WO2001071987A1 - Audio distribution and playback system - Google Patents

Audio distribution and playback system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001071987A1
WO2001071987A1 PCT/AU2001/000308 AU0100308W WO0171987A1 WO 2001071987 A1 WO2001071987 A1 WO 2001071987A1 AU 0100308 W AU0100308 W AU 0100308W WO 0171987 A1 WO0171987 A1 WO 0171987A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
system
computer
streaming
audio
device
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/AU2001/000308
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Leonard Charles Layton
Original Assignee
Lake Technology Limited
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

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L65/00Network arrangements or protocols for real-time communications
    • H04L65/40Services or applications
    • H04L65/4069Services related to one way streaming
    • H04L65/4084Content on demand
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L29/00Arrangements, apparatus, circuits or systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04L1/00 - H04L27/00 contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L29/02Communication control; Communication processing contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L29/06Communication control; Communication processing contains provisionally no documents characterised by a protocol
    • H04L29/0602Protocols characterised by their application
    • H04L29/06027Protocols for multimedia communication
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/02Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving the use of web-based technology, e.g. hyper text transfer protocol [HTTP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/26Push based network services

Abstract

A system for providing a personalized audio service, the system comprising: a server computer for serving audio streams to a receiver device; a receiver device, interconnected over a network to the server computer and adapted to receive the audio stream, the receiver device having a radio device appearance. The receiver device preferably can include an interconnected modem, audio decoder and digital to analog converter for providing audio output, each formed on the same integrated circuit. The server can be adapted to provide a customable selection of audio stations for listening by a listener. The selection can be customised by telephoning the operator of the server computer or filling out a web page associated with the operator of the server computer.

Description

Audio Distribution and Playback System

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to the delivery of data in real time over a streaming environment. Background of the invention

Streaming Media on the Internet is gaining in popularity. For example Real Networks Inc. of Seattle, WA, USA, has a very popular streaming audio system called "RealPlayer" that allows users to listen to audio, such as radio stations, in real-time - that is as the audio is created, it is streamed continuously across the pack switched Internet network. RealNetworks supplies software for the source (server) end and also the receiver (client) end of the system. To listen to this content, users must have a computer workstation and at least a 28.8 kilobit-per-second connection to the Internet. RealNetworks claims more than 110 million people have the software installed on their computers. This development, and there are many other rival systems besides RealNetworks, means that people now have a much greater choice and diversity of radio-like content (music, spoken word, talkback etc.) than ever before. No longer are people restricted to what comes over the local airwaves on AM or FM radio.

Further, normal radio type devices suffer the significant draw back in that spectrum bandwidth is extremely limited and utilisation in certain, high density populated areas can often be an extremely expensive undertaking as spectrum licences are often very costly. Further, radio only provides limited opportunities for customisation for user preferences.

Unfortunately, the Internet packet switching infrastructure was not designed for this type of real-time transmission and even users with very fast connections to their ISP (Internet Service Provider) suffer audio break-up and lost connections. The route the audio must travel over the network can be tortuous and can change from moment to moment. A reliable transmission, which runs continuously for hours at a time, requires an extremely rare set of circumstances to occur for that entire period.

Another drawback of existing streaming media systems is the need for an expensive computer workstation and modem or other connection to the Internet. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) normally provide a server which is utilised by a number of browsers interconnected with the server utilizing a modem array or the like. For example, in Fig. 1, there is illustrated a standard ISP type arrangement. In this arrangement, an Internet service provider's computer 2 is interconnected to the Internet 3. The ISP computer 2 normally includes a pool of modem type devices for under its control. Each customer utilizing the ISP Computer 2 has their own modem 5 and a computer device 6 for browsing the Internet type environment. As a result, the ISP computer must service a large and indeterminate number of users who may be simultaneously browsing the Internet and who will have highly variable bandwidth demands. As a result, the real time requirements for audio streaming may not be guaranteed. Hence, the arrangement of Fig. 1 is often unsatisfactory in that audio streaming devices do not operate efficiently and "break up" often occurs.

Summary of the invention

It is the object of the present invention to provide an improved form of streaming environment for streaming audio or video or other form of real time information. In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of streaming of real time data to a user's computer device over a limited bandwidth channel, the method comprising the steps of: (a) interconnecting the user's computer over the limited bandwidth channel, initially with a first browsing computer having indeterminate streaming capacity; (b) upon commencement of streaming activities, automatically disconnecting the user's computer device from the first browsing computer and interconnecting the user's computer device over the limited bandwidth channel with a streaming computer device, the streaming computer device having predetermined streaming capacity; and' (c) streaming the real time data from the streaming computer device to the user's computer device.

The step (c) preferably can include utilizing a predetermined bandwidth portion of the limited bandwidth channel for streaming activities and utilising a remaining portion of the limited bandwidth channel for providing information associated with the real time data.

The limited bandwidth channel can comprise two modem devices interconnected over a public service telephone network. The user's computer device can comprise a mobile phone device or a personal digital assistant. The real time data can comprise audio information and the additional information can comprise localised advertising information, customised personal information, auxiliary data such as sports statistics, weather, stock market information etc.

Brief description of the drawings

Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, preferred forms of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. 1 illustrates the physical hardware xradio device of the preferred embodiment; and

Fig. 2 illustrates a functional block diagram of the preferred embodiment.

Fig. 3 illustrates schematically the incorporation of an xradio device in a networked environment;

Fig. 4 illustrates the steps involved in the operation of the xradio device;

Fig. 5 illustrates the division of the capacity of a channel into synchronous and asynchronous portions; and

Fig. 6 illustrates a prior art internet service provider arrangement. Detailed description of the embodiments

In the preferred embodiment, there is provided a system for providing users with the ability to easily and cheaply enjoy the benefits of combining a radio type device with Internet-style streaming media from a variety of sources without the necessity for a personal computer system. The system includes a unit, referred to as an Xradio, that allows the user to select the type of music and stations they want loaded into it, and then select on a dial those stations. The preferred embodiment provides the benefits of personalised streaming digital media from the Internet to people who may not have a PC, or who do not wish to use one for this purpose.

Turning initially to Fig. 1 there is illustrated a physical hardware device description of the Xradio device with Fig. 2 illustrating a functional block diagram of the functional components of the device. As shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2, the preferred embodiment consists of 1. A hardware device 1 that connects 2 to the user's phone line. The device contains a suitably constructed Digital Signal Processor (DSP) 3 and associated operating software.

2. A set of services provided by a service provider including software that runs on a service provider's computer systems 4..

The xradio hardware device 1 connects to a user's phone line. It is designed to resemble a portable radio. It has a station selector control 5 that allows the selection of stations, with the name of the selected station appearing on the display screen 6.

The hardware device internally contains a modem 6 and a digital compressed audio Decoder subsystem 7, as well as a means 8 to output an analog audio signal to a loudspeaker or headphones 9. The MODEM 6 and Decoder 7 and other portions such as controller 10 can be implemented on a single DSP chip, thereby making the whole system very inexpensive. The MODEM and Decoder protocols can be combined into a single modulation-demodulation system that allows very efficient use of the available bandwidth. The server computers of the service provider stream audio to the xradio device upon a connection being established.

In Fig. 3, there is illustrated an example incorporation of the preferred embodiment in a networked environment. Initially, a user's xradio 3 makes contact with an ISP computer 12 via modems 13, 14 with the modems operating in the usual manner over a public switched telephone network (PSTN) 16. The arrangement is utilised to access data services over the

Internet 18.

When it is desired to access an Internet type radio station or the like which provides audio streaming services, the steps as illustrated in Fig. 4 are undertaken by a preloaded application on the xradio 3. Initially, any software updates required (and that haven't been preloaded) are downloaded by the xradio. The audio application can be downloaded from the ISP computer or from another computer existing on the Internet 18. Upon activation of the audio browser application, initially, a unique identification number and modem phone number are downloaded by the xradio 3 over the Internet. The xradio 3 then disconnects the modem 13 from the modem 14 and dials the number downloaded by the xradio 3. The number provided by the xradio 3 is directed to a second modem 30 which is interconnected to a streaming audio computer 31. The streaming audio computer 31 is designed to provide for real time down load capabilities and can stream at a predetermined rate so as to always be in a position to satisfy the bandwidth requirement for streaming from computer 31 via modems 30 and 13 over the PSTN 16 to xradio 3. The streaming audio computer 31 can further include as its input, a number of audio sources 33 and other information sources 34. The audio sources are streamed to the xradio 3 and the other information sources 34 are also provided in an asynchronous manner.

The streaming from the streaming computer 31 to the xradio 3 will include a channel having a first predetermined capacity. The arrangement of Fig. 3 provides the ability to apportion a certain part of the bandwidth to synchronous data as required by the streaming and a second portion of the data to asynchronous data. Hence, as illustrated in Fig. 5, the total capacity of the streaming channel is divided into a synchronous streaming portion 40 and an asynchronous portion 41. The asynchronous portion 41 can be utilised to provide various auxiliary capabilities to the audio streaming. For example, in one arrangement, the modems 30, 13 can comprise 56K-Bit modems and the streaming data can comprise MP3 streaming data. The asynchronous portion 41 is available for providing auxiliary services such as a Internet browsing capability. Alternatively, other data could be sent via asynchronous channel 41 and can include localised advertising or auxiliary data such as sports statistics, weather, traffic etc.

Fig. 3 illustrates one network arrangement of one embodiment of the present invention. Obviously, other forms of implementation are possible. For example, in a mobile phone environment, the same arrangement can be provided in a more seamless manner wherein the xradio unit can be adapted to be a mobile phone device. The mobile phone device initially makes contact with a first ISP type computer and a similar arrangement is provided such that when audio streaming is to be utilised, the mobile phone device connects with a streaming audio computer which is adapted to provide the bandwidth requirements of the audio stream in real time.

As the streamed audio is completely programmable, flexible degrees of customisation can be incorporated into the audio stream. With suitable programming, the system can provide the following facilities:

-Users can call in to service centre and ask for stations to be 'loaded' into their hardware unit. When they next connect (by turning the hardware unit on) the stations are loaded into the list in the unit and can be selected from the dial 5. Alternative, setup systems, such as a web page system running on a separate server could also be provided.

-The system can be setup so that services are delivered at preset times. For example, wake up calls can be provided. -The user can ask for certain Internet streaming sites to be made available on their hardware unit with the server streaming those sites to the hardware unit.

-In a modified embodiment, the hardware unit can have a 'BUY IT NOW' button which allows products such as the song (or the album from which the song comes) to be purchased and sent to them. -The hardware unit can have a 'NEWS' button which will play the latest news on demand. The same feature can be used to play the weather.

-The user can provide demographic & location details to the service provider and advertising can be targeted at the user. Certain advertising time slots can be allocated on the service and appropriate advertising can be assigned and played to the user. -The user may join 'community groups' where users in that group can send messages to each other over the network (by calling into a phone number for example), allowing certain advertising or content slots to be made available for community messages. The user could be constantly reminded by a flashing light or a continuously played message until they pushed the 'got it' button. The network connection provides the ability for complete monitoring of the uses listening preferences and targeted content can be evolved on a personalised basis.

Various modified embodiments may also be provided. For example, a compressed video transmission system could be provided for allowing video downloads at a framerate sustainable by the interconnection. Further, the system could be adapted to mobile phone utilization. Other audio and graphic downloads could be supported. For example, Shockwave formatted content.

Further, a video interface via a video out link to a Television set could also be provided.

Various buttons could also be provided for two way communications such as communication for chat rooms and games or 'quiz shows'. The services can be provided on a subscription basis with a monthly charge being rendered on say, a user's phone bill.

Further, various speech synthesised prompts can be automatically provided, for example, to confirm station selection or purchases. Further a computer interconnection can be provided for saving audio files, set up, simultaneous Internet access with streaming over same phone line.

In a further modified embodiment, a phone and/or answering machine service can also be provided. The keypad can have the dual use for entering data (like credit card numbers) and additional voice messaging services could be provided. The system of the preferred embodiment is well suited to providing: Cricket scores, general scoring of games, Audio teletext (for exchange rates, stock process etc.), Noting applications, Real time based applications, Locally-based music types, User-configured advertising / community announcements, Streaming contents off the Internet.

It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined herein extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

The foregoing describes embodiments of the present invention and modifications, obvious to those skilled in the art can be made thereto, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Claims

Claims
1. A system for providing a personalized audio service, the system comprising: a server computer for serving digital audio streams to a receiver device; a receiver device, interconnected over a telecommunications network to said server computer, and adapted to receive said digital audio stream, said receiver device having a radio device appearance; and said receiver device translating said digital audio stream into a corresponding analog stream for output via a speaker device.
2. A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the receiver device includes an interconnected modem, audio decoder and digital to analog converter for providing audio output, each formed on the same integrated circuit.
3. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said server is adapted to provide a customable selection of audio stations for listening by a listener.
4. A system as claimed in claim 3 wherein said selection can be customised by telephoning the operator of said server computer or filling out a web page associated with said operator of said server computer.
5. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said system can be adapted to deliver predetermined services at predetermined times, customable by said listener.
6. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said receiver device includes a purchase activation button for activating the purchase of items currently streamed by said server computer.
7. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said receiver device includes a news or weather button to provide substantially instant news or weather information.
8. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said system provides customised advertising to a user.
9. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said receiver device is adapted to send messages to other receiver devices.
10. A system as claimed in any previous claim wherein said receiver device acts as a messaging storing and forwarding facility.
11. A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the audio stream transmitted to said receiver device includes a predetermined synchronous bandwidth and a residual asynchronous capacity.
12. A method for a streaming of real time data to a user's computer device over a limited bandwidth channel, the method comprising the steps of: (a) interconnecting said user's computer over said limited bandwidth channel, initially with a first browsing computer having indeterminate streaming capacity;
(b) upon commencement of streaming activities, automatically disconnecting said user's computer device from said first browsing computer and interconnecting said user's computer device over said limited bandwidth channel with a streaming computer device, said streaming computer device having predetermined streaming capacity; and
(c) streaming said real time data from said streaming computer device to said user's computer device.
13. A method as claimed in claim 12 wherein said step (c) includes utilizing a predetermined bandwidth portion of said limited bandwidth channel for streaming activities and utilising a remaining portion of said limited bandwidth channel for providing information associated with said real time data.
14. A method as claimed in any previous claim 12 or 13 wherein said limited bandwidth channel comprises two modem devices interconnected over a public service telephone network.
15. A method as claimed in claim 12 or claim 13 wherein said user's computer device comprises a mobile phone device.
16. A method as claimed in claim 12 or claim 13 wherein said user's computer device comprises a personal digital assistant.
17. A method as claimed in any previous claim 12 to claim 16 wherein said real time data comprises audio information.
18. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein said additional information comprises localised advertising information.
19. A system when implementing the method of any of claims 12 to 18.
PCT/AU2001/000308 2000-03-20 2001-03-20 Audio distribution and playback system WO2001071987A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AUPQ633500A0 AUPQ633500A0 (en) 2000-03-20 2000-03-20 Network data delivery system
AUPQ6335 2000-03-20
AUPQ769600A0 AUPQ769600A0 (en) 2000-05-23 2000-05-23 Low cost digital audio streaming system
AUPQ7696 2000-05-23

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU4208801A AU4208801A (en) 2000-03-20 2001-03-20 Audio distribution and playback system

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2001071987A1 true true WO2001071987A1 (en) 2001-09-27

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Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/AU2001/000308 WO2001071987A1 (en) 2000-03-20 2001-03-20 Audio distribution and playback system

Country Status (1)

Country Link
WO (1) WO2001071987A1 (en)

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2384671A (en) * 2002-01-29 2003-07-30 Int Computers Ltd Internet radio system
WO2003086007A2 (en) * 2002-04-10 2003-10-16 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Audio distribution

Citations (5)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5414773A (en) * 1993-08-19 1995-05-09 News Datacom Ltd. CATV systems
US5778187A (en) * 1996-05-09 1998-07-07 Netcast Communications Corp. Multicasting method and apparatus
US5838384A (en) * 1995-07-17 1998-11-17 Gateway 2000, Inc. System for assigning multichannel audio signals to independent wireless audio output devices
US5881317A (en) * 1996-09-30 1999-03-09 Intel Corporation Adaptive operation of audio peripherals based on the functionality of analog audio interface
WO2000023899A1 (en) * 1998-10-16 2000-04-27 Safi Qureshey Remote audio computer peripheral device

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5414773A (en) * 1993-08-19 1995-05-09 News Datacom Ltd. CATV systems
US5838384A (en) * 1995-07-17 1998-11-17 Gateway 2000, Inc. System for assigning multichannel audio signals to independent wireless audio output devices
US5778187A (en) * 1996-05-09 1998-07-07 Netcast Communications Corp. Multicasting method and apparatus
US5881317A (en) * 1996-09-30 1999-03-09 Intel Corporation Adaptive operation of audio peripherals based on the functionality of analog audio interface
WO2000023899A1 (en) * 1998-10-16 2000-04-27 Safi Qureshey Remote audio computer peripheral device

Non-Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
BREEN C.: "MP3 to go", MACWORLD, February 2000 (2000-02-01), pages 86 - 91 *
HAGIWARA ET AL: "Sega Dreamcast: Creating a Unified Entertainment World", IEEE MICRO, November 1999 (1999-11-01), pages 29 - 35 *

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2384671A (en) * 2002-01-29 2003-07-30 Int Computers Ltd Internet radio system
WO2003086007A2 (en) * 2002-04-10 2003-10-16 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Audio distribution
WO2003086007A3 (en) * 2002-04-10 2004-02-05 Ronaldus M Aarts Audio distribution

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