|Title of Invention||
TELEVISION RECEIVER AND METHOD OF OPERATING A SERVER
|Abstract||There is provided a television receiver which comprises a browser for accessing a web site via the internet. The television receiver is arranged to download data represented by the Wireless Markup Language (WML). The television receiver processes the data to output a signal representative of an interactive television image allowing user interaction with the web site via a remote control. The television receiver supports an extended WML Document Type Definition (DTD) which provides for the representation of additional layout and functional attributes pertaining to the interactive image. The layout of the interactive image s determined by metalevel information contained in broadcast television signals. Services from the interactive image can be selected by entering a set of numbers via the numeric keyboard on the remote control, wherein each of the numeric keys of the numeric keys is associated with a number of letters such that the set of numbers to be entered corresponds to a keyword descriptive of the service to be selected. There is also provide an on-line server for connecting the television receiver with the web site. The server is arranged to perform authentication, authorisation, compilation, pre-processing and decryption/encryption as part of the connection process.|
|Full Text||Television Recover and Method of Operating a Server
The present invention relates to a television receiver, a server, and a method of operating a server for connecting a television receiver to a remote site.
S Background of the Invention
It is known to operate browsers on computers to provide access to web servers via the internet in order to download web pages. A typical web page is represented using HTML (HyperText Maticup Language). The downloading of HTML web pages requires a high bandwidth modem connection and the 10 processing of large data files for the subsequent display of the webpage.
Television receivers are known which provide interactive services to a viewer. However, such television receivers usually have low bandwidth modems and are genwally not suitable to provide internet access in order to download web 15 pages. Such television receivers thus may not satisfy the desired degree of interaction. The present invention aims to address fbis problem.
Reference is made to Qayyum H : "USING VDS AND VBI FOR INTERACTIVE TELEVISION IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CUSUMER ELECTRONICS" IEEE NEW YORK US vol 42, no 3 1 August 1996 pages 6573-665 XP0006851 which describes application concerning with a television receiver comprising a modem for establishing a telecommunication link to a remote site for retrieving therefrom information data concerning information represented by a markup language, and being arranged to output representing at least part of a interactive image for display.
Reference is also made to VERKNUEPFUNG VON TV MIT INTERNET" UNKSCHA, FRANZIS VERLANG .G. MUNICHEN, DE. ,vol 68 no 18 16 August 1996(1996-9-16) XP000631186 which describes the reception of television signals by a personal computer including HTML coded data from the World Wide Web.
Reference is made to "wap white paper" Feburary 1999 (199-02) XP002901226, which describes bandwidth wireless bearers, not suitable for delivering the information of HTML pages and specifically states that WML is suitable for small handheld devices having personal display.
Summary of! the Invention .
According to one aspect of the presenet invention, there is provided a 20 television receiver comprising a modem for establishing a.
telecommunications link to a remote site for retrieving therefrom information data containing information represented by the Wireless Markup Language (WML), and being arranged to output display data derived from said
information data, said display data representing at least a part of an interactive image for display.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a television receiver for receiving signals representing image data and information data, said information data representing an interactive image for display and comprising metadata representative of metalevel information defining the configuration of the interactive image, the receiver comprising processing means for generating a signal representative of said interactive image configured in accordance with said metalevel information. According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a television receiver for receiving signals representing image data and information data and for, outputting data representing an interactive image for display, the interactive image comprising a number of viewer-selectable items each associated with a service, the receiver being responsive to viewer-manipulation of an input device for selection of one of said items to cause the service associated with the selected item to be provided, wherein each of said items is associated with a key uniquely identifying the service associated therewith, wherein user selection of an item is effected by entry into the input device of the key associated with the service to be selected. According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a television receiver for receiving broadcast television signals representing image data and first information data, the receiver comprising a modem for establishing a telecommunications link to a remote site for downloading
second information data, the receiver being arranged to output data derived from said first and/or second information data and representing an interactive image for display, and being responsive to viewer manipulation of an input device for the selection of a service from the interactive image to determine whether the data pertaining to the service is contained in said first information data, and, depending on the determination, to establish a telecommunications link to said remote site to download therefrom information data pertaining to the selected service.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of operating a server for connecting a television receiver to a remote site, the method comprising: receiving a request from a television receiver for a connection with a remote site; authenticating the request by determining whether the request originates from a television receiver authorised to make such request; authorising the request by determining whether access to the remote site by the television receiver is available; forwarding the request to the remote site; receiving a response from the remote site; and transmitting the response to the television receiver.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a server arranged to perform the above method.
Brief Description of the Drawings
Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic overview of the WapTV infrastructure relating to the
Figures 2 to 4 are schematic screenshots generated by a television receiver
embodying the present invention; and
Figure 5" is a schematic diagram illustrating WapTV on-line processing.
Detailed Description of the Drawings
In the following, reference will be made to the WapTV infrastructure which is intended to refer to the infrastructure underlyinig the described embodiments of the invention. Also, reference will be made to the Sky Digital set-top box (STB) forming a television receivo: according to an embodiment of the present invention. It is to be noted that these references are exemplary only and that the present invention is not limited to a use with the Sky Digital system.
The WapTV infrastructure is arrenged to support the delivery of various content services for Sky Digital users, including: (a) on-line commerce (b) information services and (c) enhanced, interactive TV services. The infrastructure allows the Sky Digital set-top box (STB) to connect to content providers, using Internet communications and content standards. This enables very rapid and flexible deployment of t-commerce services to Sky digital customers.
Furthermore, reference is made herein to the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and the Wireless Markup Language (WML) for WAP devices. The specification of WAP can be found at www.wapforum.org.
A method of delivering Internet content to the Sky STB based on the Wireless Markup Language (WML) will be described herein. This represents an alternative and fundamentally different approach to that taken by other digital TV platforms, i.e. the use of an HTML browser. WML offers a series of advantages:
• Improved control over user interaction
WML content is delivered as a series of "cards" in a "deck". The interaction between cards is under the control of the author of the site. This means that the author can control the user interaction much more closely without making numerous requests. The more closely controlled user interface will be understood and appreciated by a wider audience than the more complex HTML content and therefore is more suited to the mass-market TV audience.
• More efficient use of telephone line bandwidth to STB
The WAP infrastructure is actually split into two parts: (a) XML compilation is done at the online gateway server and (b) the STB processes the compiled WML and renders the compiled content on the screen. The amount of data, in compiled WML format, that has to be
transmitted across the phone line is less than the equivalent service deployed via an HTML browser. This complements the modem capabilities of the typical STB and contributes to responsiveness appropriate to the TV medium.
• Optimised for low power computing devices
The WML browser does less processing than the equivalent HTML . browser and therefore requires less computing power for equivalent performance. This again complements the capabilities of the STB.
• WML works well with a handset driven client device
WML was developed for mobile phones that are inherently like Sky"s remote control handsets with data entry typically being restricted to numeric keys.
Overview of the WapTV infrastructure
Figure 1 provides a very high level overview of the WapTV infrastructure. The roles of the various components of the WapTV infrastructure shown above are as follows:
A WML micro-browser (the "browser") nmning on the STB drives the WapTV infrastructure at the consumer end. The browser is loaded on demand by the STB from the broadcast stream. Additional resources may also be broadcast and loaded as required by the browser.
The browser is loaded into the STB whenever the user or STB triggers the load process. Possible launch points include:
• the pressing of the "text" button on the remote control
• a selectable option in the Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
• the pressing of an active colour button prompted by a screen icon displayed by the EPG in response to an event in the trigger track
• explicit invocation by another interactive application
The browser is downloaded into the STB and the browser and then executed. Either a default initial service is displayed to the user or the launch point can request a specific service to be displayed using a simple transfer file.
The browser is designed to co-exist and enhance the television channel that the consumer is currently watching. The video and audio feeds associated with the currently selected channel will continue to be delivered. The video stream can be kept full-screen with the browser on top, shrunk to quarter screen leaving the remainder of the screen available for browser-delivered content, or hidden entirely if full-screen browser content is required.
The browser operates in a similar manner to a standard web-browser such as Internet Explorer where the browser can display content including images,
text, data input fields, click boxes and other GUI components. The browser addresses the content as URLs, just like a standard HTML browser.
The browser displays WML (Wireless Mark-up Language) and has the capability of executing WMLScript. For most services the first few resources (WML, WMLScript, images) are typically broadcast so as to not require the browser to go on-line to access them. On going deeper into the service accessing resources that are not broadcast requires the browser to go on-line to retrieve the content firom the WapTV on-line infrastructure.
When an online connection is required the browser requests the STB to dial a telephone number associated with the current service (this allows different numbers and hence different call tariffs to be associated with each piece of service). The call is terminated on a POP (Point Of Presence, i.e. a bank of modems) operated on behalf of WapTV. Most calls are connected at 28.8 kbps - the modem speed of the STB.
Authentication and Security
Once a connection is established the call is authenticated using SSSLs proprietary authentication mechanism based on the smart card technology in the STB (SSSL=Sky Subscribers Services Limited). The authentication process checks that a valid card and STB combination is making the call. It then determines and exchanges a security key with the STB before depositing
it in the WapTV Security database. This security key is used to authenticate and decrypt/encrypt any data transferred from/to the STB during this call. It is removed from the database when the call terminates.
The security database is a simple Oracle Parallel Server database ruiming on a cluster of two Sun E6500 servers. The clustered Oracle database implementation is highly resilient with automatic fail-over from one Sun machine to the other in the event of problems with no break in service to STB"s already connected. This high degree of resilience has been selected to ensure continuity of service for customers when connected to the infrastructure.
Once the connection has been made and authenticated successfully the browser can initiate HTTP requests over the coimection. These are processed by a bank of On-Line Servers (OLSs) with load balancing across them. The OLSs perform the following key roles:
• Authentication and decryption/encryption of requests/responses using SSSL provided security libraries and security key stored in the Security database.
• Forwarding of the STB HTTP requests to the service provider.
• Pre-processing of the response before delivery to the STB to reduce the amount of STB processing required.
• Logging of activity between the STB and the service providers to enable commercial accounting of the use of the infrastructure. This is stored m the Billing and MIS database.
The WapTV infrastructure is linked to service providers via a variety of different techniques, dependent upon the security, volume and resilience requirements. Currently these include, Internet, Internet VPN (Virtual Private Network), and dedicated private link.
The service providers generally operate their own infrastructure, consisting of a typical web infrastructure. To drive the browser on the STB they can deliver standard WML, however, they can also make use of the additional capabilities and features provided by the WapTV environment.
Service providers must receipt commercial transactions conducted on the WapTV infrastructure (see below).
The WapTV WML Browser
The basis for much of the browser implementation is the WML, WMLScript and WBXML specifications. However WML has a number of limitations when considered within a rich tele-visual environment.
Consequently we have implemented some extensions to WML, e.g. extending the use of tables and layout. We also support full colour JPEG and MPEG image formats instead of monochrome Wireless Bitmaps.
In addition, our implementation includes numerous ideas related to the environment in which the tele-visual context in which the WML browser pane is displayed, e.g. the configuration of embedded video, background images, colours and fonts. These are outside the scope of the WML specification.
Finally, as the STB only supports a single online interface based on HTTP we have not made use of the other parts of the WAP specification, in particular, we have, not used any of the session and transport level specifications.
As the browser is running within a rich tele-visual broadcast environment there are significant features and characteristics of the browser that are outside the scope of WML.
A particular instance of the browser is configured using meta-level resources.
This configuration can be changed as a user navigates between services (see
Service Configuration), providing a very rich and potentially diverse
A browser configuration includes:
• Browser mode (e.g. full, qtr, popup).
• Full screen background image and background colour
• Size, colour and font definitions for the WML font emphasis elements
• A set of animated colour localsrc images
• The location, size and properties of the required screen components
The different screen components that can be configured include:
• Browser pane(s). Multiple browser panes can be configured on the same screen.
• Title text
• Hint text
• Banner pane
• ¼ screen video pane
• Service Logo
• Status indicator
• Tariff information
The configuration enables the browser to take on a wide range of tele-visual look and feels. Examples include:
• Browser with menu and ¼ screen video (Figure 2)
• Full screen browser with multiple browser panes (Figure 3)
• Popup browser with full screen video (Figure 4)
Universal Service Locator or Service Key
A Universal Service Locator (USL) or Service Key is a number that correspondes to a memorable keyword that uniquely identifies a service. The number is derived from the keyword using the character mappings on the remote control, i.e., a,b,c => 2; d,e,f => 3 etc. For example, the USL for "email" is 36245.
The USL concept is a feature built into the browser that provides an easy-to-remember, easy-to-input (using a remote control) mechanism to identify and quickly access a known service.
Part of the broadcast environment includes a small amoimt of data associated
with each service.
• USL keyword
• The domain of URL resources associated with this service. e.g. email.waptv.co.uk
• The phone number and tariff description used to connect to the service
• OnLine Server connection information
• A reference to service specific broadcast resources (compiled WML, images etc.)
• A reference to a browser configuration to be used by this service
As a user navigates between services this information is used to retrieve broadcast resources, reconfigure the browser, establish online connections and retrieving online content and retrieving online content.
Improving Lavout Control
To satisfy the layout requirements of a sophisticated tele-visual environment we had to introduce a small number of specific extensions to the WML DTD (Document Type Definition).
• td and font emphasis elements were all modified to contain %fields within their body i.e.
This enables tables to be used to layout any WML element, including input fields and tables. It also enables font emphasis to be applied to all elements, not just text
• Additional layout attributes were added to the card, p, and table elements:
Card-level Control of the Browser
To achieve a more dynamic look and feel some additional card attributes were introduced that drive aspects of the browser configuration and/or properties of the meta-level browser components.
Although WML was originally specified for devices with far less capability than a digital set-top-box, the specification has been interpreted in a manner that maximises the capability of the browser within this envirormient.
• In-line "do" elements are rendered inline.
• Top-level "do" elements are used to populate the browser menu.
• Any "do" can be bound to a specific remote control key, including the colour buttons, by use of a specific "vnd.wtv-..." do type. In addition certain standard do types are bound to specific keys, e.g., prev => backup, help => help, accept => green.
• An image is associated with every "do". This is used to identify it as an active screen component and give feedback to the user about the key bindings.
• An image is associated with each anchor to highlight it as an active
screen component and give feedback to the user about any accesskey
• The "title" attribute of a card is displayed in the browser title area.
• The "title" attribute of active elements (do, anchor, input, select) is used as a way of specifying the hint text that is displayed when the element gains focus.
• The "title" attribute of an "optgroup" element is used as the "optgroup" value if no child "option" of the "optgroup" is selected.
• By default an input field consists of a single input with horizontal
scrolling of content. The width is determined from the size attribute.
• If the input format attribute consists of a (non-standard) single integer n the input field is displayed as a multi-line input consisting of n visible lines. The width is determined from the size attribute. Content wraps and scrolls vertically.
Browser Resource Search Path
When the browser is required to retrieve a resource identified by a URL (for example when an "anchor" is activated) the search path for the resource consists of the following two step process:
1. Check the broadcast resources for the current service, if any, to determine if they contain the required resource.
2. If not, request the resource from the online infrastructure. An online connection is established automatically if the browser is not currently online.
This enables the design of a service to be carried out without reference to what resources are broadcast and what resources are retrieved online. Once the service is complete a selection of service resources can be packaged up and broadcast. If these broadcast resources are chosen in such a way that the "top" of the service is broadcast this can have the effect of delaying the point when an online connection is established.
WapTV On-line Processing
The following steps describe the sequence of events perfonned during the processing of a single HTTP request from the browser running in a STB. These are depicted in Figure 5.
The OLS waits for HTTP protocol requests from the STB.
2. Authentication / Decryption:
A library provided by SSSL is called to authenticate and optionally decrypt the request. This retrieves the security key stored in the Security database for this connection.
The request URL"s domain is checked against a table of authorised service providers. If the domain is not authorised or is temporarily disabled, the OLS returns an access denied or closed page.
The HTTP request is then forwarded to the relevant service provider. Additional HTTP headers are added to the request. These include the smart card ED and Sky subscriber ID. This allows the service provider to
uniquely identify a specific household accessing their service and track their behaviour across requests and sessions.
The OLS then waits for the HTTP response from the service provider. Any commercial transactions conducted as a consequence of this request must be receipted by the service provider.
These are reported to WapTV using an additional HTTP header in the response. This enables the reconciliation of commerce transactions required under the SSSL subsidy recovery regime to be performed.
6. Server pre-processing:
Depending on the mime type of the resource requested the OLS may perform some pre-processing of the response to reduce the processing subsequently required within the STB when it receives the response. The following resource transformations are perfomed:
• WML => compiled WML as defined by WBXML
• WMLScript => compiled WMLScript as defined by WMLScript
• JPEG => MPEG image conversion
7. Digital Signing / Encryption:
The processed response is then digitally signed and optionally encrypted.
Finally, the response is sent back to the set top box using the HTTP protocol.
5 It should be noted that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above. It is envisaged that various modifications and variations to the above described embodiments could be made without falling outside the scope of the present invention as determined from the claims.
WE CLAIM :
1. A television receiver comprising a modem for establishing a telecommunications link to a remote site for retrieving therefrom information data containing information represented by the Wireless Markup Language (WML), and being arranged to output display data derived from said information data, said display data representing at least a part of an interactive image for display, wherein said information data contains information represented in accordance with an extended WML Document Type Definition (DTD), wherein the WML DTD is extended to represent additional layout and/or functional attributes associated with predetermined elements of WML,
2, The television receiver as claimed in claim 1, comprising a browser for
displaying WML-based pages, and for executing WMLScript-based
3. The television receiver as claimed in claim 1 or 2, being responsive to
viewer manipulation of an input device comprising a number of keys each
associated with one of a number of predetermined colours, wherein WML
DTD is extended to support a representation of viewer-selectable items for
display in said interactive image, each of said items being represented in one
of said colours so that viewer manipulation of one of said keys associated
with one of said predetermined colours causes selection of the item being
represented in said one predetermined colour.
4. The television receiver as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said
information data represent information in compiled form, the television
receiver further comprising processing means for decompiling the
5. The television receiver as claimed in claim 1, arranged to receive signals representing image data and said information data, said information data representing said interactive image for display and comprising metadata representative of metalevel information defining the configuration of the interactive image, the receiver comprising processing means for generating a signal representative of said interactive image configured in accordance with said metalevel information.
6. The television receiver as claimed in claim 5, wherein said configuration includes the layout of said interactive image.
7. The television receiver as claimed in claim 5 or 6 wherein said interactive image contains a number of viewer-selectable items each associated with
a service, and wherein said configuration includes the association of service information with said items.
8. The television receiver as claimed in claim 1, arranged to receive signals
representing image data and said information data and for outputting data
representing said interactive image for display, the interactive image
comprising a number of viewer-selectable items each associated with a
service, the receiver being responsive to viewer-manipulation of an input device for selection of one of said items to cause the service associated with the selected item to be provided, wherein each of said items is associated with a key uniquely identifying the service associated therewith, wherein user selection of an item is effected by entry into the input device of the key associated witli the service to be selected.
9. The television receiver as claimed in claim 8, wherein the key is a keyword containing a number of letters and/or numbers.
10. The television receiver as claimed in claim 9, wherein the keyword is
descriptive of the service associated therewith.
11. The television receiver as claimed in claim 9 or 10, wherein the input device
comprises a numeric keyboard, wherein each number of the numeric keyboard
corresponds to a plurality of letters, and selection of an item is effected by
keying into the numeric keyboard the numbers corresponding to the letters
and/or numbers/of the keyword.
12. The television receiver as claimed in claim 1, arranged to receive broadcast
television signals representing image data and first information data, said
modem being arranged to download second information data, the receiver
being arranged to output data derived from said first and/or second
information data and representing an interactive image for display, and being
responsive to viewer manipulation of an input device for the selection of a
service from the interactive image to determine whether the data pertaining to the service is contained in said first information data, and, depending on the determination, to establish a telecommunications link to said remote site to download therefrom information data pertaining to the selected service.
13. A method of operating a server for connecting the television receiver as claimed in claim 1 to a remote site, the method comprising
receiving a request from the television receiver for a connection with a remote site;
authenticating the request by determining whether the request originates from a television receiver authorised to make such request;
authorising the request by detennining whether access to the remote site by the television receiver is available;
forwarding the request to the remote site;
receiving a response from the remote site; and
transmitting the response to the television receiver.
wherein the response contains information represented in accordance with an extended WML Document Type Definition (DTD), wherein the WML DTD is extended to represent additional layout and/or functional attributes associated with pre determined elements of WML.
14. The method as claimed in claim 13, wherein said step of authenticating the request comprises:
receiving from the television receiver a smart card ID associated with a smart card used for operation of the television receiver;
accessing a database to detennine a subscriber ID on the basis of the smart card ID; and
generating a signal indicating that authentication has been completed.
15. The method as claimed in claim 14,wherein said step of authenticating the
request, comprises :
assigning a security key to the connection with the television receiver; transmitting the security key to the television receiver; and storing the security key in a database for use during the connection.
16. The method as claimed in claim 15,wherein the security key is removed from the
database after termination of the connection.
17. The method as claimed in any of the claims 14 to 16, comprising :
adding the smart card and subscriber IDs to the request before
forwarding the request to the remote site.
18. The method as claimed in any of the claims 13 to 17, comprising
processing the response from the remote site to convert the response
into a predetermined format supported by the television receiver before transmitting the response to the television receiver.
19. The method as claimed in any of claims 13 to 18, comprising
decrypting the request before forwarding the request to the remote
encrypting the response from the remote site before transmitting the response to the television receiver.
20. The method as claimed in any of claims 13 to 19, comprising :
compiling the response before transmitting the response to the
21. The method as claimed in any of claims 13 to 20, wherein the request from the
television receiver is in compiled form, the method further comprising:
decompiling the request before forwarding the request to the remote site.
22. The method as claimed in any of claims 13 to 21, wherein the request from the
television receiver and the response to the television receiver are based on the
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
23. The method as claimed in any of claims 13 to 22, wherein the request from and
the response to the television receiver are in the WML format.
24. A server arranged to perform the method as claimed in any of claims 13 to 23
25. A method of processing a HTTP request substantially as described
hereinabove with reference to Figure 5.
26. A television system substantially as described hereinabove with
reference to Figures 1 to 4.
|Indian Patent Application Number||1237/CHENP/2003|
|PG Journal Number||13/2008|
|Date of Filing||08-Aug-2003|
|Name of Patentee||WAPTV LIMITED|
|Applicant Address||Grant Way, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 5QD,|
|PCT International Classification Number||G06F 17/30|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/GB2001/005599|
|PCT International Filing date||2001-12-18|