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Publication numberWO2003104940 A2
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/US2003/018318
Publication date18 Dec 2003
Filing date11 Jun 2003
Priority date11 Jun 2002
Also published asWO2003104940A3
Publication numberPCT/2003/18318, PCT/US/2003/018318, PCT/US/2003/18318, PCT/US/3/018318, PCT/US/3/18318, PCT/US2003/018318, PCT/US2003/18318, PCT/US2003018318, PCT/US200318318, PCT/US3/018318, PCT/US3/18318, PCT/US3018318, PCT/US318318, WO 03104940 A2, WO 03104940A2, WO 2003/104940 A2, WO 2003104940 A2, WO 2003104940A2, WO-A2-03104940, WO-A2-2003104940, WO03104940 A2, WO03104940A2, WO2003/104940A2, WO2003104940 A2, WO2003104940A2
InventorsThomas N. Barreca, Catherine Mcenroe, Erik J. Davis, Kathleen A. Mullaly, Kris E. Lefave, Sheree L. Matthews, Ian W. Crowe, Eben G. Mak, Colin J. Tew, Chris Cummer
ApplicantAmc Movie Companion, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Method and system for assisting users in selecting programming content
WO 2003104940 A2
Abstract
Systems and methods are presented for recommending programming content to a user. The content may be recommended to a user based on personal context, personal relevancy to a user and/or based on content provider criteria. For example, movies may be recommended based on a mood selected by the user, the user’s zodiac sign, and/or any other information relevant to the user. Additionally, interactive gaming simulations may be used to recommend content to users. For example a virtual slot machine, an interactive trivia game, and/or other types of gaming simulations may be employed to recommend content to users. The content provider and/or service provider may also link context suggestions to such interactive gaming simulations.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A system for recommending video content to a user, comprising: a server to transmit an interface providing a plurality of moods to the user for selection; a database to store a plurality of video content identifiers, wherein at least one of the video content identifiers is associated with at least one mood of the plurality of moods; and wherein the server is programmed to: receive a selected one of the plurality of moods from the user, retrieve at least one video content identifier associated with the selected one of the plurality of moods from the database, and transmit the retrieved video content identifier to the user via the interface.
2. The system of claim 1 , further comprising: a video content database to store digitized video content in the form of a plurality of selectable video segments, wherein at least one of the plurality of selectable video segments is associated with at least video content identifier; and a video content server to: receive a selected video content identifier from the user; retrieve a selectable video segment associated with the received video content identifier from the database; and transmit the retrieved selectable video segment to the user.
3. The system of claim 1 , wherein the plurality of moods include one of a happy, relaxed, nervous, sensitive, angry and love mood.
4. The system of claim 1 , wherein the server is programmed to dynamically generate a list of the plurality of moods based on a plurality of movie titles available for a current period.
5. The method of claim 1 , wherein the server is programmed to retrieve a plurality of movie titles associated with the selected mood and present the plurality of associated movie titles to the user for selection.
6. A system for recommending video content to a user, comprising: a server to transmit to the user an interface program to: display a plurality of graphics, responsive to a first user command, randomly changing each of the plurality of graphics, and responsive to a second user command, pausing the randomly changing plurality of graphics to display a final graphics set; a database to store a plurality of video content identifiers; and wherein the server is programmed to: retrieve at least one video content identifier from the database, if a predetermined number of the plurality of graphics match in the displayed final graphics set, and responsive to a received third user command, transmit the retrieved video content identifier to the user for selection via the interface.
7. The system of claim 6, further comprising: a video content database to store digitized video content in the form of a plurality of selectable video segments, wherein at least one of the plurality of selectable video segments is associated with at least video content identifier; and a video content server to: receive a selected video content identifier from the user; retrieve a selectable video segment associated with the received video content identifier from the database; and transmit the retrieved selectable video segment to the user.
8. A system for recommending video content to a user, comprising: a server to transmit an interface providing zodiac related data to the user for selection; a database to store a plurality of video content identifiers, wherein at least one of the video content identifiers is associated with the zodiac related data; and wherein the server to: 5 receive a selected one of the zodiac related data from the user, retrieve at least one video content identifier associated with the selected one of the zodiac related data from the database, and transmit the retrieved video content identifier to the user for selection via the interface.
10 9. The system of claim 8, further comprising: a video content database to store digitized video content in the form of a plurality of selectable video segments, wherein at least one of the plurality of selectable video segments is associated with at least video content identifier; and 15 a video content server to: receive a selected video content identifier from the user; retrieve a selectable video segment associated with the received video content identifier from the database; and transmit the retrieved selectable video segment to the user.
2010. The system of claim 8, wherein the server to request a user's birth date and to determine the zodiac related data based on the requested birth date.
11. A system for recommending video content to a user, comprising: a server to transmit an interface providing a question to the user and a plurality of answers to the question for selection by the user; 25 a database to store a plurality of video content identifiers; and wherein the server to: receive a selected one of the answers to the question from the user, determine whether the answer to the question is correct, 30 retrieve at least one video content identifier from the database, and transmit the retrieved video content identifier to the user for selection via the interface.
12. The system of claim 11 , further comprising: a video content database to store digitized video content in the form 5 of a plurality of selectable video segments, wherein at least one of the plurality of selectable video segments is associated with at least video content identifier; and a video content server to: receive a selected video content identifier from the user; 10 retrieve a selectable video segment associated with the received video content identifier from the database; and transmit the retrieved selectable video segment to the user.
13. A method for recommending programming content comprising: preparing a list containing a plurality of moods; 15 associating each of the plurality of moods with a programming content identifier; responsive to a selected one of the moods, retrieving the programming content identifier associated with the selected mood; and transmitting the associated identifier for output.
2014. The method of claim 13, wherein the plurality of moods include one of a happy, relaxed, nervous, sensitive, angry and love mood.
15. The method of claim 13, further comprising: dynamically generating the list of the plurality of moods based on a plurality of movie titles available for a current period.
2516. The method of claim 13, further comprising: retrieving a plurality of movie titles associated with the selected mood; and presenting the plurality of associated movie titles to the user for selection.
17. A method for recommending a movie comprising: displaying a plurality of graphics; responsive to a first user command, randomly changing each of the plurality of graphics; responsive to a second user command, pausing the randomly changing graphics to display a final graphics set; if a predetermined number of the plurality of graphics match in the final graphics set, responsive a third user command retrieving an associated movie title; and presenting the associated movie title to a user for selection.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising: storing movie titles associated with the plurality of graphics displayed; receiving a selection of one of the graphics for the final graphics set; retrieving the movie title with a selected one of the graphics from the graphics set; and forwarding the retrieved movie title to a content source.
19. A method for recommending a movie comprising: presenting zodiac related data for selection to a user; receiving a selected one of the zodiac related data from the user; retrieving a movie title associated with the selected zodiac data; and presenting the associated movie title to the user for selection.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the zodiac related data includes at least one zodiac sign.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein the movie title is associated with a plurality of zodiac signs.
22. The method of claim 20, wherein the at least one zodiac sign is associated with a plurality of movie titles.
23. The method of claim 19, further comprising: requesting a user's birth date; and determining the zodiac related data based on the requested birth date.
24. A method for recommending a movie comprising: presenting a question to the user; 5 presenting a plurality of answers to the question for selection by the user; receiving the selected answer from the user; and if the answer to the question is correct, recommending a first movie title to the user for selection.
1025. The method of claim 24, wherein the question is related to the recommended first movie title.
26. The method of claim 24, further comprising: if the answer to the question is incorrect, recommending a second movie title to the user for selection.
1527. The method of claim 26, wherein the recommended second movie title is related to the incorrect answer.
28. A system for recommending programming content to a user, comprising: a server to transmit an interface for providing a plurality of programming attributes to the user for selection; 20 a database to store the plurality of programming attributes and a plurality of programming content identifiers, wherein at least one of the programming attributes includes zodiac related data and is associated with at least one of the programming content identifiers; and wherein the server to: 25 receive a selected one of the programming attributes from the user, retrieve at least one programming content identifier associated with the selected one of the programming attributes, and transmit the retrieved programming content identifier to the user for 30 selection via the interface.
29. A system for providing video content to a user based on user selected criteria comprising: a video content source containing digitized video content in the form of a plurality of selectable video segments; 5 a database system associated with the digitized video content, wherein the database system contains selection criteria for the plurality of selectable video segments; and an interface programmed to provide a user with selection options based on at least one of the database system selection criteria, the interface 10 providing for menu items to be displayed on a display wherein the menu items include at least featured video content and a search mechanism.
30. The system of claim 29, wherein the selection criteria includes a plurality of selectable moods and wherein at least one of the plurality of selectable video segments is associated with at least on of the plurality of moods.
1531. A system for providing video content comprising: a video content source containing digitized video content in the form of a plurality of selectable video segments; a database containing a plurality of attributes and an identifier associated with each of the plurality of selectable video segments, wherein 20 at least one of the plurality of attributes is associated with the associated identifier; an interface programmed to provide a user with selection options based on the plurality of attributes; and a processor means to retrieve the identifier associated with a selected 25 one of the plurality of attributes from the database and to forward the selectable video segment associated with the retrieved identifier to the user.
32. The system of claim 31 , wherein at least one of the attributes of the plurality of attributes is zodiac related data.
33. The system of claim 31 , wherein the plurality of attributes include a 30 plurality of moods.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR ASSISTING USERS IN SELECTING PROGRAMMING CONTENT

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001]The present invention relates to providing programming content. In particular, the present invention relates to systems and methods for recommending programming content based on dynamic interaction with users.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In recent years, entertainment program viewers have been provided with increasing numbers of viewing choices and services. For example, pay- per-view (PPV), video-on-demand (VOD), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), near video-on-demand (NVOD) and free video-on-demand (FVOD) services offer almost unlimited programming content to users without leaving their homes. Using these services, users can order movies or other programming content directly from their homes.

[0003]The Internet and the increasing availability of broadband communications have introduced the availability of a practically unlimited number of sources of streaming-video or video on demand (VOD), representing an almost limitless diversity of content, from drama to sporting events and documentaries. This burgeoning number of choices exacerbates the viewer's problem of finding programming content of interest.

[0004] Pay-per-view services offer additional variety of programming content available to users.

[0005] With so much content available, the invention may help users select programming content by offering recommendations to users and/or by at least linking the content to user's selections based on a variety of input parameters. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Systems and methods are presented for recommending programming content to a user. The content may be recommended to a user based on personal context, personal relevancy to a user and/or based on content provider criteria. For example, movies may be recommended based on a mood selected by the user, the user's zodiac sign, and/or any other information relevant to the user. Additionally, interactive gaming simulations may be used to recommend content to users. For example, a virtual slot machine, an interactive trivia game, and/or other types of gaming simulations may be employed to recommend content to users. The content provider and/or service provider may also link context suggestions to such interactive gaming simulations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] Embodiments of the present invention are illustrated by way of example, and not limitation, in the accompanying figures in which like references denote similar elements, and in which:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating the content recommendation system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0011]FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating the content recommendation system in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention

[0012] FIG. 5 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention. [0013] FIG. 6 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 7 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 8 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 9 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 10 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0018JFIG. 11 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 12 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 13 is an exemplary embodiment of an interface screen in accordance with the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 14 shows an exemplary database in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] Embodiments of the present invention provide an on screen interactive video content recommendation system for dynamically recommending programming content to users based on a variety of criteria and/or programming attributes.

[0023] In embodiments of the present invention, a content recommendation system may employ a plurality of different methods to recommend video content and/or assist a user in selecting video content. For example, available content may be recommended to a user based on personal context and/or personal relevancy to a user. For example, movies may be recommended based on a mood selected by the user, the user's zodiac sign, any other context relevant to the user and/or any other category. Additionally, other categories may be used to help users select programming content.

[0024] In alternative embodiments of the present invention, interactive gaming simulations may be used to recommend video content to users. For example, a virtual slot machine may be presented to recommend video content to users. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, users may be presented with questions and a plurality of answers for selection. If the user selects the correct answer, she may be presented with, for example, an offer to receive a prize, an offer and/or receive a movie at no cost to the user. In embodiments of the present invention, movie recommendations may be based on answers received from users.

[0025] FIG. 1 is a simplified block diagram of a content delivery system 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. As shown, interactive content recommendation system 190 may be coupled to network 130 to provide programming content, including recommendations, to a user's set top box (STB) 140 via customer interface 150, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. Other entities such as multiple system operators (MSO) administrative centers 160, content sources 110, content storage locations, etc. may also be coupled to network 130 to deliver the underlying programming content to users. It is recognized, however, that interactive content recommendation system 190 may also be configured to provide programming content and/or administer content delivery. In embodiments of the present invention, content recommendation system 190 may be coupled directly to the user's STB 140.

[0026] In embodiments of the present invention, the MSOs may be large cable companies that may cover a wide geographical area and/or may own substantial cable infrastructures. In some cases, MSOs may share infrastructure with other service providers. It is recognized that embodiments of the present invention are not limited to MSOs and that other service providers such as satellite service providers, stand-alone cable companies and/or any other service providers can benefit from the advantages of the present invention.

[0027] In embodiments of the present invention, the interactive content recommendation system 190 may include a database of titles or identifiers and related programming attributes for programming content available to users from remote content source 110. Additionally, the interactive content recommendation system 190 may include a plurality of computers or servers to process requests and/or the stored data. The interactive content recommendation system 190 may utilize the programming attributes to recommend and/or assist user's in selecting programming content in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[0028] In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the interactive content recommendation system 190 may store programming content locally. As used herein, programming content may refer to audio, video, text, graphics, photos, animation, and/or other multimedia content. In embodiments of the present invention, programming content may include games, music, movies, sporting events, info-mercials, and/or any other type of audio/video content.

[0029] In embodiments of the present invention, content source 110 may store programming content that can be sent or streamed to a user's STB 140 using known technologies and/or systems. In one embodiment, the content can be displayed on a television coupled to the STB 140. Alternatively, programming content may be sent to a user's personal computer (PC) and/or other audio/video device (not shown). Content source 110 may include one or more video storage servers including high capacity storage devices containing programming content. Content source 130 may be coupled to the network 130, for example, via a fiber and/or a satellite connection. [0030] In embodiments of the present invention, STB 140 may include a customer interface 150 to display programming content selection. Customer interface 150 may be a browser and/or other suitable software that runs on the STB 140 to display programming selections and/or provide the interactive means for offering programming recommendations to users. Customer interface 150 may present a plurality of interface screens via the STB 140 that provide programming selections and/or content recommendations to assist user's selection, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. It is recognized that customer interface 150 and/or the interface screens may be presented via a television or display (not shown) coupled to STB 140. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, customer interface 150 may be a web browser running on a personal computer or other device, and the interface screens may be web pages that are displayed via the personal computer and/or other web enabled device.

[0031]ln embodiments of the present invention STB 140 may be any known set top box that is configured with the suitable software and/or hardware to provide the programming content selections and/or recommendations via the interactive techniques described herein. The STB 140 may include the suitable processor, memory and other devices as is well known in the art. In embodiments of the present invention, the STB 140 may run software applications that may be stored locally and/or received from a remote location. The software may be created using mark-up, scripting, and/or programming languages. It is also recognized, STB 140 may also include a large storage memory to locally store large quantities of data such as movies or other programming content in digital format. Such stored data can be played back at the user's convenience. The user may forward, rewind, play back in slow motion, etc. the stored movies and/or other programming content.

[0032] In embodiments of the present invention, network 130 can include, for example, one or more cable TV networks (CAW), satellite networks, the internet, the public switched telephone network (PSTN), cellular networks, an intranet and/or any other suitable national and/or international * communications network, a local area network (LAN), and/or any suitable combination thereof.

[0033] FIG. 2 is a detailed version of the system shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 2 is shown and described in the context of recommending and/or delivering audio and/or video content to users. As indicated above, embodiments of the present invention may be applied to recommending and/or delivering other types of programming content.

[0034]As shown in FIG. 2, content source 110, content recommendation system 190, MSO administrative center 160 and video on demand (VOD) head-end 220 may all be coupled with each other using network 130. Video content may be delivered from VOD head-end 220 to user STBs 140A-140N using, for example, HUB 230 coupled to a plurality of nodes 240A-240N. Content source 110 may be coupled to VOD head-end 220 via a high-speed fiber optic and/or satellite connection. Content source 110, in this context, may include studios, networks, productions companies and/or any other entity that owns audio and/or video content.

[0035] In embodiments of the present invention, VOD head-end 220 may include a plurality of VOD staging servers (not shown) that may store requested video content. Additionally, VOD head-end 220 may include a plurality of VOD data servers (not shown) that may be used to handle and/or process the administrative aspects of the video delivery system, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. For example, the VOD data servers may store the content recommendation library, database and/or software (to described below in more detail), in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[0036] In embodiments of the present invention, a user may request video content using customer interface 150 running on STB 140C, for example. As indicated above, interface 150 may be a browser or other software that provides a plurality of interface screens to offer movie selections, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. The user may use any known input device such as a remote control, keyboard or other selection device to select the desired movie. The remote control may be, for example, a standard remote control offered with a cable television subscription. Once a movie has been selected, a request, for example, may be sent from the user's STB 140C to node 240 N. The request may be sent to HUB 230 that may forward the request to VOD head-end 220. VOD headend 220 may forward the request to content source 110. It is recognized that, before the request is sent out to the VOD head-end 220, shopping baskets, billing information, confirmation screens, purchase summaries, and/or other related information may be presented to the user for selection.

[0037] In embodiments of the present invention, content source may process the request and forward the desired content to the VOD staging servers. As is well known, video content may be stored in servers in digital format that is divided up and transmitted as plurality of data packets. Conventional transmission technologies, infrastructure and/or protocols may be used for sending and/or receiving information in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. The VOD staging servers located in the VOD head-end 220 may store the received data packets. The data packets may then be forwarded to HUB 230, which may forward the data packets to STB 140C via node 140N. The STB may store the data packets in a hard drive or other storage device. A user can playback the stored video content at her convenience. As is known, once the video content is downloaded the user can play, forward, rewind, etc. the stored video content. The video content could be made available to the user so that it is playable only once, or so that it is playable a plurality of times, or so that is playable for a specified period of time.

[0038] FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of an embodiment of the present invention. As shown, content recommendation system 190 may include a plurality of computers/servers 360A-360N. Content recommendation system 190 may also include a database 370 containing information related to available programming content and/or related programming attributes, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. In embodiments of the present invention, database 370 may store, for example, a plurality of movie titles or identifiers and associated information for movies that may be available through content source 110, MSOs, stand-alone cable companies, satellite service providers and/or other content providers. The information may be related to movies available through video on demand services and/or pay-per-view services. In embodiments of the present invention, information contained in database 370 may be located in a remote location such as the VOD head-end 220, and may be accessible by operators at the development centers 350 via network 130.

[0039] In embodiments of the present invention, database 370 may include a plurality of attributes related to the stored movie titles. These attributes may be used to recommend movies to users and/or assist users in selecting movies. Such attributes may relate to information that may be personally relevant to the user and/or in the personal context of the user. For example, such attributes may be zodiac-related information, mood related information, personality related information and/or any other personal information that may be used to present a customized movie subset to the user. Accordingly, such personal attributes may be assigned to each available movie and may be used to determine which movies should be recommended to the user based on a match between the user's personal information and/or the attributes assigned to available movies.

[0040] In alternative embodiments of the present invention, interactive gaming simulations may be used to recommend programming content to users. For example, a virtual slot machine may be presented to recommend a movie to users (to be described below in more detail). In alternative embodiments of the present invention, users may be presented with questions and a plurality of answers for selection. Based on the user's answer, she may be presented with, for example, an offer to receive a prize and/or receive a movie at no cost. In embodiments of the present invention, a user's profile may be generated based on a variety of criteria. For example, based on the user's answers, a profile may be created and used to recommend content to the user. The data and/or software to implement such gaming simulations may reside locally at the STB 140, a remote server and/or any combination thereof.

[0041] In embodiments of the present invention, MSO or other service provider 160 may customize information to be presented to customers via interface 150. For example, interactive content recommendation system 190 may use any type of content management software or tools to present content management options to MSO 160. The MSO may customize information to be presented to interface screens directed towards the particular MSO's customers or geographic location.

[0042] In embodiments of the present invention, a MSO may tailor the selection tools or mix of video/movie and/or other programming content to optimize a particular market, locality and/or head-end location. The MSO or service provider 160 may customize the display screens and/or the interactive gaming simulations based on the movies and/or other programming content to be delivered to particular set of customers. For example, an MSO can customize the display screens to present particular content to one set of customers and may customize the display screens to present different content to another set of customers. Accordingly, the MSO or service provider 160 can control what information and/or how the information is presented to different customers using the content management software in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[0043] FIG. 4 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3. FIG. 4 illustrates that the interface development centers 430 may be separate from interface management centers 450 in the content recommendation system 190. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, interface development centers 430 may generate, for example, the interface screens that may be presented to the user via customer interface 150. Interface development centers may include a plurality of computers 410A- 41 ON and may also contain database 425 to store, for example, data related to the interface screens. Interface management centers 450 may access and/or control data related to the available content and/or associated attributes as described above. Interface management centers 450 may include a plurality of computers 460A-460N and may also contain database 465 to store data related to the available content.

[0044] FIGS. 5-13 show a plurality of interface screens in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. It should be recognized that interface screens shown in FIGS. 5-13 and described herein are given by way of example only and should not be construed as limiting. It is recognized that additional interface screens may be generated in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. The interface screens shown may be delivered to the user's STB 140 or other interface using suitable protocols and/or infrastructure. These interface screens may be presented to the user via interface 150.

[0045] In embodiments of the present invention, the interface screens may include a plurality of different links or user selectable sections to assist and/or recommend programming content to a user, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. Selection of one of the links may send a request to a server to deliver the additional information to the user's STB 140. The interface screens shown in FIGS. 5-13 may include additional links for Help, Shopping Basket, Forward and Back links, etc. As known, using these links, the user can get help, move selected items in to a shopping basket for purchase, and/or navigate between interface screens.

[0046] FIG. 5 shows an exemplary interface screen 500 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Interface screen 500 may be an introductory interface screen relating to the content recommendation system, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. In embodiments of the present invention, section 510 may display a feature movie for the day that may be available to the user for selection. If the user selects section 510, a request for the movie may be sent to VOD head-end and the movie may be streamed to the user's STB 140. The user may choose to view the movie immediately or at a later time.

[0047] In alternative embodiments of the present invention, if the user selects section 510, the user may be presented with additional information related to the feature movie. The additional information may be cost, title, actors, description, etc. If the user selects section 504, any special promotions available may be presented to the user. An advertisement section 509 may be included in the interface screen 500. In embodiments of the present invention, content management software may permit an MSO or other service provider to customize the interface screen. Information that may be customized by the service provider may include, for example, Today's Feature 510, Specials 504 and/or Advertisements 509.

[0048] In embodiments of the present invention, referring again to FIG. 5, selections 505-509 may recommend video content to the user, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. Users may select the attribute to be used for a movie recommendation in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. For example, if the user desires a movie based on her zodiac sign, the user may pick selection 505. Alternatively, if the user wants a recommendation using an interactive game, the user may pick selection 507 for Movie-Jackpot or selection 508 for Movie-Trivia. It is recognized that selections 505-509 are given by example only and additional recommendation criteria or attributes may be included, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[0049] In embodiments of the present invention, selection of Movie-Zodiac 505 may retrieve interface screen 600, as shown in FIG. 6. Interface screen 600 may include a list of zodiac signs 610 that may be selected by the user. In embodiments of the present invention, movies in database 370 may be assigned one or more signs of the zodiac. A user may select a sign from list 610 and may get movie recommendations based on their zodiac signs. In embodiments of the present invention, movies or other content may be analyzed to match characteristics or traits of each sign. In embodiments of the present invention, astrologers may perform this analysis to match movie characteristics with traits of people belonging to a particular zodiac sign. This analysis may be accomplished, for example, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the user may enter her birth date to receive zodiac related movie recommendations.

[0050] In embodiments of the present invention, if the user selects, for example, Capricorn 601 as her zodiac sign, the user may be presented with interface screen 700 as shown in FIG. 7. As shown in FIG. 7, the user's selected zodiac symbol 701 may be displayed along with a plurality of recommended movies 703-705 corresponding to the user's selected zodiac sign. The recommended movie selections 703-705 may include a graphic related to the movie and/or the associated movie title. If more movies corresponding to the user's zodiac sign are available, the user can navigate to those movies using selections 707 and 708.

[0051] In embodiments of the present invention, once the user selects the desired movie, a request may be sent to VOD head-end 220. In response, VOD head-end may request the video content from content source 110 and the video content may be streamed to user's STB 140. The movie may be downloaded to the user's STB 140 and the user may view the movie at her convenience. In embodiments of the present invention, content management software may permit an MSO or service provider to customize or alter the interface screens 600 and 700 to modify advertisement sections 609 and 709, insert additional text and or graphics, add and/or delete or change the available movies, and/or attach at least one movie to each of the zodiac symbols. For example, the present invention will allow changes to be made to the movies associated with the zodiac movies whenever desired. It may be beneficial to change the movies on a regular basis, such as daily, weekly or monthly to stimulate user interest. [0052] In embodiments of the present invention, selection of Movie-Mood 506, shown in FIG. 5, may retrieve interface screen 800, as shown in FIG. 8. Interface screen 800 may include a plurality of moods that may be selected by the user. In embodiments of the present invention, movies in database 370 may be categorized by one or more moods 802 shown in interface screen 800. A user may select a desired mood from the list 802 and may get movie recommendations based on the selected mood. The selected mood may be the user's current mood or may be a desired mood. In embodiments of the present invention, a list of moods may be generated based on the movies available each month. This generated mood list may be presented to users for selection.

[0053] In embodiments of the present invention, if the user selects, for example, the selection Happy 803 as the desired mood, the user may be presented with interface screen 900 as shown in FIG. 9. The user's selected mood 803 may be displayed along with plurality of recommended movies 902-904 corresponding to the user's selected mood. The recommended movie selections 902-904 may include a graphic related to the move and/or the associated movie title. If more movies corresponding to the user's desired mood are available, the user can navigate to those movies using selections 907 and 908. The user may select from various moods such as happy, relaxed, nervous, sensitive, love, adventurous, afterglow, blissful, bored, bouncy, boys' night, bundle of nerves, comatose, frazzled, girls' night, goofy, let's rock, mano a mano, monstrous, mystical, need a hug, nurturing, paranoid, party time, pining, restless, snuggly, suspicious curious, or any other mood to categorize content or help a user in selecting a particular movie or other programming content. In alternative embodiments, movies may be categorized based on a particular lesson or moral taught in the movie, a life situation presented, related to a famous situation, etc. Such additional categories may be presented to users and associated movies may be recommended for selection. [0054] In embodiments of the present invention, once the user selects the desired movie, a request may be sent to VOD head-end 220. In response, VOD head-end may request the video content from content source 110 and the video content may be streamed to user's STB 140. The movie may be downloaded to the user's STB 140 and the user may view the movie at her convenience. In embodiments of the present invention, content management software may permit an MSO to customize or alter the interface screens 800 and 900 to modify advertisement sections 809 and 909, insert additional text and or graphics, add, delete or change the available movies, add and/or delete moods, and/or attach at least one movie to each of the moods. The movies associated with each mood may be changeable as described above in regard to zodiac signs.

[0055] In embodiments of the present invention, selection of Movie-Jackpot 507, shown in FIG. 5, may retrieve interface screen 1000, as shown in FIG. 10. In embodiments of the present invention, interface screen 1000 may simulate a virtual slot machine. A user may navigate to selection 1008 to begin a simulated game. Once selection 1008 is selected, graphics 1003- 1005 may start changing rapidly. When the user selects selection 1008 again, the graphics 1003-1005 may randomly stop changing. If a predetermined number of graphics (such as all of the graphics) match, the user may either win a prize and/or be presented with a movie recommendation. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, a movie recommendation may be made even when a graphics match does not occur.

[0056] In embodiments of the present invention, the graphics 1003-1005 may be related to available movies so the user can select a movie to view by selecting one of the graphics 1003-1005. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, graphics 1003-1005 may be advertisements for available products and/or services. Although only three graphics 1003-1005 are shown, it is realized that additional graphics may be included in interface screen 1000. The predetermined number of graphics matches to award a prize, present an offer, and/or recommend a movie may be set to be 2 or more graphics. In embodiments of the present invention, prizes may include a free movie, coupons, gifts and/or any other prizes. If a user wins a prize, a pop-up window may be displayed on user's interface 150 indicating how the offer, movie and/or prize may be redeemed.

[0057] In embodiments of the present invention, if a user wins a movie and/or selects to view a movie, a request may be sent to VOD head-end 220. In response, VOD head-end may request the video content from content source 110 and the video content may be streamed to user's STB 140. The movie may be downloaded to the user's STB 140 and the user may view the movie at her convenience.

[0058] In embodiments of the present invention, content management software may permit an MSO to customize the interface screen 1000 to modify advertisement sections 1009, modify/edit any pop-up windows, modify or edit graphics, insert additional text and or graphics, add, delete or change the available movies. In embodiments of the present invention, movies that may be available for selection and/or displayed on graphics 1003-1005 may selected, for example, randomly from all available movies offered by the service provider, randomly from a subset of all movies as designated by the service provider and any other method. Additionally, frequency of wins may also be adjusted to a predetermined ratio and/or number as desired. For example, a user may win a prize, for example, every one (1 ) out of ten (10) tries, or once a week, once a month, etc. In embodiments of the present invention, movies that may be awarded as prizes may also be pre-selected, for example, randomly from all available movies, or randomly from a subset of all movies.

[0059] In embodiments of the present invention, software to implement the simulated slot machine as shown in FIG. 10, and described above, may reside in a remote server and/or may be a compiled application residing in the user's STB 140. Any software could be used that would accomplish the functionality described herein. [0060] In embodiments of the present invention, selection of Movie-Trivia 508, in FIG. 5, may retrieve interface screen 1100, as shown in FIG. 11. In embodiments of the present invention, interface screen 1100 may present a trivia question 1103 along with a plurality of answers 1105. The question may be related to a movie 1102 that may be offered for selection. Alternatively, the question may be sports trivia question, history question, or any other type of question. The user may navigate to the desired answer for selection. In embodiments of the present invention, the question 1103 may be a single question or it may be in a series of questions as indicated by text 1107.

[0061] In embodiments of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 12, if the user's answer 1206 is correct, the user may either win a prize and/or be presented with a movie recommendation 1203. In embodiments of the present invention, prizes may include a free movie, coupons, gifts and/or any other prizes. If a user wins a prize, a pop-up window may be displayed on user's interface 150 indicating how the prize may be redeemed.

[0062] In embodiments of the present invention, a movie recommendation may be made even when the answer is incorrect. In embodiments of the present invention, a recommendation may be made based on the user's answers. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, a profile of user's answers may be created to recommend movies or other programming content to the user.

[0063] In embodiments of the present invention, the user may continue to another question by navigating to selection 1207. In this case, another question may be presented to the user. If desired, the user can directly purchase the recommended movie from interface screen 1200.

[0064] In alternative embodiments of the present invention, a plurality of movies 1303-1305 may be recommended for selection by the user, as shown in FIG, 13. If more are available for recommendation, the user can navigate to those movies using selections 1307 and 1308. In embodiments of the present invention, recommended movies may be related to current and/or previous trivia questions.

[0065] In embodiments of the present invention, if a user wins a movie and/or selects to view a movie, a request may be sent to VOD head-end 220. In response, VOD head-end may request the video content from content source 110 and the video content may be streamed to user's STB 140. The movie may be downloaded to the user's STB 140 and the user may view the movie at her convenience.

[0066] In embodiments of the present invention, content management software may permit an MSO to customize the interface screens 1100-1300 to modify advertisement sections 1109, 1209 and 1309, modify/edit any popup windows, modify or edit graphics, insert additional text and or graphics, add, delete or change the available movies. Additionally, trivia questions as well as the offered answers may be edited and/or modified. In embodiments of the present invention, movies that may be awarded as prizes may also be pre-selected, for example, randomly from all available movies, or randomly from a subset of all movies.

[0067] In embodiments of the present invention, a user's profile may be stored locally at the STB 140, at the VOD head-end unit 220, at the content recommendation system 190 and/or any other location. The user profile may contain user preferences, personal information, viewing habits, billing information, information related to preferred products and/or services, and/or any other information that may be used to customize the customer interface 150 and/or promote efficient use of the system by the user.

[0068] It is recognized that the movie-zodiac, movie mood, movie jackpot and movie-trivia recommendation systems are given by way of example only, and that additional personal relevancy based and/or game based recommendation systems, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention, may be employed to recommend and/or assist users in selecting movies. [0069] In alternative embodiments of the present invention, content stored in the recommendation database may be provided with a series of ratings, scores and/or indices characterizing the movie and/or content. For example, action movies may be with, for example, an adrenaline index or the like to indicate the number of explosions, fight scenes, car crashes, etc. the movie may contain. This index may be used to assist users in selecting a movie. It is recognized that other types of movie indices may be generated for other types of movies such as dramas, science fiction, and the like to assist user's in selecting a movie.

[0070] In embodiments of the present invention, content stored in the recommendation database may include categories, for example, "foods and beverages", "in-home events", "movie mistakes and continuity errors", and/or any other category that may be used to assist in selecting a movie and/or other programming content. For example, under the food and beverages category, movies to watch before, during and/or after eating a particular food and/or drinking a beverage may be categorized and recommended to users. In one example, the movie "Godfather" may be categorized and/or recommended with Italian food.

[0071] Under the in-home events category, the recommendation database may contain movies may be categorized according to events in the home, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. For example, if there is an anniversary, a birthday, a little league game, etc., corresponding movies may be recommended to users for selection. Under the "movie mistakes" category, the recommendation database may contain movies with mistakes and/or other continuity errors. These could include movies in which there are inconsistencies between scenes and/or other errors. It is recognized that the above categories and/or attributes described herein are given by way of example only, and other categories may be created that are in sprit and scope of the present invention. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, additional recommendation techniques may be based on biorhythm, interactive palm reader, by favorite color, by birthdays, etc. [0072] FIG. 14 shows an exemplary recommendation database 370 in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. It is recognized that database 370 may be stored in a single location or may be distributed among a plurality of locations. The database 370 may reside in the content recommendation system 190, the VOD head-end 220 and/or any other suitable location. The database 370 may include content information 1401 such as titles or other identifiers, actors, producers, directors and/or any other information related to the content. The database may include additional fields such mood data 1402, zodiac data 1403, trivia questions 1404, adrenaline index 1405, in home event info. 1406, movie mistakes 1407, food and beverages 1409 and/or other suitable categories and/or attributes related to the programming content. It is recognized that the database may be populated with corresponding information as appropriate.

[0073] It is recognized that all of the functionality described above with respect to MSO 160, content management system 190, and/or VOD headend 220 can be performed at, for example, a single location or a combination of other locations. For example, the functionality described above with respect to MSO 160 and/or content management system 190 may be performed at the VOD head-end 220. Alternatively, content may be provided directly by content recommendation system 190.

[0074] Several embodiments of the present invention are specifically illustrated and/or described herein. However, it will be appreciated that modifications and variations of the present invention are covered by the above teachings and within the purview of the appended claims without departing from the spirit and intended scope of the invention.

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WO2005125201A1 *17 Jun 200529 Dec 2005Koninklijke Philips Electronics, N.V.Personalized summaries using personality attributes
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Classifications
International ClassificationH04N7/16, H04N5/445
Cooperative ClassificationH04N5/44543, H04N21/4314, H04N21/4662, H04N21/4532, H04N21/440281, H04N7/16, H04N21/482, H04N21/4758, H04N21/4781, H04N21/4668, H04N21/4325, H04N21/84, H04N21/4312, H04N21/4755
European ClassificationH04N21/466L, H04N21/45M3, H04N21/475V, H04N21/431L, H04N21/475P, H04N21/466R, H04N21/432P, H04N21/84, H04N21/431L1, H04N21/478G, H04N21/4402T, H04N21/482, H04N7/16, H04N5/445M
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