Burst.com has just been issued an interesting patent on a System and Method for Time-shifted Program Viewing. Here's Claim One:
1. A method for time-shifted viewing of audio/video programs comprising:
- receiving one or more audio/video programs from one or more sources, wherein the one or more audio/video programs are associated with data about the programs, the data about the programs provided over a network connection;
- storing each of the one or more audio/video programs as program data in one or more cyclic buffers, whereupon being filled the one or more cyclic buffers begin replacing the oldest of the program data with the newest program data; and
- simultaneously providing playback control of the program data independently from storing the one or more audio/video programs, wherein time-shifted viewing is delayed viewing of the one or more audio/video programs currently being received from the one or more sources, the viewing of which may be initiated and controlled simultaneously with the storing of the one or more audio/video programs, and wherein one or more device configuration settings may be configured via a user interface over the network connection, wherein the network connection comprises an Internet connection.
In other words:
- Receiving a TV program (and associated metadata) over a network;
- Storing the program in memory and deleting the oldest program first;
- Allowing the user to watch recorded programs while you store new ones; and
- Allowing a user to configure the device over a network/Internet connection.
Now, according the face of the patent, Burst filed this in 1998, so they are likely claiming to have invented it pretty early on in the DVR world. But I can't believe that such basic technology wasn't around or obvious, even back then.