United States Patent No. 7,200,854 (“the ’854 patent”) issued on April 3, 2007 for TELEVISION PROGRAM LENGTH INDICATOR.
“Tivo”, “DVR”, and “program guide” are a few terms commonly used today to refer to the home recording and viewing of television programs. Usually, when a user wants to record or view a television program, he or she scrolls through a digital program guide that displays a grid with the television shows listed by time and channel. By just looking at the program guide, users sometimes have difficulty gauging if a program has already started or if a program runs longer than the time period shown on the guide. A user can usually obtain this information by looking to the broadcast times of a program or by scrolling through the guide although this involves an extra step.
The ’854 patent describes an invention that includes a similar program guide to ones common today and also provides a method to avoid the extra step of obtaining broadcast times. The program guide described in the ’854 patent has extra cells that show the time that has elapsed since the program started and/or will lapse beyond the time period shown before the program ends. This way, the user can see at a glance the time frame of a particular program without the extra step of scrolling through the guide. The invention provides an easy way for the user to gauge whether to watch a program that has already started or to decide if he/she will have enough time to watch the entire program.
Filed under: Alive Patents by lbarbin