News Column

"Method and Apparatus for Displaying a Video Signal on a Computer System" in Patent Application Approval Process

August 14, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- A patent application by the inventors Cox, David R. (Los Gatos, CA); DiCarlo, Derek J. (Mountain View, CA); Costa, Paul J. (Sunnyvale, CA), filed on March 26, 2014, was made available online on July 31, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Apple Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to techniques for displaying a video signal. More specifically, the present invention relates to a method and apparatus for selecting between an internal video source and an external video source to be displayed on a computer system.

"A typical computer system generates an output video signal which is outputted through a display which is coupled to the computer system. However, in order to display a video signal from an external video source, the computer system requires special hardware. For example, the special hardware can include a graphics card which has a video input port (in addition to a standard video output port).

"For computer systems with integrated displays (e.g., 'all-in-one' computer systems), a video source generated within the computer system is typically the only video source that can be displayed on the computer system. There is presently no way to display the external video signal on the display for an all-in-one computer system without adding video capture hardware to the all-in-one computer system.

"Hence, what is needed is a method and an apparatus for displaying an external video signal on a display for an all-in-one computer system without the problems described above."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "One embodiment of the present invention provides a system that displays a video signal on a display for a computer system. During operation, the system receives a signal to switch from displaying a video signal from an internal video source to displaying a video signal from an external video source. In this system, the internal video source and the external video source are coupled to a bi-directional video port for the computer system, wherein the internal video source generates an output video signal for the bi-directional port, and wherein the external video source generates an input video signal for the bi-directional port. The system then determines whether the external video source is coupled to the bi-directional video port. If so, the system couples the external video source to the display and determines whether the external video source is a valid video source. If the external video source is a valid video source, the system displays the video signal from the external video source on the display. Note that the internal video source is a video source which is generated by the computer system. Also note that the external video source is a video source which may or may not be coupled to the computer system. In one embodiment, the bi-directional video port is the same video port that is typically used as an output-only video port.

"In one embodiment, while determining whether the external video source is coupled to the bi-directional video port, the system deasserts a video source indicator signal which is asserted by the internal video source on a video source indicator pin of the bi-directional video port. For this embodiment, the video source indicator signal for the internal video source and the video source indicator signal for the external video source are asserted on the same video source indicator pin of the bi-directional video port. The system then determines whether the video signal indicator signal is asserted on the video source indicator pin of the bi-directional video port. If so, the system determines that the external video source is coupled to the bi-directional video port. Otherwise, the system determines that the external video source is not coupled to the bi-directional video port.

"In one embodiment, the video source indicator pin can include a power supply pin for a Digital Data Channel (DDC) interface.

"In one embodiment, a first switch is configured to couple: (1) the internal video source to the bi-directional video port; or (2) the external video source, which is coupled to the bi-directional video port, to the display.

"In one embodiment, while coupling the external video source to the display, the system switches the first switch so that the external video source is coupled to the display.

"In one embodiment, a second switch is configured to couple: (1) the internal video source to the display; or (2) the external video source, which is coupled through the first switch, to the display.

"In one embodiment, while displaying the external video source on the display, the system switches the second switch so that the external video source is coupled to the display.

"In one embodiment, when a signal to switch from displaying the external video source on the display to displaying the internal video source on the display is received, the system asserts the video source indicator signal for the internal video source on the video source indicator pin of the bi-directional video port. The system then switches the second switch so that the internal video source is coupled to the display.

"In one embodiment, the signal to switch from displaying the external video source on the display to displaying the internal video source on the display can include, but is not limited to: a system wake event for the computer system; a switch signal toggled from a button on the computer system; or a switch signal activated from a user interface of the computer system.

"In one embodiment, the signal to switch from displaying the internal video source on the display to displaying the external video source on the display can include, but is not limited to: a switch signal toggled from a button on the computer system; or a switch signal activated from a user interface of the computer system.

"In one embodiment, the computer system can include an 'all-in-one' computer system which includes an integrated display.

"In one embodiment, the bi-directional video port can include, but is not limited to: a Digital Video Interface (DVI) port; a mini-DVI port; a universal display interface (UDI) port; a video graphics array (VGA) port, a mini-VGA port; a digital flat panel (DFP) port; a DisplayPort port; a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port; and other video ports now known or later developed.

"In one embodiment, if the external video source is not coupled to the bi-directional video port, the system couples the internal video source to the display.

"In one embodiment, if the external video source is not a valid video source, the system displays the internal video source on the display.

"In one embodiment, an invalid external video source can include: an external video source which is not coupled to the bi-directional video port; an external video source which is in a display-sleep mode; an external video source which is powered-down; and an external video source which uses a protocol that is not supported by the display.

"In one embodiment, if the computer system is turned off and the external video source is coupled to the bi-directional video port, the system activates only specified components within the computer system which are used to display the external video source, wherein other components within the computer system remain turned off. Next, the system couples the external video source to the display. The system then determines whether the external video source is a valid video source. If so, the system displays the external video source on the display.

"In one embodiment, the specified components can include: the display; control circuits and processing circuits for displaying the external video source on the display; cooling fans to cool the display; one or more power supplies; and cooling fans to cool the control circuits and the processing circuits.

"In one embodiment, prior to displaying the external video source on the display, the system scales a video signal generated by the external video source so that the video signal can be displayed on the display.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

"FIG. 1 presents a block diagram of an all-in-one computer system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 presents a block diagram of the components within an all-in-one computer system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 3 presents a block diagram illustrating two switches which can be used to select between an internal video source and an external video source for an all-in-one computer system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 4 presents a block diagram illustrating a system that supports a monitor-detect signal and a source-detect signal in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5 presents an exemplary state diagram for an all-in-one computer system which can switch between displaying an internal video source and an external video source in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 6 presents another exemplary state diagram for a computer system which can switch between displaying an internal video source and an external video source in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 7 presents a flow chart illustrating the process of switching from displaying an internal video source to displaying an external video source in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 8 presents a flow chart illustrating the process of determining whether an external video source is coupled to a bi-directional video port of the computer system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 9 presents a flow chart illustrating the process of switching from displaying an external video source to displaying an internal video source in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 10 presents a flow chart illustrating the process of switching from displaying an internal video source to displaying an external video source when the ail-in-one computer system is powered-off in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 1 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S5 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 2 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S5i3D in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 3 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S5iOD in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 4 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state SO in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 5 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state SOi3D in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 6 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S0i0D in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 7 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S0i0M in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 8 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S3i3D in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"Table 9 presents a number of settings for an all-in-one computer system which is in state S3i0D in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Cox, David R.; DiCarlo, Derek J.; Costa, Paul J. Method and Apparatus for Displaying a Video Signal on a Computer System. Filed March 26, 2014 and posted July 31, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4205&p=85&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140724.PD.&OS=PD/20140724&RS=PD/20140724

Keywords for this news article include: Apple Inc.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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