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1 MULTIROOM POINT OF DEPLOYMENT MODULE
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS
The present application is a continuation-in-part of copending U.S. patent application entitled “Multi-Outlet Server System” having Ser. No. 10/ 342,670, which Was filed J an. 15, 2003, which incorporates by reference in its entirety herein U.S. provisional application having Ser. No. 60/416, 155, which Was filed on Oct. 4, 2002, and U.S. provisional application having Ser. No. 60/424,269, which Was filed on Nov. 6, 2002.
This invention relates in general to broadband communications systems, and more particularly, to the field of digitalready televisions in a networked multimedia system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART
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 terminal (STT), otherwise known as the set-top box, has become an important computing device for accessing various video services. In addition to supporting traditional analog broadcast video functionality, many STTs now also provide other functionality, such as, for example, an interactive program guide (IPG), video-on-demand (V OD), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) and functionality traditionally associated With a conventional computer, such as e-mail. Recently new functionality has been added to conventional STTs—namely the ability to record an incoming video stream in digitized form onto a mass storage device such as a hard dish drive, and playback that recorded video as desired by the user. This functionality has become known as a “digital video recorder” (DVR) or personal video recorder (PVR) and is viewed as a superior alternative to conventional video tape recorders for capture and subsequent playback of programming content.
Furthermore, digital televisions that are capable of receiving signals directly from the communications systems are now being used in the market. In this case, the television does not necessarily require a STT. Typically, the signals are encrypted prior to sending them through the communications systems, so a point of deployment (POD) module is required in order for the television to properly display the encrypted signals. A POD module, or CableCard, is inserted into the television set, and the card then decrypts the signals. The POD module may be one-way (i.e., decrypts incoming signals only) or two-way (i.e., decrypts incoming signals and transmits signals to the headend). A two-way CableCard is also referred to as an advanced multi-stream CableCard or AMS CableCard.
Television has become so prevalent in the United States, however, that the typical household may have two or more television sets, where each television set requires its own STT or POD module if the subscriber wishes to have access to enhanced functionality. However, STTs can be expensive and users may not be willing to purchase additional enhanced STTs. Additionally, the POD modules are unable to record video programs.
Therefore, there exists a need for systems and methods for addressing these and/or other problems associated with STTs
and POD modules. Specifically, there exists a need for systems and methods that allow a cable-ready television including a POD module to have access to programming and content received by and/or stored in another STT within a subscriber premises or other local area.
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.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating one preferred embodiment of a networked multimedia system (NMS) in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a simplified, non-limiting block diagram illustrating selected components of a primary STT in accordance with one preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a graph of the frequencies of the downstream broadband signals and the predetermined frequencies of the up-converted selected signals.
FIG. 5 is a simplified diagram of one preferred embodiment of a remote point of deployment module.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Preferred embodiments of the invention can be understood in the context of a broadband communications system and a local network. 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 include at least one of video/audio, telephony, data, or Intemet Protocol (IP) signals, to name but a few. Furthermore, remote devices included in the broadband communications system receiving the transmitted broadband signals may include a remote set-top terminal, a television, a television including a point of deployment (POD) module, a consumer electronics device such as a DVD player/recorder, a computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or other device. All examples given herein, therefore, are intended to be non-limiting and are provided in order to help clarify the description of the invention.
The present invention is directed towards a networked multimedia system (NMS) that is suitable for use in a broadband communications system. The NMS is typically located within a subscriber premise. It will be appreciated, however, that the NMS can also be used in a multi-unit dwelling, business, school, hotel, or hospital, among others. Advantageously, the NMS allows the premise to be locally networked (i.e., homenetworked). In accordance with the present invention a primary, or server, set-top terminal (STT) typically receives and forwards broadband multimedia content signals (e.g., digital or analog cable television channels (i.e., audio/video signals), IP signals, VOD signals, software application signals, administrative signals, etc.) throughout the local network to a plurality of remote devices. Additionally, the remote devices are each capable of requesting from the primary STT and seamlessly receiving, for example, a cable channel, a stored or recorded presentation, a VOD movie, or the interactive program guide, just as if the remote devices were equipped with the primary STT functionality. In other words, the remote