INTELLIGENT EXTERNAL SERIAL ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY ATTACHMENT (eSATA) IMPLEMENTATION
Publication Date: 2010-Jul-08
The IP.com Prior Art Database
I N T E L L I G E N T E X T E R N A L S E R I A L A D V A N C E D T E C H N O L O G Y A T T A C H M E N T ( e S A T A )
I M P L E M E N T A T I O N
Author: Michael J. Cook
External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (eSATA) is an external interface used in data transfer. SATA technologies are considered to be the next generation of internal bus interfaces for hard drives. SATA is a more streamlined process which provides greater transfer speeds through its serial structural design.1
One problem associated with eSATA devices is that they lack portability gateway features, and means to compress media or manage media on an eSATA drive or to share media from an eSATA drive. Conventional solutions to this problem include developing discrete portability gateways and network storage devices; compressing media in the host PC; and managing media through the host PC or NAS device. The drawback with these solutions is that not all devices can meet the interface requirements imposed by these conventional methods. Many legacy set top boxes (STB) implement an eSATA interface for the purpose of extending DVR storage requirements. Some also implement USB and/or Ethernet connectivity, which in some instances work at very slow data rates. Those STBs which have limited USB and Ethernet data rates could use this implementation to use the
Figure 1: Smart eSATA Implementation
Control Interface Over USB or Ethernet
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eSATA port (at very fast rates) as an alternative. The extensions to the standard eSATA capabilities would also include media compression and media management.
Figure 1 depicts one method of implementing an eSATA interface for the purpose of extending DVR storage on a STB.
The proposed implementation seeks to add supplementary functionality downstream of an eSATA interface. This functionality is made possible by:
(1) Swapping out the standard eSATA Controller with a "Smart Controller"
(2) Adding in a Multi-media System on a chip (SOC)
MPEG-2 files written across the eSATA interface are intercepted by the Smart Controller and directed toward the multi-media SOC. The SOC compresses the MPEG-2 stream into an MPEG-4 stream in real time and relays the new stream back to the Smart Controller for writing to the internal disk. The compression of the file saves disk space, as it can compress a 19 Mb/sec HD MPEG-2 stream down to approximately a 6Mb/sec MPEG-4 stream.
When a 'read' is requested by the STB, the eSATA drive can either return the MPEG-4 stream (if the STB is capable of handling MPEG-4) or can translate the stream back to MPEG-2.
In addition, the multi-media SOC can also support portability use cases. In this case, the SOC would modify the original MPEG-2 stream to a format consistent with a...