Patent number 8528015 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to systems that allow users to watch television shows and to schedule and save television shows to watch later.
"Set-top boxes are electronic devices that generally are connected to or incorporated within televisions or computer monitors. They take a broadcast signal as input, for instance via a cable line or satellite wave, and transform the signal into audio and video information that allows a user to watch and enjoy broadcast programming. Most set-top boxes operate with an input device such as a remote control and also have a keypad or other integrated input device as well. In its most basic form a set-top box is used to receive broadcast signals, change channels, and browse through the available programs to find a show to watch.
"A set-top box may be viewed as being comprised of resources. One resource is a tuner. The tuner is a hardware component that makes it possible, in part, to transform the signal received on a cable line or at an antenna, into a viewer usable form, such as a series of still images that are repeatedly displayed on the screen of the attached output device. It is the rapid display of the series of still images that causes the user to perceive a moving, changing television picture that is commonly known and understood to all people that watch television. Some set-top boxes comprise multiple tuners that allow the user to watch multiple shows simultaneously, such as with picture-in-picture enabled set-top boxes.
"More recently, storage devices, such as hard drives, have been added to set-top boxes, which also are a resource that is available to a user of the set-top box. Typically, the storage device allows the user to save shows and watch them later, similar to the manner in which a user records shows with a VCR or DVD-R. When used in conjunction with an interactive program guide, the user is presented with a graphical user interface where they are able to browse current and future listings of shows and easily select the shows they want the set-top box to automatically save to the storage device later.
"When the time comes for the set-top box to save the show, the set-top box needs to use one tuner and at least part of the storage device to perform the function. In a two tuner set-top box, this means the box could be used to save one show, while simultaneously allowing the user to watch a show on another channel before its tuner resources are exhausted. Similarly, a two-tuner system would allow the user to simultaneously save shows to the storage device on two different channels at overlapping time slots. In either case, such actions could quickly exhaust the available space on the storage device and the available tuners.
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