SYSTEM AND APPARATUS FOR LOCAL
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
The present application claims priority from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/696,395, filed Oct. 29, 2003, entitled "SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR LOCAL VIDEO DISTRIBUTION," which is incorporated by reference herein in its 10 entirety.
FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
The present disclosure relates generally to video content 15 communication, and more specifically to a system and method for local video distribution.
Video distribution services like cable television services and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television services send a signal representing several different channels to the premises of their customers. In many cases, this incoming signal is digital and represents literally hundreds of different channels. 25 With so many channels, a consumer may need to employ a device to "tune in" a given channel. This may be especially true when some of the channels represent so-called premium channels.
The "tuning-in" process typically involves parsing the 30 incoming signal to identify the portions that represent the desired channel and then decoding those portions. Devices that perform the parsing and decoding processes may include, among others, a personal computer executing some video application or a set-top box (STB). Conventionally, an STB or 35 other tuning device is necessary for television viewers or customers who wish to use an analog television set to receive digital broadcasts.
In many cases, a video distribution service provider will make an STB and a remote control for that STB available to 40 the customer. The typical STB will actually rest on top of the television it supports. If a customer wants to receive the video distribution service in more than one room of the house or on more than one television, the customer will likely need to purchase or secure additional STBs. As the number of televi- 45 sions to be used increases, the cost associated with receiving the service may become too high. The amount of space taken up by multiple STBs may become too large, and the number of additional remote controls within the home may become too confusing. 50
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements illustrated in the Figures have not nec- 55 essarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements are exaggerated relative to other elements. Embodiments incorporating teachings of the present disclosure are shown and described with respect to the drawings presented herein, in which: 60
FIG. 1 presents a block diagram of a video distribution system that incorporates teachings of the present disclosure;
FIG. 2 shows a flow diagram for a technique that may be used to implement teachings of the present disclosure;
FIG. 3 presents a simplified block diagram for a video 65 distribution system that incorporates teachings of the present disclosure; and
FIG. 4 shows a flow diagram for a technique that may be used to implement teachings of the present disclosure.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
As mentioned above, FIG. 1 presents a block diagram of a video distribution system 10 that incorporates teachings of the present disclosure. As depicted, system 10 includes an integrated tuning device 12, which may be an STB, a personal computer executing a video application, or some other electronic device capable of performing STB-like functions. As depicted, device 12 includes a network interface adapter 14 providing at least a portion of a communication path interconnecting device 12 to a wide area communication network, which may include a cable network, a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) system, a telecommunication network, and/or some other network capable of communicating information to device 12.
In operation, adapter 14 may receive a multiplexed signal representing several different video information streams. For example, a cable service provider may send a signal to each customer that represents hundreds of broadcast video channels and several more broadcast audio channels. Satellite television providers, like DBS providers, may provide even more channels. Many of the distributed video channels may be "premium" channels, and a service provider may charge additional monies for viewing a program on one of these premium channels.
In some embodiments of device 12, adapter 14 may perform front-end subsystem functions like signal reception, demodulation, error correction, signal encoding, and/or other signal manipulations. Many of these subsystem functions may be provider specific. For example, a signal coming from a cable head end may require front end processing that is substantially different than the processing performed on a DBS signal.
Adapter 14 may output a processed signal to diplexer 16. As depicted, device 12 may be capable of performing several high-end functions. For example, in addition to performing some STB-like functions, device 12 may also effectively function as a multimedia desktop computer that runs a variety of advanced services such as videoconferencing, home networking, Internet Protocol telephony, Video on Demand (VoD), high-speed Internet Television, personal video recording, and/or others. Diplexer 16 may facilitate some of these services by distinguish between upstream and downstream communication flow. In some embodiments, upstream traffic may be carried in a defined frequency range that is different than the defined frequency range of downstream traffic. As such, diplexer 16 may be able to separate upstream from downstream traffic by reference to the frequency of the signals.
Diplexer 16 may output a downstream multiplexed signal to a splitter 18, which may be passive in operation. In some embodiments, splitter 18 may passively split a signal into intermediate signals, which may be identical or nearly identical to each other. As shown, splitter 18 may create three split streams 20 and one downstream data stream 21. Split streams 20 may feed three separate output modules 22, 24, and 26. As shown, an output module, like module 22, may include a decoder 28 and a modulator 30. Because splitting a signal may degrade the noise figure (NF) of a system, a low noise, high linearity amplifier 32 may be added to device 12 upstream of splitter 18. In some embodiments, amplifier 32 may be low noise and high linearity so as not to compromise what is downstream in the signal chain.