EP1491036A1 - Method and apparatus for displaying graphics on an auxiliary display device using low level graphics drivers - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for displaying graphics on an auxiliary display device using low level graphics drivers

Info

Publication number
EP1491036A1
EP1491036A1 EP20030714207 EP03714207A EP1491036A1 EP 1491036 A1 EP1491036 A1 EP 1491036A1 EP 20030714207 EP20030714207 EP 20030714207 EP 03714207 A EP03714207 A EP 03714207A EP 1491036 A1 EP1491036 A1 EP 1491036A1
Authority
EP
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
display device
auxiliary display
graphics
system
stb
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP20030714207
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Barry P. Falvo
Glen P. Ii Goffin
Aniela M. Rosenberger
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
General Instrument Corp
Original Assignee
General Instrument Corp
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/431Generation of visual interfaces for content selection or interaction; Content or additional data rendering
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/4104Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices
    • H04N21/4122Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices additional display device, e.g. video projector
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/4104Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices
    • H04N21/4126Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals using peripherals receiving signals from specially adapted client devices portable device, e.g. remote control with a display, PDA, mobile phone
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/436Interfacing a local distribution network, e.g. communicating with another STB, inside the home ; Interfacing an external card to be used in combination with the client device
    • H04N21/4363Adapting the video or multiplex stream to a specific local network, e.g. a IEEE 1394 or Bluetooth® network
    • H04N21/43637Adapting the video or multiplex stream to a specific local network, e.g. a IEEE 1394 or Bluetooth® network involving a wireless protocol, e.g. Bluetooth or wireless LAN
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/43Processing of content or additional data, e.g. demultiplexing additional data from a digital video stream; Elementary client operations, e.g. monitoring of home network, synchronizing decoder's clock; Client middleware
    • H04N21/443OS processes, e.g. booting an STB, implementing a Java virtual machine in an STB, power management in an STB
    • H04N21/4431OS processes, e.g. booting an STB, implementing a Java virtual machine in an STB, power management in an STB characterized by the use of Application Program Interface [API] libraries
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/81Monomedia components thereof
    • H04N21/8146Monomedia components thereof involving graphical data, e.g. 3D object, 2D graphics
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/16Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems
    • H04N7/162Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing
    • H04N7/163Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing by receiver means only

Abstract

A method and system for processing and displaying graphics in a communications system (e.g., CATV system) (200). The system (200) includes an auxiliary display device (210) and a set-top box (STB) (205). The STB (205) transmits graphical data to the auxiliary display device (210) over a wireless communications medium (245). The graphical data includes abstracted graphic driver calls. The driver calls are processed in the auxiliary display device (210) using graphic drivers residing in the auxiliary display device (210). Graphics are displayed on a display (235) in the auxiliary display device (210), based on the processed driver calls. User inputs are transmitted from the auxiliary display device (210) to the STB (205) over the wireless communications medium (245). The user inputs are responses to selections presented by the graphics on the display (235) of the auxiliary display device (210).

Description

TITLE OF THE INVENTION

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR DISPLAYING GRAPHICS ON AN AUXILIARY DISPLAY DEVICE USING LOW LEVEL GRAPHICS DRIVERS

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention generally relates to the transmission of interactive graphics for viewing and interacting with applications running on a processor of a remote device.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

[0002] A new era in TV viewing experience is emerging in which video complementary data services are available to the TV viewer using a second display screen on an auxiliary display device. One example of an auxiliary display device is a webpad, which is a relatively small remote wireless device. [0003] FIG. 1 shows a conventional two-screen digital cable TV system 100. The system 100 includes an auxiliary display device 105 which communicates with a digital set-top box (STB) 110 (also referred to as a "local device") using a wireless connection. The wireless connection utilizes an external port 115 on the STB 110, such as a Universal serial bus (USB), Ethernet, or IEEE 1394 port equipped with an access point 120 that communicates with the auxiliary display device 105 over a wireless radio frequency (RF) link 125. The access point 120 in this scenario is a device designed for a specific interface (e.g., USB) and is used to support wireless connectivity. The auxiliary display device 105 may also be connected directly to a high-speed cable modem, digital subscriber (DSL) modem or any other high-speed Internet connection device to access the Internet 135. TV video programming 140 is accessible via STB 110. Typical wireless connection protocols that may be used by TV system 100 include, but are not limited to, HomeRF® and IEEE 802.11. A more traditional wired connection simply includes a cable or wire between the STB 110 and the auxiliary display device 105, again using a USB, Ethernet, or IEEE 1394 port. The STB 110 is also connected to a television 130. [0004] The two-screen digital cable TV system 100 allows for many enhanced capabilities over a one-screen system. For example, a user can view Internet data on the screen of the auxiliary display device 105, while watching video uninterrupted on the television 130. In another example, STB applications that are normally viewed on the television screen, are viewed on the screen of the auxiliary display device 105, leaving the television 130 available for video program viewing.

[0005] In a CATV system, an electronic program guide (EPG) is a specific example of an application that can be interacted with through an application running on a second screen device, such as auxiliary display device 105. An EPG is used by a viewer to determine what programs are available for viewing on a television, at what time the programs will be broadcast, and on which channels. More sophisticated EPGs display supplemental information used by the viewer to determine whether the program is suitable for young children, what actors are in the program, how long the program is, and what the program is about. Normally in an EPG, an individual windowed portion is allocated for each program displayed. Viewers of CATV programs use a GUI to navigate an EPG and select program windows in the EPG that are of particular interest.

[0006] It is desirable to define a distributed process for a CATV STB application to send abstracted graphic driver calls to a low cost auxiliary display device, upon which the graphics is rendered, and to facilitate remote control feedback from the auxiliary display device to the STB. Unlike processes incorporated into more complex personal computers, the transmission of the abstracted graphic driver calls relieves the STB of the burden of supporting application data traffic, and minimizes the processing and memory requirements of the auxiliary display device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0007] The present invention enables graphics information to be sent to an auxiliary display device for display in a communications system including an auxiliary display device and a set- top box (STB).

[0008] The STB transmits graphical data to the auxiliary display. The graphical data includes abstracted graphics driver calls. The driver calls are processed in the auxiliary display device using graphic drivers residing in the auxiliary display device. Graphics are displayed on a display in the auxiliary display device, based on the processed driver calls. [0009] User inputs may be transmitted from the auxiliary display device to the STB. The user inputs are responses to selections presented by the graphics on the display of the auxiliary display device. A wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol and or infrared transmission may be used to transmit the user inputs. The abstracted graphics driver calls may be packaged in a wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol. The abstracted graphics driver calls may be low level graphics driver calls. The displayed graphics may include a television program grid of an electronic program guide (EPG). The communications system may be a cable television (CATV) system.

[0010] The STB may include a local graphics application running at least one application program interface (API) layer, at least one driver layer, and at least one hardware layer including a processor.

[0011] The auxiliary display device may include a remote graphics application running at least one application program interface (API) layer, at least one driver layer, and at least one hardware layer including a processor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention would be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the present invention, there are shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. However, the present invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

[0013] FIG. 1 shows a conventional two-screen digital cable TV system;

[0014] FIG. 2 shows a communications system operating in accordance with the present invention; [0015] FIG. 3 shows a simplified representation of two-screen API architecture used in accordance with the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 4 shows a simplified representation of a remote control API architecture used in accordance with the present invention; and

[0017] FIG. 5 is a high-level functional flowchart including steps implemented in accordance with the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0018] Graphics information is transmitted from an STB to an auxiliary display device. The graphics information does not include pixel representations, which would require high bandwidth and fast processing. Nor does the graphics information include high level application program interface (API) calls.

[0019] In accordance with the present invention, the graphics information includes abstracted graphics call drivers, such as drivers that instruct a display to construct an image (e.g., draw a square, color red, large size at X, Y, Z coordinates). The abstracted graphics driver calls are low level graphics drivers and are packaged in a wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol, such as 802.1 lb. Unlike the high level API, the low level API gives a user complete access to the screen and to input events. Although, this access requires everything that is shown on the screen to be programmed, the memory and processing requirements for the auxiliary display device are drastically reduced. [0020] In a one-screen environment, an STB typically hosts applications that are capable of rendering graphics to the display device. Applications are typically provided this ability through an abstraction layer. This abstraction layer, commonly referred to as an Application Program Interface (API) layer, serves to allow the STB ultimate control over what is displayed while also providing applications the ability to communicate with low level drivers, and ultimately with the hardware itself. The single screen API architecture includes an application having an API layer, a driver layer and a hardware layer. The application would typically request control over the graphics drivers and hardware by calling a set of APIs. The application first negotiates control with a control function of the STB and then communicates with a graphics processor and associated components through drivers. [0021] FIG. 2 shows a communications system (e.g., CATV system) 200 including an STB 205 and an auxiliary display device 210. The STB 205 (i.e., local device) includes a local graphics application 215 that runs on a first processor 220. The local graphics application 215 includes at least one API layer, at least one driver layer, and at least one hardware layer. The auxiliary display device 210 (i.e., remote wireless device, second screen device) includes a remote graphics application 225 that runs on a second processor 230 that communicates with a display 235. The remote graphics application 225 also includes at least one API layer, at least one driver layer, and at least one hardware layer. The STB 205 communicates with a television 240 (i.e., first screen device).

[0022] In a two-screen scenario in accordance with the present invention, the local graphics application 215 communicates with the remote graphics application 225. The STB 205 communicates abstracted graphics driver calls to the auxiliary display device 210 via wireless communications medium 245, and processes remote control commands received from the auxiliary display device 210. The abstracted graphics driver calls can be low level graphics driver calls. [0023] FIG. 3 shows a two-screen API architecture supporting the transmission of graphics calls. The STB 205 transmits graphical data including abstracted graphics driver calls over the wireless communications medium 245 to the auxiliary display device 210. The driver calls are passed on to an API layer in the remote graphics application 225 of the auxiliary display device 210. Graphics are displayed on display 235 of the auxiliary display device 210 in accordance with the driver calls received from STB 205. The graphics displayed on display 235 can include a television program grid of an electronic program guide (EPG).

[0024] FIG. 4 shows a two-screen API architecture supporting the transmission of remote control commands. The auxiliary display device 210 transmits remote control commands based on user inputs to the STB 205 over the wireless communications medium 245. The remote control commands are passed to an API layer in the local graphics application 215 of the STB 205. When displayed on the display 235 of the auxiliary display device 210, the remote graphics application 225 can accept user inputs (e.g., via a touch screen or keyboard) in response to the graphics presented. The remote graphics application 225 communicates the user inputs to the local graphics application 215 via the wireless communications medium 245, and the user inputs are processed by the STB 205. A wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol and/or infrared transmission can be used to transmit the user inputs to the STB 205. [0025] The abstracted graphics driver calls can be based on proprietary or open standard- based graphics APIs. The graphics APIs are encapsulated in a remote communications message such that the auxiliary display device 210 can process commands with its own specific hardware suite and drivers. [0026] The abstracted graphics driver calls are suitable for implementing on-screen and interactive display applications, such as an electronic or interactive program guide, web- browsing, email, or the like. Several "open standard" graphics APIs are cmrently in use throughout the computing industry. Some examples include: [0027] (1) OpenGL, for example:

[0028] glNertex3f( 0.0-ζ 1.Of, O.Of); // Draws the top of a triangle, [0029] glNertex3 f(- 1.Of,- 1.Of, O.Of); // Draws the bottom left of a triangle, and

[0030] glNertex3f( 1.0f,-l .Of, O.Of); // Draws the bottom right of a triangle;

[0031] (2) Java Abstract Windows Toolbox Graphics APIs, for example: [0032] drawRect(int x, int y, int width, int height) // Draws a rectangle;

[0033] (3) DirectX; and [0034] (4) GDI.

[0035] These, or any other open or proprietary graphics APIs, can be used to implement the present invention.

[0036] Instead of being processed in the auxiliary display device 210, the abstracted graphics driver calls are packaged by the STB 205 in at least one communications package, such as one using a WLAΝ protocol, which is sent to the auxiliary display device 210. The auxiliary display device 210, in turn, receives and "unwraps" the communications package, and then processes the abstracted graphics driver calls with its own hardware and drivers. [0037] FIG. 5 shows the steps implemented by a method operating in accordance with the present invention. In step 505, the STB 205 transmits graphical data to the auxiliary display device 210 over a wireless communications medium 245. The graphical data includes abstracted graphics calls. In step 510, the driver calls are processed in the auxiliary display device 210 using graphic drivers residing in the remote graphics application 225. In step 515, graphics are displayed on display 235 in the auxiliary display device 210, based on the process - driver calls. In step 520, user inputs are transmitted from the auxiliary display device 210 to the STB 205 over the wireless communications medium 245. The user inputs are responses to selections presented by the graphics on the display 235 of the auxiliary display device 210. [0038] The present invention may be implemented with any combination of hardware and software. If implemented as a computer-implemented apparatus, the present invention is implemented using means for performing all of the steps and functions described above. [0039] The present invention can be included in an article of manufacture (e.g., one or more computer program products) having, for instance, computer useable media. The media has embodied therein, for instance, computer readable program code means for providing and facilitating the mechanisms of the present invention. The article of manufacture can be included as part of a computer system or sold separately.

[0040] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims

CLAIMS What is claimed is:
1. A method of processing and displaying graphics in a communications system, the system including an auxiliary display device and a set-top box (STB), the method comprising:
(a) the STB transmitting graphical data to the auxiliary display device, the graphical data including abstracted graphics driver calls;
(b) processing the driver calls in the auxiliary display device using graphic drivers residing in the auxiliary display device; and
(c) displaying graphics on a display in the auxiliary display device, based on the processed driver calls.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
(d) transmitting user inputs from the auxiliary display device to the STB, wherein the user inputs are responses to selections presented by the graphics on the display of the auxiliary display device.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein the auxiliary display device uses a wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol to transmit the user inputs.
4. The method of claim 2 wherein the auxiliary display device uses infrared transmission to transmit the user inputs.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein step (a) further comprises using a wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol to package the abstracted graphics driver calls.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the abstracted graphics driver calls are low level graphics driver calls.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein step (c) further comprises displaying a television program grid of an electronic program guide (EPG).
8. A communications system for processing and displaying graphics, comprising:
(a) a set-top box (STB); and
(b) an auxiliary display device having a display, wherein:
(i) the STB transmits graphical data to the auxiliary display device, the graphical data including abstracted graphics driver calls;
(ii) the auxiliary display device processes the driver calls using graphic drivers residing in the auxiliary display device; and
(iii) graphics are displayed on the display of the auxiliary display device, based on the processed driver calls.
9. The system of claim 8 wherein the auxiliary display device transmits user inputs to the STB, the user inputs being responses to selections presented by the graphics on the display of the auxiliary display device.
10. The system of claim 9 wherein the auxiliary display device uses a wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol to transmit the user inputs.
11. The system of claim 9 wherein the auxiliary display device uses infrared transmission to transmit the user inputs.
12. The system of claim 8 wherein the abstracted graphics driver calls are packaged using a wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol.
13. The system of claim 8 wherein the abstracted graphics driver calls are low level graphics driver calls.
14. The system of claim 8 wherein the displayed graphics include a television program grid of an electronic program guide (EPG).
15. The system of claim 8 wherein the communications system is a cable television (CATV) system.
16. The system of claim 8 wherein the STB includes a local graphics application which runs on top of: (i) at least one application program interface (API) layer;
(ii) at least one driver layer; and
(iii) at least one hardware layer including a processor.
17. The system of claim 8 wherein the auxiliary display device includes a remote graphics application which runs on top of:
(i) at least one application program interface (API) layer;
(ii) at least one driver layer; and
(iii) at least one hardware layer including a processor.
EP20030714207 2002-04-04 2003-03-14 Method and apparatus for displaying graphics on an auxiliary display device using low level graphics drivers Withdrawn EP1491036A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11563302 true 2002-04-04 2002-04-04
US115633 2002-04-04
PCT/US2003/008124 WO2003085960A1 (en) 2002-04-04 2003-03-14 Method and apparatus for displaying graphics on an auxiliary display device using low level graphics drivers

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP1491036A1 true true EP1491036A1 (en) 2004-12-29

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EP20030714207 Withdrawn EP1491036A1 (en) 2002-04-04 2003-03-14 Method and apparatus for displaying graphics on an auxiliary display device using low level graphics drivers

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EP (1) EP1491036A1 (en)
JP (1) JP2005522151A (en)
KR (1) KR20040111483A (en)
CN (1) CN1647500A (en)
CA (1) CA2481000A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2003085960A1 (en)

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US20140184470A1 (en) * 2011-01-05 2014-07-03 Thomson Licensing Multi-screen interactions
GB201109715D0 (en) * 2011-06-10 2011-07-27 Ant Software Ltd Television system

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
KR20040111483A (en) 2004-12-31 application
CA2481000A1 (en) 2003-10-16 application
JP2005522151A (en) 2005-07-21 application
CN1647500A (en) 2005-07-27 application
WO2003085960A1 (en) 2003-10-16 application

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