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(PF/RdChannel#17/PM) Programmable Hard Disk Storage Offering Increased Capacity and/or Performance for Multimedia Applications Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014975D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 5 page(s) / 89K

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  (PF/RdChannel#17/PM) Programmable Hard Disk Storage Offering Increased Capacity and/or Performance for Multimedia Applications


This paper discloses a means of hard drive storage by which a user can select a configuration or performance level that boosts drive capacity and/or performance at the expense of error rates. The invention described in this paper addresses the following questions:

How to create a larger capacity hard disk drive for storage of multimedia files?

How to offer advantageous configurability to the multimedia user, whose storage requirements are unique in their need for capacity and tolerance of errors?

How to offer competitive storage to manufacturers of multimedia entertainment devices and set top boxes such as Home Communications Terminals [1].


The hard drive industry has long sustained exponential growth to meet storage demands of computer users. Future storage requirements will only intensify as more users become interested in multimedia applications such as desktop video, and as faster connections to the Internet facilitate streaming and exchange of audio and video (A/V) content. As desktop multimedia becomes more widespread, A/V content is likely to increasingly dominate the data stored by home computer users. Drives dedicated for such content are already popular among enthusiasts, and could become the norm among typical users.

Multimedia will likely drive storage capacity upward with no end in sight. While a 100 GB drive may be capable of storing a library floor of academic journals [2], merely 6 hours of DV-format video will fit on the same drive. Demand for increased performance will likely follow, as users won't tolerate response times that scale with capacity trends. Today's hard drives, with their low latency, high burst and sustained transfer rates, and large buffers, offer adequate speed performance for typical multimedia users. However, video formats change over time and expectations of quality may outpace advances in compression technology. Drive speed could easily become a limitation for video users as it once was [3],[4].

Future set-top home entertainment devices [1] may require cost-effective, dedicated storage of A/V content, as well.

Multimedia content is unique in its demands made upon storage, not just in terms of capacity and performance, but also in terms of error tolerance. Presently, hard drives -12are designed for extremely low error rates. Typical error rates are 10, which means that for every 125 GB of data read off the drive, typically one bit will be returned incorrectly. For many applications, such low error rates are critical. However, for A/V


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applications, this level of reliablity is excessive because errors have less of an impact. For example, an error in a byte of data representing color and intensity of a single pixel within a single frame of video may not even be noticeable to the viewer. Even a low level of noticeable degradation may...