Accessing a video message via video snapshots

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348 6, 348 8, 382 9, H04N 979




A multi-media messaging system (101) allows message recipients who lack full-motion video message-retrieval capability to retrieve at least some image content of video messages via video snapshots--image frames retrieved as still images. The system determines (302) the video capability of the recipient's terminal. If it is not full-motion video, the system plays back (320) only the soundtrack of the video message and monitors (400) the recipient's input for a snapshot request. Upon receipt of a snapshot request, the system captures (402-410) the image frame of the video message that corresponds in the video message to the point in the playback of the soundtrack at which the request was made and converts the frame from moving-image format to still-image format. If the recipient's terminal's video capability is slow video, the system sends (432) the converted frame to the recipient's terminal during simultaneous or interrupted playback of the soundtrack. If the capability is still image or voice-only, the system queues (434) the converted frame, and when soundtrack playback ends, the system queries (502) for the address of an image-retrieval terminal and sends (510, 522) the queued frames to that address.

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