06437836 is referenced by 341 patents.
An extended functionality remote control (EFRC) provides a hardware/software implementation of an integrated interface for remote control emulation. A PDA or other portable computing device is used as a platform for the EFRC application software and peripheral hardware. The EFRC also merges information services into remote controls. Implementation of these information services takes the form of, e.g., electronic program guides (EPGs) merged with the functioning of remote controls. In addition to the portable computing device, the hardware portion of the invention according to a preferred embodiment includes a keypad and an infrared transmitter subsystem which are managed by a microcontroller. The microcontroller also exchanges data with application software of the computing device via a serial communications link. The EFRC according to a preferred embodiment provides a universal remote control which can remain current by shifting the remote control code functions of a universal remote control from to software. New codes may be made available through the internet and downloaded into an application which can utilize these codes for the targeted consumer electronics device. The preferred embodiment provides the user the ability to select the components of their specific consumer electronic device on the World Wide Web, leading to the download of a data file by the user with all remote control code information preprogrammed into this data file. The preferred embodiment can dynamically construct the user's remote control buttons on a graphical touch screen, from information contained within the downloaded data file.