1. A system intended to replay sound / video / sound-video recordings consisting of a replay unit with a database of recordings to be replayed and a means used to choose a recording from the database and a display unit linked to the replay unit characterized in that the replay unit is a single-purpose replay unit (1) comprising a memory module, a processor module and operation software, and furnished with no less than one data output (11) linked to a data input of no less than one plasma or LCD TV set (3) and/or to a data input of at least one dataprojector (4).
2. The system according to claim 1 characterized in that the replay unit (1) is connected in parallel to the data inputs of a network of TV sets (3) and/or dataprojectors (4) through no less than one switch (2).
3. The system according to claims 1 or2characterized in that the data output (11) and the switch (2) are integral parts of the replay unit (1).
4. The system according to claims 1 through 2 characterized in that the replay unit (1) is equipped with an auxiliary display (8).
5. The system according to no less than one of the 1 through 4 claims characterized in that the replay unit (1) is arranged in a compact system with the TV set (3) or the dataprojector (4).
6. The system according to no less than one of the 1 through 5 claims characterized in that the replay unit (1) is connected with an outside database (7) of recordings.
7. The system according to no less than one of the 1 through 6 claims characterized in that the means used to select recordings from the database of the replay unit (1) or from the outside database (7) consists of a remote control (12), and the replay unit (1) is fitted with a means able to receive signals transmitted by the remote control (12).
8. The system according to claim 7characterized in that the replay unit (1) is furnished with a decoder (13) used to route the signal transmitted by the remote control (12) to other pieces of equipment than to the replay unit (1).
9. The system according to no less than one of the 1 through 8 claims characterized in that the replay unit (1) is connected with at least one payment point (5) available to accept payments for the paid-for replaying of recordings and at least one collection point (10) available to collect fees.
10. The system according to claim 9characterized in that the replay unit (1) and/or the outside database (7) of recordings is connected with a servicing module (9).
System intended to replay selected sound / video / sound-video recordings
Background and summary of the invention
The invention presented herein concerns paid-for or free replaying of selected sound recordings or videorecordings, both at places accessible to the public and in private.
Up to now public replaying of videorecordings and movies has been limited to mainly the paid-for projections of movies in cinemas, or the mostly free presentations in the means of transportation. Well known examples are music boxes and jukeboxes used to replay selected pieces of music.
Restaurants, bars and other public premises often provide their customers with the possibility of watching TV, e.g. sporting events broadcast live, or offer them movies replayed using videoplayers, DVD players or computers, possibly projected onto a movie screen or a large TV screen. Such productions bring several problems: playing a whole movies lasts long, the movie being played may not appeal to all visitors, and the restaurant staff have to attend to the replay system above their normal duties. Moreover, a computer employed to replay movies is costly, not efficiently used, and its operation is a difficult task. The same disadvantages could be quoted for replaying movies on computers in private.
The paid-for TV broadcasting utilizes a system known as "impulse purchases", where the displaying unit offers a program menu. The users choose whatever suit them and confirm the selection by sending an EMM message (Entitlement Management Message). The message is embedded in data linked to the presentation of the program menu. The chosen program will become available for presentation immediately, and the cost will be included in the monthly bill. This system, either, cannot be used for self-selected presentations in public.
A Utility Model CZ 16687 has introduced a system for paid-for replay of chosen sound recordings, videorecordings and/or sound-video recordings consisting of an electronic database of the recordings, a control module and a display unit. The system still maintains a means used to choose a program from the program menu and at least one payment point, where the chosen recording can deblocked by paying for and replayed. A disadvantage of the system rests in the necessity of applying special-purpose display units, which have to be installed at the restaurants, bars and other premises as an additional piece of equipment. The system cannot be connected to the display devices already in place, as is typically the case at restaurants and bars.
The disadvantages specified above are removed when the system of replaying sound recordings, videorecordings and/or sound-video recordings is arranged as suggested in the present invention. Such a system consists of a replay unit accommodating a database of recordings to be replayed, a means used to choose items from the database, and a display unit. In principle, the invention relies on the replay unit which is designed as a single-purpose device comprising a data output connected to a data input of no less than one TV set with the plasma or LCD screen and/or one dataprojector.
In an improved embodiment of the invention the replay unit is connected in parallel to the data inputs of a network consisting of several TV sets mutually interconnected. If so, the signal exiting the replay unit can be conveyed to multiple TV sets at the same time. The system presupposes that the public facilities as restaurants and bars, but also households, operate more TV sets than just one. The duty of a display systems can likewise be assumed by a network of dataprojectors.
In another improved embodiment the data output and a switch are integrated into the replay unit, thus making the entire design compact and able to be operated from a single place. Alternatively, the switches can be installed in each branch of the network, i.e. next to each TV set or dataprojector, so that each of the devices can be
put separately to the TV signal playing mode or the record replaying mode. An added advantage may rest in using an auxiliary display at the replay unit, where the operator can view recordings stored in the database when the TV set is playing, for example, the TV signal, or when it is installed where the operator cannot see it.
In another improved embodiment the replay unit can be linked with a TV set or a dataprojector to create a single compact system; this arrangement would facilitate the device operation and transportation, but it would make the replay unit less versatile.
Another advantage may be gained by linking the replay unit to an outside database of recordings. The database does not have to be physically present where the other components of the system are installed, but it can be accessed by means available for remote data transmission, e.g. through the Internet.
To make the system's handling an easy task, it comes as an advantage when the means used to choose a recording from the replay unit database or from the outside recording database is equipped with a device able to receive signals from a handheld remote control.
An additional advantage is achieved when the replay unit is outfitted with a decoder suitable to be operated with a remote control device able to control not only the replay unit but also the TV set, videoplayer or other similar apparatus.
In case the system is utilized for paid-for playing of recordings in public, it is, beneficial when the replay unit is connected to no less than one payment point where the replayed recordings can be paid for, and to no less than one collection point where the fees can be collected. Designed like described, the system will replay the recordings only with the payment duly received, and it will enable a part of the payment to be diverted to specified accounts.
Lastly, it is advantageous when the replay unit and/or the outside database of recordings is connected to a servicing module used for the system's setup and administration. The servicing module will accept commands from only properly authorized users, in other words, it cannot be operated by the customers themselves, but only by a service technician whose rights of operating and servicing the replay unit will be restricted to just setting the servicing module within his/her scope of authorization.
The main advantage of the system arranged according to the invention lies in the possibility of combining a special replay unit on one side with live TV programs, video and DVD replays on the other, using the display units already installed on the premises or in households, such as TV sets and dataprojectors. The system is easy to assemble and the same is true of its operation, which requires no special skill as is the case with, for instance, computer operation.
Brief description of the Drawings
The invention will be explained in greater detail using the drawing where Figure 1 shows the block diagram of the system.
Detailed description of the preferred embodiments
The examples described and shown below shall be understood as included just to illustrate the implementation options of the invention, not as exhaustive examples of all the implementation possibilities. Using routine experimentation, persons skilled in the art will be able to find or ensure a larger or a smaller number of equivalents to the invention described specifically herein. Such equivalents shall also be included in the scope of the following patent claims.
As shown in the block diagram, Figure 1 , the system is built around the replay unit i, which contains primarily the electronic database of the recordings to be replayed. The unit may accommodate sound recordings or videorecordings in different formats stored on common electronic, magnetic or optical memory media. Alternatively, the replay unit 1 can be connected to the outside database of recordings 7 , consisting of e.g. an extension memory, an auxiliary drive, or it can be just virtual, i.e. not physically positioned next to the replay unit 1, but accessible online, for example, through the Internet or other means of remote data transmission. The replay unit is a single-purpose device housing, apart from the database of recordings stored in the memory module, also the processor module and the required operational and control software.
The replay unit 1 is equipped with a means used to select recordings from the database. Such means can be represented by a keyboard, control push-buttons, a touch screen, a portable display plus keyboard, or other electronic or remote control devices e.g. handheld remote controls employed to operate TV sets. The program menu will be shown direct on the TV screen 3 or the dataprojector 4, or possibly the replay unit J[ can be attached to an auxiliary display 8 which will make the replay unit 1_ available also when the TV set 3 is used to display a TV signal or the dataprojector 4_ is used for any other projections.
A single replay unit X can handle an array of mu\t\p\e TV sets 3 and/or dataprojectors 4. The replay unit 1 is furnished with a data output JM connected to the network of paralleled plasma TV sets 3 disposed around restaurant premises or a household, and, at the same time, to the dataprojector 4 used to transmit pictures onto the movie screen 6. Each TV set 3 and each dataprojector 4 has a dedicated switch 2. The program menu of recordings offered for selection will be displayed on the TV set 3 screen and on the movie screen 6, both available for the replay of videorecordnings, clips with soundtracks and other recordings, e.g. promotional shots possibly included in the database of recordings and replayed, if required, for pay.
In another example of embodiment the data output H and the switch 2 are housed in the body of the replay unit 1 arranged in a compact system with the TV set 3 or the dataprojector 4 ^
To make the system operation easy, the remote control 12 is employed as the means used to choose recordings from the replay unit 1 database or from the outside database 7 of recordings, and the replay unit 1 is furnished with a device able to receive signals from the remote control 12.
Furthermore, it is advantageous when the replay unit 1 is equipped with a decoder t3 which will make it possible to use the remote control 12 to operate not only the replay unit 1, but also the TV set, videoplayer, and possibly other similar devices.
In another example of embodiment the replay unit 1 can serve also for the paid-for replay - to make it suitable for the function, it is furnished with the payment point 5. The payment point 5 is either a simple coin-operated mechanism or a device able to accept banknotes, and it is either incorporated in the replay unit 1 body or detached and placed wherever within the premises. The payment point 5 can also be designed otherwise - it can be a payment terminal available for common card payments or for paying with special electronic cards sold on the premises, or it can be a device able to accept credit-covered payments based on paid-for services provided by telecommunication operators, etc.
The replay unit 1 can be capable of sending a part of the money collected at the payment point 5 to one or several collection points IfJ. The collection points 10 can be represented by bank accounts of copyright administrators, financial authorities and other institutions, whereto the statutory copyright fees for public productions are transferred via internet banking facilities.
The replay unit 1 or the outside recording database 7 can be completed with the servicing module 9 - in principle, the servicing module is a software key to the control software of the replay unit 1. The control SW can modify data and recordings stored in the database and perform also other control and servicing actions. The key is kept in a portable electronic memory intended to prevent any unauthorized handling of the replay unit I 1
The system intended to replay selected sound / video / sound-video recordings can be used for private purposes or for providing auxiliary services to the public, e.g. in restaurants and bars where the service will be typically paid-for and will rest in replaying music, movies, video-sequences, video-clips, promotional spots and other recordings.