Multi-medium information sharing system

Multi-medium information sharing system
US 20060200534A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2006/0200534 A1
(43) Pub. Date:
Nagai et al.
(54)
MULTI-MEDIUM INFORMATION SHARING
(52)
US. Cl.
Sep. 7, 2006
............................................................ .. 709/212
SYSTEM
(76) Inventors: Takahiro Nagai, Osaka-shi (JP); Shinji
(57)
Sasaki, Osaka-shi (JP); Yoshiki Kuno,
Osaka-shi (JP)
Correspondence Address:
ABSTRACT
In a multimedia information sharing system, multimedia
MARK D. SARALINO (MEI)
information is shared between multiple devices over a
RENNER, OTTO, BOISSELLE & SKLAR,
network to which a server is connected. The server includes:
LLP
1621 EUCLID AVENUE
19TH FLOOR
a management table for managing identi?ers to identify
terminal devices and the addresses of the devices on the
(21) Appl. No.:
10/553,385
network; a server receiving section receiving the identi?er
from a ?rst terminal device; a processing section for getting
the address of the ?rst terminal device by reference to the
(22) PCT Filed:
Apr. 23, 2004
device, identi?ed by another identi?er received, by reference
(86)
PCT/JP04/05958
CLEVELAND, OH 44115 (US)
identi?er received and the address of a second terminal
(30)
PCT No.:
to the identi?er and the management table; and a server
transmitting section for sending the address of the second
terminal device to the ?rst terminal device if the ?rst
terminal device retains the multimedia information and
sending the address of the ?rst terminal device to the second
terminal device if the second terminal device retains the
multimedia information. The multimedia information is
transmitted, received and shared between the ?rst and sec
Foreign Application Priority Data
Apr. 25, 2003
(JP) .................................... .. 2003-121870
Publication Classi?cation
(51)
Int. Cl.
G06F 15/167
ond terminal devices by reference to the address provided.
(2006.01)
3 : CONNECTION MANAGEMENT SERVER
110.111.112.113
‘
5
DEVICE MANAGEMENT TABLE
Device ID : lP
#1
#2
: PORT NUMBER
:111.112.113.114:1O
2112.113.114.115 I 20
6
TITLE INFORMA TION
TITLE 1 : MPEGZ-PS
TITLE 2IMPEG4
_
TITLE 3:JPEG
/|
4R:
(0N RECEIVING
TERMINAL END)
DEVICE 1
Device ID = #1
IP = 111.112.113.114
PORT NUMBER = 10
TITLE 4:MP3
2 _' NETWORK
(ON
4s :TERMINAL
TRANSMITTING
DEVICE
END)2
MOVING PICTURE 2
Device ID = #2
IP = 112.113.114.115
PORT NUMBER = 20
STILL PICTURE 1
MUSIC 1
1 :MULTIMEDIA INFORMATION SHARING SYSTEM
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US 2006/0200534 A1
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
MULTI-MEDIUM INFORMATION SHARING
SYSTEM
TECHNICAL FIELD
stores the moving picture titles. Furthermore, the search
server 63S gets a page of a Website 66 for transmissive
access displayed on the screen of the client’s terminal device
64 and distributes the search result to the client through the
transmissive access Website 66.
[0001] The present invention relates to the technique of
sharing and exchanging multimedia information, such as
moving pictures, still pictures, music and so on that are
stored in a terminal device, With other terminal devices over
a network.
BACKGROUND ART
[0002] Recently, as various types of digital recording
equipment has become increasingly popular, an individual
home user has more and more opportunities to create
massive multimedia information concerning video and/or
audio including moving pictures, still pictures, music and so
on. In the prior art, the creator of multimedia information
sends an email With the multimedia information attached
from his or her oWn terminal device or makes the multime
dia information public at his or her oWn Website or a
provider’s Website so that his or her relatives and friends can
[0007] By using the link information included in the
search result, the terminal device 64 receives desired mul
timedia information directly from one of the multimedia
servers 63 that store the multimedia information. Speci?
cally, the multimedia information is transmitted as a multi
media ?le 68 from the multimedia server 63 and received at
the terminal device 64. In this manner, the multimedia
information that is stored in multiple sources of multimedia
information can be easily searched and the transmitted
information can be received. Also, if the terminal device 64
does not have a multimedia vieWer for reading a multimedia
?le, the multimedia vieWer can also be doWnloaded from the
multimedia server 63.
[0008]
MeanWhile, ?le sWap systems such as “Napster”
have been used recently. For example, an article entitled
“Without knoWing Napster”, Nikkei Electronics No. 780,
at multiple terminal devices or make that piece of informa
tion broWsable at multiple terminal devices Will be referred
to herein as “sharing” the multimedia information.
published on Oct. 9, 2000, pp. 125-145 describes a ?le sWap
system that uses “Napster”. In this ?le sWap system, a user
cannot acquire his or her desired multimedia information
until he or she submits a request by himself or herself. More
[0003]
If that massive multimedia information such as
oWn client terminal to a search server in advance and enters
moving pictures or music is shared often by such a method,
a title list, including the titles of multimedia information
then the load on a mail server or Web server may become too
heavy. Thus, providers Will need bigger server systems. In
stored in his or her oWn client terminal, into the search
server. Then, the user searches other users’ title lists that
that case, hoWever, the cost of maintaining such a bigger
server system Will eventually have to be paid for by its users.
have also been entered into the search server, thereby
broWse it. To oWn the same piece of multimedia information
speci?cally, a user of the ?le sWap system connects his or her
That is to say, the users Will have to pay higher fees for that
purpose. To overcome such problems, a multimedia infor
mation distribution system and a ?le sWap system for
sharing such multimedia information and sWapping massive
?les directly betWeen the terminals by the peer-to-peer
technique have just been developed.
[0004] FIG. 8 shoWs a con?guration for a conventional
massive multimedia information distribution system 61.
Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open Publication No.
11-88419 discloses an example of such a massive multime
dia information distribution system. In this multimedia
information distribution system 61, a terminal device 64 as
a client requests information for accessing multimedia infor
mation (such as moving picture titles) from a search server
63S over the WorldWide Web (WWW) that is con?gured as
a netWork 62. As used herein, the “title” refers to a complete
playback unit such as a single musical tune, a still picture,
or a movie as a combination of moving picture and music.
[0005] In response to the request, the search server 63S
searches title information 67 stored in respective multimedia
servers 63A, 63B and 63C on a server list 65. As used herein,
the “title information” refers to information shoWing corre
spondence betWeen a title and its properties. For example,
the “title information” includes the name of the title and the
encoding type, the attribute (e.g., moving picture, still pic
ture or music) of the title identi?ed by that name, or search
information.
[0006] As a result of the search, the search server 63S
acquires a search result including link information for estab
lishing a link to the multimedia servers 63A to 63C that
determining Whether or not his or her desired title is
included. If the desired title has been found, the user
connects his or her client terminal to a client terminal that
stores the multimedia information With that title and sWaps
a multimedia ?le With the desired title betWeen the client
terminals. That is Why in this ?le sWap system, a client
terminal that stores multimedia information does not trans
mit the multimedia information to another client terminal
until the former client terminal receives a request from the
latter client terminal.
[0009]
In the conventional multimedia information distri
bution systems and ?le sWap systems, a terminal device can
acquire multimedia information that is stored in another
particular terminal device or in a multimedia server by
submitting a request by itself. HoWever, the former terminal
device cannot transmit the multimedia information stored in
itself to the latter terminal device. That is to say, the terminal
device on the transmitting end cannot share multimedia
information on its oWn initiative With the terminal device on
the receiving end.
[0010] Also, if such a system is composed of digital
consumer electronic appliances such as hard disk recorders
or DVD recorders, then a digital consumer electronic appli
ance on the receiving end may be unable to play back the
multimedia information received. This is because a netWork,
to Which digital consumer electronic appliances of various
generations or produced by various manufacturers are con
nected, may include a digital consumer electronic appliance
that cannot process multimedia information according to its
format, for example. Unlike a general-purpose personal
computer (PC), a digital consumer electronic appliance has
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
its resources (such as hardware) ?xed when shipped as a
product. That is why it is dif?cult to newly add a function of
decoding the multimedia information to such an appliance.
Under the circumstances such as these, the technique of
processing only multimedia information to be played back
by every appliance on the receiving end needs to be devel
oped.
[0011]
Thus, an object of the present invention is to get
multimedia information shared between a terminal device on
a transmitting end, which owns and can transmit the mul
timedia information, and a terminal device on the receiving
end in response to the request of the device on the trans
mitting end.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
[0012] A server according to the present invention is used
in a system that is designed to transmit, receive and share
multimedia information between a plurality of terminal
devices that are connected together over a network. The
server includes: a management table for managing identi?
ers to identify the terminal devices and the addresses of the
terminal devices on the network; a server receiving section,
which receives the identi?er from a ?rst one of the terminal
devices; a processing section for getting the address of the
?rst terminal device on the transmitting end based on
reception of the identi?er and also getting the address of a
second one of the terminal devices, identi?ed by the iden
ti?er received, by reference to the identi?er and the man
agement table; and a server transmitting section for sending
the address of the second terminal device to the ?rst terminal
device when the ?rst terminal device retains the multimedia
information and for sending the address of the ?rst terminal
device to the second terminal device when the second
terminal device retains the multimedia information. As a
result, the multimedia information is transmitted, received
and shared between the ?rst and second terminal devices by
reference to the address provided.
[0013] In the case where the ?rst terminal device retains
the multimedia information, the server receiving section
may receive the identi?er of the second terminal device and
a share request to share the multimedia information from the
?rst terminal device, and the server transmitting section may
send the share request to the second terminal device. When
the server receiving section receives an acknowledgement,
indicating that the multimedia information is receivable,
from the second terminal device in response to the share
request, the server transmitting section may send the address
of the second terminal device and a request to transmit the
multimedia information to the ?rst terminal device.
[0014] The ?rst terminal device may have a transmitting
end database on which the multimedia information, includ
ing at least one title, and title information, representing the
properties of the at least one title, are stored. The server
receiving section may receive the title information, stored in
the transmitting-end database, from the ?rst terminal device.
The processing section may make a title list, including
predetermined titles, based on the title information and the
[0015] The processing section may make a tilt list includ
ing titles that are playable by the second terminal device.
[0016] In the case where the ?rst terminal device retains
the multimedia information, the server may further include
a format description table that describes correspondence
between the identi?ers to identify the terminal devices and
the formats of the multimedia information that are compat
ible with the respective devices. The processing section may
generate ?lter information about the format compatible with
the second terminal device by reference to the format
description table. The server transmitting section may trans
mit the ?lter information to the ?rst terminal device. A
request to share the multimedia information that has been
?ltered by the ?rst terminal device in accordance with the
?lter information may be sent from the ?rst terminal device
to the second terminal device, whereby the multimedia
information may be transmitted, received and shared
between the ?rst and second terminal devices.
[0017] In the case where the second terminal device
retains the multimedia information, the server receiving
section may receive the identi?er of the second terminal
device and a share request to share the multimedia infor
mation from the ?rst terminal device. The server transmit
ting section may send the share request and the address of
the ?rst terminal device to the second terminal device. When
the server receiving section receives an acknowledgement,
indicating that the multimedia information is transmittable,
from the second terminal device in response to the share
request, the server transmitting section may transmit a
request to receive the multimedia information to the ?rst
terminal device.
[0018] The second terminal device may have a transmit
ting-end database on which the multimedia information,
including at least one title, and title information, represent
ing the properties of the at least one title, are stored. The
server receiving section may receive the title information,
stored in the transmitting-end database, from the second
terminal device. The processing section may make a title list,
including predetermined titles, based on the title information
and the identi?er of the ?rst terminal device. The server
transmitting section may transmit the title list to the ?rst
terminal device and may receive a request to share the
multimedia information, selected by reference to the title
list, from the ?rst terminal device.
[0019] The processing section may make a tilt list includ
ing titles that are playable by the ?rst terminal device.
[0020] The address may include an IP address and a port
number.
[0021]
The server may further include a search section for
searching the title information that is stored in the transmit
ting-end database. The server receiving section may receive
the title information based on a result of the search done by
the search section.
[0022] A processing method according to the present
invention is carried out by a server for use in a system that
is designed to transmit, receive and share multimedia infor
identi?er of the second terminal device. The server trans
mation between a plurality of terminal devices that are
mitting section may transmit the title list to the ?rst terminal
device and may receive a request to share the multimedia
management table for managing identi?ers to identify the
information, selected by reference to the title list, from the
?rst terminal device.
connected together over a network. The server includes a
terminal devices and the addresses of the terminal devices
on the network. The method includes the steps of: receiving
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 Al
the identi?er from a ?rst one of the terminal devices; getting
the address of the ?rst terminal device on the transmitting
end based on reception of the identi?er received and also
getting the address of a second one of the terminal devices,
identi?ed by the identi?er received, by reference to the
identi?er and the management table; and sending the address
of the second terminal device to the ?rst terminal device
When the ?rst terminal device retains the multimedia infor
mation and sending the address of the ?rst terminal device
to the second terminal device When the second terminal
device retains the multimedia information. As a result, the
multimedia information is transmitted, received and shared
betWeen the ?rst and second terminal devices by reference
to the address provided.
[0023]
In the case Where the ?rst terminal device retains
the multimedia information, the step of receiving may
include receiving the identi?er of the second terminal device
and a share request to share the multimedia information
from the ?rst terminal device. The step of sending may
include sending the share request to the second terminal
device. When an acknowledgement, indicating that the
multimedia information is receivable, is received from the
second terminal device in response to the share request, the
step of sending may include sending the address of the
second terminal device and a request to transmit the multi
media information to the ?rst terminal device.
[0024] The ?rst terminal device may have a transmitting
end database on Which the multimedia information, includ
ing at least one title, and title information, representing the
properties of the at least one title, are stored. The step of
receiving may include receiving the title information, stored
in the transmitting-end database, from the ?rst terminal
device. The step of processing may include making a title
list, including predetermined titles, based on the title infor
mation and the identi?er of the second terminal device.
When in the step of sending, the title list is sent to the ?rst
terminal device after that, the step of receiving may include
receiving a request to share the multimedia information,
selected by reference to the title list, from the ?rst terminal
device.
[0025] The step of processing may include making a tilt
list including titles that are playable by the second terminal
device.
[0026] In the case Where the ?rst terminal device retains
the multimedia information, the server may further include
a format description table that describes correspondence
betWeen the identi?ers to identify the terminal devices and
the formats of the multimedia information that are compat
device and a share request to share the multimedia infor
mation from the ?rst terminal device. The step of sending
may include sending the share request and the address of the
?rst terminal device to the second terminal device. When an
acknowledgement, indicating that the multimedia informa
tion is transmittable, is received from the second terminal
device in response to the share request, the step of sending
may include sending a request to receive the multimedia
information to the ?rst terminal device.
[0028] The second terminal device may have a transmit
ting-end database on Which the multimedia information,
including at least one title, and title information, represent
ing the properties of the at least one title, are stored. The step
of receiving may include receiving the title information,
stored in the transmitting-end database, from the second
terminal device. The step of processing may include making
a title list, including predetermined titles, based on the title
information and the identi?er of the ?rst terminal device.
When in the step of sending, the title list is sent to the ?rst
terminal device after that, the step of receiving may include
receiving a request to share the multimedia information,
selected by reference to the title list, from the ?rst terminal
device.
[0029] The step of processing may include making a tilt
list including titles that are playable by the ?rst terminal
device.
[0030]
The address may include an IP address and a port
number.
[0031] The method may further include the step of search
ing the title information that is stored in the transmitting-end
database. In that case, the step of receiving may include
receiving the title information based on a result of the step
of searching.
[0032] A terminal device on the transmitting end accord
ing to the present invention is used in a system, Which is
designed to transmit, receive and share multimedia infor
mation betWeen a plurality of terminal devices that are
connected together over a netWork, to transmit the multi
media information.
[0033]
A ?rst terminal device on the transmitting end may
include: a transmitting-end database on Which the multime
dia information is stored; a memory for retaining the iden
ti?er of a terminal device on the receiving end, to Which the
multimedia information is transmitted; a transmitting sec
tion for transmitting the identi?er of the terminal device on
the receiving end to a server that is connected to the
netWork; and a receiving section for receiving the address of
ible With the respective devices. The step of processing may
the terminal device on the receiving end from the server. The
include generating ?lter information about the format com
transmitting section transmits the multimedia information to
the address of the terminal device on the receiving end. The
server includes a management table for managing identi?ers
to identify the terminal devices and the addresses of the
terminal devices on the netWork, and ?nds the address of the
terminal device on the receiving end by reference to the
management table and the identi?er of the terminal device
on the receiving end.
patible With the second terminal device by reference to the
format description table. The step of sending may include
transmitting the ?lter information to the ?rst terminal
device. As a result, a request to share the multimedia
information that has been ?ltered by the ?rst terminal device
in accordance With the ?lter information may be sent from
the ?rst terminal device to the second terminal device, and
the multimedia information may be transmitted, received
and shared betWeen the ?rst and second terminal devices.
[0027]
In the case Where the second terminal device
retains the multimedia information, the step of receiving
may include receiving the identi?er of the second terminal
[0034]
A second terminal device on the transmitting end
may include: a transmitting-end database on Which the
multimedia information is stored; a receiving section for
receiving a request to transmit the multimedia information;
and a transmitting section for transmitting the multimedia
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
information in response to the request to transmit. When the
receiving section receives the address of a terminal device
on the receiving end, the transmitting section transmits the
multimedia information to the address of the terminal device
on the receiving end. The terminal device on the receiving
end retains the identi?er to identify the terminal device on
the transmitting end. The server includes a management
table for managing identi?ers to identify the terminal
devices and the addresses of the terminal devices on the
network. When the terminal device on the receiving end
transmits the identi?er to the server, the server ?nds the
address of the terminal device on the transmitting end by
reference to the management table and the identi?er. The
terminal device on the receiving end or the server transmits
the transmit request to the address of the terminal device on
[0038] According to the present invention, when a request
to share multimedia information is submitted by a terminal
device on the receiving end, a connection management
server makes a new title list by extracting information about
titles that are playable by the terminal device on the receiv
ing end, and transmits it to a terminal device on the
transmitting end that stores the multimedia information. The
user of the terminal device on the transmitting end can select
multimedia information about a desired one of the titles that
are playable by the terminal device on the receiving end and
are designated by the title list. Thus, the user does not have
to pay attention to the compatible formats of the terminal
device on the receiving end. As a result, the multimedia
information can be shared by the terminal devices on the
receiving and transmitting ends just as intended.
the transmitting end.
[0035] Aterminal device on the receiving end according to
the present invention is used in a system, which is designed
to transmit, receive and share multimedia information
between a plurality of terminal devices that are connected
together over a network, to receive the multimedia infor
mation that has been sent from a terminal device on the
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
[0039]
FIG. 1 schematically shows a con?guration for a
multimedia information sharing system.
[0040]
FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing an exemplary
basic hardware con?guration for terminal devices on receiv
transmitting end.
ing and transmitting ends.
[0036] A ?rst terminal device on the receiving end may
include: a transmitting section for transmitting its own
tional blocks for a connection management server and two
[0041] FIG. 3 shows respective arrangements of func
address on the network and an identi?er to identify itself to
a server that is connected to the network; and a receiving
terminal devices.
section for receiving the multimedia information from a
terminal device on the transmitting end. The terminal device
on the transmitting end may store the identi?er in advance,
may receive the address of the terminal device on the
information sharing process in which multimedia informa
[0042]
FIG. 4 shows the ?ow of a pull-type multimedia
tion is transmitted from a terminal device on the transmitting
end to a terminal device on the receiving end in response to
a request from the terminal device on the receiving end.
receiving end from the server by transmitting the identi?er
to the server, and may transmit the multimedia information
to the address of the terminal device on the receiving end.
The server may include a management table for managing
identi?ers to identify the terminal devices and the addresses
of the terminal devices on the network, may ?nd the address
of the terminal device on the receiving end by reference to
the management table and the identi?er of the terminal
device on the receiving end, and may send it to the terminal
device on the transmitting end.
[0037] A second terminal device on the receiving end may
include: a memory for storing an identi?er to identify the
terminal device on the transmitting end; a transmitting
section for transmitting its own address on the network, an
identi?er to identify itself and the identi?er of the terminal
[0043] FIG. 5 shows the ?ow of a push-type multimedia
information sharing process in which multimedia informa
tion is transmitted from a terminal device on the transmitting
end to a terminal device on the receiving end in response to
a request from the terminal device on the transmitting end.
[0044] FIG. 6 shows the ?ow of another pull-type multi
media information sharing; process according to a preferred
embodiment of the present invention.
[0045] FIG. 7 shows the ?ow of another push-type mul
timedia information sharing process according to a preferred
embodiment of the present invention.
[0046] FIG. 8 shows a con?guration for a conventional
massive multimedia information distribution system.
device on the transmitting end to a server that is connected
to the network; and a receiving section for receiving the
multimedia information from the terminal device on the
transmitting end. The terminal device on the transmitting
end may include a transmitting-end database on which the
multimedia information is stored. The server may ?nd the
address of the terminal device on the transmitting end by
reference to the management table and the identi?er of the
terminal device on the transmitting end. When the transmit
ting section sends a request to transmit the multimedia
information, the request is sent to the speci?ed address of the
terminal device on the transmitting end. In response to the
transmit request, the terminal device on the transmitting end
transmits the multimedia information to the terminal device
on the receiving end. The address of the terminal device on
the receiving end is transmitted from either the server or the
terminal device on the receiving end.
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE
INVENTION
[0047] Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of a multime
dia information sharing system according to the present
invention will be described with reference to the accompa
nying drawings.
[0048] FIG. 1 schematically shows a con?guration for a
multimedia information sharing system 1. In this multimedia
information sharing system 1, when a request to share a
piece of multimedia information is submitted by a certain
terminal device, another terminal device, storing that mul
timedia information, transmits the multimedia information
to the designated terminal device. As a result, the multime
dia information can be shared between the terminal devices
on the transmitting and receiving ends. In the following
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
description, a terminal device that retains and transmits
FIG. 1, the multimedia information is transmitted, received
multimedia information will be referred to herein as a
and stored as a multimedia ?le 7 described in a predeter
“terminal device on the transmitting end”, while a terminal
device that receives the multimedia information will be
mined format.
referred to herein as a “terminal device on the receiving
end”. In this multimedia information sharing system 1, the
terminal device on the transmitting end can submit a share
request by itself as will be described later, and the multi
media information can be shared between the terminal
[0053] Each of the terminal devices 4R and 48 has a
Device ID, which is a unique identi?er given to each
terminal device, and an IP address, which is its own address
showing its location on the network 2. The IP address may
be a static global IP address that is always ?xed, a dynamic
devices on the transmitting and receiving ends.
global IP address that is allocated dynamically by the DHCP
[0049] The multimedia information sharing system 1
device 48 on the transmitting end, and a terminal device 4R
on the receiving end, which are all connected to a network
within a router, which has been allocated by the router if the
terminal device is connected to the network 2 by way of the
router having a DHCP function. Each terminal device fur
ther has a port number that designates a communication
2. In this preferred embodiment, the network 2 may be either
application.
includes a connection management server 3, a terminal
a wide area network (WAN) such as the Internet or a local
area network (LAN) within a company, for example. Com
munications are exchanged so as to comply with the TCP/IP
protocol, for example, among the connection management
server 3 and terminal devices 48 and 4R. Optionally, three
or more terminal devices may be connected to the network
2.
[0050] The connection management server 3 manages the
IP addresses and port numbers of the terminal devices 4R
and 48 that can share the multimedia information. The
connection management server 3 has also been given an IP
address, which is an address that identi?es the connection
management server 3 in the network 2. The connection
management server 3 can receive a share request that has
been submitted by either the terminal device 4R or the
terminal device 48 to the IP address of the connection
management server 3. In the meantime, information that
designates the terminal device on the receiving end, with
which the multimedia information will be shared, is also
transmitted. In response to the share request received, title
information 6 about the multimedia information in the
terminal device 48 on the transmitting end is also acquired
from the terminal device 48 on the transmitting end.
[0051] The connection management server 3 manages a
set of title information, which is stored in the terminal device
48 on the transmitting end, as a title list. Depending on
whether or not the terminal device 4R on the receiving end
can play the titles, the connection management server 3
?lters the title list, thereby extracting a title list that includes
only titles that are playable by the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end. The result of the ?ltering operation is returned
to the terminal device that has submitted the share request.
[0052] By reference to the title list that has been narrowed
by the ?ltering result received from the connection manage
ment server 3, the user of the terminal device 4R or 48 that
has submitted the share request selects titles to be shared
between the terminal devices 4R and 48. The connection
management server 3 mediates the request to share the
multimedia information. That is to say, the connection
management server 3 submits a transmit request that
instructs the terminal device 48 on the transmitting end to
transmit the multimedia information, and also submits a
receive request that instructs the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end to receive the multimedia information trans
mitted. As a result, the multimedia information selected is
directly exchanged between the terminal devices 48 and 4R
on the transmitting and receiving ends. Also, as shown in
server of an Internet service provider, or a local IP address
[0054]
In this preferred embodiment, the connection man
agement server 3 has an IP address “110.111.112.113”, the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end has an IP address
“111.112.113.114”, a Device ID “#1” and a port number
“10”, and the terminal device 48 on the transmitting end has
an IP address “112.113.114.115”, a Device ID “#2” and a
port number “20” as shown in FIG. 1.
[0055]
When connected to the network 2 successfully, the
terminal devices 48 and 4R provide their own information
for the connection management server 3. As used herein,
“their own information” includes the Device ID, IP address
and port number of the terminal device that has transmitted
the packet and is described in an address providing packet.
The address providing packet is transmitted to the IP address
“110.111.112.113” of the connection management server 3.
[0056] The connection management server 3 acquires the
Device ID, IP address and port number of each terminal
device from the address providing packet received, and lists
them on a device management table 5. If a terminal device
is connected to the network 2 by way of a router having the
DHCP function, the terminal device has been given a local
IP address. However, the global IP address that has been
given to the router due to a well known IP masquerade
function of the router and the port number allocated by the
router are transmitted as the IP address and port number of
the terminal device to the connection management server 3.
In response, the connection management server 3 lists the
global IP address and port number in association with the
Device ID of the terminal device.
[0057] FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing an exemplary
basic hardware con?guration for the terminal devices 4R, 48
on the receiving and transmitting ends. The terminal device
4R, 48 may be a digital consumer electronic appliance,
which has a network connecting function and which can
record and play multimedia information, such as a hard disk
recorder or a DVD recorder.
[0058] The terminal device includes a CPU 21, a memory
22, a transmitting section 23, a decoding section 24, a stream
control section 25, an encoding section 26, a receiving
section 27, a storage device 28, and a network control
section 29. These components may be connected together
with a bus such as a CPU bus or a data bus. The CPU 21
controls the operation of the terminal device. Speci?c con
tents of the control operation carried out by the CPU 21 will
be described later as to the processing done by the multi
media information sharing system 1 shown in FIGS. 4 and
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
5. The memory 22 may be a semiconductor memory device
that stores programs, data and so on. The transmitting
section 23 transmits a multimedia signal such as video
and/or audio to an external device like a TV set.
device to another as described above. That is Why some
terminal device may be unable to decode multimedia infor
mation received. HoWever, the multimedia information shar
[0059] The decoding section 24 expands the multimedia
information that has been compressed by a predetermined
multimedia information that can be shared betWeen the
ing system 1 of this preferred embodiment handles only
terminal devices on the receiving and transmitting ends by
compression method such as an MPEG standard. By getting
carrying out a process to be described later. As a result, the
the multimedia information expanded by the decoding sec
user can avoid such confusion.
tion 24 and transmitted to a TV set, a stereo, etc., moving
pictures, still pictures or audio can be played as multimedia
information. Accordingly, the decoding section 24 forms a
part of the playback means of the terminal device. The
compression method that the decoding section 24 adopts for
expansion purposes differs from one terminal device to
another. Generally speaking, it is often dif?cult to provide an
additional multimedia information decoding function for the
decoding section 24 of a digital consumer electronic appli
ance. This is because the resources such as hardWare are
?xed When such a product is shipped.
[0060]
The storage device 28 is a drive for storing multi
media information on a hard disk, a DVD or any other
storage medium. The stream control section 25 controls the
operation of the storage device or the data transfer of the
multimedia information. The encoding section 26 com
presses and encodes the video, audio and other data by a
[0064]
The connection management server 3 may be
implemented as a normal computer With a netWork connec
tion function. The connection management server 3 may be
formed by the CPU 21, memory 22, stream control section
25, storage device 28, and netWork control section 29,
among the components of the terminal device shoWn in FIG.
2. In the connection management server 3, a database
function realiZing the device management table to be
described later and the function of ?ltering the title list to
extract only the multimedia information that can be shared
betWeen the terminal devices on the receiving and transmit
ting ends are realiZed by softWare. Such softWare is read out
from the storage device 28 onto the memory 22 and then
carried out by the CPU 21.
[0065]
Hereinafter, the respective functions of the connec
from one terminal device to another. The receiving section
tion management server 3 and terminal devices 4R and 48
Will be described With reference to FIG. 3, Which shoWs
respective arrangements of functional blocks for the con
nection management server 3 and terminal devices 4R and
27 receives a signal including multimedia information from
an external device. As used herein, the “signal including
4S. In the example illustrated in FIG. 3, the terminal device
1 (4R) on the receiving end and the terminal device 2 (48)
multimedia information” may be a broadcast signal received
from a TV station or an analog signal and/or a digital signal
received from another device.
device having the functions of transmitting and receiving
compression method such as an MPEG standard. As to this
encoding section 26, the compression method also differs
[0061] The netWork control section 29 connects the ter
minal device to the netWork 2 and transmits and receives
data in compliance With the TCP/IP protocol. Even during a
timer recording operation, the netWork control section 29 is
alWays supplied With electrical poWer and is ready to send
an address providing packet to the server. Furthermore, the
netWork control section 29 can receive various requests and
data from the netWork 2. The netWork control section 29 is
designed to turn the overall terminal device ON and start to
process a request to search a title list, a request to transmit
multimedia information, or a request to receive multimedia
information on receiving it from the connection manage
on the transmitting end are each implemented as a terminal
multimedia information.
[0066]
The terminal device 4R, 48 includes a server
section 41, an IP providing section 42, a transmitting/
receiving section 43, a multimedia information database 44,
a title information database 45, a database engine section 46,
and a broWser section 47.
[0067]
The server section 41 transfers information to
another terminal device or connection management server
over the netWork 2. Examples of the transferred information
include multimedia information, title information, and a
request to share the multimedia information.
[0068]
The IP providing section 42 transmits an address
ment server 3.
providing packet, including the Device ID, IP address and
[0062]
port number of the terminal device, to the connection
management server 3. The transmitting/receiving section 43
transmits and receives the multimedia information to/from
another terminal device. The multimedia information data
base 44 is a database for storing and saving the multimedia
The terminal device has a broWser function of
presenting multimedia information on a TV monitor based
on the data of a multimedia ?le that has been received via the
netWork control section 29. In the example illustrated in
FIG. 1, the terminal device is supposed to be a hard disk
recorder. HoWever, the terminal device may also be imple
mented as a normal computer With a netWork connection
function. The functions of the respective components
described above and the overall terminal device are realiZed
not only by hardWare but also by softWare.
[0063] The multimedia information sharing system 1 of
information. The title information database 45 is a database
that collects title information. The database engine section
46 controls the title information database 45 and exchanges
data With the server section 41. The broWser section 47
presents information about titles that can be shared betWeen
the terminal devices 48 and 4R on the transmitting and
receiving ends.
this preferred embodiment is designed so as to cope With a
situation Where digital consumer electronic appliances of
[0069] On the other hand, the connection management
various generations, produced by different manufacturers,
server 3 includes a server section 31, a device management
are connected together as the terminal devices. The decoding
section 32, a title information search section 33 and a title
list ?lter section 35.
section 24 has a different decoding function on one terminal
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
[0070] The server section 31 transfers data to a terminal
device over the network. When receiving data, the server
section 31 gets the address of the terminal device that has
transmitted the data.
[0071] The device management section 32 analyzes the
address providing packet that has been received from a
terminal device and lists the Device ID, IP address and port
number of the terminal device, included in the packet, on the
device management table 34. When receiving another
address providing packet from a registered terminal device
and being noti?ed that the address of the terminal device has
been changed, the device management section 32 also
updates the address on the device management table 34.
Furthermore, if a terminal device has sent out no address
35 asks the terminal device on the receiving end for its
compatible format and compiles a compatible format
description table according to the type of the compatible
format replied. Or if the Device ID, listed on the device
management table 34, includes information about the prod
uct type (or product model) of each terminal device, then the
title list ?lter section 35 may ?nd the compatible format for
the terminal device on the receiving end according to the
Device ID and may compile a compatible format description
table. The table compiled in this manner is stored in a
memory or a buffer (not shoWn).
[0075] Hereinafter, it Will be described in detail hoW the
title list ?lter section 35 performs its processing using the
providing packets for a certain period of time or more, then
the device management section 32 deletes the address entry
of the terminal device from the device management table 34.
When another component requests the address of a terminal
device, the device management section 32 searches the
device management table 34 for the address. If that address
has been found, then the device management section 32
compatible format description table shoWn as Table 1.
Suppose the title list ?lter section 35 has got the title
information of four different moving picture programs from
the terminal device on the transmitting end (With Device ID
provides that address.
and (Content 4, MPEG4). A title list is obtained by compil
[0072]
ing these pieces of title information. In this case, the formats
of moving pictures that are playable by the terminal device
The title information search section 33 operates on
receiving a request for a title list from a terminal device. The
request for a title list is a request to send a list of titles of
multimedia information that has been stored in the terminal
device on the transmitting end. This request can be submit
ted by both the terminal device on the receiving end and the
terminal device on the transmitting end. The title informa
tion search section 33 asks the device management section
32 for the address, thereby getting the address of the
terminal device on the transmitting end that is listed on the
device management table 34. And the title information
search section 33 requests the terminal device on the trans
mitting end at that address to search the title information.
Then, the title information search section 33 receives the
search result.
[0073] The title list ?lter section 35 acquires the search
result of the title information, Which has been received from
the terminal device 48 on the transmitting end, as a title list,
and ?lters the title list to extract only the title information of
titles that are playable by the terminal device on the receiv
ing end, thereby making a neW title list. This ?ltering
#2). Those pieces of title information got by the title list ?lter
section 35 Will be identi?ed by (Content 1, MPEG2-PS),
(Content 2, MPEG2-TS/SD), (Content 3, MPEG2-TS/HD)
on the receiving end (With Device ID #1) are supposed to be
MPEG2-PS and MPEG4.
[0076] By reference to the compatible format description
table, the title list ?lter section 35 knoWs that the formats of
moving pictures that are playable by the terminal device on
the receiving end (With Device ID #1) are MPEG2-PS and
MPEG4. Thus, the title list ?lter section 35 extracts (Content
1, MPEG2-PS) and (Content 4, MPEG4) from the title list,
thereby making a neW title list. The title list ?lter section’s
function of extracting a title list by reference to the com
patible format description table Will be referred to herein as
a “title list ?ltering function”.
[0077]
The title list ?lter section 35 transmits the title list,
obtained as a result of the ?ltering, to the terminal device
that has requested the title list. As to the other formats
including a moving picture format (such as WMV), music
formats (such as MP3, WMA, AAC and ATRAC) and still
picture formats (such as JPEG and GIF), a compatible
operation may be carried out by reference to a compatible
format description table, describing correspondence
format description table that describes correspondence
betWeen the Device ID of the terminal device on the
betWeen the Device ID of the terminal device on the
receiving end and the formats of playable multimedia infor
mation, may be compiled similarly. As a result, the title list
receiving end and the format of its playable multimedia
information. The folloWing Table 1 shows an exemplary
compatible format description table.
TABLE 1
?ltering function described above can also be realiZed. If the
terminal device on the receiving end is compatible With
every format of the multimedia information stored in the
terminal device on the transmitting end, then the title list
remains the same before and after the ?ltering.
Compatible format description table
Device ID
#1
#2
Compatible format
MPEG2-PS
MPEG4
MPEG2-PS
MPEG2-TS/ SD
MPEG2-TS/HD
MPEG4
[0078] Hereinafter, the format conversion processing Will
be described by Way of speci?c examples. First, suppose the
title information of four moving picture programs, including
(Content 1, MPEG2-PS), (Content 2, MPEG2-TS/ SD),
(Content 3, MPEG2-TS/HD) and (Content 4, MPEG4), is
described on the title list of moving picture programs that the
title list ?lter section 35 has got from the terminal device 48
on the transmitting end. The formats of moving pictures that
are playable by the terminal device 4R on the receiving end
[0074]
On receiving a Device ID from a terminal device
on the receiving end, for example, the title list ?lter section
are supposed to be MPEG2-PS and MPEG4. That is to say,
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end is not compat
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
ible With MPEG2-TS. On the other hand, the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end can do a format conversion from
MPEG2-TS into MPEG2-PS.
[0079] The title list ?lter section 35 extracts the title
information of formats, Which are compatible Without doing
any format conversion, from the title list. That is to say, the
title list ?lter section 35 extracts (Content 1, MPEG2-PS)
and (Content 4, MPEG4). After that, the title list ?lter
section 35 determines Whether or not the format MPEG2
TS, Which has been regarded as non-compatible, can be
converted by the terminal device on the transmitting end.
Since the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end can do
a format conversion, the formats of Contents 2 and 3 may be
converted into MPEG2-PS, in Which the title information
may be described. That is to say, (Content 2, MPEG2-PS)
and (Content 3, MPEG2-PS) are obtained. This series of
processing is the ?ltering function of the title list ?lter
section 35 When the format conversion is needed.
[0080]
As a result of the ?ltering done by the title list ?lter
section 35, a title list, including (Content 1, MPEG2-PS),
(Content 2, MPEG2-PS), (Content 3, MPEG2-PS) and
(Content 4, MPEG4), is made. The title list ?lter section 35
transmits this result to the terminal device that has requested
the title list. In this example, a format conversion from
MPEG2-TS into MPEG2-PS has been described. As to the
other formats including a moving picture format (such as
WMV), music formats (such as MP3, WMA, AAC and
ATRAC) and still picture formats (such as JPEG and GIF),
?ltering may also be carried out in a similar manner by
reference to the title list of the terminal device on the
transmitting end and the compatible formats and convertible
formats of the terminal device on the receiving end.
[0081] Also, if the generations or manufacturers of the
terminal devices are different from each other, then the
terminal devices may comply With mutually different com
munication protocols. In that case, the server section 31
searches the title list in compliance With the respective
communication protocols to share the multimedia informa
tion.
S41, the terminal device 4R on the receiving end requests a
list of titles that can be shared betWeen the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end (With Device ID #2) and the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end (With Device ID #1)
from the connection management server 3 With a particular
address. By reference to the received Device ID #2 of the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end, the connection
management server 3 searches the device management table
34 for the IP address and port number of the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end. In Step S42, the connection
management server 3 requests a list of titles that are stored
in the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end from the
terminal device on the transmitting end by using the IP
address and port number that have been obtained as a result
of the search.
[0084]
In response, the terminal device 4S on the trans
mitting end sends the title list of multimedia information,
stored as the title information, to the connection manage
ment server 3 in Step S43. Then, the connection manage
ment server 3 ?lters the title list received, thereby extracting
information about titles that are playable by the terminal
device 4R on the receiving, end (With Device ID #1) and
making a neW title list. Subsequently, in Step S44, the
connection management server 3 returns a neW title list
?ltered as Web page data in HTML format, Which can be
displayed by the broWser of the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end, to the terminal device 4R on the receiving
end. Then, the user selects a desired title from the title list
displayed through the broWser.
[0085] Next, in Step S45, the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end sends a request to share the multimedia
information that has been selected by the user to the con
nection management server 3. In Step S46, in response to the
request to share the multimedia information from the ter
minal device 4R on the receiving end, the connection
management server 3 sends a request to transmit the mul
timedia ?le that has been selected by the user to the terminal
[0082] Hereinafter, it Will be described With reference to
FIGS. 4 and 5 hoW the multimedia information sharing
system 1 of the present invention operates. FIGS. 4 and 5
each shoWs the processing done by the terminal device 4R
on the receiving end, terminal device 4S on the transmitting
end, and connection management server 3 time-sequentially.
Speci?cally, FIG. 4 shoWs the How of a pull-type multime
dia information sharing process in Which multimedia infor
device 4S on the transmitting end. In this processing step,
the address of the terminal device 4R on the receiving end,
to Which the multimedia ?le Will have to be transmitted, is
also sent to the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end.
In Step S47, the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end
receives the request to transmit the multimedia ?le and
returns an acknowledgement of the transmit request to the
connection management server 3 if the multimedia ?le
requested can be transferred. Next, in Step S48, the connec
tion management server 3 receives the acknowledgement
from the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end and then
mation is transmitted from the terminal device 4S on the
transmitting end to the terminal device 4R on the receiving
sends a request to receive the multimedia ?le to the terminal
device on the receiving end.
end in response to a request from the terminal device 4R on
the receiving end. FIG. 5 shoWs the How of a push-type
multimedia information sharing process in Which multime
dia information is transmitted from the terminal device 4R
on the transmitting end to the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end in response to a request from the terminal
device 4S on the transmitting end. The direction in Which
three lines extend from the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end, connection management server 3 and termi
nal device 4S on the transmitting end is the positive direction
on the time axis.
[0086] Thereafter, in Step S49, the multimedia ?le
selected is directly transferred from the terminal device 4S
on the transmitting end to the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end. In Step S47, if the terminal device 4S on the
transmitting end cannot transfer the multimedia ?le
requested in response to the received request to transmit the
multimedia ?le, then the terminal device 4S on the trans
mitting end returns a denial of the transmit request to the
connection management server 3. The multimedia ?le can
not be transferred if suf?cient resources (e.g., the hard disk)
[0083] First, the pull-type multimedia information sharing
are not available as the terminal on the transmitting end is
recording or playing, or if the terminal device on the
process Will be described With reference to FIG. 4. In Step
transmitting, end has already begun transmitting or receiv
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
ing a multimedia ?le to/from another terminal device. In that
case, the transmission gets on hold by making the transmit
request reserved. The transmit request and the address of the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end, to Which the ?le
Will be transferred, Will be sent again either in a predeter
mined amount of time after the request got on hold or at a
speci?ed point in time, thereby attempting to transfer the
multimedia ?le.
[0087] Hereinafter, the push type multimedia information
sharing processing Will be described With reference to FIG.
5. In Step S51, the terminal device 4S on the transmitting
end requests a title list of the terminal device 4S on the
transmitting end from the connection management server 3.
Such a request is transmitted because the terminal device 4S
on the transmitting end of this preferred embodiment is
designed not to transmit the title list to the connection
management server 3 until the connection management
server 3 requests it. Thus, by requesting its oWn title list
from the connection management server 3, the terminal
device 4S on the transmitting end can receive a title list
request from the connection management server 3. As
already described With reference to FIG. 4, the connection
management server 3 has the function of requesting a title
list from the terminal device that has been identi?ed by the
Device ID. That is Why the connection management server
3 needs no special transmitting/receiving functions to carry
out the process shoWn in FIG. 5.
[0088]
By reference to the received Device ID #2 of the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end, the connection
management server 3 searches the device management table
34 for the IP address and port number of the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end. Then, in Step S52, the connec
tion management server 3 requests a list of titles stored from
the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end by using the
IP address and port number.
[0089] In response to the title list request, the terminal
device 4S on the transmitting end sends the title list stored
as the title information to the connection management server
3 in Step S53. In this processing step, the terminal device 4S
on the transmitting end also transmits the Device ID #1 of
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end. This is because
the connection management server 3 needs the Device ID of
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end in order to
extract a list of titles that are playable by the terminal device
the device management table 34 With the Device ID of the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end, thereby ?nding the
address of the terminal device 4R on the receiving end.
[0091]
When the contents of the data ?le are displayed by
the broWser, the user selects a desired title from a list of titles
that are playable by the terminal on the receiving end and
that are noW presented by the broWser. Next, in Step S55, the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end sends a request
to share the multimedia information that has been selected
by the user to the connection management server 3. Then, in
Step S56, in response to the request to share the multimedia
information from the terminal device 4S on the transmitting
end, the connection management server 3 sends a request to
receive the multimedia ?le that has been selected by the user
to the terminal device 4R on the receiving end. The terminal
device 4R on the receiving end receives the request to
receive the multimedia ?le.
[0092] If the terminal device 4R on the receiving end can
receive the multimedia ?le that the terminal device has been
instructed to receive, then the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end returns an acknowledgement of the receive
request to the connection management server 3 in Step S57.
When receiving the acknowledgement from the terminal
device on the receiving end, the connection management
server 3 sends a request to transmit the multimedia ?le to the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end in Step S58. In
this processing step, the connection management server 3
also noti?es the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end
of the address of the terminal device 4R on the receiving
end. Then, in Step S59, the terminal device 4S on the
transmitting end directly transfers the selected multimedia
?le to the terminal device 4R on the receiving end, to Which
the speci?ed address has been given.
[0093] If the terminal device 4R on the receiving end
cannot receive the multimedia ?le that the terminal device
has been instructed to receive, then the terminal device 4R
on the receiving end returns a denial of the receive request
to the connection management server 3 in Step S57. The
multimedia ?le cannot be received if suf?cient resources
(e.g., the hard disk) are not available as the terminal on the
receiving end is recording or playing or if the terminal
device on the receiving end has already begun transmitting
or receiving a multimedia ?le to/from another terminal
device. In that case, the connection management server 3
4R on the receiving end through the ?ltering operation. That
gets the reception on hold by making the receive request
is Why the user of the terminal device 4S on the transmitting
end needs to get the Device ID #1 of the terminal device 4R
on the receiving end from its user and store it in the memory
22 or storage device 28 of the terminal device 4S on the
reserved. The connection management server 3 Will send
transmitting end.
[0090]
Then, the connection management server 3 extracts
again the receive request either in a predetermined amount
of time after the request got on hold or at a speci?ed point
in time.
[0094] In the preferred embodiment described above, the
title list ?lter section 35 is provided for the connection
a list of titles that are playable by the terminal device 4R on
management server 3. Alternatively, the title list ?lter sec
the receiving end from the received title list through the
tion 35 may also be provided for either the terminal device
?ltering operation. Subsequently, in Step S54, the connec
4S on the transmitting end or the terminal device 4R on the
tion management server 3 returns a data ?le in HTML
receiving end. FIGS. 6 and 7 shoW the ?oWs of processing
in Which multimedia information is shared by making the
format, Which can be displayed by the broWser of the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end, to the terminal
device 4S on the transmitting end. The terminal device 4S on
the transmitting end just needs to transmit the Device ID of
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end or terminal
device 4R on the receiving end ?lter the title list. This
?ltering function is realiZed by the CPU 21 of the terminal
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end to the connec
device 4S on the transmitting end or that of the terminal
tion management server 3 before the ?ltering operation is
device 4R on the receiving end, and is equivalent to the
?ltering function that the title list ?lter section 35 of the
carried out. The connection management server 3 refers to
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
connection management server 3 has. Hereinafter, the
respective processes shoWn in FIGS. 6 and 7 Will be
described.
described above. FIG. 6 shoWs the alternative ?ltering
process done by the terminal device 4R on the receiving end
[0095] FIG. 6 shoWs the How of another pull-type multi
media information sharing process according to this pre
ferred embodiment. First, in Step S71, the terminal device
4R on the receiving end requests the address of the terminal
device 4S on the transmitting end (With a Device ID #2)
[0100] FIG. 7 shoWs the How of another push-type mul
timedia information sharing process according to this pre
ferred embodiment. First, in Step S81, the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end requests the address of the
from the connection management server 3. By reference to
the information identifying the terminal device 4S on the
as a processing step S78.
terminal device 4R on the receiving end (With a Device ID
#1) from the connection management server 3. By reference
to the information identifying the terminal device 4R on the
transmitting end (i.e., Device ID #2), the connection man
receiving end (i.e., Device ID #1), the connection manage
agement server 3 searches the device management table 34
for the IP address and port number of the terminal device 4S
on the transmitting end. In Step S72, the connection man
agement server 3 transmits the IP address and port number,
Which have been found as a result of the search, to the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end.
ment server 3 searches the device management table 34 for
the IP address and port number of the terminal device 4R on
[0096] In Step S73, the terminal device 4R on the receiv
ing end requests the list of titles, Which are stored in the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end, from the termi
nal device 4S on the transmitting end by reference to the IP
address and port number received. Along With this request,
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end also transmits
?lter information to the terminal device 4S on the transmit
ting end. As used herein, the “?lter information” is infor
mation about formats that are compatible With the terminal
device 4R on the receiving end (With a Device ID #1). In this
preferred embodiment, the compatible formats are MPEG2
PS and MPEG4.
[0097] In Step S75, the terminal device 4S on the trans
mitting end ?lters the title list of the multimedia information,
Which is stored as the title information, in accordance With
the ?lter information. Then, in Step S74, the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end transmits the title list ?ltered to
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end. This title list
includes only titles, of Which the formats are compatible
With the terminal device 4R on the receiving end. It should
be noted that as the terminal device 4S on the transmitting
end has been requested by the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end to send a title list to the terminal device 4R,
the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end already
knoWs the address of the terminal device 4R on the receiving
end. Thus, the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end
can transmit the title list ?ltered to the terminal device 4R on
the receiving end.
[0098] In Step S76, the terminal device 4R on the receiv
ing end sends a request to share the multimedia information
that has been selected by the user to the terminal device 4S
on the transmitting end. In response to this request, the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end transmits the
designated multimedia ?le to the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end in Step S77. When the terminal device 4R on
the receiving end. In Step S82, the connection management
server 3 transmits the IP address and port number, Which
have been found as a result of the search, to the terminal
device 4S on the transmitting end. Also, in Step S83, the
connection management server 3 transmits the ?lter infor
mation of the terminal device 4R on the receiving end (With
a Device ID #1). The “?lter information” is just as de?ned
above. By reference to the identi?er (Device ID #1) of the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end, the connection
management server 3 extracts its compatible formats from
the compatible format description table (shoWn as Table 1),
thereby generating the ?lter information.
[0101] The terminal device 4S on the transmitting end
?lters the title list of the multimedia information, Which is
stored as the title information, in accordance With the ?lter
information. Next, the user of the terminal device 4S on the
transmitting end selects a multimedia ?le to be transmitted
to the terminal device 4R on the receiving end by reference
to the title list ?ltered. Then, in Step S84, the terminal device
4S on the transmitting end sends a request to share the
multimedia information that has been selected by the user to
the terminal device 4R on the receiving end.
[0102]
In response to this request, the terminal device 4R
on the receiving, end returns an acknowledgement of the
transmit request to the terminal device 4S on the transmit
ting end in Step S85. On receiving the acknowledgement,
the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end transmits the
designated multimedia ?le to the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end in Step S86. When the terminal device 4R on
the receiving end receives this ?le, the processing ends.
[0103] In the example described above, the connection
management server 3 is supposed to transmit the ?lter
information to the terminal device 4S on the transmitting
end in Step S83. Alternatively, the terminal device 4R on the
receiving end may directly transmit the ?lter information to
the receiving end receives this ?le, the processing ends.
the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end. In that case,
the ?lter information is transmitted as indicated as Step S83‘
by the dashed line in FIG. 7. To make the terminal device
4R on the receiving end transmit the ?lter information, the
connection management server 3 may instruct the terminal
device 4R on the receiving end to transmit the ?lter infor
[0099] In the processing described above, the terminal
mation in the processing step S82, for example.
device 4S on the transmitting end ?lters the title list.
[0104]
HoWever, the title list may also be ?ltered by the terminal
?ltering the title list, the terminal device 4S on the trans
mitting end may convert the format of the multimedia
information by reference to the Device ID and ?lter infor
mation of the terminal device 4R on the receiving end. As a
result, the terminal device 4R on the receiving end can share
device 4R on the receiving end instead. In that case, the
terminal device 4R on the receiving end may receive a title
list, containing all titles, from the terminal device 4S on the
transmitting end and may ?lter the title list in accordance
With its oWn ?lter information stored. This processing step
may be carried out in place of the processing step S75
In the processing shoWn in FIGS. 6 and 7, When
more multimedia information With the terminal device 4S on
the transmitting end.
Sep. 7, 2006
US 2006/0200534 A1
[0105] In the preferred embodiments described above,
[0110]
both of the terminal devices on the receiving and transmit
ting ends are supposed to have the address providing func
tion. HoWever, since TCP/IP is used as the communication
protocol, the terminal device that submits the title list
nected to the connection management server 3 are of dif
request in the processing ?oWs shoWn in FIGS. 4 and 5 (i.e.,
in the processing steps S41 and S51) does not alWays have
to have the address providing function. This is because in
communication protocols of the respective terminal devices
Furthermore, even if the terminal devices con
ferent generations or produced by different manufacturers
and comply With mutually different communication proto
cols, the connection management server 3 may change the
one by one. Then, the user can share multimedia information
Without sensing the difference in communication protocol.
TCP/IP, the IP address and port address are described on the
headers of an IP packet and a TCP packet. By using the IP
address and port number that are described on the IP packet
and TCP packet, the device management section 32 can also
get the multimedia information shared even if a title list
request has been received from a terminal device With no
Device ID or a terminal device With a Device ID that is not
listed on the device management table 34. As a result, even
a general-purpose PC or a mobile terminal that supports the
TCP/IP protocol can also share the multimedia information
With a terminal device by Way of the connection manage
ment server.
[0106] Furthermore, in the preferred embodiments
described above, the multimedia information stored in a
terminal device on the transmitting end is supposed to be
searched in response to a title list request that has been sent
from a terminal device. HoWever, if the connection man
agement server 3 has a database that includes the title list of
the multimedia information stored in the terminal device on
INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
[0111] According to the present invention, a data commu
nications system, in Which a terminal device storing multi
media information requests a particular terminal device to
transmit the multimedia information and then transmits the
multimedia information thereto, can be established. That is
to say, the multimedia information can be shared betWeen
terminal devices on the receiving and transmitting ends at
the request of the terminal device on the transmitting end.
Consequently, information can be shared in a different
manner from the conventional system in Which multimedia
information is transmitted in response to a request of a
terminal device on the receiving end.
1. A server for use in a system that is designed to transmit,
receive and share multimedia information betWeen a plural
ity of terminal devices that are connected together over a
netWork, the server comprising:
the transmitting end, the title list of the multimedia infor
mation stored in the terminal on the transmitting end may be
entered in advance into the database of the connection
a management table for managing identi?ers to identify
the terminal devices and the addresses of the terminal
management server. Then, the title list can be returned
immediately in response to a title list request from the user.
a server receiving section, Which receives the identi?er
from a ?rst one of the terminal devices;
[0107] As described above, in the multimedia information
sharing system of this preferred embodiment, no matter
a processing section for getting the address of the ?rst
Whether a request to share multimedia information has been
submitted by the terminal device 4R on the receiving end or
the terminal device 4S on the transmitting end, the terminal
devices 4S and 4R on the transmitting and receiving ends
devices on the netWork;
terminal device on the transmitting end based on recep
tion of the identi?er and also getting the address of a
second one of the terminal devices, identi?ed by the
identi?er received, by reference to the identi?er and the
management table; and
can share the multimedia information.
[0108] The connection management server 3 extracts a list
of titles that are playable by the terminal device on the
receiving end by ?ltering the list of titles stored in the
terminal device 4S on the transmitting end. Thus, the user
can select his or her desired multimedia information by
himself or herself Without Worrying about its compatibility.
[0109] Also, the connection management server 3 man
ages the Device IDs and IP addresses of the terminal
devices. Accordingly, even if the IP address of a terminal
device has changed, the terminal device to share the multi
media information With can still be connected to by refer
ence to the Device ID uniquely given to that device. Fur
thermore, not only the Device IDs and IP addresses of the
terminal devices but also their port numbers may be man
aged as Well. In that case, even in a connection environment
in Which a number of terminal devices are connected to a
single router With a global address and are given local IP
addresses that are effective only in the router, any particular
terminal device can be identi?ed by its connection address,
consisting of the global address of the router and the port
number given to the terminal device, and can be accessed by
another terminal device connected to the Internet by Way of
the router.
a server transmitting section for sending the address of the
second terminal device to the ?rst terminal device When
the ?rst terminal device retains the multimedia infor
mation and for sending, the address of the ?rst terminal
device to the second terminal device When the second
terminal device retains the multimedia information,
Wherein the multimedia information is transmitted,
received and shared betWeen the ?rst and second ter
minal devices by reference to the address provided.
2. The server of claim 1, Wherein in the case Where the
?rst terminal device retains the multimedia information,
the server receiving section receives the identi?er of the
second terminal device and a share request to share the
multimedia information from the ?rst terminal device,
and the server transmitting section sends the share
request to the second terminal device, and
When the server receiving section receives an acknowl
edgement, indicating that the multimedia information is
receivable, from the second terminal device in response
to the share request, the server transmitting section
sends the address of the second terminal device and a
request to transmit the multimedia information to the
?rst terminal device.
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