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United States Patent m
[li] Patent Number: 4,625,080  Date of Patent: Nov. 25,1986
 REMOTE VIDEO RECORDER
PROGRAMMING APPARATUS OPERATING
OVER TELEPHONE LINES
 Inventor: Michael M. Scott, 965 New York Dr., Altadena, Calif. 91001
 Appl. No.: 491,086
 Filed: May 3,1983
 Int. CI* H04M 1/64; H04M 11/00;
 U.S. CI 379/104; 358/335;
360/33.1; 379/77; 379/98
 Field of Search 179/2 A, 6.07, 6.11,
179/6.12, 2 R, 2 C; 358/335; 360/33.1
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,903,369 9/1975 Darwood 179/6.11 X
4,174,517 11/1979 Mandel .
4,193,120 3/1980 Yello 369/7
4,348,669 9/1982 Braun .
4,442,319 4/1984 Treidl 179/2 A
4,469,919 9/1984 Nakamura 179/6.06
4,471,165 9/1984 DeFino et al 179/2 A
4,500,752 2/1985 Lee 179/6.11 X
4,519,003 5/1985 Scholz 358/335
4,540,851 9/1985 Hashimoto 179/2 A
Mar. 18, 1983—Los Angeles Times Atari Planning to
Enter Home Phone Market by Bruce Keppel.
Primary Examiner—Raymond F. Cardillo
Assistant Examiner—Robert A. Weinhardt
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Watts, Hoffmann, Fisher &
Apparatus for remote programming of an electronic device such as a video cassette recorder. A hand held portable programming unit stores intructions for the device as those instructions are entered through a key pad. These instructions are encoded into a form suitable for telecommunications to the device. A receiver unit which interfaces with the electric device receives the instructions and converts them into a form suitable for programming the device. When used in programming a video cassette recorder the instructions include the channel to be taped and the time and date the taping is to take place.
4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures
U. S. Patent Nov. 25,1986 Sheet 1 of2 4,625,080
U.S. Patent Nov. 25,1986 Sheet2 of2 4,625,080
REMOTE VIDEO RECORDER PROGRAMMING
APPARATUS OPERATING OVER TELEPHONE
The present invention relates to apparatus for programming a remote electronic device, such as a video recorder, for event queuing.
Recent advances in the electronics industry have been compared in their impact on society to the changes experienced during the industrial revolution. Advances in integrated circuit technology have spawned entire 15 new industries and greatly enhanced the capabilities of existing products.
One specific integrated circuit, the microprocessor, has been particularly influencial in the electronics revolution. The microprocessor has replaced components 20 and/or added new features to existing products. It has also made possible the personal computer, a product which has created a new multi-billion dollar industry in a short ten year time period.
Communication applications for the microprocessor 25 and its peripheral supporting components have been dramatic. Electronic switching and transmitting circuitry has revolutionized the telecommunications industry. Networks of computers share data bases and computing capabilities. Within the recent past, computer 30 based communications terminals have been used for commercial banking, information retrieval, and home entertainment.
Noncomputer communications products have been less swift in embracing sophisticated integrated circuit 35 technology. Telephone answering and recording systems have become widely accepted as one consumer oriented product useful in the home. These systems are rather inflexible, however, in the way they store information. A typical recorder is actuated by a telephone 40 call, records any communications received for a particular period, and then turns itself off.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,174,517, which issued on Nov. 13, 1979 to Mandel, proposes a communications system for use in the home. In accordance with the Mandel system, 45 a central controller is coupled to one or more remote units through a house power distribution system. The Mandel system is no more than an on-off type control like the telephone answering system mentioned above. There is no capability, for example, to program opera- 50 tion of the remote units to cause them to automatically perform in a particular way without further input from the user.
The present invention concerns apparatus for programming a remote electronic device to avoid the necessity of on-site user intervention in operation of that device. The invention enables a user to program a sequence or series of operations into-the device from a 60 remote location.
The apparatus coordinates event queuing within the device. The user programs instructions into a transmitter unit that converts those instructions into signals suitable for transmission along a telecommunications 65 path. At a remote location, a receiver converts the signals from the transmitter into control signals which are coupled to the electronic device. These signals in
struct or program the device in a particular way and more particularly program events to be performed in a particular sequence.
The invention has particular applicability to a video recorder. In this embodiment the transmitter includes a mechanism for generating instructions to program the video recorder to turn itself on and off at specific times and to record programming on specific channels or stations.
A preferred embodiment of the input unit includes a visual display which prompts the user on what information needs to be entered for controlling the remotely located video recorder. Thus, the display will prompt the user to enter the time at which the recorder should be actuated, a time in which it is to be turned off, a station or channel to be recorded, and a prompt for transmitting these instructions to the receiver.
Both the transmitter and receiver are coupled to a transmission line, preferably a telephone transmission line via an interface for converting instructions into serial communication signals. At the transmit end a universal synchronous, asynchronous receiver/transmitter (USART) converts instructions entered by the user into serial signals which are coupled through a modem to the telephone line. At the receive end a second receiver/transmitter converts signals transmitted along the telephone line into instructions which are then interfaced with the video recorder.
The transmitter is a hand held unit and includes a speaker which can be placed in juxtaposition to a telephone handset mouthpiece after communications have been established with the receiver. At the receiving end of the communications a standard telephone answering system or machine answers the phone and establishes contact between a receiving modem and the remotely located transmitter.
From the above it should be appreciated that one aspect of the present invention is a system for remotely programming an electronic device having a clock to coordinate or control event queing by the device. Other objects, advantages and features of the invention will become better understood as a detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention is described in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a schematic showing apparatus for programming a remotely positioned electronic device;
FIG. 2 is an electrical schematic of a programming unit that generates instructions for said remotely positioned device; and
FIG. 3 is an electrical schematic of a receiving unit for receiving instructions from the programming unit and controlling operation of the remotely positioned electronic device.
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE
Turning now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1, there is illustrated an electronic device 10 and a remotely located programming unit 12 for that device. The programming unit 12 communicates with the electronic device 10 via a telecommunications path 14. In the preferred and disclosed embodiment, a telephone connection through two telephone units 17,18 couples the programming unit 12 to a receiver 16 where instructions for the device 10 are stored.