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Apparatus and method for electronic device for information
services (Assignee -- Viscorp)
Abstract: An electronic device and method for accessing remote
electronic facilities and displaying associated information on
a conventional television set. The electronic device self-configures
itself upon power-up or reset by initiating a data call to a configuring
facility. Information related to available facilities and programming,
autonomous mail checking is downloaded to the electronic device.
The electronic device displays a menu including several user selectable
facilities on the display for a user. The user chooses one of
the options from the menu by use of a remote keypad control, similar
to a conventional television remote control. The options available
include printing, electronic mail and other news and information
services. Interfacing the electronic device with a stylus-type
pointing device permits sketching and drawing on the television,
including superposition of images on captured television images.
Captured images of graphics or text are optionally stored or forwarded
to a user through a mail facility accessed through operation of
the system. The captured images may subsequently be sent via facsimile
transmission to other facsimile machines or receivers. The electronic
device includes a speaker phone capability for providing audio
information received over telephones to the television speaker.
A microphone on the electronic device permits two-way communication.
A menu item, selectable by the remote keypad, activates this option.
The television speaker use permits access to audiotext and voice
mail as well.
Ex Claim Text: In a data communication system having a host computer
coupled to a data communications medium and an electronic device
coupled to said data communications medium, a method for providing
access at said electronic device to a plurality of facilities,
said method comprising the steps of: calling to said electronic
device said host computer from said electronic device through
said data communications medium, to establish a first data communication
link between said electronic device and said host computer via
said data communications medium; transferring configuration data
from said host computer to said electronic device via said first
data communication link; thereafter breaking said first data communication
link; assembling from said configuration data a menu listing a
plurality of titles identifying said plurality of facilities;
thereafter displaying said menu on a television coupled to said
electronic device; thereafter accepting, at a remote keypad, an
operator input specifying a selected one of said plurality of
facilities; transmitting, from said remote keypad to an IR detector
coupled to said electronic device, an infrared signal responsive
to said operator input; detecting said infrared signal at said
IR detector; thereafter calling said selected one of said plurality
of facilities from said electronic device via said data communications
medium, thereby establishing a second data communication link
between said electronic device and said selected facility via
said data communications medium; and thereafter connecting said
electronic device to said selected facility via said second data
Patent Number: 5561709
Issue Date: 1996 10 01
Inventor(s): Remillard, Roger
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