Automatic Network Awareness about Legacy Devices and Their Connections
Publication Date: 2004-Jun-15
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Automatic Network Awareness about
Legacy Devices and Their Connections
1 Current Situation
Legacy devices, e.g. DVD players, STBs (e.g. cable, satellite), TVs and connected devices, e.g. a UPnP enabled Audio renderer, PC running Windows XP and a UPnP client/server program, constitute the home entertainment Audio/Video cluster of today. ([JvG1] ) As legacy devices and connected devices have emerged from different usage paradigms and industries there is no automatic, seamless operation of this entertainment cluster from a user's perspective. I.e. today the user must tell the system about the setup of "out-of bound" connections between legacy devices and connected devices, it much must teach the system where devices are located, and which protocols they support to communicate. Only by means of this input the system is able to perform tasks like "record the show XY tonight from BroadcasterA" autonomously (i.e. it knows that it can receive BroadcasterA by means of the satellite STB, which is connected by SCART directly to the DVDR/HDD combo, ...). Note that each change in the setup must be reported manually by the user to the system to allow it to continue functioning - an unacceptable burden.
2 General Solution
Legacy devices of today are operated by means of a remote control, whose commands can be read and interpreted by a universal receiver. Remote control commands usually effect/change the A/V signal re-produced by these legacy devices. These A/V signals in turn are made available to legacy and non legacy devices by means of connectors/analogue & digital signal busses, which we call "out of band signaling" in the UPnP domain. A device that features a universal IR receiver and is connected to the UPnP network of connected devices and to the out-of bound connections between legacy devices, is able to reason autonomously about the A/V cluster's setup. It can share the acquired knowledge about the setup with other connected devices by means of a service.
One solution is a stand alone box featuring an IR in/output, a microphone, SCART+cinch A/V connectors, and a UPnP connection (via Ethernet, WiFi, and other common networks for IP connectivity). The box is installed in the legacy A/V cluster (e.g. in the living room): the SCART connectors are used to add the box into the SCART daisy chain, the cinch audio connectors are used to connect the box to the A/V "master" output of the amplifier, and the IP connectivity is used to connect to the "connected devices". After installation the user can operate his equipment as if there were no box installed. The box monitors the IR commands the user sends and the consequences these commands have on the A/V signals it observes. Additionally the microphone can be used to reason about which device is used for the amplification of audio signals (e.g. for TV watching the TV speakers are used - no signal on the cinch audio connector, still sound audible and similar content as on SCART chain, for DVD p...