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DVD PLAYBACK OVER MULTI-ROOM BY
COPYING TO HDD
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates in general to broadband communications systems, and more particularly, to playing a DVD to multiple set-top boxes in a networked multi-room system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART 1 °
Broadband communications systems, such as satellite and cable television systems, are now capable of providing many services in addition to analog broadcast video. In implementing enhanced programming, the set-top box (STB), otherwise 15 known as a device, has become an important computing device for accessing various video services. In addition to supporting traditional analog broadcast video functionality, many STBs also provide other functionality, such as, for example, an interactive program guide (IPG), video-on-de- 20 mand (VOD), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), and functionality traditionally associated with a conventional computer, such as e-mail. Trick play features such as pause, fast forward, rewind, skip ahead, or skip back have also been included. While watching a presentation, users now have 25 enhanced control of their viewing experience.
Recently, new functionality has been added to conventional STBs—namely the ability to play a DVD and record an incoming video stream in digitized form onto a mass storage 3Q device, such as a hard disk drive, play back that recorded video as desired by the user, and transfer the video to a removable, archival storage device possibly using a DVD recorder. This functionality has become known as a "digital video recorder" (DVR) or personal video recorder (PVR) and 35 is viewed as a superior alternative to conventional video tape recorders for capture and subsequent playback of programming content.
A STB is typically connected to a television set and located at the home of the cable or satellite system subscriber. Since 4Q the STB is located at a subscriber's premises, it typically may be used by two or more users (e.g., household members). Television has become so prevalent in the United States that the typical household may have two or more television sets, each television set requiring its own STB if the subscriber 45 wishes to have access to enhanced functionality.
A networked multimedia system (NMS) is described in copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/342,670, filed Jan. 15, 2003, the disclosure and teachings of which are hereby incorporated by reference. The NMS allows a plural- 50 ity of remote devices in the premises to be locally networked (i.e., home-networked). One of the remote devices typically acts as the server or primary device (i.e., the primary set-top box (STB)) in the NMS. The primary device receives and forwards upon request broadband multimedia presentations 55 (e.g., analog or digital television channels (i.e., audio/video signals), IP signals, video-on-demand (VOD) signals, administrative signals, etc.) throughout the local network to the plurality of remote devices (i.e., client devices). Furthermore, the remote devices are each capable of requesting and seam- 60 lessly receiving from the primary device resident presentations, such as a stored or recorded presentation, the interactive program guide, or the network guide, for example.
This new technology also allows multiple users in a household to access material on the primary set-top box through 65 remote set-top boxes. To increase functionality, there is a need for the ability to play a DVD at the primary device and then
view the presentation, or movie, at multiple remote devices either simultaneously or at varying times.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the invention. In the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
FIG. 1 is a simplified block diagram depicting a nonlimiting example of a conventional broadband communications system with a networked multi-room system (NMS).
FIG. 2 illustrates a non-limiting example of one embodiment of an interactive program guide (IPG), which is suitable for use in the NMS of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 illustrates the IPG of FIG. 2 further including functionality listings, such as a DVD.
FIG. 4 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the IPG of FIG. 2 further including functionality listings, such as a DVD and DVD menu options.
FIG. 5 illustrates a non-limiting example of a recorded programs list screen that may be presented to a remote device via the NMS of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 illustrates a non-limiting example of a DVD menu screen.
The embodiments of the invention can be understood in the context of a broadband communications system and a local network system. Note, however, that the invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. For example, transmitted broadband signals may include at least one of video/audio, telephony, data, or Internet Protocol (IP) signals, to name but a few. Furthermore, remote devices included in the local network system receiving the transmitted broadband signals may include a set-top terminal (STB), a television, a computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or other display device. Moreover, in accordance with the present invention a multi-room interactive network guide can have various features, functions, and presentations when displayed. All examples given herein, therefore, are intended to be non-limiting and are provided in order to help clarify the description of the invention.
FIG. 1 is a simplified block diagram depicting a nonlimiting example of a conventional broadband communications system 100. In this example, the communications system 100 includes a local networked multi-room system (NMS) 110 that is coupled to a headend (HE) 120 via a communications network (CN) 130. The CN130 may be any network that is suitable for carrying, preferably downstream and upstream, broadband multimedia signals, such as audio/ video signals, IP signals, telephony signals, or data signals to name but a few. The CN 130 may be, for example, a hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network, a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, a satellite network, or a fixed wireless network (e.g., MMDS), among others.
The HE 120 may include one or more server devices for providing broadband signals, such as video, audio, and/or data signals, to a primary device 140 via the CN 130. The HE 120 and the primary device 140 cooperate to provide a user with a variety of services. The services may include, for example, analog or digital broadcast television services and channels, video-on-demand (VOD) services, and/or pay-per