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1. WO2004102567 - PROCEDE ET APPAREIL POUR REDUIRE ET RETABLIR L'ACTION D'UN SYSTEME D'ANNONCE DE MESSAGES PUBLICITAIRES

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

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Claims:

1. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
modifying said video signal in real time to provide a modified video signal which eliminates or attenuates the indication of the beginning or end of a commercial, to thereby reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of modifying includes modifying selected pixels in selected video lines of selected video fields of the video signal.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the selected pixels in selected lines and fields are in some portion or portions of an overscan area of the video signal.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
providing a selected signal of selected signal level; and
adding or inserting the selected signal to said signal level to eliminate or attenuate the indication of the beginning or end of the commercial.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the selected signal has a selected signal level of about 5% to about 30% or more of white level.

6. The method of claim 4 wherein the selected signal is a video fade to non-black signal.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the non-black signal may be a gray level signal, a station or network logo, a color signal, a gray level signal plus a color signal, a random or varying luminance signal with or without a random color signal, random color signal or a signal supplied via a non-linear transfer function.

8. The method of claim 6 wherein the non-black signal takes up selected pixels in selected video lines of selected video fields.

9. The method of claim 6 wherein the intensity of the non-black signal is varied as the video signal is fading to the non-black signal.

10. The method of claim 6 wherein the step of modifying comprises inserting a partial fade to black signal instead of a normal fade to black signal at the beginning of a commercial, whereby the partial fade to black signal defines a fade to non-black signal.

11. The method of claim 4 including:
generating a timing signal indicative of active line portions of selected video lines of the video signal; and
wherein the step of modifying is performed in response to the generated timing signal.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein:
said active video line portions are located in an overscan area of the video signal; and
a fade to non-black signal is inserted in the overscan area.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the overscan area may be a few top and/or bottom video lines of an active video field or the beginning and/or end of selected video lines outside the active video line portions and generally in a horizontal blanking interval.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein said signal level used by the commercial skip system to detect and mark the commercial is a back porch reference, wherein the step of modifying comprises:
decreasing the level of at least a portion of the back porch reference so as to provide an enoneous back porch reference level which eliminates or attenuates the presence of a commercial sensed by a detector in the commercial skip system.

15. The method of claim 1 wherein said signal level used by the commercial skip system to detect and mark the commercial is a back porch reference, wherein the step of modifying comprises:
increasing the level of at least a portion of the back porch reference so as to provide an eπoneous back porch reference level detection, which reduces the reliability of detecting the commercial by the commercial skip system.

16. The method of claim 1 wherein said signal level used by the commercial skip system to detect and mark the commercial is a sync tip reference, wherein the step of modifying comprises:
increasing at least a portion of the sync tip level so as to provide an eπoneous sync tip level which eliminates or attenuates the presence of a commercial to a detector in the commercial skip system.

17. The method of claim 1 wherein said signal level used by the commercial skip system to detect and mark the commercial is a sync tip reference, wherein the step of modifying comprises:
decreasing at least a portion of the sync tip level so as to provide an eπoneous sync tip level detection, and thereby reduce the reliability of detecting the commercial by the commercial skip system.

18. The method of claim 1 wherein said signal level in the video signal is a fade to black signal, the method comprising:
providing a video fade to non-black signal; and
wherein the step of modifying comprises inserting the fade to non-black signal in the video signal instead of the fade to black signal so as to eliminate or attenuate the indication of the commercial.

19. The method of claim 1 wherein the indication of the presence of a commercial comprises a series of active video fields of a level below a predetermined level, the method comprising:
detecting an active video field whose level is below the predetermined level;

providing a modifying signal of at least a selected voltage level; and
adding the modifying signal to the same active video field in real time or to the next active video field of the video signal during or after the detected active video field, respectively, to thereby reduce or defeat the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

20. The method of claim 19 including:
coπelating the steps of detecting and adding with a selected portion of the active video fields and/or active video lines in response to video active line and active field timing signals.

21. The method of claim 19 wherein:
the predetermined level of the series of active video fields is black level;
the modifying signal is a reference level above black level; and
the reference level is added to the same or the next active black level field during or after the detected active black level field.

22. The method of claim 1 wherein said signal level is a normal black level field, the step of modifying comprises:
adding a first modifying signal to the normal black level fields to shift the level of the fields; and
adding a boost modifying signal to selected portions of the modified black level fields to further shift the respective portions of the normal black level fields, to thereby reduce the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the selected level of the first modifying signal is about 8 IRE and of the boost modifying signal level is about 9 IRE.

24. The method of claim 1 wherein the recorders containing the commercial skip system are implemented by selected devices such as typically, set top boxes, PVRs, VCRs, computers and/or multiple deck recorders.

25. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
providing said signal level in the form of a fade to black signal; and
modifying said video signal by inserting in real time false fade to black signals from time to time in the video signal so as to simulate fading from the video signal to a black level indicative of the beginning of a commercial, thereby causing portions of the video signal to be skipped on playback to discourage use of the coimnercial skip system.

26. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in active video lines of the video signal, which signal level is indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
providing a selected signal of selected signal level; and
modifying said signal level in real time with the selected signal in selected active video lines to provide a video signal which eliminates or attenuates said indication of the commercial, to thereby provide the reduction or defeat of the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

27. The method of claim 26 wherein said signal level is a fade to black signal, wherein:
the selected signal is a flat field of selected raised signal level; and
the step of modifying includes adding the flat field of selected raised signal level to the fade to black signal in the selected active video lines to raise the level of the video signal such that the fade to black signal indicative of the commercial does not occur reliably.

28. The method of claim 26 wherein said signal level is a fade to black signal, wherein:
the selected signal is a fade to non-black signal; and the step of modifying includes modifying the fade to black signal with the fade to non-black signal in the selected active video lines such that the fade to black signal indicative of the coimnercial does not occur reliably.

29. The method of claim 28 wherein the fade to non-black signal is added to the fade to black signal to provide in effect a gray level signal.

30. The method of claim 28 wherein the fade to black signal is replaced with the fade to non-black signal so as to provide in effect a gray level signal.

31. The method of claim 28 wherein the fade to non-black signal takes up selected pixels of selected video lines of selected fields.

32. The method of claim 28 wherein the non-black signal may be a gray level signal, a station or network logo, a color signal, a gray level signal plus a color signal, a random or varying luminance signal with or without a random color signal, a random color signal or a signal generated via a non-linear transfer function.

33. The method of claim 28 wherein the step of modifying comprises inserting a partial fade to black signal instead of a normal fade to black signal at the beginning of a commercial, whereby the partial fade to black signal defines the fade to non-black signal.

34. The method of claim 26 wherein:
said active video lines contain active video line portions located in an overscan area of the video signal;
the selected signal is a fade to non-black signal; and
the fade to non-black signal is inserted in the overscan area.

35. The method of claim 34 wherein the overscan area may be a few top and/or bottom video lines of an active video field or the beginning and/or end of selected video lines outside the active video line portions and generally in a horizontal blanking interval.

36. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems installed in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems use a comparison of a normal signal level in a selected portion of a horizontal blanking interval (HBI) of the video signal with respect of the active video signal to provide a difference signal indicative of the presence of a commercial, comprising:
generating a timing signal coincident with the selected portion of the HBI; and modifying said signal level in the selected portion in response to the timing signal so as to provide a second difference signal which fails to reliably indicate the presence of a commercial.

37. The method of claim 36 wherein the selected portion of the HBI is the horizontal sync (H sync) signal, and the step of modifying comprises:
decreasing or increasing the H sync signal to a selected amplitude so that a second comparison of the thusly modified H sync signal with respect of the active video signal provides a difference value which fails to reliably indicate the commercial, thereby reducing or defeating the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

38. The method of claim 36 wherein the selected portion of the HBI is the back porch signal, and the step of modifying comprises:
decreasing or increasing the level of the back porch signal to a selected amplitude so that a second comparison of the thusly modified back porch signal with respect of the active video signal provides a difference value which is unreliably indicative of the commercial presence, thereby reducing or defeating the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

39. Apparatus for processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of a commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
timing means receiving the video signal for providing timing signals indicative of selected active video lines, portions of lines and/or active video fields in the video signal; and modifier means receiving the video signal for modifying said signal level in real time in response to the timing signals, to provide a modified video signal which eliminates or attenuates the indication of the beginning or end of a commercial, to thereby reduce or defeat the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

40. The apparatus of claim 39 comprising:
a source of a selected modifying signal; and
wherein the modifier means comprises a video switcher or mixer circuit receiving the video signal and responsive to the selected modifying signal and the timing signals for providing the modifications to said signal level.

41. The apparatus of claim 40 wherein the selected modifying signal is a non-black level signal or a partial fade to black signal.

42. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein:
the selected modifying signal includes a first modifying signal of selected level and a boost modifying signal of selected level; and
the modifier means applies the first modifying signal to a black level field and the boost modifying signal to selected portions of the shifted black level field to further shift the field.

43. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein the modifier means comprises:
a source of a selected modifying voltage;
switch means responsive to the timing signals indicative of the selected active video lines or fields for supplying the selected modifying voltage; and
a summing circuit receiving the video signal for adding the selected modifying voltage to the video signal during the selected active video lines or fields.

44. The apparatus of claim 43 wherein the timing signals are indicative of portions of the selected active video lines and wherein the active video line portions are located in an overscan area of the video signal.

45. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein:
said signal level is a fade to black signal indicative of a commercial; and
the modifier means includes a partial fade to black or a fade to non-black level signal which the modifier means applies to modify the fade to black signal.

46. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein said signal level is a normal black level field, the apparatus comprising:
means for detecting an active video field whose level is not greater than the normal black level field;
wherein the modifier means includes a first black level circuit for applying a first modifying signal to the same or the next active black level field during or after the detected active black level field; and
an additional black level circuit for applying a second modifying signal to selected portions of the modified active black level field, to thereby reduce or defeat the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

47. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein the modifier means comprises:
means receiving the input video signal for supplying a clamped video signal;
a partial AC coupled circuit receiving the clamped video signal for causing the input video signal to have a partial loss of DC restoration; and
switch means for inserting the partial AC coupled signal in place of the input video signal for selected lines and/or pixels in response to the timing means, whereby said signal level fails to indicate the presence of the commercial.

48. A method of processing a video and audio signal to provide an indication of the presence of a commercial in the video signal so as to allow the possible application of a commercial skip process, the method comprising:
detecting a higher than nonnal average audio signal level in the audio signal;
detecting the decreased video level of a fade to black signal in a normal video signal; and providing the indication of the presence of the commercial in response to the detection of the combined higher than normal average audio signal level and the fade to black signal.

49. The method of claim 48 wherein the step of detecting the higher than nonnal average audio signal level comprises:
generating an average audio energy function in which an additionally higher value than the normally higher average audio signal level that a commercial produces in comparison with the normal video signal, is assigned to the audio signal when a commercial is present;
detecting the additionally higher value than nonnal and providing a logic signal indicative thereof; and
wherein the step of providing includes providing an output signal indicative of the presence of the commercial in response to the detection of the additionally higher value than nonnal in combination with the fade to black signal.

50. The method of claim 48 wherein the commercial skip system utilizes the indication of the presence of a commercial in the video signal to enable the commercials to be marked and skipped, the method further comprising:
modifying a signal level in the video signal which is indicative of the presence of the commercial, to provide in real time a modified video signal which eliminates or attenuates said indication of the beginning or end of a commercial, to thereby reduce or defeat the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

51. The method of claim 50 wherein the step of modifying includes:
averaging the audio levels of the video signals and the commercials to provide a normal average audio signal which is unreliably indicative of the presence of a commercial.

52. The method of claim 50 wherein the step of modifying includes:
decreasing or expanding and attenuating the higher than normal average audio signal level to unreliably indicate the presence of a coimnercial.

53. A method of processing an audio signal of a respective video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems installed in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a higher than normal average audio signal level indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
averaging the audio signal levels of both the video signal and the commercial; and modifying the average audio signal level in place of the higher than nonnal average audio signal level to reduce the presence of said higher than normal average audio signal level, thereby reducing or defeating the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

54. The method of claim 53 wherein the higher than normal average audio signal level is turned down so as to eliminate or attenuate the indication of said higher than nonnal average audio signal level and thus the indication of the commercial.

55. The method of claim 54 wherein the higher than nonnal average audio signal level is turned down via an automatic gain control circuit, an audio peak limiting circuit or an audio level compressor circuit.

56. The method of claim 53 wherein the higher than normal average audio signal level is expanded and attenuated so as to substantially match the average level and/or the dynamic range of the audio signal, to thereby reduce or remove the indication of the presence of the commercial.

57. Apparatus for processing a video and audio signal to provide an indication of the presence of a commercial in the video signal, whereby a commercial skip system may use the indication of the presence of the commercial to mark and skip the commercial, comprising: circuit means receiving the audio signal for detecting a higher than nonnal average audio signal level in the audio signal in real time;
detector means receiving the video signal for detecting the decreased video level of a video fade to black signal in the video signal in real time; and
logic means responsive to the circuit means and detector means for providing an output signal indicative of the presence of the commercial in the video signal.

58. The apparatus of claim 57 wherein:
the circuit means includes an audio energy determining circuit and a threshold circuit coupled to the audio energy determining circuit for providing a logic state indicative of the higher than normal average audio signal level;
the detector means includes a video fade to black detector; and
the logic means includes a processing unit for providing a logic signal which is indicative of the presence of a commercial, in response to the logic state and the video fade to black signal.

59. The apparatus of claim 57 wherein the commercial skip system utilizes the output signal supplied by the logic means to enable the commercials to be marked and skipped, the apparatus comprising:
audio processing means receiving the audio signal for modifying the higher than normal average audio signal level to provide a normal average audio signal level which eliminates or attenuates the indication of a commercial to thereby reduce or defeat the commercial skip system.

60. The apparatus of claim 59 wherein the audio processing means averages the audio levels of both the video signal and the commercials, thereby reducing the effectiveness of a commercial skip system which detects the raised audio level during a commercial as well as the video fade to black signal.

61. The apparatus of claim 60 wherein the audio processing means may comprise an automatic gain control circuit, an audio peaking limiting circuit or an audio level compressor circuit.

62. The apparatus of claim 59 wherein the audio processing means expands and attenuates the higher than normal average audio signal level present during a commercial to thereby substantially match the average level audio level or the dynamic range of the video signal.

63. The apparatus of claim 59 further comprising:
a commercial detector circuit receiving the video signal for detecting the presence of a commercial;
wherein the audio processing means reduces the audio signal level during commercials to a selected level in response to the commercial detector circuit detecting the commercial, to thereby reduce or defeat the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

64. The apparatus of claim 59 further comprising:
first detector means receiving the video signal for generating a fade to black signal; second detector means receiving the video signal for generating a black to program signal;
timing means coupled to the first and second detectors for generating a timing signal coincident with the occuπence of a commercial; and
a voltage controlled circuit receiving the audio signal and the timing signal for producing a modified audio signal during the presence of the commercial, thereby reducing or defeating the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

65. A method of processing a video signal in real time to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect an existing signal level in the video signal indicative of the presence of a commercial therein, comprising:
applying selected portions of the video signal to a non-linear transfer function to alter said signal level so that the commercial skip system fails to reliably detect the presence of a commercial.

66. The method of claim 65 wherein the existing signal level is a fade to black signal, and altering the transfer function increases the gain of the black level to raise the black level to a higher signal level, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

67. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the coimnercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
modifying said video signal by adding in real time a selected signal to an active video portion of the video signal to coπespondingly raise the level of the video signal to reduce the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

68. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
normally clamping selected active video portions of said video signal; and
modifying said normally clamped selected active video portions of the video signal in real time by at least partially AC coupling, or partially DC restoring, the video signal to reduce the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

69. A method of processing a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of coimnercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
detecting a selected minimum video signal threshold; and
adding a selected signal to the video signal in real time in response to the detection of the selected minimum video signal threshold, to reduce the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

70. The method of claim 69 wherein the effects of changing luminance levels caused by adding said selected signal are minimized, comprising:
further adding an additional selected signal to selected portions of active video of the video signal.

71. A method of modifying a video signal to reduce or defeat the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein the commercial skip systems detect a signal level in the video signal indicative of the beginning or end of a commercial, comprising:
normally clamping the video signal;
supplying a selected clipping level signal; and
applying the clamped video signal to a negative peak clipping circuit responsive to the selected clipping level signal, whereby the level of the video signal is raised by the amount of the clipping level to thereby reduce the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

72. A method of at least partially restoring or of enhancing the effectiveness of a commercial skip system incorporated in video recorders, wherein the commercial skip system effectiveness has been reduced or defeated by a system which partially or totally disables the commercial skip system by modifying an existing signal level indicative of a commercial, or by a system which provides less than an ideal transmission or delivery of the video signal to an existing commercial skip system, the method comprising:
detecting the modified signal level which reduces or defeats the existing signal level. used by the commercial skip system, or the less than ideal transmission or delivery of the video signal to the existing commercial skip system, which cause the skipping of commercials; and
modifying the detected previously modified signal level to partially or totally restore the presence of the original existing signal level to similarly restore the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

73. The method of claim 72 wherein the existing signal level has been reduced or defeated by increasing the video signal pedestal or offset, the method comprising: adding a negative signal of about -5% to about -30% of white level to selected portions of active video lines of the video signal to partially or totally restore the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

74. The method of claim 72 wherein the existing signal level has been modified by inserting or adding a fade to non-black signal for the normal fade to black signal, the method comprising:
replacing or attenuating at least a sufficient portion of the fade to non-black signal to cause at least a partial restoration of the commercial skip system.

75. The method of claim 72 wherein the transmission or delivery of the video signal to the existing commercial skip system is less than ideal thereby compromising the reliability or effectiveness of the existing commercial skip system, wherein the step of modifying comprises:
applying selected portions of the video signal to a non-linear transfer function so as to cause an increase in the level of the selected portions to thereby enhance the reliability of the existing commercial skip system.

76. The method of claim 72 wherein the existing signal level is a normal black level, wherein:
the step of detecting including detecting a minimum luminance signal level of the modified signal level of the video signal; and
the step of modifying includes modifying the previously modified signal level with a negative level shifting signal which alters the video signal so as to restore the normal black level.

77. The method of claim 72 comprising:
providing a timing signal indicative of a selected portion of the active video signal; determining a lowest signal level of the selected portion to coπespondingly determine a new black level reference; and
. applying the new black level reference as a normal black level to thereby at least partially restore the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

78. A method of partially or fully restoring the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in recorders, wherein said effectiveness has been reduced or defeated by techniques which alter or otherwise mask in a respective video signal an existing signal level which is indicative of a commercial, whereby the techniques cause the reduction or defeat of the commercial skip systems, the method comprising:
providing the video signal with the altered version of the existing signal level, which altered signal level eliminates or attenuates the indication of a commercial; and modifying the altered signal level so as to at least partially restore in the original existing signal level which is indicative of a commercial to thereby at least partially or fully restore the effectiveness of the commercial skip system.

19. The method of claim 78 wherein the altered signal level is a video fade to non-black signal.

80. The method of claim 78 wherein the altered signal level is a flat field of about 5% to about 30% or more of white level.

81. The method of claim 78 wherein the altering in the altered signal level is performed in said real time in selected pixels in selected video lines of selected video fields of the video signal.

82. The method of claim 78 wherein the altered signal level is found in an active line portion or portions located in an overscan area of the video signal.

83. The method of claim 78 wherein the altered signal level comprises false fade to black signals inserted from time to time in the video signal to thereby falsely indicate a commercial which causes portions of the video signal to be skipped eπoneously.

84. Apparatus for at least partially restoring the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in video recorders wherein the effectiveness of the commercial skip systems has been reduced or degraded by modifying an existing signal level in the video signal which is indicative of a commercial, or for enhancing the effectiveness of existing commercial skip systems in which the normal effectiveness has not been reduced or degraded, comprising:
a timing circuit receiving the video signal for providing a timing signal indicative of selected active video lines;
means for supplying a DC restored video signal;
circuit means including detector means for determining a minimum luminance signal value of the DC restored video signal; and
summing means coupled to the circuit means and responsive to the timing circuit for adding to the video signal a negative level shifting voltage coπesponding to the minimum luminance signal value, to alter the video signal so as to at least partially restore the degraded commercial skip system or to enhance the effectiveness of the existing commercial skip system.

85. Apparatus for at least partially restoring the effectiveness of commercial skip systems incorporated in video recorders wherein the effectiveness of the commercial skip systems has been reduced or degraded by modifying an existing signal level in the video signal which is indicative of a commercial, or for enhancing the effectiveness of an existing commercial skip system in which the normal effectiveness has not been reduced or degraded, comprising:
a timing circuit receiving the video signal for providing a timing signal indicative of a selected portion of an active video field;
detection means responsive to the timing circuit for measuring and storing a lowest signal level value of the video portion to coπespondingly determine a new black level reference; and
means for applying the new black level reference as a normal black level to thereby at least partially restore or enhance the effectiveness of the degraded or of the existing commercial skip system.