Interesting Tidbits

Discuss the awesomeness of the Prevue Channel, Prevue Interactive, Prevue Networks/United Video Satellite Group, TV Guide Inc., etc. right here.
AriX
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Interesting Tidbits

Post by AriX » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:32 pm

Hey guys,

Sorry I haven't been able to keep up with stuff on here recently. Hope to get caught up on those new LaserDiscs sometime soon and try to make sure we can get high-quality versions.

Saw a few interesting things today; I stumbled on two UVSG corporate documents that are very interesting to read:
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/ ... 000001.txt
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/ ... 000004.txt

The first document is particularly interesting, but the second one also notes the following, which I believe answers some questions for us:
"The increase in Sneak subscribers resulted primarily from the formation of Sneak Prevue LLC in September 1996, a new consolidated subsidiary of the Company into which were combined Sneak Prevue and The Barker, a similar product to Sneak Prevue which was previously offered by StarNet."

Additionally, the first document briefly discusses UVSG's patents, and I believe that U.S. patent 5255269 actually describes some aspects of the method that they used to encode the EPG/Prevue CTRL and DATA feeds as audio for satellite transmission. The first version of this, broadcast over C-band, was called "FM Squared." The second, introduced in 1991, was broadcast over Ku-band and dubbed "FM Cubed" (they actually trademarked this).

The patent obviously corresponds to the Prevue system, stating "FIG 2 is a rudimentary block diagram showing the use of the principles of this invention for the simultaneous transmission of digital audio, digital computer data, and digital control data simultaneously using a single frequency modulated carrier." Unfortunately specific frequencies are not mentioned.

AriX
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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by AriX » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:14 am

An odd discovery: Rovi appears to still be actively publishing patents under its subsidiary, "United Video Properties, Inc.," which, strangely, is based in Santa Clara, CA. The collection of patents is bizarre; some obviously date back to the '90s and 2000s, referencing "TV Guide," "TV Guide Onscreen," "Prevue", "Sneak Prevue," and "Navigator." The patents' illustrations include drawings or screenshots from a range of products, including the original TV Guide On Screen, Prevue Interactive, TV Guide Interactive "Tan Guide," TV Guide Interactive "Blue Guide," i-Guide, and products from other Rovi acquisitions including Gemstar and StarSight. Bizarrely, some of the patents are actually recent, detailing uses of very new technology and including references to recent products (like Netflix). Also bizarre, many of the patents whose content appears older but were published very recently list inventors who I know have not worked for the company since the '90s. Do they have a stockpile of patents that they never filed for some reason? Maybe they're taking advantage of some loopholes to prevent older patents from expiring? Why in the hell was a patent containing this image filed in 2012? Not sure what's going on.

See for yourself: http://www.faqs.org/patents/assignee/un ... rties-inc/ (another round of these patents were filed last week)

AriX
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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by AriX » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:18 am

Okay, last thing. I noticed that Google updated their Street View images of 7140 S. Lewis Ave, because I have a totally normal interest in this that isn't at all obsessive or weird (seriously though, there's like a 600% chance that this building is loaded with Amigas and Prevue diskettes). It looks like they took down the TV Guide sign on the building at some point last year:

Image
Before

Image
After

It's not like they're trying to scrub the place of TV Guide branding though, since these are still here:
Image

Also interesting to note that all of the satellites are still there; presumably they're still uplinking a bunch of stuff? I wonder what.
Image

I swear to God I'm gonna go there some day and find the stuff we're looking for.

tin
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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by tin » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:12 pm

They didn't remove the sign very professionally!

C'mon Arix I think we're counting on you to infiltrate the building and release the massive stockpile of A2000s :)

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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by tin » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:25 pm

I've had a ganders at patent 5255269 and unless I'm mistaken this is not how the data was transmitted with PG. The description makes it somewhat like QAM (used very frequently these days in digital satellite, and wifi and probably other stuff) except they are using slices of the increased rate of digital data to represent specifically slower rata data simultaneously rather than just packing the data into the increased rate by some other method (packetised or somesuch). It'd be interesting to know if that patent applies to QAM, if it was, that's a pretty hot patent to have!

As I am reasonably sure we know as fact now, in PG the data and ctrl was sent as audio on analogue sub carriers, as were the 3x audio streams, and all were demodulated by the audio & data cards, and punted off to the relevant parts of the Amiga (data and ctrl by the data card to the relevant lines on the Amiga's serial port). The hardware involved is pretty basic so it was quite easy to reverse engineer the process of converting audio to serial data.

AriX
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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by AriX » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:42 pm

tin wrote:I've had a ganders at patent 5255269 and unless I'm mistaken this is not how the data was transmitted with PG. The description makes it somewhat like QAM (used very frequently these days in digital satellite, and wifi and probably other stuff) except they are using slices of the increased rate of digital data to represent specifically slower rata data simultaneously rather than just packing the data into the increased rate by some other method (packetised or somesuch). It'd be interesting to know if that patent applies to QAM, if it was, that's a pretty hot patent to have!

As I am reasonably sure we know as fact now, in PG the data and ctrl was sent as audio on analogue sub carriers, as were the 3x audio streams, and all were demodulated by the audio & data cards, and punted off to the relevant parts of the Amiga (data and ctrl by the data card to the relevant lines on the Amiga's serial port). The hardware involved is pretty basic so it was quite easy to reverse engineer the process of converting audio to serial data.
Interesting, that does make sense. Rovi has… a lot of "hot patents." They're basically a big patent troll company, with some software and services thrown in :p While you're at it, take a look at patent 5126998. Does this one seem any more applicable to the hardware we've seen?

According to an old UVSG press release, "Stem has twice received the national Technical Achievement Award from the National Religious Broadcasters for development of SpaceCom's FM-Cubed and FM-Squared transmission technologies. He was inventor of unique modulation and multiplexing techniques that led to the issuance of two patents." The "two patents" mentioned are clearly 5126998 and 5255269 (Stem's only two patents). UVSG's 10-K from 1997 states that "SpaceCom's proprietary FM Cubed technology is fully digital and programmable via downloadable software, a technology the Company originally developed for its Prevue products. FM Cubed transmissions are less affected by weather conditions and are able to transmit more data using less transponder capacity than FM Squared."

I originally interpreted this as "Prevue must have used FM Cubed," but on second glance, it seems to be saying that SpaceCom's hardware used Prevue's "digital and programmable" technology. I wonder what technology exactly is common here? Maybe Spacecom used the same data format (i.e. 55AA) as Prevue at some level?

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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by woddfellow2 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:53 pm

AriX wrote:Okay, last thing. I noticed that Google updated their Street View images of 7140 S. Lewis Ave, because I have a totally normal interest in this that isn't at all obsessive or weird [...]

[...]

I swear to God I'm gonna go there some day and find the stuff we're looking for.
Somewhat related: It appears that United Video's old address, 3801 S. Sheridan Rd, is now occupied by Platt College.
—xoddf2

WeatherSTARIII
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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by WeatherSTARIII » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:38 am

Sorry for bumping, but I have some sad news to talk about: recently, I looked on Google Streetview for TV Guide's headquarters in Tulsa, OK, and the Streetview captures had been updated just last December, and it appears that the former Prevue/TV Guide headquarters at 7140 S. Lewis Ave. is no more. The Rovi building (the same building where Prevue/TV Guide's headquarters was located) has recently taken down the TV Guide sign at their front parking lot. The sign now reads "Kensington Business Center". It appears that Rovi has completely removed the TV Guide branding since it re-launched as Pop last year anyway.
Rovi HQ Dec 2015.png
Updated Google Streetview photo
Rovi HQ Dec 2015.png (1.11 MiB) Viewed 5152 times
Yet, the Rovi sign still is up, but the frame of where the TV Guide sign used to be still stands and all the satellites are still there.
Rovi HQ Dec 2015 (2).png
Another photo of the former Prevue/TV Guide headquarters
Rovi HQ Dec 2015 (2).png (748.74 KiB) Viewed 5152 times
Isn't Pop's headquarters even still located at the Rovi building?
WeatherSTAR III:
Prevue Guide/EPG fan and classic Weather Channel fan

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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by PajamaDarkness » Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:17 pm

WeatherSTARIII wrote:Isn't Pop's headquarters even still located at the Rovi building?
Nope, Pop is located in Playa Vista, CA.

Also, TiVo was aquired by Rovi for $1.1 billion.
Last edited by PajamaDarkness on Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
PajamaFrix
Prevuing since 2015.

AriX
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Re: Interesting Tidbits

Post by AriX » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:02 am

WeatherSTARIII wrote:Sorry for bumping, but I have some sad news to talk about: recently, I looked on Google Streetview for TV Guide's headquarters in Tulsa, OK, and the Streetview captures had been updated just last December, and it appears that the former Prevue/TV Guide headquarters at 7140 S. Lewis Ave. is no more. The Rovi building (the same building where Prevue/TV Guide's headquarters was located) has recently taken down the TV Guide sign at their front parking lot. The sign now reads "Kensington Business Center". It appears that Rovi has completely removed the TV Guide branding since it re-launched as Pop last year anyway.
So sad - the TV Guide branding there was pretty cool. I've always wanted to go there someday haha

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