(19)
(11)EP 1 615 437 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.11.2019 Bulletin 2019/48

(21)Application number: 05254120.8

(22)Date of filing:  30.06.2005
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04N 7/173  (2011.01)

(54)

Method and system for providing video-on-demand (VOD) services in a digital cable TV network

System und Verfahren zur Bereitstellung von Video-auf-Anfrage Dienstleistungen in einem digitalen Fernsehrundfunknetz

Système et procédé de fourniture de services vidéo à la demande dans un réseau de television a diffusion numerique


(84)Designated Contracting States:
DE ES FR GB IT NL

(30)Priority: 08.07.2004 KR 2004053084

(43)Date of publication of application:
11.01.2006 Bulletin 2006/02

(73)Proprietor: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, 443-742 (KR)

(72)Inventor:
  • Yu, In-chul
    Yeongtong-gu Suwon-Si Gyeonggi-do (KR)

(74)Representative: Appleyard Lees IP LLP 
15 Clare Road
Halifax HX1 2HY
Halifax HX1 2HY (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A-02/077808
US-A1- 2004 117 816
US-A1- 2003 051 250
  
  • PEKOWSKY STUART; JAEGER RUDOLF: "THE SET-TOP BOX AS "MULTI-MEDIA TERMINAL"" IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CONSUMER ELECTRONICS, vol. 44, no. 3, 1 August 1998 (1998-08-01), pages 833-840, XP002353732
  • DVB ORGANIZATION: "Abstract SI API Specification", DVB, DIGITAL VIDEO BROADCASTING, C/O EBU - 17A ANCIENNE ROUTE - CH-1218 GRAND SACONNEX, GENEVA - SWITZERLAND, 3 October 2003 (2003-10-03), XP017818504,
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description


[0001] The present invention relates to video-on-demand (VOD) services, and more particularly, to a method and system for providing VOD services in a digital cable TV network.

[0002] Video-on-demand (VOD) services provide video data, such as a movie or news, via a network at the request of a subscriber. In general, a VOD service is realized by compressing a video program using a digital data compression method such as MPEG-2, storing the compressed video program in a VOD server, and providing the stored video program to a subscriber via an Internet protocol (IP) network or a digital cable TV network when the subscriber requests the corresponding video program.

[0003] Korean Laid-Open Patent Publication No. 2002-0090727 discloses a set-top box network system that can download a broadcast program and provide a VOD service using an IP network. However, broadband networks do not have sufficient bandwidth to provide high-quality VOD services even though they have been in commercial use for a long time. Therefore, the quality of many Internet VOD services is generally lower than the quality of TV broadcast programs.

[0004] Korean Laid-Open Patent Publication No. 1996-0706749 (International Patent Application No. WO 1995/015658) discloses a network manager for a cable TV system head end that is useful for processing upstream subscriber communications and can provide various services, such as near VOD services, virtual VOD services, and interactive program services. However, there is still no standard defining how the network manager searches for a subscriber in a cable TV network, recognizes a set-top box of the subscriber, and provides a tailor-made VOD service to the subscriber. In other words, the network manager can provide VOD services to a subscriber if a VOD server is connected to the subscriber's set-top box. However, since received VOD channels may differ depending on the service network, the network manager may not be able to determine to which set-top box in which cell it should transmit a program.

[0005] Recently, digital cable TV networks provide out-of-band channels, which can be used for data transmissions, as well as in-band channels, via which broadcast programs are provided. These out-of-band channels have made interactive TV broadcasting and unidirectional TV broadcasting possible, and are a conventional way of broadcasting in the sense that broadcast programs are transmitted only in one direction. In addition, subscribers can enjoy point-to-point communications using their set-top boxes. Accordingly, VOD services can be easily implemented on a digital cable TV network. Unlike in-band channels, however, out-of-band channels do not have the necessary bandwidth to provide high-quality VOD services.

[0006] US 2003/0051250 describes an arrangement for transmitting audiovisual information to one or more subscribers terminal from a server. Each subscriber terminal includes a storage unit. The server selects a transmission channel and/or transmission rate in accordance with a type of information to be distributed and/or other factors. The server then distributes the information on the basis of the selected transmission channel and/or rate. The system can cope with requests flooding in from the subscribers.

[0007] US 2004/0117816 describes a system and method for scheduling media for consumption via a demand broadcast channel based upon notifications received during user consumption of media. An embodiment of the present invention may employ notifications generated when users select media for consumption, to calculate one or more statistics. The statistics may be calculated and used by a media provider to schedule media into a demand broadcast channel in which the frequency of repetition or time of availability of the media is set according to a ranking of the relative frequency of requests for the media. The statistics may also be shared with a third party, to enable a third party media provider to arrange the scheduling of media availability according to the relative frequency of requests for the media.

[0008] WO 02/077808 describes a provisioning tool and method for a communications network, particularly a broadband communications network which is arranged to provision a service for a user based on information available via another user connection. A user device address is obtained from a user IP address. Provisioning and other network tools with additional or alternative advantageous features are disclosed and the provisioning tools disclosed may communicate with a variety of other tools including planning and inventory applications and agents associated with equipment, all of which are also independently provided, enabling provision of a variety of novel services and features dealing with a spectrum of problems arising in a communications environment, particularly a broadband environment.

[0009] The paper PEKOWSKY STUART; JAEGER RUDOLF: "THE SET-TOP BOX AS "MULTI-MEDIA TERMINAL"" IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CONSUMER ELECTRONICS, Vol. 44, no. 3, 1 August 1998 (1998-08-01), pages 833-840 describes a platform for Digital Television Services in Germany, the "d-box", based on the DVB/MPEG-2 standards provides the technical basis for the handling of Services. With an integrated Modem, SCART, AND SCSI-2 interfaces, the d-box offers two Service Classes: Video/Audio Services, and Data Services.

[0010] It is an aim of preferred embodiments of the present invention to address at least one problem associated with the prior art, whether identified herein, or otherwise.

[0011] In this way the demands of both subscribers and content providers are addressed, by providing a system and method for TV network that can enable point-to-point communication, and can have sufficient bandwidth to provide VOD services in a digital cable network.

[0012] According to the present invention there is provided an apparatus and method as set forth in the appended claims. Preferred features of the invention will be apparent from the dependent claims, and the description which follows.

[0013] For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how embodiments of the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system for providing video-on-demand (VOD) services according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a detailed block diagram of a system for providing VOD services according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a method of providing VOD services according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating the operation of a set-top box according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating the operation of a VOD service system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.



[0014] Advantages and features of the present invention and methods of accomplishing the same may be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of preferred embodiments and the accompanying drawings.

[0015] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system to provide video-on-demand (VOD) services according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0016] Referring to FIG. 1, the system includes a VOD service system 110, at least one distribution system 120, and a plurality of cells 130.

[0017] The VOD service system 110 includes a VOD server 112, a subscriber manager 114, a transmission unit 116, and a conditional access system 118.

[0018] The VOD server 112 receives a request for a VOD service from a subscriber and provides the content selected by the subscriber. To do this, the VOD server 112 stores various content therein or in a separate content database (not shown). The content stored in the VOD sever 112 or in the content database is compressed and it is provided to the subscriber without being decompressed. For example, the contents may be compressed by an MPEG-2 method and then provided to a subscriber's set-top box in the same manner as in digital TV broadcasting. Contents transmitted to a subscriber may be compressed according to MPEG-4, MPEG-7, MPEG-21, H.263, or H.264 standards.

[0019] The subscriber manager 114 manages subscriber information. The subscriber manager 114 stores location and identification information of a set-top box, transmitted by the set-top box to the system over an out-of-band channel. The subscriber manager 114 authenticates the subscriber that has issued the request for a VOD service manages information on VOD services consumed by the subscriber and costs for these services. In addition, the subscriber manager 114 determines which genre or type of content the subscriber prefers and it provides a list of this content to the subscriber in advance. Moreover, the subscriber manager 114 may determine whether to provide the content selected by the subscriber by considering the personal information of the subscriber. For example, if the subscriber is a minor, the subscriber manager 114 may reject the subscriber's request for sexually-oriented or violent content.

[0020] The transmission unit 116 transmits content provided by the VOD server 112 to the distribution system 120, which provides cable TV broadcast services, so that the content can be provided to the subscriber as a cable TV broadcast service. The transmission unit 116 may transmit the content provided by the VOD server 112 to the subscriber over an in-band channel using the location and identification information of the subscriber. In addition, the transmission unit 116 may transmit service information including a network interface table (NIT) and a virtual channel table (VCT) to the subscriber over an out-of-band channel. Then, a subscriber's set-top box can obtain VOD transport data from the NIT and the VCT.

[0021] The transmission unit 116 may transmit the content provided by the VOD server 112 to the distribution system 120 via an optical cable 140.

[0022] The conditional access system 118 prevents an unauthorized user from using the content provided by the VOD server 112. In other words, the conditional access system 118 provides protection for the content provided by the VOD server 112. The conditional access system 118 scrambles the content provided by the VOD server 112, and the transmission unit 116 transmits the scrambled content to the subscriber. When the subscriber is successfully authenticated, the scrambled content is descrambled so that the subscriber can watch it.

[0023] The distribution system 120 receives content from various content providers, modulates the received content into signals whose frequencies are compatible with various ports using a modulation system 121, and combines the signals together. The result of this combination is transmitted to each of the cells 130 over an in-band channel. The cell 130 is a unit in which the combination of the contents provided by cable TV broadcast is identical. At least one set-top box is connected to each of the cells 130. The distribution system 120 may transmit the content provided by the VOD server 112 to each of the cells 130 via a hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network 150.

[0024] An HFC network is a broadband network of optical and coaxial cables. An HFC network can provide a considerable amount of TV content or interactive communication data as well as other control signals by connecting a broadcasting station and an optical network unit (ONU) using coaxial cables. The HFC network can support a wide bandwidth by achieving a theoretical transmission speed of 9,600 bps - 30 Mbps for each channel with a bandwidth of 6 MHz. An HFC network is also a 2-way interactive system that can transmit downstream signals from an ONU to a subscriber and receive upstream signals from a subscriber to an ONU. In addition, an HFC network can transmit data such as Internet service using channels which are not used for broadcasting content to subscribers, i.e., out-of-band channels having a 6 MHz bandwidth. The distribution system 120 includes an IP (Internet Protocol) gateway 125, which enables the subscriber to use Internet services via out-of-band channels. The IP gateway 125 enables point-to-point communication between a plurality of set-top boxes each having an IP address.

[0025] FIG. 2 is a detailed block diagram illustrating an example VOD service system 210, and a distribution system 220 according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0026] Referring to FIG. 2, the VOD service system 210 includes a VOD server 212, a subscriber manager 214, a transmission unit 216, and a conditional access system 218. The VOD server 212, the subscriber manager 214, the transmission unit 216, and the conditional access system 218 are the same as their respective counterparts in FIG. 1, and thus their detailed descriptions will be omitted.

[0027] The distribution system 220 receives content from various content providers and modulates the received content into signals whose frequencies are compatible with various ports using a modulation system 221. The modulation system 221 includes a plurality of modulators 222-1, 222-2, and 222-3, and a plurality of combiners 223-1, 223-2, 223-3, and 223-4.

[0028] The modulators 222-1, 222-2, and 222-3 modulate content requested by the VOD service system 210 into signals whose frequencies are compatible with various ports. The modulation results are combined by the combiners 223-1, 223-2, 223-3, and 223-4. For example, signals modulated by the modulators 222-1 and 222-2 may be combined by the combiner 223-1, and signals modulated by the modulators 222-1, 222-2, and 222-3 may be combined by the combiner 223-2, and signals modulated by the modulators 222-1 and 222-3 may be combined by the combiner 223-3. The combination results are transmitted to each of a plurality of cells 230-1, 230-2, 230-3, and 230-4. For example, signals combined by the combiner 223-1 may be transmitted to the cell 230-1, signals combined by the combiner 223-2 may be transmitted to the cell 230-2, signals combined by the combiner 223-3 may be transmitted to the cell 230-3, and signals combined by the combiner 223-4 may be transmitted to the cell 230-4. At least one set-top box is connected to each of the cells 230-1, 230-2, 230-3, and 230-4. In general, a cell consists of hundreds of set-top boxes.

[0029] A method of providing VOD services according to an embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to FIG. 3. A VOD service may be provided by a hardware device or it may be provided as a hardware device with a computing unit and a software program that can be used for operating the hardware device. In addition, a software program that can realize a VOD service may be written on a magnetic or optical recording medium and then combined with a hardware device having a computing unit.

[0030] FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a method of providing VOD services according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0031] Referring to FIG. 3, a VOD service system transmits service information to a set-top box. The service information may include a NIT and a VCT, in which case, the set-top box can obtain VOD transport data from the NIT and VCT.

[0032] Thereafter, the set-top box transmits its location and identification information to the VOD service system. The location information of the set-top box can be a transport identifier (TSID) obtained from a program association table (PAT), and the identification information of the set-top box can be a media access control (MAC) address.

[0033] Next, the set-top box issues a request for a VOD service to the VOD service system.

[0034] Then, the VOD service system provides the location and identification information together with the requested content to a distribution system.

[0035] Finally, the distribution system transmits the requested content to a cell where the set-top box is located (with reference to the location information and identification information of the set-top box).

[0036] The operations of the set-top box and the VOD service system will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5.

[0037] Referring to FIG. 4, in operation S410, the set-top box is turned on and then booted. When booted, the set-top box is able to receive signals via a cable TV network.

[0038] In operation S420, the set-top box receives system information transmitted over an out-of-band channel and then analyzes the NIT and VCT information contained therein. A hidden flag (or a hide-guide flag) is set in VOD transport data so that the VOD transport data can be differentiated from regular transport data containing cable broadcast content.

[0039] In operation S430, the set-top box makes a list of all VOD transport data. In operation S440, the set-top box scans each of the VOD transport data in an in-band channel looking for a PAT (from the existing transport).

[0040] In operation S450, the set-top box extracts a TSID from each group of VOD transport data by analyzing the PAT. In operation S460, the set-top box transmits its identifier and a list of TSIDs to the VOD service system. A TSID of the set-top box can be used as the location information of the set-top box.

[0041] In operation S470, a subscriber issues a VOD request to the VOD service system using the set-top box. In other words, the subscriber selects content that a user wants to receive and requests the selected content. In operation S480, the set-top box receives video data from the VOD service system. If the received video data is compressed in such a digital data compression method such as MPEG-2, it is decompressed using MPEG-2.

[0042] Referring to FIG. 5, in operation S510, the VOD service system receives a TSID list and a set-top box identifier from the set-top box.

[0043] A TSID of a set-top box can be used as location information for the set-top box.

[0044] In operation S520, the received TSID list is stored in a TSID table. The TSID table stores lists of TSIDs that can be used by various subscribers and it is managed by a subscriber manager.

[0045] In operation S530, the VOD service system receives a VOD request issued by the subscriber.

[0046] In operation S540, the VOD service system authenticates the subscriber based on an identifier of the set-top box. For example, the MAC address of the set-top box can be used for authentication. Alternatively, the VOD service system may authenticate the subscriber based on a name and/or a password input by the subscriber. If the subscriber is successfully authenticated, the VOD service system allows the subscriber to use a VOD service.

[0047] In operation S550, if the subscriber is successfully authenticated, the VOD service system acquires the TSID of the authenticated set-top box. In operation S560, the VOD service system provides the content requested by the subscriber to a modulator of the distribution system corresponding to the determined TSID. Different transport data have different TSIDs, and transport data can be selected by the VOD service system by looking at TSID. Thereafter, the distribution system provides the requested content to a cell where the set-top box of the subscriber is located so that the requested content can be delivered.

[0048] To conclude the detailed description, those skilled in the art will appreciate that many variations and modifications can be made to the embodiments without substantially departing from the principles of the present invention. Therefore, the disclosed embodiments of the invention are used in a general and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.

[0049] Preferred embodiments of the present invention make it possible to provide VOD services by using in-band channels in a cable network.

[0050] Although a few embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims.


Claims

1. A method of providing video-on-demand (VOD) services comprising:

transmitting service information to a set-top box via an out-of-band channel which is used for data transmission and which is distinct from an in-band channel which have the necessary bandwidth to transmit VOD content for high-quality VOD services;

receiving location and identification information of the set top box via the out-of-band channel;

receiving a VOD service request from the set-top box via the out-of-band channel; and

providing the requested content via the in-band channel with reference to the location and identification information of the set-top box to a distribution system which provides the requested content to the set-top box via the in-band channel,

characterised in that the received location and identification information is generated by extracting VOD transport data by analyzing a network interface table (NIT) and a virtual channel table (VCT) contained in the service information; scanning the VOD transport data to obtain a program association table (PAT); and extracting a transport identifier (TSID) from the PAT,

further characterized in that the location information comprises the TSID, and

the TSID is stored in a TSID table and

the VOD transport data has a hidden flag setting which can be differentiated from regular transport data containing cable broadcast content.


 
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
storing the location and identification information of the set-top box.
 
3. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the step of providing the set-top box with the requested content comprises:

authenticating the set-top box;

verifying the location and identification information of the set-top box; and

providing the requested content to the set-top box.


 
4. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the content is scrambled content.
 
5. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the identification information of the set-top box is a media access control (MAC) address.
 
6. The method of claim 4 or 5 as dependent on claim 3 wherein the authenticating comprises authenticating the set-top box with its media access control (MAC) address.
 
7. The method of claim 4, 5 or 6 as dependent on claim 3, wherein the authenticating comprises authenticating the set-top box with a user name and a password.
 
8. A method of using VOD services comprising:

enabling a set-top box to receive service information via an out-of-band channel which is used for data transmission and which is distinct from an in-band channel which have the necessary bandwidth to transmit VOD content for high-quality VOD services;

obtaining location information from the service information;

transmitting the obtained location information and identification information of the set-top box to a VOD service system via the out-of-band channel;

enabling the set-top box to issue a VOD service request to the VOD service system via the out-of-band channel; and

enabling the set-top box to receive content via an in-band channel through a distribution system which provides the requested content to the set-top box via the in-band channel; characterised in that the step of transmitting the obtained location and identification information of the set-top box comprises: extracting VOD transport data by analyzing a network interface table (NIT) and a virtual channel table (VCT) contained in the service information; scanning the VOD transport data to obtain a program association table (PAT); extracting a transport identifier (TSID)from the PAT; and transmitting a list of the extracted TSID to the VOD service system,

further characterized in that the location information comprises the TSID, and

the TSID is stored in a TSID table and

the VOD transport data has a hidden flag setting which can be differentiated from regular transport data containing cable broadcast content.


 
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the identification information of the set-top box is a media access control (MAC) address.
 
10. The method of claim 8 or 9 wherein the received content is scrambled content.
 
11. A VOD service system comprising:

a VOD server (112, 212), which is operable to provide selected content in response to a VOD service request;

a subscriber manager (114, 214) that manages subscriber-related information; and

a transmission unit (116, 216) that transmits the selected content to a subscriber;

wherein the transmission unit (116, 216) transmits service information to a set-top box via an out-of-band channel which is used for data transmission and which is distinct from an in-band channel which have the necessary bandwidth to transmit VOD content for high-quality VOD services;

the subscriber manager (114, 214) stores location and identification information of the set-top box received via the out-of-band channel,

the VOD server (112, 212) receives a VOD service request issued by the set-top box and provides the requested content to the set-top box, and

the transmission unit (116, 216) provides the requested content via the in-band channel with reference to the location and identification information of the set-top box to a distribution system which provides the requested content to the set-top box via the in-band channel,

characterised in that the received location and identification information is generated by extracting VOD transport data by analyzing a network interface table (NIT) and a virtual channel table (VCT) contained in the service information;

scanning the VOD transport data to obtain a program association table (PAT); and extracting a transport identifier (TSID) from the PAT,

further characterized in that the location information comprises the TSID, and

the location information is stored in a TSID table and

the VOD transport data has a hidden flag setting which can be differentiated from regular transport data containing cable broadcast content.


 
12. The VOD service system of claim 11, wherein the identification information of the set-top box is a media access control (MAC) address.
 
13. The VOD service system of claim 11 or 12 wherein the subscriber manager (114, 214) further executes a function of authenticating the set-top box.
 
14. The VOD service system of claim 13, further comprising a conditional access system (118, 218) arranged to protect content by a predetermined method.
 
15. A recording medium having a computer readable program recorded therein, the program for executing a method of providing video-on-demand (VOD) services, the method comprising:

transmitting service information to a set-top box via an out-of-band channel used which is used for data transmission and which is distinct from an in-band channel which have the necessary bandwidth to transmit VOD content for high-quality VOD services;

receiving location and identification information of the set top box via the out-of-band channel;

receiving a VOD service request from the set-top box via the out-of-band channel; and

providing the requested content via the in-band channel with reference to the location and identification information of the set-top box to a distribution system which provides the requested content to the set-top box via the in-band channel,

characterised in that the received location and identification information is generated by extracting VOD transport data by analyzing a network interface table (NIT) and a virtual channel table (VCT) contained in the service information;

scanning the VOD transport data to obtain a program association table (PAT); and extracting a transport identifier (TSID) from the PAT,

further characterized in that the location information comprises the TSID, and

the TSID is stored in a TSID table and,

the VOD transport data has a hidden flag setting which can be differentiated from regular transport data containing cable broadcast content.


 
16. A recording medium having a computer readable program recorded therein, the program for executing a method of using VOD services comprising:

enabling a set-top box to receive service information via an out-of-band channel which is used for data transmission and which is distinct from an in-band channel which have the necessary bandwidth to transmit VOD content for high-quality VOD services;

obtaining location information from the service information;

transmitting the obtained location information and identification information of the set-top box to a VOD service system via the out-of-band channel;

enabling the set-top box to issue a VOD service request to the VOD service system via the out-of-band channel through a distribution system which provides the requested content to the set-top box via the in-band channel; and

enabling the set-top box to receive content via an in-band channel, characterised in that the step of transmitting the obtained location and identification information of the set-top box comprises: extracting VOD transport data by analyzing a network interface table(NIT) and a virtual channel table (VCT) contained in the service information;

scanning the VOD transport data to obtain a program association table (PAT); extracting a transport identifier (TSID) from the PAT; and transmitting a list of the extracted TSID to the VOD service system,

further characterized in that the location information comprises the TSID, and

the location information is stored in a TSID table and

the VOD transport data has a hidden flag setting which can be differentiated from regular transport data containing cable broadcast content.


 


Ansprüche

1. Verfahren zum Bereitstellen von Video-on-Demand-Diensten (VoD), das Folgendes umfasst:

Übertragen von Dienstinformationen an eine Set-Top-Box über einen Out-of-Band-Kanal, der für die Datenübertragung verwendet wird und sich von einem In-Band-Kanal unterscheidet, der die erforderliche Bandbreite zum Übertragen von VoD-Inhalten für hochwertige VoD-Dienste aufweist;

Empfangen von Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box über den Out-of-Band-Kanal;

Empfangen einer VoD-Dienstanforderung von der Set-Top-Box über den Out-of-Band-Kanal; und

Bereitstellen des angeforderten Inhalts über den In-Band-Kanal unter Bezugnahme auf die Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box an ein Verteilersystem, das den angeforderten Inhalt über den In-Band-Kanal an die Set-Top-Box liefert,

dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die empfangenen Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen durch Extrahieren von VoD-Transportdaten durch Analysieren einer Netzwerkschnittstellentabelle (NIT) und einer in den Dienstinformationen enthaltenen virtuellen Kanaltabelle (VCT) erzeugt werden; Scannen der VoD-Transportdaten, um eine Programmzuordnungstabelle (PAT) zu erhalten; und Extrahieren einer Transportkennung (TSID) aus der PAT,

ferner dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Standortinformationen die TSID umfassen,

die TSID in einer TSID-Tabelle gespeichert wird und

die VoD-Transportdaten eine Einstellung aufweisen, die als versteckt markiert ist und sich von regulären Transportdaten mit Kabelfernsehinhalten unterscheiden lässt.


 
2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, das Folgendes umfasst:
Speichern der Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box.
 
3. Verfahren nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei der Schritt, der Set-Top-Box die angeforderten Inhalte zur Verfügung zu stellen, Folgendes umfasst:

Authentifizierung der Set-Top-Box;

Überprüfen der Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box; und

Übermitteln des angeforderten Inhalts an die Set-Top-Box.


 
4. Verfahren nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei der Inhalt ein verschlüsselter Inhalt ist.
 
5. Verfahren nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei die Identifikationsinformation der Set-Top-Box eine MAC-Adresse (Media Access Control) ist.
 
6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 4 oder 5 in Abhängigkeit von Anspruch 3, wobei die Authentifizierung das Authentifizieren der Set-Top-Box mit ihrer MAC-Adresse (Media Access Control) umfasst.
 
7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 4, 5 oder 6 in Abhängigkeit von Anspruch 3, wobei die Authentifizierung das Authentifizieren der Set-Top-Box mit einem Benutzernamen und einem Passwort umfasst.
 
8. Verfahren zur Verwendung von VoD-Diensten, das Folgendes umfasst:

Einer Set-Top-Box den Empfang von Dienstinformationen über einen Out-of-Band-Kanal zu ermöglichen, der für die Datenübertragung verwendet wird und sich von einem In-Band-Kanal unterscheidet, der die erforderliche Bandbreite zum Übertragen von VoD-Inhalten für hochwertige VoD-Dienste aufweist;

Erhalten von Standortinformationen aus den Dienstinformationen;

Übertragen der erhaltenen Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box an ein VoD-Dienstsystem über den Out-of-Band-Kanal;

Einer Set-Top-Box das Ausgeben einer VoD-Dienstanforderung an das VoD-Dienstsystem über den Out-of-Band-Kanal zu ermöglichen; und

Einer Set-Top-Box über einen In-Band-Kanal das Empfangen von Inhalten über ein Verteilersystem zu ermöglichen, das den angeforderten Inhalt über den In-Band-Kanal an die Set-Top-Box liefert; dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Schritt des Übertragens der erhaltenen Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box Folgendes umfasst: Extrahieren von VoD-Transportdaten durch Analysieren einer Netzwerkschnittstellentabelle (NIT) und einer virtuellen Kanaltabelle (VCT), die in den Dienstinformationen enthalten sind; Scannen der VoD-Transportdaten, um eine Programmzuordnungstabelle (PAT) zu erhalten; Extrahieren einer Transportkennung (TSID) aus der PAT; und Übertragen einer Liste der extrahierten TSID an das VoD-Dienstsystem,

ferner dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Standortinformationen die TSID umfassen,

die TSID in einer TSID-Tabelle gespeichert wird und

die VoD-Transportdaten eine Einstellung aufweisen, die als versteckt markiert ist und sich von regulären Transportdaten mit Kabelfernsehinhalten unterscheiden lässt.


 
9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei die Identifikationsinformation der Set-Top-Box eine MAC-Adresse (Media Access Control) ist.
 
10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8 oder 9, wobei der erhaltene Inhalt ein verschlüsselter Inhalt ist.
 
11. Ein VoD-Dienstsystem, das Folgendes umfasst:

Einen VoD-Server (112, 212), mit dem ausgewählte Inhalte als Antwort auf eine VoD-Serviceanforderung bereitgestellt werden können;

Einen Teilnehmermanager (114, 214), der teilnehmerbezogene Informationen verwaltet; und

Eine Übertragungseinheit (116, 216), die den ausgewählten Inhalt an einen Teilnehmer überträgt;

wobei die Übertragungseinheit (116, 216) Dienstinformationen über einen Out-of-Band-Kanal, der für die Datenübertragung verwendet wird und sich von einem In-Band-Kanal unterscheidet, der die erforderliche Bandbreite zum Übertragen von VoD-Inhalten für hochwertige VoD-Dienste aufweist;

der Teilnehmermanager (114, 214) über den Out-of-Band-Kanal empfangene Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box speichert,

der VoD-Server (112, 212) eine von der Set-Top-Box ausgegebene VoD-Dienstanforderung empfängt und den angeforderten Inhalt an die Set-Top-Box bereitstellt und

die Übertragungseinheit (116, 216) den angeforderten Inhalt über den In-Band-Kanal unter Bezugnahme auf die Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box einem Verteilersystem zur Verfügung stellt, das den angeforderten Inhalt über den In-Band-Kanal an die Set-Top-Box liefert,

dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die empfangenen Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen durch Extrahieren von VoD-Transportdaten durch Analysieren einer Netzwerkschnittstellentabelle (NIT) und einer in den Dienstinformationen enthaltenen virtuellen Kanaltabelle (VCT) erzeugt werden;

Scannen der VoD-Transportdaten, um eine Programmzuordnungstabelle (PAT) zu erhalten; und Extrahieren einer Transportkennung (TSID) aus der PAT,

ferner dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Standortinformationen die TSID umfassen,

die Standortinformationen in einer TSID-Tabelle gespeichert werden und

die VoD-Transportdaten eine Einstellung aufweisen, die als versteckt markiert ist und sich von regulären Transportdaten mit Kabelfernsehinhalten unterscheiden lässt.


 
12. VoD-Dienstsystem nach Anspruch 11, wobei die Identifikationsinformation der Set-Top-Box eine MAC-Adresse (Media Access Control) ist.
 
13. VoD-Dienstsystem nach Anspruch 11 oder 12, wobei der Teilnehmermanager (114, 214) außerdem eine Funktion zum Authentifizieren der Set-Top-Box ausführt.
 
14. VoD-Dienstsystem nach Anspruch 13, das zudem ein bedingtes Zugriffssystem (118, 218) aufweist, das zum Schutz von Inhalten durch ein vorgegebenes Verfahren angeordnet ist.
 
15. Aufzeichnungsmedium mit einem darin aufgezeichneten, computerlesbaren Programm, das ein Verfahren zum Bereitstellen von Video-on-Demand (VoD)-Diensten ausführt, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

Übertragen von Dienstinformationen an eine Set-Top-Box über einen Out-of-Band-Kanal, der für die Datenübertragung verwendet wird und sich von einem In-Band-Kanal unterscheidet, der die erforderliche Bandbreite zum Übertragen von VoD-Inhalten für hochwertige VoD-Dienste aufweist;

Empfangen von Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box über den Out-of-Band-Kanal;

Empfangen einer VoD-Dienstanforderung von der Set-Top-Box über den Out-of-Band-Kanal; und

Bereitstellen des angeforderten Inhalts über den In-Band-Kanal unter Bezugnahme auf die Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box an ein Verteilersystem, das den angeforderten Inhalt über den In-Band-Kanal an die Set-Top-Box liefert,

dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die empfangenen Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen durch Extrahieren von VoD-Transportdaten durch Analysieren einer Netzwerkschnittstellentabelle (NIT) und einer in den Dienstinformationen enthaltenen virtuellen Kanaltabelle (VCT) erzeugt werden;

Scannen der VoD-Transportdaten, um eine Programmzuordnungstabelle (PAT) zu erhalten; und Extrahieren einer Transportkennung (TSID) aus der PAT,

ferner dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Standortinformationen die TSID umfassen,

die TSID in einer TSID-Tabelle gespeichert wird und

die VoD-Transportdaten eine Einstellung aufweisen, die als versteckt markiert ist und sich von regulären Transportdaten mit Kabelfernsehinhalten unterscheiden lässt.


 
16. Aufzeichnungsmedium mit einem darin aufgezeichneten, computerlesbaren Programm, das ein Verfahren zur Verwendung von VoD-Diensten ausführt, das Folgendes umfasst:

einer Set-Top-Box den Empfang von Dienstinformationen über einen Out-of-Band-Kanal zu ermöglichen, der für die Datenübertragung verwendet wird und sich von einem In-Band-Kanal unterscheidet, der die erforderliche Bandbreite zum Übertragen von VoD-Inhalten für hochwertige VoD-Dienste aufweist;

Erhalten von Standortinformationen aus den Dienstinformationen;

Übertragen der erhaltenen Standortinformationen und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box an ein VoD-Dienstsystem über den Out-of-Band-Kanal;

einer Set-Top-Box zu ermöglichen, über den Out-of-Band-Kanal eine VoD-Dienstanforderung über ein Verteilersystem, das den angeforderten Inhalt der Set-Top-Box über den In-Band-Kanal bereitstellt, an das VoD-Dienstsystem zu senden; und

einer Set-Top-Box das Empfangen von Inhalten über einen In-Band-Kanal zu ermöglichen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Übertragungsschritt der erhaltenen Standort- und Identifikationsinformationen der Set-Top-Box Folgendes umfasst: Extrahieren von VoD-Transportdaten durch Analysieren einer Netzwerkschnittstellentabelle (NIT) und einer virtuellen Kanaltabelle (VCT), die in den Dienstinformationen enthalten sind;

Scannen der VoD-Transportdaten, um eine Programmzuordnungstabelle (PAT) zu erhalten; Extrahieren einer Transportkennung (TSID) aus der PAT; und Übertragen einer Liste der extrahierten TSID an das VoD-Dienstsystem,

ferner dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Standortinformationen die TSID umfassen,

die Standortinformationen in einer TSID-Tabelle gespeichert werden und

die VoD-Transportdaten eine Einstellung aufweisen, die als versteckt markiert ist und sich von regulären Transportdaten mit Kabelfernsehinhalten unterscheiden lässt.


 


Revendications

1. Une méthode pour fournir des services vidéo à la demande (VOD) incluant :

transmettre des données de service à un boîtier décodeur via un canal hors-bande qui sert à transmettre des données et qui est différent d'un canal interne à la bande, ayant la bande passante nécessaire pour transmettre des contenus VOD pour assurer des services VOD de haute qualité ;

recevoir des données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur via le canal hors-bande ;

recevoir une demande de service VOD du boîtier décodeur via le canal hors-bande ; et fournir le contenu demandé via le canal interne à la bande, se référant aux données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur à un système de distribution qui fournit le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur via le canal interne à la bande,

ce qui est caractérisé par le fait que les données d'identification et de positionnement sont générées par des données de transport VOD par le biais de l'analyse d'un tableau d'interface du réseau (NIT) et d'un tableau des canaux virtuels (VCT) contenus dans les données de service ; scanner les données de transport VOD pour obtenir un tableau d'association des programmes (PAT) ; et extraire un identifiant de transport (TSID) dans le PAT,

ce qui est encore caractérisé par le fait que les données de positionnement incluent le TSID, et que

le TSID est stocké dans un tableau de TSID, et que

les données de transport VOD ont un paramètre de marquage masqué qui peut être différencié des données de transport ordinaires contenant un contenu de diffusion par câble.


 
2. La méthode de la revendication 1, incluant : le stockage des données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur.
 
3. La méthode de toute autre revendication précédente, où la fourniture du boîtier décodeur avec le contenu demandé inclut :

authentifier le boîtier décodeur ;

vérifier les données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur ; et

fournir le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur.


 
4. La méthode de toute autre revendication précédente, où le contenu est brouillé.
 
5. La méthode de toute autre revendication précédente, où une adresse MAC (Media Access Control) est utilisée comme données d'identification du boîtier décodeur.
 
6. La méthode de la revendication 4 ou 5 conformément à la revendication 3 où le processus d'authentification comprend l'authentification du boîtier décodeur avec son adresse MAC (Media Access Control).
 
7. La méthode de la revendication 4, 5 ou 6 et conformément à la revendication 3, où le processus d'authentification comprend l'authentification du boîtier décodeur avec un identifiant et un mot de passe.
 
8. Une méthode d'utilisation des services VOD incluant :

activer un boîtier décodeur pour recevoir des données de service via un canal hors-bande qui sert à transmettre des données et qui est différent du canal interne à la bande ayant la bande passante nécessaire pour transmettre des contenus VOD à des services VOD de haute qualité ;

obtenir des données de positionnement parmi les données de service ;

transmettre les données de positionnement et les données d'identification provenant du boîtier décodeur à un système de service VOD via le canal hors-bande ;

activer le boîtier décodeur pour envoyer une demande de service VOD au système de service VOD via le canal hors-bande ; et

activer le boîtier décodeur pour recevoir des contenus via un canal interne à la bande grâce à un système de distribution qui fournit le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur via le canal interne à la bande ; ce qui est caractérisé par le fait que le processus de transmission des données d'identification et de positionnement provenant du boîtier décodeur inclut : extraire des données de transport VOD en analysant un tableau d'interface du réseau (NIT) et un tableau des canaux virtuels (VCT) contenus dans les données de service ; scanner les données de transport VOD pour obtenir un tableau d'association des programmes (PAT) ; extraire un identifiant de transport (TSID) dans le PAT ; et transmettre une liste des TSID extraits au système de service VOD, ce qui est encore caractérisé par le fait que les données de positionnement incluent le TSID,

et que le le TSID est stocké dans un tableau TSID, et que

les données de transport VOD ont un paramètre de marquage masqué qui peut être différencié des données de transport ordinaires contenant un contenu de diffusion par câble.


 
9. La méthode de la revendication 8, où une adresse MAC (Media Access Control) est utilisée comme données d'identification du boîtier décodeur.
 
10. La méthode de la revendication 8 ou 9, où le contenu est brouillé.
 
11. Un système de service VOD incluant :

un serveur VOD (112, 212), qui permet de fournir des contenus sélectionnés en réponse à une demande de service VOD ;

un gestionnaire des abonnés (114, 214) qui gère les informations liées aux abonnées ; et

une unité de transmission (116, 216) qui transmet des contenus sélectionnés à un abonné ;

où l'unité de transmission (116, 216) transmet des données de service à un boîtier décodeur via un canal hors-bande qui sert à transmettre des données et qui est différent d'un canal interne à la bande ayant la bande passante nécessaire pour transmettre des contenus VOD à des services VOD de haute qualité ;

le gestionnaire des abonnés (114, 214) stocke des données d'identification et de positionnement reçues du boîtier décodeur via le canal hors-bande,

le serveur VOD (112, 212) reçoit la demande de service VOD émise par le boîtier décodeur et fournit le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur, et

l'unité de transmission (116, 216) fournit le contenu demandé via le canal interne à la bande, se référant aux données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur, à un système de distribution qui fournit le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur via le canal interne à la bande, ce qui est caractérisé par le fait que les données d'identification et de positionnement reçues sont générées en extrayant des données de transport VOD par l'analyse d'un tableau d'interface du réseau (NIT) et d'un tableau des canaux virtuels (VCT) contenus dans les données de service ;

scanner les données de transport VOD pour obtenir un tableau d'association des programmes (PAT) ; et extraire un identifiant de transport (TSID) dans le PAT,

ce qui est encore caractérisé par le fait que les données de positionnement incluent le TSID,

que les données de positionnement sont stockées dans un tableau TSID,

et que les données de transport VOD ont un paramètre de marquage masqué qui peut être différencié des données de transport ordinaires contenant un contenu de diffusion par câble.


 
12. Le système de service VOD de la revendication 11, où une adresse MAC (Media Access Control) est utilisée comme données d'identification du boîtier décodeur.
 
13. Le système de service VOD de la revendication 11 ou 12, où le gestionnaire des abonnés (114, 214) exécute une fonction d'authentification du boîtier décodeur.
 
14. Le système de service VOD de la revendication 13, incluant un système d'accès conditionnel (118, 218) configuré pour protéger des contenus grâce à une méthode prédéterminée.
 
15. Un support d'enregistrement compatible à un ordinateur contenant un programme pour exécuter une méthode supportant la fourniture des services de vidéo à la demande (VOD), cette méthode incluant :

transmettre des données de service à un boîtier décodeur via un canal hors-bande qui sert à transmettre des données et qui est différent du canal interne à la bande ayant la bande passante nécessaire pour transmettre des contenus VOD à des services VOD de haute qualité ;

recevoir des données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur via le canal hors-bande ;

recevoir une demande de service VOD du boîtier décodeur via le canal hors-bande ; et

fournir le contenu demandé via le canal interne à la bande en se référant aux données d'identification et de positionnement du boîtier décodeur, à un système de distribution qui fournit le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur via le canal interne à la bande, ce qui est caractérisé par le fait que les données d'identification et de positionnement reçues sont générées par l'extraction des données de transport VOD par l'analyse d'un tableau d'interface du réseau (NIT) et d'un tableau des canaux virtuels (VCT) contenant les données de service ;

scanner les données de transport VOD pour obtenir un tableau d'association des programmes (PAT) ; et extraire un identifiant de transport (TSID) dans le PAT,

ce qui est encore caractérisé par le fait que les données de positionnement incluent le TSID, que

le TSID est stocké dans un tableau des TSID et que

les données de transport VOD ont un paramètre de marquage masqué qui peut être différencié des données de transport ordinaires contenant un contenu de diffusion par câble.


 
16. Un support d'enregistrement contenant un programme informatique pour exécuter une méthode d'utilisation des services VOD incluant :

activer un boîtier décodeur pour recevoir des données de service via un canal hors-bande qui sert à transmettre des données et qui est différent du canal interne à une bande ayant la bande passante nécessaire pour transmettre des contenus VOD à des services VOD de haute qualité ;

obtenir des données de positionnement parmi les données de service ;

transmettre les données de positionnement et données d'identification provenant du boîtier décodeur à un système de service VOD via le canal hors-bande ;

activer le boîtier décodeur pour envoyer une demande de service VOD au système de service VOD via le canal hors-bande grâce à un système de distribution qui fournit le contenu demandé au boîtier décodeur via le canal interne à la bande ; et

activer le boîtier décodeur pour recevoir des contenus via un canal interne à la bande, caractérisé par le fait que le processus de transmission des données d'identification et de positionnement provenant du boîtier décodeur inclut : extraire des données de transport VOD en analysant le tableau d'interface du réseau(NIT) et un tableau des canaux virtuels (VCT) contenus dans les données de service ;

scanner les données de transport VOD pour obtenir un tableau d'association des programmes (PAT) ; extraire un identifiant de transport (TSID) dans le PAT ; et transmettre une liste des TSID extraits au système de service VOD,

ce qui est encore caractérisé par le fait que les données de positionnement incluent le TSID, que les données de positionnement sont stockées dans un tableau TSID et

que les données de transport VOD ont un paramètre de marquage masqué qui peut être différencié des données de transport ordinaires contenant un contenu de diffusion par câble.


 




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REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description