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Browse Prior Art Database

MPEG Menu Manager

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000116443D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-30
Document File: 6 page(s) / 249K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Doidge, DA: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Interactive Television applications need to provide on-screen menus for the user to select programs. The capability to generate these menus generally exists in digital set-top boxes. However, today's set-top boxes are analog, and the analog cable TV infrastructure will continue to exist for many years, perhaps even decades. Where analog technology is employed, the menu must be generated by the server complex. This either requires significant additional hardware circuitry to generate these menus, or an alternative solution which can use the digital-to-analog MPEG decompression hardware. The MPEG Menu Manager solves this problem by providing a dynamic user menu interface for an Interactive TV network (ITV). It is intended for ITV applications which require menu management in software residing on a Menu Server(s).

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 24% of the total text.

MPEG Menu Manager

      Interactive Television applications need to provide on-screen
menus for the user to select programs.  The capability to generate
these menus generally exists in digital set-top boxes.  However,
today's set-top boxes are analog, and the analog cable TV
infrastructure will continue to exist for many years, perhaps even
decades.  Where analog technology is employed, the menu must be
generated by the server complex.  This either requires significant
additional hardware circuitry to generate these menus, or an
alternative solution which can use the digital-to-analog MPEG
decompression hardware.  The MPEG Menu Manager solves this problem by
providing a dynamic user menu interface for an Interactive TV network
(ITV).  It is intended for ITV applications which require menu
management in software residing on a Menu Server(s).  A larger number
of simultaneous user commands can be serviced using software and the
cost of an ITV system is dramatically reduced.

      Implementation of an Interactive TV network requires the
ability to handle menu commands simultaneously from multiple home
viewers.  Handling these menu commands requires updating the menu
display for each viewer issuing a command (i.e., by clicking a menu
button).  The MPEG stream for the menu must be regenerated for the
new menu display.  Recomputing the MPEG stream for the menu is one
way of accomplishing this.  Unfortunately, this method requires
extensive processing if implemented in software, which can slow the
response time of the ITV network.  The MPEG Menu Manager provides an
efficient solution for updating the user menu without recomputing the
MPEG stream.  The MPEG Menu Manager also improves the response time
of menu updates for multiple home viewers.

      The MPEG Menu Manager stores pregenerated MPEG slices for all
menu images in memory.  This provides an efficient scheme for
vertical menu scrolling and menu display updates including button
highlighting.  Only a limited number of MPEG slices are required to
generate many different menu images since a menu is segmented into
rectangular buttons.  Whenever a menu update is requested, the MPEG
Menu Manager replaces menu slices to reflect the changes.  MPEG
slices for the menu do not have to be recomputed, which enhances the
performance of the ITV system.  MPEG Slices are smallest entities
within an MPEG stream that can be manipulated as bytes for dynamic
menu updates.

      The ITV menu interface consists of a tree of menu displays
which can be navigated by the home viewer.  Each menu display
contains a set of unique buttons which are selected to enter
commands.  Menu buttons can be used to enter specific commands or to
bring up a new menu.  Whenever a new menu is selected, the MPEG Menu
Manager replaces the currently displayed menu with the new menu.  In
that manner, buttons can be used to navigate through menus.

      The MPEG Menu Manager stores all menu displa...