[mythtv-users] tivo patents cover mythtv?

Simon Hobson linux at thehobsons.co.uk
Sat Mar 6 18:20:59 UTC 2010

Man Ak wrote:

>The patent in question : http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6233389.html
>sure sound a lot like Mythtv, but. I'm no lawyer. Does this mean 
>mythtv (and any other PVR) is threatened by this?

If it was for a generic PVR (or for PVR functionality) then even 
under the US system it would never have been granted.

If you read the patent then it's quite clear that it's a specific 
technique for using buffers etc to offload the CPU from having to 
handle the data. Ie, the data is shoved in a buffer, and all the CPU 
has to do is instruct the readout hardware which bit of buffer to 

Since Myth doesn't work like that, then in my opinion there would be 
no case to answer - at least for Claim 1 :

>1. A process for the simultaneous storage and play back of 
>multimedia data, comprising the steps of:
>accepting television (TV) broadcast signals, wherein said TV signals 
>are based on a multitude of standards, including, but not limited 
>to, National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) broadcast, PAL 
>broadcast, satellite transmission, DSS, DBS, or ATSC;
>tuning said TV signals to a specific program;
>providing at least one Input Section, wherein said Input Section 
>converts said specific program to an Moving Pictures Experts Group 
>(MPEG) formatted stream for internal transfer and manipulation;

Myth doesn't do that.

>providing a Media Switch, wherein said Media Switch parses said MPEG 
>stream, said MPEG stream is separated into its video and audio 

Myth doesn't do that.

>storing said video and audio components on a storage device;
>providing at least one Output Section, wherein said Output Section 
>extracts said video and audio components from said storage device;
>wherein said Output Section assembles said video and audio 
>components into an MPEG stream;
>wherein said Output Section sends said MPEG stream to a decoder;
>wherein said decoder converts said MPEG stream into TV output signals;
>wherein said decoder delivers said TV output signals to a TV receiver; and
>accepting control commands from a user, wherein said control 
>commands are sent through the system and affect the flow of said 
>MPEG stream.

Claim 32 seems to be the same, except describing an apparatus, rather 
than a process.

Claim 62 could be more of a problem, since it's phrased in much more 
generic language. I really can't see how they got this past any half 
competent examiner since it's so vague - I can't help thinking it's 
one of those "tack it on and see if it passes" clauses. Even so, I 
think it's clear enough in it's talk of buffers that it shouldn't be 
a threat to Myth which doesn't operate that way - though live TV 
might be getting closeish.

In the DISH case, they probably do use hardware support in the manner 
that the patent covers - for the simple reason that you need 
something along those lines if you want to use a very low spec (and 
hence cheap) processor etc.

But as already mentioned, patents are a money game. From what I've 
read, it's a very expensive process to defend against a patent 
violation action, so much so that most small outfits pay up to avoid 
court - even in many cases where they believe they could win.

Simon Hobson

WANTED: "Software CD ROM Kit" for Canon CLBP 360-PS printer (Canon 
part no RH6-3612, or possibly RH6-3810, or RH6-3610 might do). I've a 
dead HD and need this CD so I can replace the disk and re-install the 
printer OS on it.
This is NOT the same thing as the printer drivers to load on the 
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If anyone knows where I might get hold of one I'd be grateful - 
requests to Canon drew a blank, it's been out of support for years.
Alternatively, if anyone has one of these and would let me image 
their hard disk ...

Visit http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk/ for books by acclaimed
author Gladys Hobson. Novels - poetry - short stories - ideal as
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