Streaming media encoder with confidence monitor

Streaming media encoder with confidence monitor
US 20070053379Al
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2007/0053379 A1
(43) Pub. Date:
Hershey et al.
(54)
STREAMING MEDIA ENCODER WITH
Mar. 8, 2007
Publication Classi?cation
CONFIDENCE MONITOR
(76) Inventors: Mark Hershey, Murphy, TX (US);
David T. Stoner, McKinney, TX (US);
Rick Southerland, Plano, TX (US)
(51)
Int. Cl.
H04] 3/16
(52)
Us. or. .......................................... .. 370/466; 370/401
(57)
Correspondence Address:
HOWISON & ARNOTT, L.L.P
DALLAS, TX 75374-1715 (US)
11/220,025
(22) Filed:
Sep. 6, 2005
ABSTRACT
A system and method for encoding an audiovisual media
stream is disclosed. The method includes, receiving an input
P.O. BOX 741715
(21) Appl. No.:
(2006.01)
signal from an analog audiovisual source, encoding the input
signal to produce an encoded media stream, providing the
encoded media stream to a network interface, and displaying
the received input signal on a con?dence monitor.
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Patent Application Publication Mar. 8, 2007 Sheet 12 0f 12
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Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
STREAMING MEDIA ENCODER WITH
CONFIDENCE MONITOR
[0007] FIG. 2 is a frontal vieW of another embodiment of
a streaming media encoder in accordance With aspects of the
present disclosure.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
[0001]
As the use of the Internet has become ubiquitous
more services are being offered online. This includes not
only interactive services for Which the Internet is Widely
known, such as email, online shopping, online banking, and
customized information services, but has also come to
[0008] FIG. 3 is a How diagram of one embodiment of a
menu system of a system status monitor for a streaming
media encoder in accordance With aspects of the present
disclosure.
[0009]
FIG. 4 is a rear vieW of one embodiment of a
include services that have traditionally been non-interactive,
such as the provision of radio programming and television
streaming media encoder in accordance With aspects of the
present disclosure.
programming. Streaming media, in primitive forms, has
[0010]
been present on the Internet for some time. HoWever, as
streaming media encoder in accordance With aspects of the
present disclosure.
greater numbers of users gain access to high speed data lines
through school, through Work, or through a home based
broadband solution more people Will come to see the Inter
net in general, and streaming media in particular, as a viable
alternative for the delivery of media content. This includes
daily programming such as typically appears on netWork
broadcasting stations as Well as special event programming
such as movies and sporting events.
[0002] Streaming media delivery is both promising and
problematic. With traditional media delivery vehicles such
as broadcasting and cable or satellite feeds, users typically
must plan to be available When the broadcast is available or
make other arrangements on their oWn. HoWever With
[0011]
FIG. 5 is a side vieW of one embodiment of a
FIG. 6. is a perspective vieW of the streaming
media encoder of FIG. 5.
[0012]
FIG. 7 illustrates a plurality of streaming media
encoders in one embodiment of a rack mounting system in
accordance With aspects of the present disclosure.
[0013] FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of a streaming media
encoder according to aspects of the present disclosure.
[0014] FIG. 9 is a functional block diagram of a streaming
media encoder according to aspects of the present disclo
sure.
streaming media and Internet content, users expect delivery
[0015]
to be at their discretion. This can raise a variety of issues for
environment for one or more streaming media encoders
providers as they a attempt to deal With What is essentially
replicating the broadcast event for every vieWer. In addition
to current and ongoing programming, providers are also
[0016]
faced With the problem of legacy programming that may still
prove valuable, if it can be provided, more or less on
demand When vieWers so request. The vast amount of
FIG. 10 illustrates one embodiment of an operating
according to aspects of the present disclosure.
FIG. 11 is a How chart corresponding to one
possible mode of operation of a streaming media encoder
according to aspects of the present invention.
[0017]
FIG. 12 is a How chart corresponding to another
programming currently available, as Well as the large vol
ume of non-digital legacy programming, can create prob
possible mode of operation of a streaming media encoder
according to aspects of the present invention.
lems associated With the scale or siZe of a given operation as
Well as With the technical difficulties involved in the deliv
ery.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
INVENTION
[0003] Therefore What is needed is a system and method
for dealing With the issues discussed above and related
issues.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
[0018]
Referring noW to the draWings, and more particu
larly to FIG. 1, a frontal vieW of one embodiment of a
streaming media encoder 100 in accordance With aspects of
the present disclosure is shoWn. The streaming media
encoder 100 has a front mounting plate 105, in Which are
mounted a number of interface implements as Will be
described. One or more mounting points 110, in this case
[0004] The present invention disclosed and claimed
herein, in one aspect thereof, comprises a method for
monitoring an encoding process of an audiovisual media
stream. The method includes receiving an input signal from
bolt or screW holes, possibly including captive bolts or
screWs, may be provided at various locations on the front
an analog or digital audiovisual source, extracting a text feed
plate 105 to provide means for attaching the streaming
from the audiovisual source, encoding the input signal to
produce an encoded media stream, providing the encoded
media encoder 100 to a rack or other mounting point. AvieW
media stream to a netWork interface, and displaying the
received input signal on a con?dence monitor.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0005] For a more complete understanding of the present
invention and the advantages thereof, reference is noW made
to the folloWing description taken in conjunction With the
accompanying DraWings in Which:
[0006]
FIG. 1 is a frontal vieW of one embodiment of a
streaming media encoder in accordance With aspects of the
present disclosure.
screen, or con?dence monitor 115, is provided along With
monitor channel selection buttons 120. A cycle selection
button 122 and indicator light 124 may also be provided.
Audio level meters 125 are provided, Which correspond to
the tWo input channels A and B. A headphone jack 126 may
also be provided for monitoring of the input audio signals.
A volume control, in this case volume control buttons 127
may be provided to adjust the volume or gain of an input
signal as played through the headphone jack 126. A selector
sWitch 130 may be provided for sWitching the current mode
of operation of the streaming media encoder 100. Associated
With the selector sWitch 130 are a series of indicator lights
132 providing information regarding the currently selected
Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
mode of operation of the streaming media encoder 100. The
streaming media encoder 100 may feature one or more
ventilation grilles 145. The ventilation grille 145 may be
located substantially near the center of the front plate 105 or
in other locations according the needs of the user.
[0019]
The streaming media encoder 100 may also pro
vide a series of monitor outputs 150 Which may be used to
monitor the input signal, or in some embodiments, may also
be used to vieW the encoded media signal, as Will be
described in greater detail beloW. A series of activity indi
beloW. A cycle indicator light 124, Which may be a light
emitting diode (LED) or other selectable light source may
provide immediate indication that the con?dence monitor
115 is in cycle mode. In another embodiment, the con?dence
monitor 115 may be con?gured to provide a split screen
vieW such that both channels A and B are displayed simul
taneously. In further embodiments, the user may also have
the option of having the con?dence monitor display the
encoded output signal. In such case, an internal decoder may
be used to decode the encoded output signal and provide a
video feed back to the con?dence monitor 115.
cator lights 155 may serve to indicate to a user the current
activity of the streaming media encoder 100. Similarly, a
series of status lights 157 may be provided to indicate the
status of various internal components of the streaming media
[0023] In addition to the input video loop feeds associated
With each of channels A and B, audio loop feeds for each
channel may be monitored by audio level meters 125. The
encoder 100. Reset and poWer buttons 158, 159 are also
provided. A system status monitor 160 may be provided,
audio level meters 125 may be bar graph style light emitting
diode (LED) meters and may provide level information for
Which may include a text display 160 and a series of control
buttons 165.
stereo audio signals. Using the audio level meters 125, an
operator may be able to ascertain visually Whether the input
[0020]
audio signals are present. Volume buttons 127 may be
provided to alloW the user to adjust the volume level of the
audio input feed as delivered to the headphone jack 126. In
The con?dence monitor 115 may be a liquid crystal
display (LCD) screen, a plasma screen, a cathode ray tube
(CRT), or another type of display. The siZe of the con?dence
monitor 115 may be chosen to ?t the needs of the user. In the
present embodiment, the con?dence monitor 115 is siZed
proportionately to ?t the front plate 105 such that the
con?dence monitor 115 is vieWable in the front plate 105
another embodiment, the streaming media encoder 100 Will
have one or more internal speakers for monitoring the input
signal in addition to, or instead of, the headphone jack 126.
[0024] Additional command buttons and indicator lights
Without hinges, sWivels, or other adjustments. Likewise, the
associated With the con?dence monitor 115 may also be
quality or resolution of the con?dence monitor 115 may be
chosen based upon the needs of the end user. The con?dence
provided. For example, shoWn in the present embodiment is
monitor 115 may be able to produce video from phase
selecting the overall operative mode of the con?dence
monitor 115. Indicators lights 132 may also be provided that
alternate line (PAL) format, National Television Systems
command button 130 Which serves as a mode selector for
Committee (NTSC) format, or other transmission formats.
indicate visually to a user the current mode of operation of
In one embodiment, the con?dence monitor may present a
the con?dence monitor 115. In the embodiment shoWn, there
are indicator lights 132 corresponding to “NORMAL”
mode, “TEST SOURCE” mode, and “AUTO” mode. NOR
MAL mode may correspond to a mode of operation Where
normal audiovisual inputs are being displayed on the con
?dence monitor 115 and encoded by the streaming media
graphical representation of a set of controls using video
graphics array (VGA) signals, super VGA (SVGA) signals,
extended VGA (XVGA) signals, or another graphics repre
sentation standards.
[0021] The con?dence monitor 115 is adapted to display a
video loop feed from an input to the streaming media
encoder 100 as Will be described in greater detail beloW. In
the present embodiment, the con?dence monitor 115 can
display the video loop from one of tWo distinct inputs to the
streaming media encoder 100. The tWo inputs may be
referred to as channels A and B. Command buttons 120, or
other selection means, may be provided to alloW a user to
chose Which channel is to be displayed on the con?dence
monitor 115. The command buttons 120 and other buttons
shoWn on the front plate 105 may, in come cases, be replaced
With rotary knobs, dials, slides, touchscreens, or other suit
able user input implements. The buttons may provide analog
or digital signals as dictated by the speci?c implementation
of the streaming media encoder and the needs of the user. In
one embodiment, the command buttons 120 and other but
tons shoWn may be pressure sensitive or solid state buttons.
[0022] The user may also have the option to have the
con?dence monitor 115 cycle betWeen channels A and B by
pressing the cycle selection button 122. In additional
embodiments, more channels may be provided to the con
?dence monitor 115. The con?dence monitor 115 may cycle
betWeen channels A and B at a predetermined interval (e. g.,
displaying each for 5 seconds and then sWitching) or the user
may be able to program the cycle length using a system
status monitor or via remote con?guration as described
encoder 100. TEST SOURCE mode may correspond to a
test signal being displayed by the con?dence monitor and/or
the audio level meters 127 rather than an actual input feed.
AUTO mode may correspond to a mode for displaying video
and audio on the con?dence monitor 115 and audio level
meters 127, respectively, When a signal is available, and for
displaying a test signal otherWise. Although three modes of
operations and their associated indicator lights have been
described, the streaming media encoder 100 is not meant to
be so limited, as other modes of operation are contemplated
and fall Within the scope of this disclosure.
[0025]
The grating or grille 145 may be formed directly on
the front panel 105 or it may be a discrete, attached
component. In some embodiments, the grille 145 may be
removable to facilitate cleaning or to access the inside of the
streaming media encoder 100. The grille 145 may serve to
provide air?oW or ventilation to the components inside the
streaming media encoder 100. In one embodiment, the grille
145 serves as a covering for one or more speakers (not
shoWn) Which may correspond to the audio signal of the
selected input channel. The grille 145 may also serve as a
covering for one or more electric fans (not shoWn) to provide
forced air cooling of the streaming media encoder 100.
[0026] A number of monitor output connections 150 may
be provided. These monitor output connections 150 corre
Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
spond to the input channels A and B. In another embodiment
the output connections 150 may also correspond to a
decoded version of the encoded output signals of the stream
headphone jack 226. A selector sWitch 230 may be provided
for sWitching the current mode of the streaming media
ing media encoder. The encoded output signals are also
series of indicator lights 132 providing information regard
ing the currently selected mode of operation of the ?rst
provided at the rear of the streaming media encoder 100 as
Will be described in greater detail beloW. The output con
nections 150 themselves may be of an industry standard
type, such as Radio Corporation of America (RCA) connec
tors. In one embodiment, a separate connector 150 may be
provided for each stereo audio component and for the video
signal component corresponding to each of channels A and
B.
[0027] Additional indicator lights 155, 157 may be pro
vided for displaying additional information visually Without
the need to interact With the streaming media encoder 100.
The indicator lights 155 may be “Activity” lights that may
encoder 100. Associated With the selector sWitch 130 are a
con?dence monitor 215. The streaming media encoder 200
may also provide a series of monitor outputs 250 Which may
be used by a user to monitor the encoded media signal. A
series of activity indicator lights 255 may serve to indicate
to a user the current activity of the streaming media encoder
200. A series of status lights 257 may be provided to indicate
the status of various internal components of the streaming
media encoder 100. Reset and poWer buttons 258, 259 are
also provided. A system status monitor 260 may be provided
that may include a text display 260 and a series of control
buttons 265.
illuminate When an internal disc is being accessed, When a
local area netWork (LAN) connection is active, or When
[0030]
some other activity is occurring. The indicator lights 157
encoder 200 includes a second con?dence monitor 267. The
may correspond to alarm conditions or other conditions that
second con?dence monitor 267 may be substantially similar
to the ?rst con?dence monitor 215. HoWever, the second
con?dence monitor 267, may be used to monitor the
may require attention to the streaming media encoder 100.
For example, indicator lights 157 may indicate an alarm or
fault condition such as high voltage, a fan failure, or a poWer
supply failure. In this case, the indicator lights 157 may have
a separate poWer supply, such as a battery backup, such that
the indicator lights 157 remain operable even When poWer to
the streaming media encoder 100 has been interrupted. A
“RESET” button 158 may be provided that Will reset the
entire streaming media encoder 100. A “POWER” button for
controlling the main poWer to the streaming media encoder
100 is also provided.
[0028]
The system status monitor (SSM) 160 is also
provided in an accessible and vieWable location on the front
plate 105. The SSM 160 includes a text display area 162. In
the present embodiment, the text display area may be a
liquid crystal display (LCD) having one or more lines for
displaying the text of user requested information and for
providing user prompts for the adjustment and con?guration
of system settings for the streaming media encoder 100. The
text display 162 may also provide information during alarm
conditions. A set of buttons 165 is provided near the text
display 160 and may be utiliZed to provide user input for
con?guring the streaming media encoder 100. Information
that may be displayed on the text display 162 of the SSM
160 as Well as the functions and settings accessible using the
text display 162 and buttons 165 is described in greater
detail beloW With regard to the menu system.
[0029] Referring noW to FIG. 2, a frontal vieW of another
embodiment of a streaming media encoder 200 in accor
dance With aspects of the present disclosure is shoWn. The
streaming media encoder 200 is substantially similar to the
streaming media encoder 100 discussed above. The stream
ing media encoder 200 has a front mounting plate 205, in
Which are mounted a number of interface implements. One
or more mounting points 210, possibly including captive
fasteners, may be provided at various locations on the front
plate 205. A ?rst vieW screen, or con?dence monitor 215, is
provided along With monitor channel selection buttons 220.
A cycle selection button 122 and indicator light 224 may
also be provided. Audio level meters 225 may be provided,
Which correspond to audio signals for channels A and B.
Volume control buttons 227, may be provided to adjust the
volume or gain of an input signal as relayed through the
In addition to the features shared With the stream
ing media encoder 100 of FIG. 1, the streaming media
encoded video signal rather than the input signal. In such
case, an internal decoder ?rst decodes the encoded output
audio and video signal and provides the video portion of the
signal to the second con?dence monitor 267. In this manner,
the streaming media encoder 200 provides encoding and
pre- and post-encoding con?dence monitoring for at least
tWo input channels. As With the ?rst con?dence monitor 215,
the second con?dence monitor may be set to display an
output channel A or B by command buttons 270, or set to
cycle by using command button 272. As With the ?rst
con?dence monitor 215, a headphone jack 276 and output
volume control buttons 277 may be provided as Well as one
or more additional selector sWitches 280 for sWitching
betWeen operating modes such as NORMAL, TEST, and
AUTO. The operating mode of the second con?dence moni
tor 265 may be shoWn by indicator lights 282.
[0031]
Referring also noW to FIG. 3, a How diagram 300
of one embodiment of a menu system of a system status
monitor (SSM) for a streaming media encoder in accordance
With aspects of the present disclosure is shoWn. The system
status monitor of 160 of FIG. 1 and 260 of FIG. 2 may be
used to provide real time information and data regarding the
performance of the streaming media encoder 100 and 200,
respectively. Command buttons 165, 265 are used to operate
the menu system and request speci?c information for display
on the text displays 162, 262. The system status monitor may
also be used to con?gure and setup the streaming media
encoder 100, 200 for operation. The menu system 300
illustrated in FIG. 3 provides one example of the data
display and con?guration operations that may be accessible
via the system status monitor 160, 260. In some embodi
ments, not all the operations illustrated Will be implemented,
and in other embodiments there Will be additional operations
not shoWn here.
[0032]
At step 305 a user is presented With a main menu.
In this embodiment, the main menu includes 3 options, “IP
Con?guration,”“Encoders,” and “Health Status.” As can be
seen from the How diagram 300, the main menu, or the
immediately preceding menu, may generally be selected by
pressing the menu key, such as may be made available
through command buttons 165, 265. The other options
Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
presented on the menu may be accessed by using provided
directional command buttons 165, 265 and then by pressing
an enter command button 165, 265. In the present example,
a user may highlight “IP Con?guration” at step 305 and
press the enter command button 165, 265 and then be
presented With the prompt of step 310, “Welcome to the IP
Con?guration Wizard.” The SSM 160, 260 then presents the
user With the option to select Which netWork interface card
if there are devices available, the hostname is displayed at
step 387. If an IP address is available at step 388 it is
displayed at step 389. If no IP address is available at step
388, and if a subnet is available at step 390, the subnet is
displayed at step 392. If no subnet is available at step 390,
and if a gateWay is available at step 394, the gateWay is
displayed at step 396. The netWork throughput (e. g., kilobits
NICs. The user makes a selection, again using command
per second) is then given at step 400. If further devices are
present on the netWork at step 386, steps 387-400 may
repeat. In some embodiments information may be available
regarding internal NICs such as assigned IP addresses, NIC
buttons 165, 265, and is presented With the option to
netWork statuses, and performance information (e.g.,
con?gure the NIC using dynamic host con?guration proto
throughput).
col (DHCP) at step 320. If DHCP is not to be used, the user
[0036] Referring noW to FIG. 4, a rear vieW of one
embodiment of a streaming media encoder 400 in accor
(NIC) to con?gure at step 315. As Will be described beloW,
the streaming media encoder 100, 200 may have multiple
enters the desired internet protocol (IP) address at step 325,
the subnet mask at step 320, and the gateWay at step 335.
The information is then updated Within the streaming media
encoder 100, 200 at step 340. In the event that the user
selects to utiliZe DHCP at step 320, steps 325-335 are
bypassed as the con?guration information Will be obtained
from the host. Upon completion of the information update at
step 340, the SSM 160, 260 returns to the main menu of step
305.
[0033] At step 305, if a user enters the “Encoders” selec
tion, the encoders menu is presented at step 345. A list of
dance With aspects of the present disclosure is shoWn. The
streaming media encoder 400 may be substantially similar to
the streaming media encoders 100, 200 previously dis
cussed. A rear panel 405 is shoWn Which provides mounting
locations for various inputs and outputs. ApoWer connection
410 is shoWn Which may be a standard 110/220 volt con
nector. A master poWer sWitch 415 is shoWn Which may
control the main internal poWer supply. An exhaust vent 435
may be provided and may be formed integrally With the rear
panel 405 or may be removable. LAN connections 425 are
provided as a netWork interface. Indicator lights 426 may be
encoders present is displayed along With the status of the
installed encoders. The SSM 160, 260 may communicate
With the internal encoders using codec control and manage
provided to indicate LAN activity. The LAN connections
ment software. The user may select a speci?c encoder in
order to obtain more speci?c information at step 350. At step
connectors interfacing to internal NICs. In one embodiment,
the streaming media encoder 400 may be controllable and
con?gurable via a LAN connection 425. Through the LAN
350, additional information may be displayed including the
format that is output by the encoder (e.g., WindoWs Media
format), as described more fully beloW. The user may select
to start or stop the present encoder and information may be
displayed regarding the status of the encoder (e.g., “start
ing,” or “stopping) at step 355. In the event that a failure
occurs, the user is presented With an appropriate error
message at step 360. If the start or stop operation is
successful, the display 162, 262 returns to the main menu at
connection 425, a user may have similar or greater control
over the streaming media encoder 400 as if using a system
status monitor (SSM) as previously discussed With reference
to FIGS. 1-3. Additional functionality may be provided such
as the ability to upgrade softWare in the streaming media
encoder 400. In one embodiment, the LAN connection 425
or the SSM as previously described, may be used to force an
automatic update of the streaming media encoder 400 using
codec control and management softWare.
step 305.
[0034] From the main menu 305, the user may select
“Health Status” and be presented With the status menu at
step 365. The status menu may present further choices such
as “CPU(s),”“Fan(s),”“Memory,” and “Network Status.” If
the user selects “CPU(s),” information corresponding to the
internal processing unit, or units, may be presented at step
370. Such information may include speed, fault status,
percent utiliZation, temperature, etc. If the user selects
“Fan(s),” information regarding the internal fans is dis
played at step 375. This information may include operating
status, performance information, failure information, revo
lutions per minute (RPM), etc. If the user selects “Memory,”
information regarding system memory may be displayed at
step 380. This information may include total system
memory, memory used, memory available, RAM disk avail
ability and information, and memory faults. In other
embodiments additional information may be available on
this or another menu such as additional internal tempera
tures, poWer supply voltages, operating hours or uptime, and
OS and other softWare version information.
[0035]
425 may be standard RJ-45 connectors or another suitable
[0037] Atest signal loop input 428 may be provided on the
streaming media encoder 400 as Well as a test signal loop
output 430, Which may then be used to provide a loop input
to another nearby device. The loop input 428 and output 430
may be standard Bayonet Neil-Concelman (BNC) connec
tors or other connectors. In one embodiment, the streaming
media encoder 400 is capable of generating an internal test
signal for display on a front panel con?dence monitor as
previously discussed. Media card slots 440 may be provided
for loading and unloading media, programming, ?r'mWare
upgrades, encoding protocols, or other information. The
media card slots 440 may be con?gured to accept Compact
Flash cards, Secure Digital cards, or some other available
media card type. The media card slots 440 may also be
capable of accepting more than one different type of media
card. Universal Serial Bus (U SB) ports 445 are provided that
may alloW a user to attach an external Input/Output (I/O)
device such as a mouse or keyboard. One or more VGA,
SVGA, XVGA, or other video connections may be provided
on the streaming media encoder 400 to be used With an
external display device. An external display device may be
From the main menu 305, the user may also choose
used on conjunction With a keyboard, mouse, or other device
“NetWork Status” and vieW information regarding available
hosts, NICs, and other devices on the netWork. At step 386,
interfacing through the USB ports 445 to gain local access
and control of the streaming media encoder 400.
Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
[0038]
TWo input/output channels 450 A and B are shown,
but more or fewer may be provided as dictated by the needs
of the user. As can be seen in FIG. 4, a variety of options may
be provided for connecting the input and output signals. Left
and right external live return @(LR) inputs 452, 454 are
provided for balanced audio input. These may provide both
analog and digital capabilities. Standard left and right Radio
Corporation of America (RCA) connectors 456, 458 may be
provided and offer an unbalanced audio input. Bayonet
Neil-Concelman (BNC) connectors 460 may be provided
and may be capable of accepting both audio and video over
a serial digital interface (SDI). Mini Deutsche Industry
Norm (mini-DIN) connectors 462 for providing S-video
signal inputs may also be placed on the rear panel 405. Other
inputs include Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engi
neers 1394 standard (IEEE-l394) connectors 464 for accept
ing both audio and video over a digital video (DV) interface,
and BNC connectors 466 for receiving composite video.
[0039] The primary output mechanism for the streaming
media encoder 400 Will be the LAN connections 425. In one
inches deep). In some embodiments, the top panel 510
and/or the bottom panel 515 provide additional ventilation,
such as ventilation grid 550.
[0042]
Referring noW to FIG. 7, a plurality of streaming
media encoders in one embodiment of a rack mounting
system 700 in accordance With aspects of the present dis
closure is shoWn. A plurality of streaming media encoders
500, as previously described, may be mounted in a single
rack system 700. The rack system 700 may provide side
panels 705, possibly With ventilation grates 707, and a top
panel 710. The front and back panels of the streaming media
encoders 500 may left open and accessible. Mounting holes
750 on the streaming media encoders 500, as previously
described, can be used to secure the encoders into the rack
700. In one embodiment, the mounting holes 750 may have
a captive fasteners, such as screWs or bolts, to aid in securing
the streaming media encoders 500 to the rack 700. The rack
700 is meant to illustrate only one possible example and in
other embodiments a rack system may have more or feWer
components and hold more or feWer streaming media
encoder 500 than shoWn in FIG. 7.
embodiment, the streaming media encoder 400 has a mode
of operation Where a portion or all of the generated output
[0043]
is stored on an internal mass storage device. HoWever,
streaming media encoder according to aspects of the present
monitoring options may also be provided on the rear panel
405. Output options on channels A and B 450 may include
disclosure is shoWn. The streaming media encoder 800 is
substantially similar to those previously described. A main
logic board 810 is poWered by a poWer supply 815. The main
left and right RCA outputs 468, 470, BNC composite video
outputs 472, and S-video outputs 474. The signal actually
provided on the outputs may correspond directly to the input
signal. In this manner the input signal may be vieWed using
the outputs of the streaming media encoder 405. In another
embodiment, the signal provided on the outputs may come
from an internal decoder Which decodes the encoded output
signal for immediate external vieWing.
Referring noW to FIG. 8, a schematic diagram of a
logic board 810 has one or more video capture cards 825
communicatively coupled thereto. The video capture cards
are attached to a series of I/O ports 450, as previously
described, Which are mounted in the back panel 405. Both
the video capture card 825 and the main logic board 810 may
also be interfaced to additional communication and control
ports 830 (e.g., loop I/O, USB, NICs, and media ports as
described previously With respect to FIG. 4). The main logic
[0040] Referring noW to FIG. 5, a side vieW of one
embodiment of a streaming media encoder 500 in accor
board 810 is also interfaced to mass storage device 830,
dance With aspects of the present disclosure is shoWn. Front
panel 105 as previously described (or the front panel 205 of
FIG. 2), attaches to a side panel 505. Similarly rear panel
405 is also attached. TWo side panels 505 may be provided
along With top panel 510 and bottom panel 515 such that a
full enclosure for the streaming media encoder 500 is
main logic board 810 is interfaced to the front panel 105
Which includes the con?dence monitor 115, audio level 125
meters, system status monitor (SSM) 160 and the additional
command buttons described With respect to FIG. 1. An
provided. Some of the panels 105, 405, 505, 510, 515 may
be formed integrally or they may be formed separately and
attached. ScreW or bolt holes 520, possibly having captive
fasteners, may serve to connect the panels 105, 405, 505,
510, 515. Slots or grooves 525 may be formed in the side
panels 505 of the streaming media encoder 500 to aid in
installation of the device. Ventilation grating 530 may be
provided to aid in cooling of the streaming media encoder
500.
[0041] FIG. 6. is a perspective vieW of the streaming
media encoder 500 of FIG. 5. From this perspective vieW it
can be seen that the panels 105, 405, 505, 510, 515 come
together to form a full enclosure for the streaming media
encoder 500. The various dimensions of the panels 105, 405,
505, 510, 515 may be chosen to ?t the needs of the user and
any requirements for the internal siZe of the streaming media
encoder 500 oWing to internal componentry. In one embodi
ment, the streaming media encoder 500 Will be of an
industry standard siZe for mounting in a rack-based enclo
sure. For example, the streaming media encoder 500 may be
a 2U rack-mount siZe (3.5 inches high><l9 inches Wide><22
Which may be poWered by poWer supply 815. Similarly, the
optional internal speaker 840 is provided behind front grille
145. A series of cooling fans 850 may also be provided at
various locations Within the streaming media encoder 800.
[0044] The main logic board 810 may be a commercially
available, olf-the-shelf unit, such as a personal computer
mother board. In other embodiments, the main logic board
810 may be speci?cally built for its purpose. The main logic
board 810 and other components of the streaming media
encoder 800 may be poWered by the poWer supply 815,
Which may be a commercially available personal computer
poWer supply. The main logic board 810 Will include the
necessary ports, memory, and other hardWare to interface
With all of the necessary internal components of the stream
ing media encoder 800. The main logic board 810 may also
support the operation of one or more central processing units
(CPUs) (not shoWn). In one embodiment, the main logic
board 810 has an integrated hard drive controller for inter
facing With the mass storage device 830.
[0045]
The video capture cards 825 may be separate
components that mount into a bus provided on the main
logic board 810. The video capture cards 825 may be Osprey
560 video capture cards produced by VieWCast Corporation
Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
of Dallas, Tex. In another embodiment, the video capture
cards 825 are integrated into the main logic board 810. The
video capture cards 825 may be used to take an analog or
digital input signal, Which may include audio or video
signals, and convert the signals into a streaming media
format. In some embodiments, the video capture cards 825
may also encode the captured digital signal into a desired
streaming media format. In other embodiments, the main
[0049] The host encoder 940 may be a function of the
main logic board 810, or in another embodiment, a function
of the capture card 825. As described before, the host
encoder 940 can convert the digitiZed input signal into a
desired output format, Which includes media formats Which
may be streamed to an end user or vieWer. The encoded
signal may be transmitted via one or more LAN connectors
425 over a netWork 950 (such as the Internet) to an end user,
logic board 810 Will take the captured digital signal and
or the encoded signal stored on the mass storage device 830
encode it into a streaming media format. Examples of
for later retrieval.
encoded formats can include, but are not limited to, Win
doWs Media format from Microsoft Corporation of Red
mond, Wash., Real Media format from Real Networks, Inc.,
of Seattle, Wash., Flash Video format from Macromedia,
Inc., of San Francisco, Calif., QuickTime format by Apple
Computer, Inc., of Cupertino, Calif., and various standards
from the Motion Pictures Expert Group (MPEG). In some
embodiments, the video capture cards 825 may be upgrad
able such as by replacing the ?rmWare, or by loading neW
programming data from the main logic board 810. The video
capture cards and the hardWare or softWare components of
main logic board 810 may also be adapted to support Digital
Rights Management (DRM) and other intellectual property
protection schemes.
[0046]
[0050] The encoded output signal may also be provided to
a host decoder 955. The host decoder 995 may be a function
of the video capture card 825, the main logic board 810, or
other internal components. The neWly decoded output signal
may then be displayed on a con?dence monitor 960 such as
those previously described. In another embodiment, the
neWly decoded output signal may be fed into a digital to
analog converter 965. The analog signal may then be mul
tiplexed With the original undecoded signal at multiplexer
970. In this manner the input con?dence monitor 975 may
also be used to display the output signal from the streaming
media encoder 900. This alloWs a single con?dence monitor
975 to be used to vieW both input and output signals for the
streaming media encoder 900.
The mass storage device 830 may be a commer
cially available personal computer or notebook computer
[0051] Referring noW to FIG. 10, one embodiment of an
operating environment 1000 for one or more streaming
hard disk drive. In other embodiments the mass storage
device Will be purpose built. The mass storage device 830
media encoders according to aspects of the present disclo
may include redundancy or other data protection measures.
The mass storage device may also include encryption for
data protection. In another embodiment, the mass storage
as have been herein described, may be a part of a set or
device 830 may be a solid state device such as a ?ash-based
may be a rack mounted enclosure. The set of streaming
drive. The mass storage device may be used to store and
media encoders 700 may be able to handle multiple input
and output sessions concurrently. Various sources may pro
access the programming and operating system for the
streaming media encoder 800. In one embodiment, the
operating system for the streaming media encoder 800 Will
be WindoWs XP Professional, from Microsoft Corporation
of Redmond, Wash. In other embodiments, the operating
system may be an open source or purpose built system.
sure is shoWn. One or more streaming media encoders 500,
system of streaming media encoders 700. The system 700
vide the content feeds Which are to be encoded. A remote
location television vehicle 1010 and camera 1012 system
may provide a live or tape delayed input to the streaming
media encoder system 700. An archival storage system 1015
may also provide an input feed. The archival storage system
1015 may be a database or repository of past broadcast
[0047] The speaker 840 is also a commercially available
component. The speaker 840 may be a loW-poWer speaker
that can be poWered from integrated ampli?ers Within the
streaming media encoder 800. Similarly, the fans 850 may
be commercially available, off the shelf components. In
other embodiments, the fans 850 may be speci?cally chosen
or designed to take advantage of speci?c air?oW properties
Within the streaming media encoder 800 or its mounting
programming, for example. A satellite feed 1020 may also
enclosure.
encoders may be connected to a local netWork Which is then
[0048]
connected to the Internet 1050. Through the Internet, the
streaming media encoders 500 and/or the encoder system
FIG. 9 is a functional block diagram 900 of a
streaming media encoder according to aspects of the present
disclosure. ShoWn is a main logic board 810 and a video
capture card 825, both previously described. A series of
signal input leads 910, Which correspond to the input con
nections previously described are connected into multi
plexer 915. Additionally, one or more of the input leads 910
may be separately multiplexed With a test signal by multi
plexer 920. From multiplexer 915, the selected input lead is
fed to a decoder 930. The decoder 930 resides on the video
serve as input to the streaming media encoder system 700.
Cable television programming feeds 1030 may also be used
as input to the encoder system 700.
[0052] Each of the streaming media encoders 500 may be
separately connected to the netWork 1015, Which may be the
Internet. In another embodiment, the streaming media
700 may connect to end users at vieWing stations 1060 or to
media servers 1055. While the vieWing stations 1060 may
access real-time streaming content from the streaming media
encoder system 700, the media server 1055 may store or
archive streaming content for later vieWing or access by
other users. Users may access the streaming media encoders
500, system 700, or media servers 1055 by a personal
computer or other packet based communication system.
capture card 825 and converts the input signal from various
formats and digitiZes it before it is passed to the capture
mechanism 935. From the capture mechanism 935, the
digitiZed input signal is made available to a host encoder
[0053] Referring also noW to FIG. 11, a How chart 1100
corresponding to one possible mode of operation of a
940.
only as an example of a simple receipt and encoding process,
streaming media encoder according to aspects of the present
invention is shoWn. The How chart 1100 is meant to serve
Mar. 8, 2007
US 2007/0053379 A1
as other operations are contemplated Within the present
disclosure. An input signal is received at step 1100, such as
a signal from one of the sources 1010-1030 of FIG. 10. The
input signal may be displayed to a front panel con?dence
monitor of the streaming media encoder at step 1110. The
received signal is captured at step 1130 and provided to an
encoder Where it is encoded into the desired streaming
media format at step 1140. At step 1150 if the encoded
content is to be stored, it is stored on the mass storage device
at step 1160. The signal is then streamed or transmitted to the
recipient from the streaming media encoder at step 1170.
Although the process has been shoWn as a series of discrete
What is claimed is:
1. A streaming media encoder for encoding and delivering
media content comprising:
a media input interface for receiving a media stream;
a media encoder for receiving the media stream from the
input interface and encoding the media stream, thereby
producing an encoded media stream;
a con?dence monitor for displaying a video image from
the received media stream; and
a netWork interface for providing the encoded media
steps, in practice each of the steps happens substantially
stream to a netWork.
corresponding to another possible mode of operation of a
streaming media encoder according to aspects of the present
invention is shoWn. Some aspects of the mode of operation
2. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, further
comprising a rack mountable housing having a front panel
and a back panel, the front panel con?gured to support the
con?dence monitor and the back panel con?gured to support
the media input interface and the netWork interface.
3. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, further
shoWn by ?owchart 1200 are similar to those shoWn in the
How chart 1100 of FIG. 11. For example, the process of the
How chart 1200 includes receiving a signal at step 1210,
displaying to a con?dence monitor at step 1220, and cap
for encoding the media stream.
4. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, Wherein the
concurrently as the input stream and output stream may be
substantially continuous.
[0054]
Referring noW to FIG. 12, a How chart 1200
turing the signal at step 1230. The capture step 1230 differs
comprising a set of user controls for interacting With the
streaming media encoder to determine an encoding standard
con?dence monitor comprises a liquid crystal display (LCD)
from that of FIG. 11 in that a closed captioning feed is also
panel.
captured from the received signal.
[0055] The closed captioning signal provides textual con
tion.
5. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, further
comprising a textual display for providing status informa
tent related to the video and audio signal. In some instances,
6. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, further
a transcript of the current broadcast is provided concurrently
With the audio and video portions of the broadcast. In other
comprising an audio level monitor for displaying an audio
level of the media stream.
cases, an alternate language transcript of the current broad
cast is provided in the closed captioning feed. If the stream
ing media encoder has been con?gured to store the closed
comprising:
captioning feed at step 1240, the captured closed captioning
feed is then stored at step 1280. In one embodiment, the
captured feed is stored as an extensible markup language
(XML) ?le. The captured feed may be stored in a mass
storage device for later retrieval and/or archiving.
[0056] At step 1260 the audio portion, video portion,
and/ or closed captioning portion of the received input signal
may be encoded. If the streaming media encoder has been
con?gured to store the encoded media ?le at step 1270, the
captured feed may be stored in a mass storage device at step
1280 for later retrieval and/or archiving. At step 1290 the
captured and encoded video and audio signal are transmit
ted, possibly through one ore more LAN connections, as
previously described.
[0057] It Will be appreciated by those skilled in the art
having the bene?t of this disclosure that this invention
provides a broadband information appliance. It should be
understood that The draWings and detailed description
herein are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a
restrictive manner, and are not intended to limit The inven
tion to The particular forms and examples disclosed. On The
contrary, The invention includes any further modi?cations,
7. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, further
a system status monitor providing a series of navigational
menus for display on the textual display; and
a plurality of command buttons for selecting menu
options to access system status information for the
streaming media encoder.
8. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, Wherein the
input interface is digital video interface.
9. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, Wherein the
internal media encoder is softWare programmable.
10. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, Wherein the
streaming media encoder may be con?gured remotely via a
Web interface through the netWork interface.
11. The streaming media encoder of claim 1, further
comprising a personal computer (PC) motherboard intercon
necting the media input interface, the media encoder, the
con?dence monitor, and the netWork interface.
12. A streaming media encoder for encoding and deliv
ering media content comprising:
a housing having a front panel and back panel;
a local area netWork (LAN) adapter accessible via the
back panel;
changes, rearrangements, substitutions, alternatives, design
an audiovisual media input jack accessible via the back
choices, and embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill
in The art, Without departing from The spirit and scope of
this invention, as de?ned by The folloWing claims. Thus, it
is intended that he folloWing claims be interpreted to
embrace all such further modi?cations, changes, rearrange
an LCD display vieWable via the front panel for display
ing a video loop signal corresponding to an input media
stream from the audiovisual media input jack;
ments, substitutions, alternatives, design choices, and
a multiline LED textual display vieWable via the front
embodiments.
panel;
panel;
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