Time Warner Cable Scores Virtual DVR Patent

Time Warner Cable won a U.S. patent on Tuesday that could help merger partner Charter Communications replace physical DVRs with a cloud-based recording service.

Rossetti
Rossetti

TWC EVP Carl Rossetti, former CTO Mike LaJoie and EVP of Architecture, Development & Engineering Mike Hayashi are named as inventors on the patent, titled, “Technique for providing a virtual digital video recorder service through a communications network.”

TWC shareholders approved Charter’s $56 billion proposal to acquire the nation’s second largest cable MSO on Monday. TWC filed the patent in December 2012.

Abstract:In response to a request initiated by a user at a user terminal, selected entertainment programming content, when broadcast, is recorded at a location remote from the user terminal. The request is communicated through a communications network, e.g., cable TV network, which is also used for transmission of entertainment programming content to user terminals. The recorded programming content is stored in a storage space at the remote location, which is allocated to the user terminal. In response to a review request from the user terminal, the recorded programming content is retrieved from the storage space allocated thereto, and transmitted to the user terminal through the communications network. The presentation of the recorded programming content may be manipulated by the user to perform rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding thereon.

Patent

LaJoie
LaJoie

Claims: 

1. A system to provide programming content to users of a network, comprising: a first interface configured to: receive programming content; a storage device comprising: at least one respective storage location assigned exclusively to each of a plurality of users, the storage device being located remotely from premises of the respective users; and at least one processor configured to: cause at least some of the received programming content to be stored in one of the at least one respective storage locations assigned to a user; retrieve at least some of the stored programming content from the at least one storage location; and provide the retrieved programming content to a user device, via a network.

2. The system of claim 1, further comprising: a second interface configured to: receive from the user a request to store the at least some of the programming content; wherein the at least one processor is configured to: cause the requested programming content to be stored in the respective storage location.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein: the network includes a cable TV network.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the processor is configured to: cause storage of programming content selected by a user, via a program guide.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein: the at least some of the retrieved programming content is provided after broadcast thereof in a presentation manipulable to perform at least one of rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding on the presentation.

Michael T. Hayashi Image
Hayashi

6. The system of claim 1, further comprising: a second interface configured to: receive data concerning a channel to which a respective user device is tuned; wherein the at least one processor is configured to: cause at least a portion of the programming content on the channel to which the respective user device is tuned to be stored in the respective storage location, during the broadcast thereof.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein: a user is charged a fee based at least in part on an amount of memory space in the at least one storage location assigned to the user.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the first interface is configured to receive the programming content, at least in part, during a broadcast thereof.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one respective storage location is assigned exclusively to respective users.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one processor is part of a headend of a cable television network.

11. The system of claim 2, wherein the at least one processor is further configured to: track requests to store by respective users.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the at least one processor is further configured to recommend to a user that selected programming content be recorded based, at least in part, on the tracking.

13. A method to provide programming content to users of a network, comprising: receiving programming content; storing at least some of the received programming content in at least one storage location assigned exclusively to one of a plurality of users, the at least one storage location being located remotely from the user’s premises, wherein the storage defines a plurality of respective storage locations, each assigned exclusively to a respective user; retrieving at least some of the stored programming content from the at least one storage location; and providing the retrieved programming content to a user device via a network.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising: receiving from the user a request to store the at least some of the programming content; and storing the requested programming content in the at least one storage location.

15. The method of claim 14, comprising: receiving the request to store the at least some of the programming content, via a program guide.

16. The method of claim 13, further comprising: providing at least some of the retrieved programming content after broadcast thereof in a presentation manipulable to perform at least one of rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding on the presentation.

17. The method of claim 14, comprising: receiving from the user a request to store programming content on a channel to which the user device is tuned; and storing at least a portion of the programming content on the channel during the broadcast thereof in the at least one storage location.

18. The method of claim 13, further comprising: charging a user a fee based at least in part on an amount of memory space in the at least one storage location assigned to the user.

19. The method of claim 13, comprising receiving, storing, retrieving, and providing, at least in part, by at least one processor in a headend of a cable television network.

20. The method of claim 14, further comprising tracking requests to store by respective users.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising recommending to a user that selected programming content be recorded based, at least in part, on the tracking.

22. The method of claim 13, comprising storing the at least some of the received programming content during broadcast thereof.

23. The method of claim 13, comprising storing the at least some of the programming content in at least one storage location assigned exclusively to a respective user.

24. The system of claim 2, wherein: the second interface is configured to receive the request before the selected programming content is broadcast; and the at least one processor is configured to cause the requested programming content to be stored in the at least one respective storage location while the requested programming content is broadcast.

25. The method of claim 14 comprising: receiving the request before the selected programming content is broadcast.

26. A method for use in a communications system for providing programming content through a communications network, the method comprising: receiving from a user a request to record selected programming content, the request being received through the communications network; in response to the request, copying the selected programming content during broadcast of the selected programming content through the communications network; storing a copy of the selected programming content in a storage space in storage associated with the user, the storage defining a plurality of storage spaces; and providing the selected programming content to a user device through the communications network after broadcast thereof; wherein the storage is remote from the user’s premises.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the delivery network includes a cable TV network.

28. The method of claim 26, comprising receiving the request via a program guide.

29. The method of claim 26, comprising providing the selected programming content after broadcast thereof in a presentation manipulable to perform at least one of rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding on the presentation.

30. The method of claim 26 comprising providing the selected programming content in response to a request to provide the stored programming content by the user.

31. A communications system for providing programming content through a communications network, the system comprising: an interface configured to: receive a request to copy programming content from a user, the request being received through the communications network; a storage device remote from premises of respective users, the storage device comprising storage spaces associated with respective users; at least one processor configured to: copy selected programming content during broadcast of the selected programming content through the communications network, in response to a request from a respective user; cause a copy of the selected programming content to be stored in a storage space associated with the user; and provide the selected programming content through the communications network to a user device.

32. The system according to claim 31, wherein the copy of the selected programming content is stored when the selected programming content is broadcast.

33. The system according to claim 32, wherein the time the selected programming content is broadcast is determined according to a broadcast schedule.

34. The system according to claim 31, wherein the selected programming content is selected via a program guide.

35. The system according to claim 31, wherein the selected programming content is provided based on the copy thereof in a presentation manipulable to perform at least one of rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding on the presentation.

36. The system according to claim 31, wherein the network includes a cable TV network.

37. The system of claim 31, wherein the interface is configured to receive through the communications network, data concerning a channel to which a user device is tuned; and the at least one processing device is configured to copy and store programming content during broadcast thereof on the channel to which a user device is tuned.

38. The system of claim 31, wherein the at least one processor is configured to: receive a request by the user to provide the selected programming content; and provide the selected programming content to the user device in response to the request.

39. A system to provide programming content to users of a network, comprising: a first interface configured to: receive programming content, at least in part, during a broadcast thereof; a storage device comprising at least one respective storage location assigned to a respective subscriber located remotely from the storage device; and at least one processor configured to: cause at least some of the received programming content to be stored in a storage location associated with the respective subscriber, at least in part during the broadcast of the programming content; retrieve at least some of the stored programming content from the at least one storage location; and provide the retrieved programming content to a subscriber device of the respective subscriber, via a network.

40. The system of claim 39, further comprising: a second interface configured to: receive from a subscriber a request to store the at least some of the programming content; wherein the at least one processor is configured to: cause the requested programming content to be stored in the storage location associated with the subscriber.

41. The system of claim 39, wherein the network includes a cable TV network.

42. The system of claim 39, wherein the processor is configured to: cause storage of programming content selected by a subscriber via a program guide.

43. The system of claim 39, wherein: the at least some of the retrieved programming content is provided after broadcast thereof in a presentation manipulable to perform at least one of rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding on the presentation.

44. The system of claim 39, further comprising: a second interface configured to: receive data concerning a channel to which the subscriber device is tuned; wherein the at least one processor is configured to: cause at least a portion of the programming content on the channel to which the subscriber is tuned to be stored in the respective storage location, during the broadcast thereof.

45. The system of claim 39, wherein: a subscriber associated with the subscriber device is charged a fee based at least in part on an amount of memory space in the at least one storage location assigned to the subscriber.

46. The system of claim 39 wherein at least one processor is configured to: receive a request from a subscriber to provide the stored programming content; and retrieve the stored programming content and provide the retrieved programming content in response to the request.

47. A method to provide programming content to users of a network, comprising: receiving programming content, at least in part, during a broadcast thereof; storing at least some of the received programming content in at least one storage location assigned to a subscriber, the storage location being located remotely from the storage device, at least in part during the broadcast thereof, wherein the storage device defines a plurality of respective storage locations assigned to respective subscribers; retrieving at least some of the stored programming content from the at least one storage location; and providing the retrieved programming content via the network to the subscriber via a subscriber device.

48. The method of claim 47, further comprising: receiving from the subscriber device a request to store the at least some of the programming content; and storing the requested programming content in the at least one storage location.

49. The method of claim 48, wherein: the network includes a cable TV network.

50. The method of claim 48, comprising: receiving the request to store that at least some of the programming content, via a program guide.

51. The method of claim 48, further comprising: providing at least some of the retrieved programming content after broadcast thereof in a presentation manipulable to perform at least one of rewinding, pausing and fast-forwarding on the presentation.

52. The method of claim 48 comprising: receiving from the subscriber device a request to store programming content on a channel to which the subscriber device is tuned; and storing at least a portion of the programming content on the channel during the broadcast thereof in the at least one storage location.

53. The method of claim 48, further comprising: charging a user associated with the user device a fee based at least in part on an amount of memory space in the at least one storage location assigned to the subscriber.

54. The method of claim 47, further comprising: receiving a request to provide the stored programming content by a subscriber; retrieving the stored program content; and providing the retrieved programming content to a subscriber device, in response to the request.