WO2009070559A1 - Modular entertainment system - Google Patents

Modular entertainment system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2009070559A1
WO2009070559A1 PCT/US2008/084625 US2008084625W WO2009070559A1 WO 2009070559 A1 WO2009070559 A1 WO 2009070559A1 US 2008084625 W US2008084625 W US 2008084625W WO 2009070559 A1 WO2009070559 A1 WO 2009070559A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
external housing
head unit
external
car stereo
entertainment system
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2008/084625
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Franco Fabio Daino
Rejesh R. Wadhwa
Original Assignee
Waterloo Industries, Inc.
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

    • GPHYSICS
    • G03PHOTOGRAPHY; CINEMATOGRAPHY; ELECTROGRAPHY; HOLOGRAPHY
    • G03BAPPARATUS OR ARRANGEMENTS FOR TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS OR FOR PROJECTING OR VIEWING THEM; APPARATUS OR ARRANGEMENTS EMPLOYING ANALOGOUS TECHNIQUES USING WAVES OTHER THAN OPTICAL WAVES; ACCESSORIES THEREFOR
    • G03B21/00Projectors or projection-type viewers; Accessories therefor
    • G03B21/005Projectors using an electronic spatial light modulator but not peculiar thereto
    • G03B21/006Projectors using an electronic spatial light modulator but not peculiar thereto using LCD's

Abstract

A modular entertainment system includes an external housing defining an opening for receiving a car stereo head unit. A first speaker is at least partially disposed within the external housing. A power cord has a first end disposed within the external housing and a second end extending from the external housing for electrical connection with an external power source. A transformer is disposed within the external housing and is electrically connected with the second end of the power cord for receiving power from the external power source. The transformer is electrically connected with the first speaker to deliver a predetermined power output to the first speaker.

Description

MODULAR ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM

Cross-Reference to Related Application

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/990,792, entitled "MODULAR ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM" and filed November 28, 2007, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference, to the extent that they are not conflicting with the present application.

Background

[0002] Portable entertainment systems providing audio (e.g., radio, compact disc, MP3/MP4 players) and video (e.g., TV tuners, wireless cameras, DVD players) outputs are often used in a variety of settings, including, for example, in home, on vehicle, and hand held (or "on person") applications. While units with built-in radios or CD or DVD players have become more common and readily available, such units may be limited in adaptability, as other audio or video output options may not be readily integrated into the often compact product. While ports may be provided for connecting with a separate audio or video device (such as, for example, an MP3 player), this arrangement may detract from the aesthetic appeal, or in some cases (such as a garage or workshop application), may present the risk of damage to or theft of the connected device.

Summary

[0003] According to an inventive aspect of the present application, a modular entertainment system may be configured to removably receive a media output device (e.g., audio or video output components) for connection with one or more electrical or electronic components, such as, for example, one or more speakers, power sources, or other electronic devices, such as, for example, an MP3 player, navigation system, or other such device. In one embodiment, a base unit may include an external housing configured to accommodate the media output device to provide the appearance and function of a self-contained entertainment unit. As one example, a base unit may be configured to accommodate a car stereo head unit for electrical connection with a power source and at least one speaker. [0004] Accordingly, in an exemplary embodiment of the present application, a modular entertainment system includes an external housing defining an opening for receiving a car stereo head unit. A first speaker is at least partially disposed within the external housing. A power cord has a first end disposed within the external housing and a second end extending from the external housing for electrical connection with an external power source. A transformer is disposed within the external housing and is electrically connected with the second end of the power cord for receiving power from the external power source. The transformer is electrically connected with the first speaker to deliver a predetermined power output to the first speaker.

[0005] According to another inventive aspect of the present application, a method of customizing a portable entertainment system includes providing a base unit having an external housing with an opening in a front surface, a first speaker at least partially disposed within the external housing, a power cord extending from the external housing, and a transformer disposed within the external housing. The transformer is electrically connected with the power cord for receiving power from the external power source, and is electrically connected with the first speaker to deliver a predetermined power output to the first speaker. A media output device sized to be received in the opening of the external housing is selected. The media output device is electrically connected with the transformer and with the first speaker. The media output device in installed in an opening in the external housing, such that a front face of the media output device is substantially flush with a front face of the external housing.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0006] Features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description made with reference to the drawings, wherein:

[0007] Figure 1 illustrates a schematic view of a modular entertainment system;

[0008] Figure 2 illustrates an upper perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a modular entertainment system;

[0009] Figure 3 illustrates a partial exploded perspective view of the modular entertainment system of Figure 2, shown without the car stereo head unit;

[0010] Figure 4 illustrates another partial exploded perspective view of the modular entertainment system of Figure 2; [0011] Figure 5 illustrates a front perspective view of another modular entertainment system; and

[0012] Figure 6 illustrates an upper perspective view of the modular entertainment system of

Figure 5.

Detailed Description

[0013] This Detailed Description merely describes embodiments of the present application and is not intended to limit the scope of the claims in any way. Indeed, the invention as described in the specification and claims is broader than and unlimited by the preferred embodiments, and the terms used in the claims have their full ordinary meaning.

[0014] The present application contemplates a modular entertainment system adapted to more integrally receive and connect with a media (e.g., audio or video) output device, while allowing for adaptability of the system by replacing one device with another device. According to an inventive aspect of the present application, an entertainment system or unit may include an external housing provided with one or more output interfaces (such as, for example, speakers or an LCD video screen) and a port or opening for integrally receiving an audio or video output device (such as, for example, a car stereo or DVD player). The entertainment system may provide electrically connectivity with the output interfaces by a wiring harness disposed within the external housing.

[0015] Figure 1 schematically illustrates an embodiment of a modular entertainment system 10 having a base unit 11 assembled with a media output device 50. The base unit 11 includes an external housing 20 defining an opening 30 for receiving the media output device 50. A cavity 33 within the external housing 20 may be sized to retain the media output device 50, such that a front face 55 of the device 50 may be substantially flush with a front surface 22 of the external housing 20, giving the system 10 the appearance of a prefabricated system.

[0016] The base unit 11 includes a power cord 40 extending from the external housing 20 for connection with an external power source, such as, for example, an AC wall outlet (not shown). The power cord 40 is connected with a transformer 70, which may (but need not) be disposed within the external housing 20, for delivering appropriate power to the media output device 50. The base unit 11 further includes one or more speakers 60, at least partially disposed within the external housing 20, for connecting with the media output device 50, to play recorded music, radio or television broadcasts, or other audio transmissions delivered from the media output device 50. Additionally or alternatively, the base unit may be provided with a video screen (not shown) for connecting with the media output device to display video transmissions.

[0017] While many different electrical wiring configurations may be provided to connect a media output device with a transformer, speakers, and other electrical components, in the illustrated schematic, a wiring harness 80 is provided to facilitate a quick connection between the media output device 50 and these other components. The wiring harness 80 may include a connector 85 for connection with the media output device 50. As shown, the wiring harness 80 electrically connects the transformer 70 to the speakers 60 and to the media output device 50 to deliver the appropriate power to these components. The wiring harness 80 also connects the media output device 50 to the speakers 60 to deliver audio transmissions from the media output device 50 to the speakers 60.

[0018] The base unit 11 may additionally be configured for electrical connection with additional external electrical or electronic devices. For example, a power outlet 82 (e.g., a 12V DC power outlet) may be provided on the external housing 20 and electrically connected with the wiring harness 80 to supply power from the transformer 70 to an external electrical device 84, such as, for example, a cell phone or handheld power tool, to power or charge the electrical device 84. As another example, a data exchange port 81 (e.g., a USB port) may be provided on the external housing 20 and electrically connected with the wiring harness 80 to deliver electronic signals between the media output device 50 and an external electronic device 83, such as, for example, an MP3 player or computer.

[0019] According to another inventive aspect of the present application, a base unit may additionally or alternatively be configured to provide monitoring, surveillance, or security functions. For example, an alarm unit 90 may be disposed within the external housing 20 and electrically connected with the wiring harness 80 to identify when the media output device 50 is removed from the base unit 11, and deliver an alert signal (e.g., an audible alert through the speakers 60) when removal is detected. As one example, the alarm unit 90 may be configured to detect when the media output device 50 is electrically disconnected from the wiring harness 80. As another example, the alarm unit 90 may be configured to detect when the media output device 50 is physically removed from the cavity 33, for example, by activating or deactivating a mechanical switch that engages the installed media output device 50.

[0020] The system 10 may further be configured to monitor an area surrounding or remote from the system 10. For example, the base unit 11 may include a receiver 95 connected with an external recording device 99 (e.g., a video camera, still camera, or microphone), either wirelessly or through a wired connection 96, to receive video and/or audio signals from the recording device 99. The received signals may be delivered to the media output device 50 (or some other electronic device connected with or disposed within the base unit), which may record the signals or play the signals through the speakers 60 or a video screen.

[0021] A modular entertainment system may be configured to accommodate may different types of media output devices. According to an inventive aspect of the present application, a modular entertainment system may be configured to accommodate a car stereo head unit. For example, a modular entertainment system may include an opening or port sized to accommodate a single DIN (50mm tall by 180mm wide) or double DIN (100mm tall by 180mm wide) sized car stereo head unit. Recent innovations in car stereo systems provide for many different audio and video output options, including, for example, CD changers, MP3 players, DVD players, and satellite radio receivers, while the standard DESf sizing and 8-pin power connectivity for these aftermarket car units provides for ease of interchangeability.

[0022] Figures 2-4 illustrate an exemplary modular entertainment system 100 having a base unit 110 with an external housing 120 defining an opening 130 (see Figures 3 and 4) for a car stereo head unit 150 (shown, for example, as a DVD player with LCD screen). As shown, the housing 120 may be formed from multiple components for ease of manufacture, and may include an upper casing 121, a lower casing 122, a rear plate 123, and a front frame member 124. Perforated speaker cover plates 125 may be provided over speakers 160. The speakers may be mounted within the housing 120 on a surface sized or adapted to allow the user to replace the speakers 160 with other speakers, which may be of a different size or shape. An AC power cord 140 may be provided for connection with a standard wall outlet. The exemplary opening 130 is a double DIN opening sized to accommodate standard double DIN car stereo head units (or smaller head units, such as single DDSf units provided with a suitable adapter face plate). Figures 5 and 6 illustrate another modular entertainment system 200 with an opening sized to accommodate a single DIN car stereo head unit 250.

[0023] As shown in Figures 3 and 4, the base unit 110 further includes a transformer 170 configured to receive AC power from the power cord 140 and deliver the appropriate power (AC or DC) to the head unit 150, speakers 160, and other related or connected electrical devices. A suitable wiring harness (not shown) may be included within the external housing 120 to accommodate these electrical connections. Further, an alarm system (not shown) may be included in the housing, to activate an alarm if the car stereo head unit 150 is disconnected from the power supply, hi another exemplary application (not shown), a camera may be strategically located on the modular entertainment system or remote from the system to provide a video output through the LCD screen on the head unit to allow a user to monitor events as they occur.

[0024] Many other inventive features may additionally or alternatively be provided with the modular entertainment system 100. For example, one or more USB ports 180 may be provided to provide connectivity between the car stereo head unit 150 and another electronic device, such as an MP3 player, navigation system, cellular telephone, satellite radio, or other such device. As another example, a 12V DC power outlet 182, consistent with those used on vehicles, may be provided to supply power to devices configured to be powered or charged from this type of connection, which is often used, for example, with garage based equipment. Other types of electrical (e.g., AC power outlet), electronic data (e.g., serial port) or wireless (e.g. Bluetooth or IR transponder) connectivity may also be provided.

[0025] The external housing may be further adapted to provide additional features. As one example, the upper casing 121 may be configured to form compartments 127 for storage of loose items (such as pens, cell phones, and CD cases).

[0026] While various inventive aspects, concepts and features of the inventions may be described and illustrated herein as embodied in combination in the exemplary embodiments, these various aspects, concepts and features may be used in many alternative embodiments, either individually or in various combinations and sub-combinations thereof. Unless expressly excluded herein all such combinations and sub-combinations are intended to be within the scope of the present inventions. Still further, while various alternative embodiments as to the various aspects, concepts and features of the inventions—such as alternative materials, structures, configurations, methods, circuits, devices and components, software, hardware, control logic, alternatives as to form, fit and function, and so on— may be described herein, such descriptions are not intended to be a complete or exhaustive list of available alternative embodiments, whether presently known or later developed. Those skilled in the art may readily adopt one or more of the inventive aspects, concepts or features into additional embodiments and uses within the scope of the present inventions even if such embodiments are not expressly disclosed herein. Additionally, even though some features, concepts or aspects of the inventions maybe described herein as being a preferred arrangement or method, such description is not intended to suggest that such feature is required or necessary unless expressly so stated. Still further, exemplary or representative values and ranges may be included to assist in understanding the present disclosure; however, such values and ranges are not to be construed in a limiting sense and are intended to be critical values or ranges only if so expressly stated. Moreover, while various aspects, features and concepts may be expressly identified herein as being inventive or forming part of an invention, such identification is not intended to be exclusive, but rather there may be inventive aspects, concepts and features that are fully described herein without being expressly identified as such or as part of a specific invention. Descriptions of exemplary methods or processes are not limited to inclusion of all steps as being required in all cases, nor is the order that the steps are presented to be construed as required or necessary unless expressly so stated.

Claims

We claim:
1. A modular entertainment system comprising:
an external housing defining an opening for receiving a car stereo head unit;
a first speaker at least partially disposed within the external housing;
a power cord having a first end disposed within the external housing and a second end extending from the external housing for electrical connection with an external power source; and
a transformer disposed within the external housing and electrically connected with the second end of the power cord for receiving power from the external power source, the transformer further being electrically connected with the first speaker to deliver a predetermined power output to the first speaker.
2. The modular entertainment system of claim 1, further comprising a car stereo head unit removably installed in the opening, wherein the transformer is electrically connected with the car stereo head unit to deliver a predetermined power output to the car stereo head unit, and further wherein the car stereo head unit is electrically connected with the first speaker to deliver electrical signals from the car stereo head unit to the first speaker.
3. The modular entertainment system of claim 2, further comprising an electronic data input port disposed on an external surface of the external housing, the electronic data input port being electrically connected with the car stereo head unit for delivering electrical signals from an external electronic device to the car stereo head unit.
4. The modular entertainment system of claim 3, wherein the electronic data input port comprises a USB port.
5. The modular entertainment system of claim 2, further comprising an alarm unit disposed within the electrical housing and electrically connected with the car stereo head unit and the first speaker, wherein when the car stereo head unit is disconnected from the alarm unit, the alarm unit delivers an electrical signal to the first speaker to deliver an audible alert.
6. The modular entertainment system of claim 2, wherein the car stereo head unit comprises a video screen, further wherein the car stereo head unit is in electrical communication with a video camera.
7. The modular entertainment system of claim 1, further comprising a second speaker at least partially disposed within the external housing, the transformer being electrically connected with the second speaker to deliver a predetermined power output to the second speaker.
8. The modular entertainment system of claim 1, further comprising a power output port disposed on an external surface of the external housing, the power output port being electrically connected with the transformer for delivering a predetermined power output to an external electrical device.
9. The modular entertainment system of claim 8, wherein the power output port comprises a 12V DC power outlet.
10. The modular entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the external housing comprises at least one compartment for storing one or more loose items.
11. The modular entertainment system of claim 1 , wherein the opening is sized to accommodate a single DIN car stereo head unit.
12. The modular entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the opening is sized to accommodate a double DESf car stereo head unit.
13. The modular entertainment system of claim 1, further comprising a wiring harness disposed within the external housing for electrically connecting the transformer and the first speaker with a car stereo head unit installed in the opening.
14. A method of customizing a portable entertainment system, the method comprising: providing a base unit comprising an external housing having an opening in a front surface, a first speaker at least partially disposed within the external housing, a power cord extending from the external housing, and a transformer disposed within the external housing and electrically connected with the power cord for receiving power from the external power source, the transformer further being electrically connected with the first speaker to deliver a predetermined power output to the first speaker;
selecting a media output device sized to be received in the opening of the external housing;
electrically connecting the media output device with the transformer and with the first speaker; and
installing the media output device in an opening in the external housing, such that a front face of the media output device is substantially flush with a front face of the external housing.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein electrically connecting the media output device with the transformer and with the first speaker comprises connecting the media output device to a wiring harness disposed within the external housing.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein the selecting the media output device comprises selecting a car stereo head unit.
17. The method of claim 14, further comprising connecting the media output device with an alarm unit disposed within the external housing.
18. A modular entertainment system comprising:
an external housing;
first and second speakers at least partially disposed within the external housing;
a power cord having a first end disposed within the external housing and a second end extending from the external housing for electrical connection with an external power source; a transformer disposed within the external housing and electrically connected with the second end of the power cord for receiving power from the external power source, the transformer further being electrically connected with the first and second speakers to deliver a predetermined power output to the first and second speakers;
a car stereo head unit removably installed in the opening; and
a wiring harness disposed within the external housing, the wiring harness electrically connecting the car stereo head unit to the transformer to deliver a predetermined power output to the car stereo head unit, the wiring harness further connecting car stereo head unit with the first and second speakers to deliver electrical audio signals from the car stereo head unit to the first and second speakers.
19. The modular entertainment system of claim 18, further comprising a 12V DC power output port disposed on an external surface of the external housing, the power output port being electrically connected with the transformer for delivering a predetermined power output to an external electrical device.
20. The modular entertainment system of claim 18, further comprising an electronic data input port disposed on an external surface of the external housing, the electronic data input port being electrically connected with the car stereo head unit for delivering electrical signals from an external electronic device to the car stereo head unit.
PCT/US2008/084625 2007-11-28 2008-11-25 Modular entertainment system WO2009070559A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US99079207 true 2007-11-28 2007-11-28
US60/990,792 2007-11-28

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Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6100792A (en) * 1996-05-20 2000-08-08 Alpine Electronics, Inc. Car security apparatus and car security system
US6326764B1 (en) * 2000-06-05 2001-12-04 Clement Virtudes Portable solar-powered CD player and electrical generator
US6434478B1 (en) * 2000-08-03 2002-08-13 Sony Corporation Service-rendering system, service-rendering apparatus and method, and navigation apparatus and method
US6443574B1 (en) * 2001-07-24 2002-09-03 Visteon Global Technologies, Inc. Removable vehicle entertainment system
US20050151422A1 (en) * 2004-01-08 2005-07-14 Gilmour Daniel A. Universal serial bus connector in a vehicle
US7177730B2 (en) * 2004-11-04 2007-02-13 Metra Electronics Corporation Installation kit for after-market autosound head unit with HVAC control emulation
US7230822B2 (en) * 2004-04-30 2007-06-12 Altec Lansing, A Division Of Plantronics, Inc. Compact portable media reproduction system
USD555646S1 (en) * 2007-04-02 2007-11-20 Metra Electronics Corporation Auto stereo mounting device with integral pocket

Patent Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6100792A (en) * 1996-05-20 2000-08-08 Alpine Electronics, Inc. Car security apparatus and car security system
US6326764B1 (en) * 2000-06-05 2001-12-04 Clement Virtudes Portable solar-powered CD player and electrical generator
US6434478B1 (en) * 2000-08-03 2002-08-13 Sony Corporation Service-rendering system, service-rendering apparatus and method, and navigation apparatus and method
US6443574B1 (en) * 2001-07-24 2002-09-03 Visteon Global Technologies, Inc. Removable vehicle entertainment system
US20050151422A1 (en) * 2004-01-08 2005-07-14 Gilmour Daniel A. Universal serial bus connector in a vehicle
US7230822B2 (en) * 2004-04-30 2007-06-12 Altec Lansing, A Division Of Plantronics, Inc. Compact portable media reproduction system
US7177730B2 (en) * 2004-11-04 2007-02-13 Metra Electronics Corporation Installation kit for after-market autosound head unit with HVAC control emulation
USD555646S1 (en) * 2007-04-02 2007-11-20 Metra Electronics Corporation Auto stereo mounting device with integral pocket

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