................... .. 713/600
* cited by examiner
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 1 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Ethernet!
Bundled
services/
l
I
l
l
l
\___-__-__-______.-___
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 2 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 2
Database
server, 204
Web server,
206
Social
networking
server, 202
Program
schedule
/ server, 208
Ad server,
200
Noti?cation
server, 210
User premises
equipment, 102
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 3 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 3
r300
O I agree to sign up for the web-based PVR reporting service r 302
Identify your system: r 304
O PC/PVR
0 PC connected to separate PVR
PC Operating System 1*’ 306
O cs1
O os2
PVR model
r 308
0 Model A OMOdel B
f
Click here to enter info for additional devices
Reporting time: r 312
OE]
O Auto
Noti?cation settings:
r 314
0 Once per week on [E2
O Every mdays
My contact info
email address:
cell phone:
Social network settings:
A" 316
r 318
I am a member of:
0 Facebook
0 MySpace
user name:
password:
I.
320
I submit entries and download software I
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
US 8,667,549 B2
Sheet 4 0f 11
Fig. 4
406
Run computer program
I
+
l
User makes requests to “408
record programs
Program monitors PC/
416
PVR health
410
New program
uide received?
Health problem?
yes
Schedule con?ict?
412
non-urgent
no
urgent
c414
At report time, program reports
to web server with routine
‘
1\
‘7
Program reports to web
report
——>
server with urgent
report
"420
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 5 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 5
c 504
Server is ready for
report from user
premises
v
r 505
Report expected
"
[-506
Server receives routine
v
(-508
Server does not receive
report from PC
report from PC
v
r510
Server receives urgent
report from PC with
identi?cation of urgent
v
condition
Server periodically
identi?es scheduling
o 512
con?icts
514
Confli’ci/
,
yes
#
no
"
f 518
" 516
t'me reached
86222333???“
noti?cation
v
f‘ 520
882225263323?“
noti?cation
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 6 6f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 6
Receive social networking
{.600
entries from user
tr
Query social networking server {~502
to identify user’s friends
v
Store identi?ers of friends,
r 604
Indexed to user account
v
Receive routine report from
friend
f- 606
V
Store reported information
{608
indexed to friend and user
Fig. 7
Today
10:00 PM
35 FOOD
Dinnertlmposs... Dinner1lmposs... Good Eats
36 FX-N
37 TNT
That '70s Show That ‘70s Show Damages
Forrest Gump
E
In Good Company
38 ESPN
SportsCenter
SportsCenter
39 ESPN2
World Series of Poker
World Series of Poker
40 FSN
FSN Final
Best Damn Sports Show
Record Program
10:30 PM
IFSN Final
11:00 PM
11:30 PM
I30 Minute Meals
704
706
708
[Download to device after recording r 710
I Download from Internet r712
I
[700
Program details
r716
Find other showings 714
L Record on other PVR If 718
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 7 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 8a
r 800
This is a routine noti?cation from the web-based PVR reporting service
This noti?cation covers 2/1/09 to 2/8/09
801
Advertisement
The following requested programs were not recorded (click to select): K‘ 802
Program:
Reason:
To Kill a Mockingbird
schedule change
Options:
View on web
0rd—erD_\LD_
Order gay-Qer-view
(Recording was rescheduled for
2/11/09 at 3pm on NBC)
803 ‘N
The following requested programs will not be recorded:
Program:
Family Guy
Reason:
schedule con?ict
804 N
The following programs were recorded:
Program:
Lost
Date:
2/1/09
Grey's Anatomy
2/2/09
Mr. Belvedere
Video bloopers
2/4/09
2/7/09
Options:
Resolve
K‘ 805
Check our deleted
W
806
r
Check our soon-t0
be deleted r0 rams
next page
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 8 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 8b
r 807
This is a routine noti?cation from the web-based PVR reporting service
This noti?cation covers 2/1/09 to 2/8/09
We recommended (click to record): r 808
North by Northwest
2/15/09 at 11:00pm on TNT
Most popular in your group (click to record): A" 810
Saturday Night Live
Lost(*)
w
What's on Jim's PVR? (click to record): 1'‘ 812
Heroes
w
Jim recommends (click to record):*‘ 814
Heroes
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 9 of 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 80
r 820
This is a routine noti?cation from the web-based PVR reporting service
824 ‘N
This noti?cation covers 2/ 1/09 to 2/8/09
The following programs were recorded:
Program:
Date:
Device:
Health:
Q_s_t
Grey's Anatomy
Mr. Belvedere
Video bloopers
Dr. Doolittle
2/1/09
2/2/09
2/4/09
2/7/09
2/8/09
PVR in family roomPVR in child’s bedroom
Dad's PC
PVR in family room
Home Server PVR
ok
ok
I
ok
0k
IM
Fig. 8d
r 830
This is a routine noti?cation from the web-based PVR reporting service
This noti?cation covers 2/1/09 to 2/8/09
834 N
The following programs were recorded:
Program:
Date:
Device:
Lost
211/09
PVR in family room
Video bloopers
2/7/09
PVR in family room
836 \4
Program:
Grey's Anatomy
Date:
2/2/09
Device:
PVR in child's bedroom
838 '\
Program:
Mr. Belvedere
839 '\
Program:
Dr. Doolittle
Date:
Device:
2/4/09
Dad's PC
Date:
2/8/09
Device:
Home Server PVR
group all devices
840
US. Patent
Mar. 4, 2014
Sheet 10 0f 11
US 8,667,549 B2
Fig. 9
f‘ 900
This is a schedule con?ict noti?cation from the web-based PVR reporting service
[‘ 902
Advertisement
904 ‘x
The following programs are in con?ict:
Program:
MLB Giants vs. Dodgers
Date:
2/3/09
Time:
7:00-10:00pm
Select program:
Family Guy
2/3/09
9:00-10:00pm
O
K908
Fig. 10
r1000
This is a health status noti?cation from the web-based PVR reporting service
r1002
Advertisement
100434
The following problem has been detected:
Problem:
PC not reporting
Date:
2/7/09
Time:
3:00am
Suggested Action:
check PC power and Internet
connection
US 8,667,549 B2
1
2
PERSONAL VIDEO RECORDER E-MAIL
ALERTS AND STATUS
likelihood of missed recordings. This problem is exacerbated
by the fact that many PVRs go unchecked by their oWners for
BACKGROUND
long periods, such as a Week or more. When the user ?nally
attempts to catch up With favorite programs, he or she can
become frustrated if they are not available.
Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), also referred to as Digi
tal Video Recorders (DVRs), store broadcast television pro
Improved techniques are needed for managing the record
ing of broadcast content.
grams in a digital format for later vieWing by a user. PVRs can
receive broadcast signals from a number of sources, including
SUMMARY
a connection to a cable television headend, a satellite dish, or
A Web-based service is provided Which provides noti?ca
an antenna for receiving terrestrial signals. Bundled services
are also becoming increasingly popular. Such services com
tions to a user to facilitate managing the recording of broad
bine Internet, telephone, and television services using Ether
cast content.
net Internet Protocol (IP) broadcast packets sent to a user’s
home over ?ber, copper tWisted pair or coax. FiOS®, or Fiber
providing information regarding broadcast video content is
In one embodiment, a computer-implemented method for
Optic Service, ofVerizon Corp., is one example. These broad
provided. The method includes receiving, at one or more
servers, via a Wide area netWork, information from a standa
casts are likely to groW in popularity With the content provid
ers as the hardWare to receive and route IP packets has
lone computer, Where the standalone computer: (a) records
become relatively inexpensive.
broadcast video content or (b) communicates locally With a
video recorder Which records broadcast video content, and
the information identi?es broadcast video content Which has
been scheduled to be recorded or has been recorded. The
method further includes storing the information at the one or
Typically, the user con?gures the PVR using an on-screen
interface and a handheld remote control to select particular
20
programs of interest Which are to be broadcast at a future time.
Thus, the user can schedule the automatic recording of
content in advance of the time that the PVR Will receive the
content. For example, the user can access an on-screen pro
more servers, and accessing, at the one or more servers,
25
gram guide to select speci?c programs, such as a movie,
special event, or a multi-episode television series. In some
information and the noti?cation settings: (a) providing a rou
tine noti?cation to the user according to a noti?cation sched
cases, the user can select a more generic criterion such as a
ule, Where the routine noti?cation provides a summary of
genre, speci?ed actor or a speci?ed director, in Which case the
PVR can automatically identify and record matching pro
noti?cation settings associated With a user of the standalone
computer. The method further includes, based on the stored
30
recording operations for the broadcast video content, and (b)
grams.
providing an urgent noti?cation to the user at a time Which
PVRs Were initially deployed as standalone recording
devices, e.g., set-top boxes, Which could be leased or pur
a video/ audio signal to a television as an output. In this con
differs from the noti?cation schedule When the information
from the standalone computer is not received by an expected
time. The recording operations can include any aspect involv
ing scheduling or recording of the broadcast video content,
such as requested programs Which are not yet recorded,
?guration, the PVR maintains all programming instructions
requested programs that have been recorded, and requested
Which are provided by the user via the on-screen interface.
programs that Will not be recorded, e.g., due to a con?ict.
chased from a cable or satellite broadcaster or other supplier.
The PVR receives a broadcast signal as an input and provides
Recently, it has become possible to con?gure a conventional
personal computer (PC), e.g., laptop or desktop, as a PVR
35
40
Which tunes and records broadcast signals. A tuner card can
be built into the computer or connected as a peripheral, for
instance. In this case, the PC receives a broadcast signal as an
input and provides a video/audio signal to an attached or
In another embodiment, a computer-implemented method
for providing information regarding broadcast video content
is provided. The method includes receiving, at one or more
servers, user instructions Which identify: (a) an agreement by
a user to participate in a Web-based noti?cation service, and
(b) noti?cation settings. The method further includes creating
detached monitor/ screen as an output. Moreover, a PC can be 45 an account for the user in response to the user instructions.
The method further includes receiving, at the one or more
con?gured as a media center Which interacts With a separate
PVR device, such as via a local netWork. The user can use the
servers, via a Wide area netWork, information from a standa
computer to provide programming instructions to the PVR
lone computer, Where the standalone computer: (a) records
and otherWise manage the PVR, combine content from the
broadcast video content or (b) communicates locally With a
video recorder Which records broadcast video content, and
Where the information identi?es broadcast video content
PVR With Internet content and other content on the comput
50
er’s hard drive, and import data from the PVR to a portable
media player, among other functions.
Which has been recorded. The method further includes storing
Moreover, home servers are expected to become increas
ingly popular as Well in this context as they offer expanded
storage capabilities for broadcast content. MICROSOFT
the information at the one or more servers, indexed to the
55
WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER is one example of an appli
account, accessing the noti?cation settings at the one or more
servers, and based on the stored information and the noti?
cation settings, providing a noti?cation to the user Which
cation that can be run on a PC to record and manage broadcast
provides a summary of recording operations of the broadcast
video content and the ability to service multiple client
video content.
devices, such as in different rooms of a home. Using a PC to
manage a PVR adds functionality due to the enhanced capa
60
bilities of the PC versus the PVR, including generally greater
processing poWer and Internet connectivity.
Although PVRs are reasonably reliable, occasionally the
In another embodiment, computer readable storage is pro
vided having computer readable softWare embodied thereon
for programming at least one processor to perform a method
for providing information regarding user premises equipment
may be missed for various reasons, such as a hardWare or 65
Which records broadcast video content. The method includes
con?guring a standalone computer of the user premises
equipment to participate in a Web-based noti?cation service
softWare problem or schedule change. PC-based systems are
susceptible to their oWn system failures that increase the
for the user premises equipment. The method further
includes, pursuant to the Web-based noti?cation service: (a)
PVR Will act in an unexpected Way. For example, a recording
US 8,667,549 B2
3
4
transmitting, to one or more servers, according to a reporting
that there is some type of problem. In addition, the user can be
schedule, via a Wide area network, information from the
informed of upcoming broadcast programs Which may be of
standalone computer of the user premises equipment Which
interest, e.g., neWs, features, and events, as Well as offers to
purchase content Which can be delivered via the broadcast
identi?es broadcast video content Which has been scheduled
to be recorded or has been recorded by the user premises
equipment, and (b) transmitting, to the one or more servers, at
a time Which differs from the reporting schedule, via the Wide
area netWork, information from the standalone computer of
the user premises equipment Which identi?es a problem With
the user premises equipment, and Which triggers a noti?ca
signal, such as a video-on-demand movie, or Which can be
delivered via another Way, such as a DVD of a movie Which is
mailed to the user, or a ?le of the movie Which is doWnloaded
via the Internet. Thus, there is also signi?cant advertising and
marketing potential.
Moreover, the noti?cations can provide a user With a more
tion process to a user.
social experience, such as by informing the user of What other
This summary is provided to introduce a selection of con
cepts in a simpli?ed form that are further described beloW in
users in a group are Watching/recording or recommending.
the description. This summary is not intended to identify key
can be identi?ed. The noti?cations can also provide status
For instance, the most recorded, or to-be recorded, programs
features or essential features of the claimed subject matter,
information regarding the PVR, PC and other system hard
nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed
Ware.
subject matter.
One possible solution integrates the end-user’s PVR to a
highly reliable Web service that can be subscribed to, and that
aggregates information from many sources and generates
noti?cations by email or other electronic communications. A
PC/PVR periodically reports to a server to identify the pro
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
20
FIG. 1 depicts a system in Which broadcast signals are
grams it has recorded or is scheduled to record. Periodic
noti?cations can include PVR status, promotions, sugges
delivered to, and stored at, user premises equipment.
FIG. 2 depicts different servers of a Web-based PVR noti
?cation service.
FIG. 3 depicts an example user interface Which alloWs a
user to sign up for a Web-based PVR noti?cation service.
FIG. 4 depicts a process in Which a PC/PVR reports infor
25
being o?lline or a disk error. These noti?cations ?t With the
mation to a server.
consumption model that email provides. Namely, emails are
FIG. 5 depicts a process in Which a server receives infor
mation from a PC/PVR and provides noti?cations.
FIG. 6 depicts a process in Which social netWorking infor
30
FIG. 7 depicts an example of an electronic program guide
(EPG) by Which a user can record, recommend and/ or doWn
35
cations With different degrees of urgency, and different com
munication modes based on the degree of urgency. For
FIG. 8b depicts a further part of the example routine noti
example, a routine noti?cation may be sent via email at a
40
normally scheduled time, While an urgent noti?cation can be
sent via an immediate email, and a very urgent noti?cation
can be sent via a cell phone text message, a computer instant
message and/ or a voicemail message (including an automati
multiple PVRs is provided.
FIG. 8d depicts another example routine noti?cation from
cally generated live phone call). A degree of urgency could
a Web-based PVR noti?cation service Where information
from multiple PVRs is provided.
ods could be offered to the user as Well, such as cell phone
SMS style text messaging. It is also possible to have noti?
FIG. 8a depicts an example routine noti?cation from a
Web-based PVR noti?cation service.
?cation of FIG. 811.
FIG. 80 depicts an example routine noti?cation from a
Web-based PVR noti?cation service Where information from
consumed quasi-frequently When the user has decided to
dedicate his time to catching up on personal information, and
emails provide for relatively rich content that can include
image and URL links for resolving minor issues or accessing
additional information and services. Other noti?cation meth
mation of a user is provided to a server.
load a program.
tions, and other useful information. Moreover, more timely
noti?cations can be provided When a potential problem has
been detected, such as scheduling con?icts or system behav
ior problems, such as the system not reporting its status due to
45
also be noted by an “urgent” ?ag, color coding, or the like in
the email or text message.
FIG. 9 depicts an example schedule con?ict noti?cation
a Web-based PVR noti?cation service.
Moreover, various aggregated data results for the user
could be provided back to the PVR clients to offer local
interactive experiences. The idea here is that once the user
FIG. 11 is an example block diagram of computer hard
Ware suitable for implementing embodiments of the inven
tion.
opts in to the Web service, the local client could provide
recommendations, and social experiences, such as “What’s
the top most recorded/Watched shoW,” “What’s the top most
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
recommended shoW in the user’s group of friends?” and so
forth. It is convenient for the user to be able to access this
information such as While looking at a program guide on the
from a Web-based PVR noti?cation service.
FIG. 10 depicts an example health status noti?cation from
55
A Web-based service is provided Which provides noti?ca
TV/computer monitor.
tions, such as email noti?cations, to a user to facilitate man
In one possible approach, the PC runs a multimedia man
aging the recording of broadcast content. A system for record
agement application such as MICROSOFT MEDIA CEN
ing broadcast content at a user’s home or other premises can
include a personal computer (PC) Which acts as a standalone
PVR, or Which interacts With a separate PVR device. The user
TER Which is modi?ed to alloW a user to register an email
account, either directly or perhaps indirectly, e.g., via a WIN
DOWS LIVE account, to receive periodic noti?cations/ status
can subscribe to the service, e.g., opt-in, to obtain: (1) routine
noti?cations from time to time Which provide information
reports. Various options may be presented that include the
frequency of reports and the types of noti?cations desired. By
such as a summary of programs Which have been recorded
completing a form, the client is subscribed to the Web-based
service. The service negotiates an account-id, client-id, noti
?cation settings, and fail-safe data. The fail-safe data is used
to ascertain Whether the PC/PVR has been poWered off or has
recently, promotions and recommendations, and (2) more
immediate noti?cations of pressing PVR issues of higheruser
importance. The more immediate noti?cations can indicate
US 8,667,549 B2
5
6
otherwise stopped Working. Some type of some agreement
A portable media player 112, such as an MP3 player (e.g.,
APPLE IPOD, MICROSOFT ZUNE), may be detachably
can be established With the server as to When the PC/PVR Will
contact it so that the server can determine When the PC PVR
connected to the standalone computer 110 via a USB port, for
instance, to doWnload broadcast video content from time to
time as desired by a user through use of an appropriate doWn
is having a problem.
Once subscribed, the service can periodically (such as at
EPG doWnload time or other designated times) export and
con?icts, recently Watched recordings, and other status infor
load application. A television monitor 1 14 may be provided to
display video signals from the PVR 116 and/or the standalone
computer 110. A server 106 may also be provided for storing
mation (disk performance, etc. . . . ) necessary for the Web
the received broadcast content. Moreover, some or all of the
upload local lineups, recording requests, current scheduling
service to aggregate useful data. The uploaded client state is
queued to the account-id. The client-id is moved in the fail
safe pending queue to its next fail-safe report date. A server
processes the uploaded client state to identify any urgent
components of the user premises equipment 102 may com
municate With one another via a local area netWork or other
connections, such as s-video and coax cable, collectively
denoted by the cloud 150. A LAN can use the Ethernet stan
dard.
Further, the standalone computer 110 may communicate
issues, such as any neW scheduling con?ict that Was not
present before in the client’s pro?le. If there is an important
issue, a full account-state-aggregation is queued for process
With one or more servers 132 via a Wide area netWork 130,
ing. If there is a neW Client-Quality-And-Status state for the
client, the client doWnloads it to provide local user interface
behavior (that more or less matches the latest account email
sent).
such as the Internet. One or more portable/mobile devices
134, such as a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA),
may also be provided to alloW a user to interact With the
20
In an account-state-aggregation process, a check is made to
make sure there has been su?icient time since the last process
of this account. If so, each client state assigned to the account
is processed to generate a neW Client-Quality-And-Status
state. All client states are processed to generate a neW 25
Account-Quality-And-Status state. An email is queued for
the neW Account-Quality-And-Status state. A periodic task
Note that if the standalone computer 110 is recording
broadcast programs, it must be poWered on and running When
the requested programs are being broadcast. HoWever, if the
separate PVR 116 is recording the programs, the standalone
computer can communicate With the PVR from time to time
to determine Whether a program has been successfully
recorded and to receive information such as health status
information. For example, the standalone computer and the
on the server is run to locate periodic scheduled queued
Accounts (for the current date) to place them into the pro
cessing queue, and to queue them into their next periodic
system.
PVR may communicate via a local area netWork.
processing time. Another periodic task on the server is run to
FIG. 2 depicts different servers of a Web-based PVR noti
?cation service. In the ?gures, like-numbered elements cor
locate any pending fail-safe client-ids that have expired and to
respond to one another. The user premises equipment 102 and
30
queue a urgent empty/off-line state for the client-id to be
one or more servers may communicate With one another via
processed.
the netWork 130. It is also possible for some of the servers to
The Web-based service provides a compelling Way to get
usage information from the user, thus providing the ability to
aggregate and provide neW features.
FIG. 1 depicts a system in Which broadcast signals are
delivered to, and stored at, user premises equipment. Broad
35
communicate With one another via a separate local area net
Work, such as When they are co-located. Typically, a PC/PVR
is con?gured to periodically communicate With a Web-based
server to doWnload electronic program guide (EPG) and other
meta data, such as via a dial up or broadband link. A PC/PVR
cast video content sources 100 can include one or more of a 40 refers to, e.g., a PC With a PVR capability, a PC Which Works
terrestrial television antenna 101, a cable broadcast system
103, a satellite transmitter 105, and a FiOS/Ethemet broad
With a separate PVR, or a separate PVR. As described further
beloW, in a Web-based noti?cation service, the user premises
equipment periodically reports information to a Web server
cast system 109. At a user’s premises 102, such as a home or
o?ice, a number of devices can be provided for receiving the
broadcast content. These include a cable/FIOS set-top-box
45
111, a TV antenna 107 and a satellite receiver 104. The user
premises equipment can also include a PVR 116, Which
includes a tuner 118 and a digital storage medium 120 such as
a disk drive. A standalone computer 110, such as a personal
computer (PC), e.g., laptop or desktop computer, may be
con?gured With a multimedia management application to
is necessary for providing the Web-based noti?cation service.
50
A social netWorking server 202 can store information relating
to a social netWork of the user. An ad server 200 can store
communicate With the standalone PVR 116, to provide com
mands to the PVR and to receive data from the PVR. For
example, the standalone PVR 116 may perform some tasks
autonomously While the standalone computer 110 has the
ability to communicate With the PVR using an appropriate
206. This represents a front end server Which takes in the
information from the user premises equipment and may coor
dinate With the other servers. For example, a database server
204 can be used to store the information Which is received
from the user premises equipment as Well as other data Which
information such as advertisements Which are displayed to
the user in noti?cations. A program schedule server 208 can
store information regarding program schedules for the broad
55
cast content. Finally, a noti?cation server 210 can provide
noti?cations to a user at scheduled times or as needed, e. g., in
protocol and provide commands such as to schedule a record
the form of an e-mail, text message, instant message or voice
ing and delete a recording.
mail.
FIG. 3 depicts an example user interface Which alloWs a
The standalone computer 110 or a home server 106 may
also have its oWn tuner 108 Which it uses to tune broadcast 60 user to sign up for a Web-based PVR noti?cation service. In
signals so that it embodies a PVR by itself. For example, the
some cases, a PVR is leased, purchased or otherWise provided
to the user With a contractual requirement by Which the pro
tuner 108 may be installed as an internal card of the standa
lone computer 110, or as a local peripheral. The server 106
vider obtains information regarding the user’ s vieWing habits.
can be a home server PVR Which can be used to record/
doWnload all content, Where the PVR is accessible to all the
devices in the home, such as video game consoles @(box),
PCs, portable devices, and so forth.
65
In such cases, the user is required to alloW such a data gath
ering process to occur in exchange for the right to use the
PVR. In other cases, the user can obtain a PVR Which can be
used Without such contractual requirements. In these cases,
US 8,667,549 B2
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users must be convinced to allow their private vieWing infor
mation to be accessed in exchange for some bene?t. In one
possible approach, a Web-based PVR noti?cation service can
be offered on an opt-in basis, Where the users voluntarily sign
up and agree to alloW their private information to be accessed
in exchange for the bene?ts of the service.
include a signup option for the Web service monitoring/noti
?cation features. The PC Would already knoW the tuners or
set-top-box connection information and send it to the Web
service. Or, a separate PVR could be con?gured to alloW the
user to directly opt in to the service.
FIG. 4 depicts a process in Which a PVR is con?gured to
For example, the user interface 300 can be accessed via a
Web page Which the user accesses in order to sign up for the
Web-based PVR noti?cation service. In one approach, soft
report information to a server. Initially, a user signs up for a
Web-based PVR recording service. A region 302 of the user
Ware is included in the PC based PVR or standalone PVR
interface includes a radio button or other device Which alloWs
the user to indicate his or her agreement to sign up for the
Which alloWs the user to access an interface to indicate his
assent to enable Web service features, e.g., by simply check
service, using a mouse or other pointing device. A region 304
asks the user to identify a type of system Which is used at the
user premises. For example, the user might indicate Whether
ing a box. The PC based PVR can doWnload information from
different locations as needed to implement the service in a
manner Which is mostly transparent to the user. In another
a tuner is built in or directly connected to a standalone PC,
Whether a PC is connected to a separate standalone PVR. A
possible approach, the user doWnloads PC softWare, and uses
region 306 alloWs the user to specify an operating system
that softWare to ?ll out a form to sign up for the Web service.
Or, the user can visit a Web site to sign up. In another
Which is used on the PC. A region 308 alloWs the user to
specify a model of the PVR. Note that tWo choices are pro
vided as an example only. A button 310 alloWs the user to
enter additional information When more than one recording
20
device is used at the user premises. For example, multiple
PC/PVRs may be used in different rooms in a home. When the
button 310 is pressed, the regions 304, 306 and 308 can be
cleared so that the user can enter the appropriate information 25
for the additional device, in one approach.
At region 312, the user enters a time at Which the standal
one computer Will report to the Web server. Typically, the
report involves the standalone computer establishing a con
nection With the Web server and transmitting information,
such as by using the TCP/IP protocol. This can be done at a
convenient time for the user, such as late at night. Or, the
reporting time can be automatically set by the PC or Web
30
35
the program on the standalone computer initiates a connec
40
tion and provides a routine report to the Web server. The report
can include an identi?cation of the requested programs to be
recorded, an identi?cation of Which of the requested pro
grams Were not recorded (missed programs), Which of the
requested programs Were recorded, Which programs Were
recently deleted, Which programs are scheduled to be deleted
and the scheduled deletion date/time, in addition to health
status information for the standalone computer and/or PVR,
television programs recommended by the user, and schedule
updated EPG data. For multiple PC/PVRs, the user could
enroll each PC (or device) to an account. Multiple devices
couldbe enrolled by one operation from the user if they are all
attached/a?iliated With the PC being enrolled.
A region 314 alloWs the user to provide noti?cation set
tings, Which include hoW frequently the user Will receive
application on the standalone computer. The program can run
in the background as part of the PC-PVR process so that the
standalone computer can be used for other tasks. At step 408
the user makes requests to record programs. At decision step
410, the program determines if a neW EPG has been received.
The EPG information can be doWnloaded from the Web server
or obtained in other Ways, such as from a portion of a broad
cast signal that encodes EPG data. If no neW EPG is received,
and at step 414, if a time for reporting data has been reached,
server if it is not set to a speci?c time by the user. The
reporting could also occur When the PC/PVR doWnloads
approach, the softWare is loaded to the standalone computer
locally. For multiple PC/PVRs, the user could enroll each PC
(or device) to an account. Multiple devices could be enrolled
by one operation from the user if they are all attached/a?ili
ated With the PC being enrolled.
At step 406, the user runs the computer program/software
of the Web-based noti?cation service such as by launching an
routine noti?cations. For example, the user may elect to
receive noti?cations once per Week on a certain day of the
Week, using a drop doWn menu or other interface device. Or,
the user may elect a certain number of days as an interval 45 con?icts. When the report includes Internet activity, for pri
betWeen routine noti?cations. In a region 316, the user enters
contact information such as an e-mail address for receiving
e-mail noti?cations, or a cell phone number for receiving text
message noti?cations. It is also possible for noti?cations to be
received by instant messaging.
50
A region 318 alloWs the user to enter social netWork set
vacy reasons, it Would likely be limited to only those assets
that the Web service has aided the user in recording, vieWing,
or doWnloading.
The con?ict data can be provided by the PC/PVR. The EPG
data of the service is used to make recommendations, and to
knoW What programs the user has access to in order to make
tings. Social netWorks, such as FACEBOOK, MYSPACE and
useful recommendations. The service has other meta data
MICROSOFT LIVE.COM, alloW a user to share information
With his or her friends. In one possible approach, the user
selects one or more social netWorks Which he belongs to and
such as data for cross referencing to a DVD box set for a TV
series, or to partner Websites at Which an online version of a
program can be found. This meta data can be used to imple
55
ment the “options” portion of region 802 of FIG. 8a.
enters his user name and passWord. The user can select a
button 320 in order to submit the entries Which Were made on
The routine report can also include an identi?er Which is
the interface 300 to the Web server 206 (FIG. 2), and to
doWnload softWare to the standalone computer. The interface
300 could also be accessed again to update the entries Without
doWnloading softWare. The entries de?ne a user pro?le.
Note that the user may register his email account With the
Web-based service indirectly such as via a WINDOWS LIVE
associated With the user, such as an account identi?er or a
hardWare identi?er associated With the PC/PVR, to alloW the
60
that made the request to record the program, the date/time the
requested program Was mode, and so forth. This can be useful
When a PVR is shared by multiple users, to alloW requested
account.
In another possible approach, instead of the Web centric
Web server to store the received information indexed to the
user. The report can also include the local user-id of the user
version described above, in the case of a PC/PVR, the user can
programs, for instance, to be associated With a speci?c user. If
a user-id is not available, the date/time can help differentiate
con?gure softWare on the PC, and a small part of that Would
among users sometimes.
65
US 8,667,549 B2
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At decision step 412, if a scheduling con?ict exists, the
As the user premises equipment reports information to the
standalone computer reports to the Web server With an urgent
Web server, the Web server process the received information.
Generally, the information can be reported on a routine basis,
such as according to a reporting schedule, or on an urgent
report (step 420). The urgent report can identify the con?ict,
and can be sent at a time Which differs from a routine report
ing schedule.
basis as appropriate. At decision step 504, the server is ready
The standalone computer can determine if a scheduling
con?ict exists betWeen multiple programs for Which the user
has made a record request. Typically, When a request is made
to record a future program, the current version of the EPG is
used to ensure that there is no overlap With a previous request.
Each program may have an identi?er Which alloWs it to be
located in a program guide so that the date and runtime can be
determined. HoWever, even if no con?ict is detected at the
time of the request, a con?ict may subsequently arise such as
if the broadcast time of a requested program changes. To
to receive a report from the user premises. At step 505, a time
WindoW is reached in Which the report is expected. At the
report time, one possible option is that the server receives a
routine report from the PC, at step 506. At step 512, the server
can periodically identify scheduling con?icts for the pro
grams Which Were requested to be recorded. For example,
updated EPG data at the program schedule server 208 can be
address this, the standalone computer may perform an addi
tional con?ict check When neW EPG data is received.
It is also possible for a scheduling analysis to be performed
by the Web service, such as by using the program schedule
server 208 (FIG. 2). This is advantageous as it prevents the
PVR from having to upload to the service its EPG selections
Which indicate, e.g., Which services (channels) are available
20
In a third option, regardless of the expected report time, the
server may receive an urgent report from the PC Which iden
ti?es an urgent condition, at step 510, in Which case the server
to the PVR for recording, Which services the user may have
disabled from his EPG vieW, and so forth.
Additionally, once the computer program (406) is running,
responds by preparing and sending an urgent noti?cation, at
25
it can monitor the PC/PVR health at step 416, such as by
monitoring events Which are throWn by the standalone com
puter. Typically, an operating system of a PC sets events When
certain situations occur in the computer. For example, an
step 520.
FIG. 6 depicts a process in Which social networking infor
mation of a user is provided to a server. As mentioned previ
ously, the Web-based PVR noti?cation service may incorpo
event can be throWn When there is a problem such as a disk 30
rate social netWork information of the user. Web-based social
netWork applications alloW users to share information With
one another. Step 600 includes receiving social netWorking
entries from the user. Step 602 includes querying a social
error, a softWare update, or a restart of the operating system,
such as due to an intermittent poWer loss. Another common
problem on a PC PVR is that the tuner device fails to Work,
resulting in an unexpected missed recording of a broadcast
video event. For example, the PC is con?gured to make a
recording and is running normally, but the tuner fails to tune
accessed for this purpose. At decision step 514, if a con?ict is
detected, the server prepares and sends an urgent noti?cation
to the user, at step 520. At step 516, When the scheduled
noti?cation time is reached, the server prepares and sends a
routine noti?cation. In another option Which folloWs from
step 505, the server does not receive a report from the PC
Within an expected time WindoW, at step 508. In this case, the
server prepares and sends an urgent noti?cation, at step 520.
netWorking server 202 to identify a user’s friends, e.g., other
35
users of the social netWork Which a particular user is linked to
in a group of users. Such links are typically established vol
untarily and are based on shared interests, friendships and so
and stream any audio/video content to the PC. The events may
forth. HoWever, the friends need not personally knoW each
be stored in a log on the computer. At decision step 418, if a
other. For example, a friend could be a sports ?gure or movie
health problem is detected, and the problem is classi?ed as
being urgent, then the program reports to the Web server With
star Who agrees to be a friend to others in a social netWork
40
primarily for promotional purposes, for instance. A social
an identi?cation of the urgent condition. In this Way, the user
can be noti?ed of a problem promptly thus reducing, or elimi
netWork could also include users Which are not speci?cally
identi?ed or knoWn by a particular user, such as all users Who
nating, missed recordings the user Was interested in. If the
health problem is classi?ed as being non-urgent, it can be
reported in the routine report at step 414. The program con
tinues to monitor the PC/PVR health at step 416 to detect any
neW problems. The classi?cation of a problem as being urgent
participate in the noti?cation service in the United States. In
this manner, information can be provided such as “the most
45
Step 604 includes storing identi?ers of the friends, indexed
to the user’s account. For example, these can be account
or non-urgent can be data driven by a server of the noti?cation
service. For example, it should provide the PC-PVR With the
criteria of Which events are to be considered urgent for report
requested shoW for next Week in the United States is xxx.”
50
ing purposes.
identi?ers of the friends, Who are also participating in the
Web-based PVR noti?cation service, and have previously
registered With the service. Step 606 includes receiving a
routine report from a friend, and step 608 includes storing the
reported information, indexed to both the user and the friend.
In this Way, the user can be noti?ed of the friend’s activities,
FIG. 5 depicts a process in Which a server receives infor
mation from a PC/PVR and provides noti?cations. Initially,
including broadcast programs recorded, recommended and/
the Web server sets up a user account for a Web-based PVR
sign up for the service along With the entries provided by the
or doWnloaded to a portable media player.
FIG. 7 depicts an example of user interface 700 by Which a
user, such as via the user interface 300 of FIG. 3. The server
creates an account for the user Which has an account identi?er
user interface provides an electronic program guide (EPG),
reporting service. The server can receive the user request to
and stores the user entries indexed to the account identi?er, in
one possible approach. The Web server negotiates an account
55
user can record, recommend and/ or doWnload a program. The
such as on a TV screen or a PC monitor/ display screen, based
60
identi?er, client identi?er, noti?cation settings and fail-safe
time. The EPG uses a tWo-dimensional grid to display pro
gram content, Where one axis denotes the channel and another
axis denotes the time axis. Multiple broadcast channels are
data. The fail-safe data can be provided based on a routine
reporting data rate. If the routine rate is x, the fail-safe rate is
displayed along the channel axis and multiple time periods
greater than x, such as 2x). For example, if a report is expected
once every hour, the fail-safe rate may be once every tWo
hours, so that an error is declared, if activity does not occur
after tWo hours.
on EPG data Which is doWnloaded from a server from time to
65
are displayed along the time axis. A user navigates the EPG to
?nd the desired content using a remote control device, a
mouse or other pointing device. Other possible EPG inter
US 8,667,549 B2
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12
faces include a touch interface Which the user can touch, an
date and time of the rescheduling can be provided in the
region 802 as Well. Typically, each program has an identi?er
interface in Which the user uses sweeping gestures to navi
gate, voice navigation and Web-cam navigation Which
observes hand/arm movements, and other styles of pointing
Which can be used to locate the program in a schedule of
devices, such as analog pressure sensitive rocker buttons.
Navigation could also involve using a video game console
(Xbox) controller joystick and various buttons on the control
the content on the Web, or ordering a DVD or pay-per-vieW,
future programming. Moreover, the alternatives for vieWing
can be implemented by cross referencing to the program
identi?er. The Web server 206 can maintain records Which
associate different programs With different alternative
ler to make selections.
Here, the program entry 702 (“Forrest Gump”) is high
resources for the programs.
Region 803 lists requested programs that Will not be
recorded. The schedule time for recording has not yet passed,
lighted by the user. The user can select from a button 704 to
record the next running of the program, a button 706 to record
each program in the series, a button 708 to recommend the
program to friends in the user’s social netWork, and a button
710 to doWnload the program to a portable media player
device after the program is recorded. The recommendation
and doWnload request can be stored at the standalone com
but some problem such as a scheduling con?ict has been
detected. The user may click on the “Resolve” link to resolve
the issue. For example, the screen of FIG. 9 may appear. The
display 800 could also shoW programs that are going to be
recorded in the next feW days, and provide an option to update
settings regarding those programs. For instance, this can
puter and subsequently uploaded to the Web server. Prefer
ably the recording requests are uploaded When they are made
so that they are online all the time. A local cache copy and a
netWork service copy canbe maintained so that if the PC/PVR
ceases Working, the requests can be restored/ful?lled from the
include the user electing to not record a program.
In a region 804, the programs that Were recorded in the time
20
period covered by the noti?cation are identi?ed, such as by
25
provided. A region 805 provides a link Which can be selected
by the user to provide a neW display Which identi?es pro
grams Which have been deleted during the time period. A
region 806 provides a link Which can be selected by the user
program name and date. A channel identi?er could also be
service. Other possible options in the user interface 700
include a button 712 to doWnload a program from the Internet
to the PVR, a button 714 to ?nd other shoWings of a program,
a button 716 to obtain program details, and a button 718 to
to provide a neW display Which identi?es programs Which are
record a program on another other PVR.
EPGs can be provided using a speci?c terminology in
soon-to-be deleted, and the scheduled deletion date/time.
Which a broadcast program includes a shoW and episode
number, such as: “‘Lost’ Episode 1.” A series can include a
collection of programs, possibly open ended. A season can
include a collection of programs in a given season (a season
starts at “l” or at a speci?c year). An event can include a
broadcast program at a particular date and time. Furthermore,
a recording request can identify a series and a program. Or, a
This alloWs the user to take appropriate steps to save desired
content before it is deleted.
request can be made manually by providing a channel, date
and time, keyWord or actor. Regarding channels, a service
30
35
includes a channel, and a lineup includes a collection of
services.
FIG. 8a depicts an example routine noti?cation, or status
report, from a Web-based PVR noti?cation service. The dis
play 800 can include a number of different components. For
The routine noti?cation alternatively might be more
streamlined, having more limited information, such as pro
grams in con?ict or not recorded, While omitting information
such as the list of recorded programs 804 and the links 805
and 806. Any of the information provided in FIGS. 8a-10 can
be considered to involve recording operations of a PVR.
FIG. 8b depicts a further part of the example routine noti
?cation of FIG. 8a. The user can click on a “next page” link,
for instance, to vieW a further page of the noti?cation. Gen
erally, it is desirable to present the most important issues to
40
the user ?rst, With providing an excessive amount of infor
mation at once. In the display 807, a region 808 can provide
example, the display 800 indicates a time period Which the
one or more recommended programs to the user, such as
noti?cation relates to, such as a Week or a feW days (e.g.,
based on information Which is obtained from the ad server
200 in FIG. 2. The advertisement can be targeted based on
based on the past vieWing history of the user. The recommen
dation may provide a link Which the user can select to provide
a command to schedule a recording of the recommended
program. The date, time and channel of the recommended
program may also be provided. When a user selects a link in
recording preferences and previous asset usage patterns for
the noti?cation to record a program, the Web server is con
“This noti?cation covers 2/ 1/09 to 2/8/09”). The display 800
also includes an advertisement 801 Which may be provided
the user that is knoWn by server 204.
Perceived issues for the user can be listed ?rst. For
example, a region 802 identi?es any programs that Were
requested to be recorded by the user but Were not actually
45
50
recorded. The scheduled time for recording has passed. The
program name is provided in addition to a reason Why the
program Was not recorded. Occasionally, a program that is
scheduled to be broadcast at a certain time is not broadcast,
55
such as When other content is broadcast in its place. For
example, sometimes a special event Will be broadcast in place
of a regularly scheduled program. Recording of the program
Will be unexpectedly missed in such cases. One or more
60
options for obtaining the program are also provided in the
region 802. Various options for obtaining the content include
a link to a Web site Where the content can be vieWed, either
free or for a payment, and a link to a Web site for ordering a
DVD of the program.
A rescheduling of the next airing of a program can be
automatically performed if the PVR misses a recording. The
65
tacted and can communicate the corresponding instructions
to the standalone computer. In this case, if the standalone
computer is used to record the programs, it can be updated
accordingly to schedule a program to be recorded. If the
standalone computer is used With a separate PVR, the stan
dalone computer, after being updated by the server, can com
municate With a PVR to instruct it to record the requested
program.
A region 810 identi?es the most popular programs for the
time period of the noti?cation for members of the user’s
social netWork. As before, each program may be provided as
a link Which can be selected by the user to schedule a record
ing of the next occurrence of the program. Moreover an
indication such as an asterisk, font type or color coding, can
be provided if the program is already scheduled to be
recorded by the user (e. g., “Lost(*)”). A region 812 identi?es
programs Which have been recorded by a particular member
of the user’s group. This alloWs the user to ?nd out What a
friend has been recording. A region 814 alloWs the user to ?nd
US 8,667,549 B2
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14
out What a friend has been recommending. Note that the
information regarding friends in the social netWork can be
con?gured by the user via an appropriate user interface. For
betWeen 9:00 and 10:00 pm. Thus, there is an overlap
betWeen 9:00 and 10:00 pm. This information alloWs the user
to adjust the schedule to resolve the con?ict, such as by
accessing the EPG of FIG. 7. Note that this example is con
sistent With the region 803 of the display 800 of FIG. 8a,
Where it stated that the “Family Guy” program Will not be
example, the user may identify particular friends for Which
the noti?cation Will identify recordings and recommenda
tions. Or, a social netWork can be con?gured automatically by
the service. For example, a social netWork can be de?ned to
include all users that participate in the service, Where the user
are grouped by geographic area such as country, state or city,
recorded because of a con?ict. When tWo programs con?ict,
one can be chosen over the other automatically to record such
as by Which program starts sooner.
Alternatively, or additionally, the information in the sched
age, gender, or other demographic factors, a?iliations With a
school, church or social organiZation, and so forth. For
example, the display 807 could indicate Which content is most
ule con?ict noti?cation could be provided as part of the rou
tine noti?cation, such as in FIG. 8a
In one option, the con?ict can be resolved via the noti?ca
tion. For example, radio buttons 908 can be used to alloW the
user to select one of the programs to be recorded, thereby
deselecting the other program. In this case, there are tWo
con?icting programs, but it is possible to have a con?ict With
popular among students at a school. Note that it can also be
interesting for marketing and advertising reasons for the ser
vice to knoW What content is being sent to portable devices.
FIG. 80 depicts an example routine noti?cation from a
Web-based PVR noti?cation service Where information from
multiple PC/PVRs is provided. The interface 820 provides a
summary uni?ed noti?cation of programs that Were recorded
by multiple recording devices at the user’s premises. In some
20
more than tWo programs. A submit button 906 alloWs the user
to submit the entry. The Web server receives the entry and can
communicate With the standalone computer to inform it of the
cases, the user may have multiple recording devices in the
con?ict, such as When the standalone computer provides its
home or other location. Advantageously, each device can be
associated With the user’s account to provide a uni?ed report
of activity for the different devices in one noti?cation. In this
case, a region 824 identi?es the recorded programs and dates
and the corresponding PC/PVR devices on Which the pro
grams Were recorded. A health status icon for each listed
device listed can also be provided. For example, “ok” means
no problems With the device have been detected. A “I” icon
indicates that a problem With the device has been detected and
user attention is needed. Another approach uses color coding
such as a green dot for “ok,” a yelloW dot for a less urgent
problem and a red dot for a more urgent problem. A button
826 can be selected by the user to sort the results by the
next report to the Web server. In this case, if the standalone
recording device, resulting in the display 830 of FIG. 8d.
FIG. 8d depicts another example routine noti?cation from
computer is used to record the programs, it can be updated
accordingly to deselect one of the programs to avoid a con
25
?ict. If the standalone computer is used With a separate PVR,
the standalone computer can communicate With a PVR to
30
instruct it to record only the selected program.
FIG. 10 depicts an example health status noti?cation from
a Web-based PVR noti?cation service. A display 1000
includes an example advertisement 1002 and a region 1004
Which identi?es a health problem Which has been detected.
The region 1004 can identify the problem, and the date and
time at Which it Was detected, from the information Which Was
35
provided in the report from the user premises equipment.
Further, the region 1004 can identify a suggested action for
a Web-based PVR noti?cation service Where information
the user. As mentioned, the standalone computer can report
health status information such as events Which are throWn by
from multiple PC/PVRs is provided. A region 834 identi?es
the computer, as Well as status data from a standalone PVR,
programs that Were recorded by a ?rst PC/PVR Which is
identi?ed as a PVR in a user’s family room, a region 836
identi?es a second recording device Which is a PVR in a
child’s bedroom, a region 838 identi?es a third recording
device Which is Dad’s PC, and a region 839 identi?es a fourth
recording device Which is Home Server PVR. Note that the
user can provide the personaliZed identi?cation information
for the different devices using a questionnaire similar to that
in FIG. 3, or other appropriate interface. A button 840 can be
selected by the user to group the results for all devices, result
ing in the interface 820 of FIG. 80.
Any of the information from the displays of FIGS. 8a-d can
such as Whether its disk is becoming full.
40
PC has not reported to the server at the scheduled reporting
time. This may or may not indicate that a signi?cant problem
45
exists. For example, the PC may have simply been turned off
by the user at the time it Was supposed to make a report. Or,
there may be a problem With the Internet connection of the
PC. In this case, the suggested action is for the user to check
50
the PC poWer to ensure it is turned on and to check the Internet
connection. In other cases, a health status noti?cation Will
include information Which is reported by the PC. In the above
example, no information Was reported. For example, a report
be combined as Well in a noti?cation. Also, note that the
format of the noti?cation can be adapted to the type of mes
sage Which is used. For example, a cell phone text message
might be shorter than an email and have feWer graphics or no
graphics, and a voicemail Would have a more conversational
format and Would include introductory comments so the user
understands What the voicemail is about.
The Web server can correlate each event identi?er With an
appropriate textual description of the problem Which can be
presented to the user. In this example, the problem is that the
can identify the date and time of an event from an event log
maintained by the PC. The suggested action can be provided
55
by the Web server by cross-referencing an event identi?er to a
table of suggested actions. For example, an event Which
speci?es a PC disk error may have a suggested action of
FIG. 9 depicts an example schedule con?ict noti?cation
from a Web-based PVR noti?cation service. A display 900
includes an advertisement 902 and a region 904 Which iden
ti?es programs Which are in con?ict, that is, programs that
have been requested to be recorded Whose scheduled broad
cast times overlap, at least in part. The region 904 identi?es
the names of the con?icting programs and their scheduled
60
broadcast times. The ?rst program, “MLB Giants versus
Dodgers,” is scheduled to run on 2/3/09 at 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.,
and “The Family Guy” is scheduled to run on the same day
65
running an anti-virus utility or a disk defragmentation utility.
Further, different health problems can be assigned different
levels of importance and color coding, e.g., red for very
important, yelloW for moderately important, and green for
less important. Other icons such as “ok” and “I” could also be
used.
Note that the examples of FIGS. 9 and 10 may be combined
With information such as provided in FIGS. 8a-d.
FIG. 11 is a block diagram of computer hardWare suitable
for implementing embodiments of the invention. The com