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Customizing broadcast transmissions to viewer preferences

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Title: Customizing broadcast transmissions to viewer preferences.
Abstract: Systems and methods allow users to customize content of broadcast transmissions. A parent might, for example, wish to remove or replace profanity from an audio portion of the movie or violence from audio and video portions of the movie so that it is more suitable for younger viewers. The method comprises receiving at a viewing station a broadcast transmission, performing, via the viewing station, a search to identify specified material in the broadcast transmission, and, in response to identifying the specified material in the broadcast transmission, modifying the broadcast transmission to suppress the specified material so that the broadcast transmission can be presented via the viewing station without the specified material. ...


Browse recent Wounder Gmbh., LLC patents - Dover, DE, US
Inventor: Melvin L. Barnes, JR.
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120084805 - Class: 725 28 (USPTO) - 04/05/12 - Class 725 
Interactive Video Distribution Systems > Access Control Or Blocking >Of Specific Program (e.g., Based On Program Rating)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120084805, Customizing broadcast transmissions to viewer preferences.

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RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to and is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/775,980, filed May 7, 2010, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/556,430, filed Nov. 3, 2006, issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,725,360, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/606,350 filed Jun. 29, 2000, issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,133,837, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure generally relates to devices and methods for providing personal communications including handheld mobile telephones.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates to a system for providing transmissions relating to broadcast transmissions and methods of customizing and presenting the broadcast content in the form of audio, video, and text, to a viewer (i.e., a person). Until recently, radio and television were the two most common forms of presenting audio or audio and video to a viewer. However, in recent years, electronic transmissions over the Internet have become more and more widely used as a medium for presenting information to a viewer.

Television and traditional AM and FM band radio transmissions are unidirectional broadcasts of a one-to-many point transmission scheme. Most cable television stations and some digital television broadcasting companies include a unidirectional broadcast that can be viewed only by selected recipients. For example, viewers who subscribe to certain pay channels such as Showtime or Cinemax are able to view those channels, while viewers who do not subscribe to those channels cannot view those channels. In addition, viewers who desire to purchase a pay-per-view movie can telephone the broadcasting service (or through some other means indicate their desire) to purchase the movie and only those purchasers can view the movie. However, besides indicated the desire to purchase the movie or subscribe to a channel, viewers have few communications to the broadcaster and have very little control over the received information, the format and/or perspectives of viewing the information transmitted, the time of viewing, etc. In addition, traditional television and radio broadcasters transmit the same advertisements to all viewers irrespective as to the whether a viewer is likely to be a candidate interested in the advertised product.

The Internet provides a medium of communication that allows more bi-directional communication than previously available with traditional television and radio. For example, a viewer can select which web page to view from a selection of web pages and can view them in any order. When the broadcaster of the web page has implemented dynamic web pages, the viewer can also customize the web page to his or her preferences. For example, a web page can be retrieved that displays the viewer\'s stock portfolio. Since different viewers typically invest in different stocks, the web pages for different viewers vary accordingly. Thus, dynamic web pages have the capability of producing web pages that differ from viewer to viewer.

Chat rooms have also become increasingly popular as a forum for people of common interest to communicate by typing messages that are visible to other participants in the chat room in real-time. However, the information accessible to a potential participant of the chat room is usually limited to the participants\' usernames (or screen names) and the title of the chat room. Similarly, email, list servers, and newsgroups have become other common methods of communication.

Direct marketing in the form of electronic transmissions (such as email or fax) is often used to invite participants to receive a broadcast of an auction, video presentation, a web site, or to get people to buy a product or service. Typically, the email addresses (or fax numbers) of a group of people who have a common interest (such as horse lovers, business opportunity seeks, investors, etc.) are rented or purchased from an email vender. The purchaser (or a bulk mail or fax service) will then email (or fax) an offer to all of the email addresses (or fax numbers) in hopes that at least a small percentage will respond favorably to the advertisement by purchasing the service or product or otherwise responding to the advertisement (e.g., by visiting the advertised web site). However, if the recipient of the transmission is not interested in the content of the transmission (e.g., the advertised product), the recipient will typically simply delete the email or discard the fax.

Print advertisements are also used to drive traffic to web sites. Often, however, the person reading the print ad is not also operating a computer to allow the individual to immediately access the web site if the individual desired to do so. Portable digital voice recorders have been developed that record a persons voice, which is stored for later retrieval. The most common use of voice recorders is to alleviate the need to write down information that the user wishes to remember. However, the user recording the voice message, or someone else, must still transcribe the voice message (e.g., web address or desire to purchase a product) and input that information manually into a web browser.

Many people enjoy gambling even though most people do no live near gambling establishments and people often travel great distances to participate in gambling. One alternative is online gaming, which is performed through software. Specifically, a computer program generates the order of cards in a virtual deck of cards that the user plays. The virtual cards are typically displayed in graphic form on the user\'s display. The computer generation of the virtual deck of cards and order of the cards (or other gaming device such as dice or roulette) is not, by many people, considered to be trustworthy and fair. In other words, many people do not trust virtual gaming in which a computer controls the device of chance (e.g., dice, cards, or roulette) and as a result, virtual gaming to date has only received limited acceptance in the general public.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a plurality of viewing stations and broadcast stations.

FIG. 2 is schematic representation depicting the flow of an example electronic transmission.

FIGS. 3A-3B is a flow chart diagram of the steps for identifying respondents as recipients and recipients as transmitters.

FIGS. 4A-4B are schematic representations of different embodiments of a command holder.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF EMBODIMENTS

Unless the context of its use suggests otherwise, throughout this document the term “viewing” is meant to include seeing the video and hearing the audio of a broadcast, where both the video and audio portions of the broadcast are available. Unless evident from the context of its use, “video” throughout this document is meant to refer to the display of moving images as opposed to a still photograph. In general, the term “broadcaster” is used throughout this document to mean the entity operating the broadcast station and who transmits broadcast transmissions through the use of the broadcast station.

The present disclosure is directed to a handheld communication device and method of use. In one embodiment, the method of using a handheld mobile telephone includes capturing a plurality of images via an image input device; storing the plurality of images in a memory, receiving a first speech input, identifying command information in said first speech input; retrieving information from memory based, at least in part, on the command information. The method may further include generating a request related to an article of commerce that includes, at least in part, the information retrieved from memory, determining a destination for transmitting the request, and wirelessly transmitting said request through a mobile telephone network to the destination.

According to another embodiment, incentives are paid to persons for distributing an electronic transmission to others. For example, by keeping track of the recipients to whom participants forward transmissions, so that participants can be compensated with promised incentives, recipients are thereby provided incentive to forward the transmission to others. Thus, by providing an incentive to recipients to forward the electronic transmission containing an advertisement, the advertisement can be distributed to a much larger audience than could otherwise be accomplished without additional up front expense.

According to yet another embodiment, a person stores voice controlled commands, which are later retrieved by a computer that then exercises the stored commands. In one example, a voice recorder having commands stored thereon is placed in a docking station, which causes the software on the associated computer to retrieve the stored voice messages, convert them to text, and carry out the stored commands (e.g., buy golf clubs at golf.com). Alternately, a handheld scanner may be used to store the text representing the web address for later retrieval and use with a voice command.

According to yet another embodiment, the content and format of the audio, and video is customized as desired by the viewer. For example, after selecting a sporting event, the viewer can select a desired camera perspective, or a number of camera perspectives. The viewer may also select the desired audio, which might be selected from a choice of different sets of commentators, music, or an unrelated audio broadcast. In addition, the viewer may select an informational transmission containing information for wagering on the event, statistics relating to the event, or for competing against other viewers of the event. Finally, the viewer can store portions or all of the broadcast for later viewing, for slow motion instant replay, and/or for modifying.

According to still another embodiment, viewers customize the content of a transmission. For example, viewers can receive an entertainment video broadcast (e.g., a movie or a live play) in digital form—for either live viewing or on-demand viewing—in which the movie is modified from its original form by the viewer. A parent might, for example, wish to remove or replace the profanity from the audio portion of the movie or violence from the audio and video portions of the transmission so that it is more suitable for younger viewers. Alternately, the broadcaster may modify (e.g., remove or replace obscene language or violent video) the transmission according the requests provided by specific viewers.

According to yet another embodiment, a viewer provides feedback to a broadcaster about the broadcast (whether it be a movie, commercial, educational or other type of broadcast) by answering appropriate questions. The questions may be viewed by the viewer at the end of the broadcast or at particular points throughout the broadcast. The broadcaster may also obtain viewer reactions to broadcasts through the use of biofeedback devices that monitor the viewer\'s physical response (e.g., blood pressure, skin resistivity, heart rate, etc.) to the broadcast.

According to still another embodiment, a viewer selects a broadcast or portion of a broadcast for viewing. For example, a seminar is transmitted to multiple viewers who have purchased the reception of the seminar. The audio and video are transmitted with a text version of the audio or, alternately, the audio portion is converted to text through the use of voice recognition software. The text portion is indexed to the video or audio (either by the broadcaster, the creator of the programming, or the voice recognition software) and provides a number of benefits to the viewer. For example, the viewer can later search the broadcast for particular words spoken by the seminar instructor to immediately find and view the portions of the seminar that address a subject of interest. The text version is also available for reading (either from a display or in printed form) and for use in other documents. Alternately, the broadcaster can search for broadcast transmissions according to a viewer\'s broadcast requests.

According to yet another embodiment, a system allows people to remotely gamble with a real device of chance. For example, the viewer can see the game of chance and interact with the gaming employees and other players as if the viewer were actually in a gaming establishment.

According to still another embodiment, a virtual room is provided for viewers to meet and discuss topics of common interest. For example, in one embodiment, the viewer\'s display depicts a virtual room, which contains representations of other viewers who are present in the virtual room. Viewers may congregate in groups within the room to discuss subtopics of interest. Once in the room, the viewer may gather information about individuals in each group in the virtual room before entering a particular discussion.

As shown in FIG. 1, a system according to one embodiment comprises at least one viewing station 100 and one broadcast station 200 communicatively coupled together. In the preferred embodiment, the viewing station 100 is a conventional “personal” home computer (e.g., a PC Windows machine) comprised of a monitor 101, microphone 103, speakers 102, central processing unit (CPU) 107, keyboard 104, mouse 105, and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modem 108. In alternate embodiments, viewing station 100 may include a subset of these components or other components. For example, viewing station 100 could easily include a cable modem or other kind of communication device instead of DSL modem 108.

The software of the viewing station 100 includes a conventional operating system including a Graphic User Interface (GUI). In the preferred embodiment, the operating system is Windows 2000, which interfaces with (or includes) an internet browser—Internet Explorer. The software also includes audio-video presentation software, which in the preferred embodiment includes both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player.

Again, the selection of the particular software and the parsing of tasks between software modules is the designer\'s choice and dependent upon many considerations such as the format of the transmitted broadcast, cost, compatibility with other components, etc. An alternate embodiment of the viewing station might comprise the well-known WEB TV (provided the processing power required for the application permitted)—in which a television acts as the monitor and speakers of the viewing station.

The broadcast station 200 can be any station capable of communicating with the viewing station(s) of the system and that has the necessary processing (computing) capabilities, which will be evident to one skilled in the art. The broadcast station 200 may, but does not necessarily, originate the broadcast. The broadcast station 200 may receive and rebroadcast transmissions that originated from other broadcast stations or, the broadcast station 200 can receive and record broadcasts that are transmitted by other broadcast stations and then retransmit the broadcast at a later time.

In the preferred embodiment, the broadcast station 200 is a web server 201, which is a computer that accepts requests for data (e.g., web pages) over the Internet and responds by transmitting the data. The server 201 also performs various functions (e.g., storing data in a database, performing calculations) depending on the software associated with the various web pages of the web sites that it serves (i.e., depending on the application and purpose of the web page). In addition, the server 201 of the preferred embodiment includes streaming video capability.

In the preferred embodiment, the web server 201 is an Intel microprocessor based computer running Windows NT and Microsoft\'s Internet Information Server using Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP)—which operates on top of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

In the preferred embodiment, the web server 201 also includes streaming video software and software for storing compressed audio and video files into a single media file (e.g., compressed for delivery over a specific bandwidth such as 56 kilobits per second (Kbps)) on a standard web server. Although the use of streaming video is well-known in the art, a Web page containing a link (i.e., the URL) to the media file is placed on the same Web server. When this web page is accessed, the client-side player (i.e., the viewing station software) downloads the media file. After a short buffering period, the viewing station begins “playing” the media file. This “progressive playback” is supported by Microsoft\'s Advanced Streaming Format.

In the preferred embodiment, the media file is copied to a specialized streaming media server such as Microsoft Windows Media Services and a web page with a link to the media file is placed on the web server 201 (which may or may not be on the same computer). This embodiment may use the popular HTTP/TCP protocols as well as the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for faster real-time transmission of audio and video data. The data is viewed by using Windows Media Player at the viewing station. Windows Media Server also has Multicast Support to greatly reduce the bandwidth necessary to broadcast to a plurality of viewers. This transmission technique is used in the applications described in which the viewer does not need to process the transmission, because the transmission of the Windows Media Server is immediately directed to the viewing station player (software). For applications in which the viewer needs to process the transmission, transmissions formatted for use with RealPlayer, or any video/audio presentation software that permits storage of the transmission on the viewer\'s viewing station, is used. These various software programs are well-known in the art and the details of their operation, compatibility with other software, viable applications, and capabilities are thus omitted here.

The transmission to the viewing station(s) can be accomplished with software on the server computer or a separate computer, which is used in tandem with the server computer to transmit the streaming video to viewing stations. The broadcast station 200 also includes a receiving and transmission device 202 (e.g., an Ethernet card). In general, the broadcast station 200 includes server software that is capable of selectively communicating (receiving and transmitting text, HTML, video and audio transmissions) with a plurality of viewing stations.

Alternately, the broadcaster could broadcast rf transmissions (e.g., radio), optical transmissions, satellite transmissions, cellular, or some combination thereof. The format, bandwidth, wavelength and other broadcast parameters are parameters selectable by the designer of the system based on the costs, compatibility with viewers, and benefits of each choice given the application.

The modem 108 of the viewing station 100 is capable of receiving transmissions from the broadcast station 200 and, through the appropriate software, converts the received data to information that is usable to the viewer. In the preferred embodiment, the modem 108 is a DSL modem. However, provided the speed of such devices is adequate for the application\'s broadcast transmission rate, a designer could also elect to communicate over a regular 56K modem, a cable modem, or an ISDN line. In summary, the viewing station 100 is coupled to the broadcast station 200 for bi-directional communication (receiving and transmitting text, HTML, video and audio transmissions) and includes conventional software for presenting the received transmissions to the viewer.

Direct marketing in the form of electronic transmissions (such as email or fax) is often used to get participants to an auction, video conference, a web site, or to get people to buy a product or service. Typically, the email addresses (or fax numbers) of a group of people who have a common interest (such as horse lovers, business opportunity seekers, investors, etc.) are rented or purchased from an email vender. The purchaser (or a bulk mail or fax service) will then email (or fax) an offer to all of the email addresses (or fax numbers) in hopes that at least a small percentage will respond favorably to the advertisement by purchasing the service or product or otherwise responding to the advertisement (e.g., by visiting the advertised web site).

One problem with this approach is that many recipients of the advertisement become irritated or enraged by being “spammed” by the unwanted email (or fax). Another option is opt-in email address lists, which are supposed to include only email addresses of people who have agreed to receive email advertisements. Opt-in email address lists, however, are rather expensive—sometimes prohibitively so.

In either case, if the recipient of the transmission containing the advertisement is not interested in the service or product (hereinafter collectively referred to as “product”), the recipient will typically simply delete the email or discard the fax. The following example uses email as the form of electronic transmission, but the present embodiment would be equally applicable to fax transmissions, or even voice transmissions (e.g., voice mail), as well, with appropriate modifications to the processing software that would be clear to one skilled in the art.

By providing an incentive for recipients to forward the electronic transmission, the advertisement can be distributed to a much larger audience, without additional up front expense. The most widely accepted incentive is a financial incentive. However, unless the price of the product is extremely high, it would be difficult to provide compensation that is sizeable enough to motivate someone to take action to forward the advertisement. In other words, if, for example, a person is promised $50 for every person to whom they forward the email and who responds to the advertisement, their income is limited the number of people to whom they know and forward the email.

By using the principle of multi-level marketing, however, greater financial incentives can be provided. For example, if the person is promised $10 for every person to whom they forward the email and who responds to the advertisement and $10 for each person to whom their recipients forward the email and who responds to the advertisement, there potential income is much greater. Thus, through the principle of multi-level marketing, a person may forward the transmission to only ten people, but might earn thousands of dollars due to the efforts of those to whom the person forwarded the transmission. Although this is not likely to be the case, this possibility provides incentive for people to forward the transmission, while if their income was limited to their own efforts, they might not forward the transmission.

This concept is shown in FIG. 2. For example, a person 701 who receives an email containing the advertisement receives $10 for each person to whom they forward the email and who responds to the advertisement 702 (a person who responds to the transmission is hereinafter referred to as a “respondent”). In other words, the transmitter 701 receives $10 for each first level respondent 702. In addition, that transmitter 701 receives $9 for each person that responds 703 to an advertisement in an email from one of the recipients 705 to whom the transmitter 701 forwarded the advertisements. In other words, the transmitter 701 receives $9 for each second level respondent 703. Furthermore, the transmitter 701 receives $8 for each person that responds 704 to the advertisement in an email forwarded from one of the transmitter\'s recipients\' recipients 703. In other words, the transmitter 701 receives $8 for each third level respondent 704. In this example, transmitter 701 forwarded the email to only two people, but earned commissions of $46, $26 dollars of which is the result of the transmitter\'s 701 first level recipients (702 and 705) forwarding the email to others. A respondent may or may not also forward the transmission and any recipient may or may not also be a respondent. As an illustration, recipient 705 forwarded the transmission, but need not have been a respondent (but was in the above example). Recipient 703a was a respondent, but did not forward the transmission. Recipient 703b was a respondent who did forward the transmission.

The number of levels of respondents for which an incentive is promised (and thus, the levels deep from which participants receive commissions) is at the discretion of the promoter executing the marketing program and the software designer. Thus, one goal is to facilitate the payment of incentives by keeping track of the recipients to whom participants forward the advertisement so that they can be compensated with the promised incentives, thereby providing incentive for recipients to forward the transmission to others.

In the following example embodiment, the electronic transmissions are emails and the vender is interested in selling an investment newsletter at an annual subscription price of $300. The promoter is paid $50 for each respondent that subscribes to the newsletter, of which up to $40 is paid to recipients for forwarding the transmission (and advertisement) to someone who ultimately subscribes to the newsletter (i.e., responds). On behalf of the vender, the promoter transmits ten thousand emails to persons known to be interested in investing and who have agreed to accept emails advertising investment products (opt-in email addresses). The email address of the ten thousand original recipients is stored on the email processing computer of the promoter, which is in this example (but does not need to be) the same computer that transmitted the emails. The email processing computer in this example is a broadcast station 200 as described above.

The email includes two parts. The first part includes the advertisement for the newsletter, which provides a description of the newsletter, the benefits provided by the newsletter, and the web address (URL) for finding more information about newsletter and where the recipient may purchase the newsletter. In this example, this part of the email reads:

“Would you like to increase your investment earnings while reducing your risk? If you would like to learn how, without risk, read on! Our Investor\'s Newsletter is guaranteed with a 100%, money back, no-questions-asked, guarantee. To learn more or to subscribe, go to www.EarnAndInvest.com.”

A second part (the next portion of the body) of the email includes an incentive for forwarding the email to others. More specifically, the second part includes a description of the incentive, instructions for participating, and the web address where recipients can get more information about the promotion. In this example, this part of the email reads:



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120084805 A1
Publish Date
04/05/2012
Document #
13323253
File Date
12/12/2011
USPTO Class
725 28
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04N7/16
Drawings
6



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