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Apparatus and Method for Blocking Television Commercials and Delivering Micr...

Apparatus and Method for Blocking Television Commercials and Delivering Micro-Programming Content

Abstract

An apparatus and method is disclosed for blocking specific television commercials from the viewer's television based upon the characteristics of the television commercial and replacing the commercial with a micro-programming segment prepared by an alternate viewing provider. A logical unit and a commercial blocking program in the logical unit allow alternative viewing options so that the user may choose micro-programming options to replace the unwanted communication. The commercial blocking program recognizes a unique digital identifying tag that distinguishes a particular commercial from all other commercials. Alternatively, the commercial blocking program identifies a commercial by a “component signature” or an “overall digital signature.” Upon viewing an unwanted commercial, the user indicates that he wants to block the commercial through one of a variety of input methods. The commercial blocking program then prevents the commercial from being displayed on the user's television and causes alternative programming to be displayed instead. The user may configure the alternative programming via the alternative programming logic and choose to display micro-programming segments in place of the blocked commercial. The micro-programming segments are designed to provide a complete informational exchange or entertainment package in the time segment. The alternate viewing provider may provide the micro-programming by subscription service, or by non-subscription service where the micro-programming contains non-intrusive advertising.


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