Dish Founder Ergen Invents Motion Sensing Remote Control

Dish Network and EchoStar founder Charlie Ergen has invented a next-generation remote control that would rely on gyroscopes, acceleromoters and other motion sensors contained in mobile devices, according to a patent published on Tuesday.

Ergen’s invention, which would allow subscribers to control on-screen cursors with a smartphone or another handheld device, could provide  some competition for Hillcrest Labs, which licenses motion control technology to several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Roku and LG.

Ergen and EchoStar senior patent counsel Max Gratton are named as inventors on the patent, titled, “Apparatus and methods for controlling an entertainment device using a mobile communication devie.” EchoStar originally filed the application in March 2008.

Abstract: Various embodiments of apparatus and/or methods are described for remotely controlling an entertainment device using a mobile communication device. A user utilizes a mobile communication device to input information that requests manipulation of playback of content outputted for presentation by an entertainment device. The mobile communication device transmits the user input to the entertainment device, and responsive to receiving the user input, the mobile communication device manipulates playback of the video content.

Patent

Claims:

1. A mobile communication device comprising: an input device that receives user input requesting manipulation of playback of content outputted for presentation by a television receiver; a motion detector that determines positional information regarding the mobile communication device based on a light signal from a light source controlled by the television receiver and integrated in or proximate to the television receiver, the light signal received at the mobile communication device; a processor communicatively coupled to the input device and communicatively coupled to the motion detector that translates the user input and the positional information into a command compatible with the television receiver; a wireless transmitter that transmits the command to the television receiver wherein the television receiver utilizes the command to output a cursor on a menu and manipulate playback of the content on a display device communicatively coupled to the television receiver; and a wireless receiver that receives data from the television receiver, and wherein the wireless transmitter transmits the data to an application server.

2. The mobile communication device of claim 1, wherein the input device comprises a touch screen displaying a virtual remote control for the television receiver.

3. The mobile communication device of claim 2, wherein the processor downloads the virtual remote control from the television receiver.

4. The mobile communication device of claim 2, wherein the wireless receiver receives menu information from the television receiver regarding a menu outputted for presentation by the television receiver, and wherein the processor customizes the virtual remote control based on the menu information.

5. The mobile communication device of claim 1, wherein the mobile communication device transmits identifying data regarding a user to the television receiver in association with the command, and wherein the identifying data is utilized by the television receiver to generate demographic information.

6. The mobile communication device of claim 1, wherein the motion detector is operable to detect and measure an intensity of the received light signal.

7. The mobile communication device of claim 1, wherein the motion detector is operable to detect a plurality of received light signals.

8. A television receiver comprising: a tuner that receives television programming from a programming source; a light source that produces positional reference information; an interface module that wirelessly communicates with a mobile communication device and receives user input and positional information from the mobile communication device; a processor communicatively coupled to the tuner that manipulates playback of the programming on a display device based on the user input, and that outputs a menu for presentation on the display device, generating a cursor of the menu based on the positional information; and wherein the interface module transmits data to the mobile communication device, the mobile communication data further transmitting the data to an application server.

9. The television receiver of claim 8, wherein the interface module transmits a virtual remote to the mobile communication device for display by the mobile communication device.

10. The television receiver of claim 8, wherein the interface module receives identifying data regarding the user in association with the command from the mobile communication device, and wherein the processor generates demographic information regarding the television programming based on the identifying data.

11. The television receiver of claim 8, wherein the interface module receives identifying data regarding the user in association with the command from the mobile communication device, and wherein the processor utilizes the identifying data to populate a social networking profile of the user based on the user input.

12. A method for remotely operating a television receiver, the method comprising: receiving user input, through a mobile communication device, requesting manipulation of playback of content outputted for presentation by a television receiver; producing positional reference information with a light source controlled by the television receiver and integrated in or proximate to the television receiver; determining positional information regarding the mobile communication device; translating the user input and the positional information into a command compatible with the television receiver; transmitting the command to the television receiver, wherein the television receiver utilizes the command to output a cursor on a menu and manipulate playback of the content; receiving data from the television receiver; and transmitting the data to an application server.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising: downloading a virtual remote control from the television receiver; and displaying the virtual remote control on a touch screen of the mobile communication device, wherein the user input is inputted using the touch screen.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising: receiving an updated virtual remote control from the television receiver, wherein the virtual remote control is updated to correspond with the menu outputted by the television receiver.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising: transmitting identifying data regarding a user to the television receiver in association with the command; receiving demographic information generated by the television receiver based on the identifying data; and transmitting the demographic information to an application server.

16. A method for presenting content on a display device, the method comprising: outputting content for presentation on a display device; outputting positional reference information with a light source controlled by a receiving device and integrated in or proximate to the receiving device configured to direct output of the content; receiving user input from a mobile communication device, the user input including positional information derived by the mobile communication device from the positional reference information; receiving identifying data regarding a user in association with the user input from the mobile communication device; manipulating playback of the content based on the user input; and populating a social networking profile of the user based on the user input.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein populating a social networking profile of the user based on the user input further comprises: tabulating a list of television programs frequently watched by the user based on the data and the user input; and populating the social networking profile with the list of the television programs.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein populating a social networking profile of the user based on the user input further comprises: populating the social networking profile with a message indicating that the user is presently watching television.