Improvements in or relating to subscription television radio and like information supply systems

Abstract

1,047,843. Distributing music &c. BRITISH HOME ENTERTAINMENT Ltd. May 31, 1963 [June 8, 1962], No. 22298/62. Heading H4R. In a wired distribution system for sound or television programmes an arrangement for indicating acceptance of signals by a subscriber comprises a timing device which is arranged to be started on a timing cycle by each one of a series of reference signals transmitted with the signals offered, the timing device controlling the emission of a signal notifying acceptance of the programme after a time interval, measured from the reference signal, which is different for each subscriber receiving signals over a common channel. Additional features described include a recording device, associated with the timing device at the receiver, which records a signal sent from the programme source at such a delay after the reference signal, different for each programme transmitted, that a record is obtained at the receiver of the programmes accepted. Also the signal sent from the receiver to the transmitter to notify acceptance of the programme may be modified, e.g. of different frequency, to indicate which programme has been accepted in a multiprogramme system. In addition where a prepayment meter is installed at the receiver, signals may be transmitted which reduce the credit in the prepayment meter in accordance with the programme charge. Fig. 1 shows a system in which a receiver 36 receives programmes from a central source 37 over a distribution network 31, periodically the transmitter 37 transmits a reference signal over the network which at each receiver is detected by a network 33 and causes operation of relay 32 whose contacts 34 are in circuit with the timing device drive motor 17. The motor drives a plastic band 10 having notches 18 and 23 at its edges. Notch 18 ensures, by closing contacts 21 which are in parallel with contacts 34, that the band makes one complete revolution for each operation of relay 32, while notch 23, after a delay which is different for each subscriber connected to the distribution system, closes contacts 26 and causes the transmission over the network of a programme acceptance signal which, at the transmitter 37, operates recording or registering means 38. If desired, the acceptance signal may be characteristic of the particular programme selected in a multiprogramme system, e.g. various frequencies may be generated by tone generating discs driven by motor 17 the particular frequency being selected by means coupled to the programme selector switch in the receiver. An embodiment incorporating local recording and a prepayment meter is shown in Fig. 2, in which the receiver 36 is connected to the network 31 over an isolating device 43. Reference and control signals from the network are received and identified in unit 46 and applied to the various circuits over leads 47, 48, 51, and 55. The timing device motor is started as in the embodiment of Fig. 1 by a pulse on line 47. In order to obtain better discriminaion between acceptance signals from different subscribers whose reply times are nearly the same a series of timing signals may be transmitted over the network which appear on line 48 in the subscriber's apparatus and are fed to a coincidence gate 49 so that the acceptance signal is accurately timed. The recording at the subscriber's apparatus of the acceptance of a particular programme is accomplished by providing a magnetic stripe on the band 10 on which is recorded, by magnetic recording head 53, a signal which appears on line 51 at a time delay after the reference signal on line 47 which is varied for each programme transmitted. Fig. 2 also shows a prepayment meter arrangement in which switch mechanism 64 is operated by the planetary member of a differential gear 62. The switch is operated to its on position by rotation of the gear coupled to the output shaft of the coin registering apparatus 63 and to its off position by a synchronous motor 61. The motor 61 is started by closing of contacts 59, which are operated by the reference signal relay 32, which operate the relay 58 which self-holds over self-hold contacts and contacts 57 thus energizing the motor 61 to reduce the established credit. After a time dependenton the programme charge a pulse is received over the distribution network which is detected in unit 46 and appears on line 55 and operates relay 56 thus breaking the holding circuit of relay 58 and stopping motor 61 until the following reference signal is received. Variation of the timing of the stop pulse on line 55 therefore varies the proportion of time the motor is energized thus varying the rate at which the programme is charged. An alternative form of charging device is described, Fig. 3. (not shown), in which the motor 61 is energized during the presence of signals on the line 55 and the duration of signals on line 55 is varied to vary the rate of programme charge.

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