|Publication number||USRE42081 E1|
|Application number||US 10/230,999|
|Publication date||Jan 25, 2011|
|Filing date||Aug 30, 2002|
|Priority date||Sep 30, 1996|
|Also published as||US6185736|
|Publication number||10230999, 230999, US RE42081 E1, US RE42081E1, US-E1-RE42081, USRE42081 E1, USRE42081E1|
|Original Assignee||Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Non-Patent Citations (8), Classifications (34), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to an information transmission apparatus such as a server used in a system for realizing service such as VOD (Video on Demand) in which stored media is reproduced at real time through a network, and a traffic control apparatus, and a method of managing bandwidth resources using the same and a method of admitting a call. Particularly, the present invention relates to an information transmission apparatus in a system in which information is transmitted by use of the storage media storing data, which is VBR (variable bit rate)-encoded, such as a DVD (digital versatile disk), a traffic control apparatus, a method of managing bandwidth resources using the same, and a method of admitting a call.
In recent years, an interactive video service for practical use is starting in accordance with high-speed and wide bandwidth resources of the network and the development of a digital image technique. VOD is one of typical example of such service. VOD can be explained as follows:
VOD is excellent in its operability. However, in consideration of the method of using the path for corresponding to VOD, necessary processing ability of video server, and an amount of contents to be supported, the reduction of the cost, which is necessary for presenting service, becomes an important matter.
In the field of consumer electronics, the sale of DVD is near at hand. DVD is a new video disk standard in which video information such as a movie can be recorded onto an optical disk having the same size as a CD (compact disk) with high picture quality by MPEG2, that is, video encoding. Video players for DVD or its contents packages are expected to be sold at a reasonable price to be widely used. If DVD can be used as the above-mentioned video server, the buildup cost of the video server can be expected to be largely reduced.
The recording and reproducing method of DVD is based on the concept of variable bit rate encoding in view of the point that both the image quality and recording time to capacity are ensured. The amount of encoding bits depends on the image quality of the original picture. The faster the motion scene is, the more the amount of data increases. In contrast, the conventional VOD was usually based on a CBR (constant-bit-rate)-encoded video source. The main reason is that there is not yet established the method of transmitting variable-bit-rate encoded video data, that is, VBR video through a network. This is also true to the field of ATM in which the VBR transmission is already defined, although it is assumed that many of the VOL) service use an ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) in at least a core part of the network.
In ATM, several service classes are defined. For example, the following five classes are standardized in an ATM forum, which is the industrial standard setting organization for ATM.
Specifically, there are a CBR (Constant Bit Rate), a RT-VBR (Real Tune Variable Bit Rate), a NRT-VBR (Non-Real Time Variable Bit Rate), an ABR (Available Bit Rate), and an UBR (Unspecified Bit Rate).
Since the video transmission service needs a real time property, the CBR, which can ensure a constant rate type traffic, is generally used in the present state. The study of using the RT-VBR has be recently started.
Among the above five classes, the CBR and RT-VBR are guaranteed in their quality in view of real time. The CBR has an extremely low probability of cell discard and a high quality. However, a statistical multiplexed effect, which is particularly useful as an effective using method of managing the bandwidth resource, is not used in the ATM, the transmission cost of the CBR is high. The probability of cell discard of RT-VBR is higher than that of the CBR. However, since the CBR uses the statistical multiplexed effect, the transmission cost is lower than the CBR.
In the ATM, a call admission is executed as follows:
In the CBR, a notification parameter is a peak cell rate (PCR). The PCR is a parameter, which defines a maximum speed of one ATM connection. The bandwidth resource notified by PCR is constantly allocated to the network during the time when the call is set. In the CBR, since the bandwidth resource is sufficiently ensured, and the data communication is performed, a good image quality can be obtained. However, since no multiplex effect is used, the communication cost is high. In case when the VBR video such as DVD is transmitted, if the bandwidth resource is notified to adjust to the peak value of the variable rate transmission, the large number of portions where the allocated bandwidth resource is wasted is generated, the total transmission cost is unnecessarily increased. To efficiently use the allocated bandwidth resource, encoded data is once decoded, and re-encoded to set the source of the VBR to the source of the CBR. Or, the rate must be flattened by buffering. However, the encoding operation is generally executed in consideration of the buffer management of the receiver. Due to this, the above-mentioned flattening causes increase in the buffers of the receiver side, and the manufacturing cost is increased. In other words, there is actually difficulty in flattening the rate. In general, the rate is adjusted as described below to execute the re-encoding operation.
Specifically, data of the portion where bits are allocated at a rate, which is higher than a certain reference value, is partially deleted. Then, stuffing bits, which have no influence on decoding, are inserted to the portion where bits are allocated at a rate, which is lower than the certain reference value.
The notification parameter of the RT-VBR, which is another service class, includes a sustainable cell rate (SCR) showing an average bit rate and a maximum burst size (MBS) corresponding to PCR durable time, in addition to the PCR. The exchanger uses an imaginary buffer (leaky bucket) and polices whether or not the buffer is full of information. In the leaky bucket, a maximum value of an input is restricted by the PCR, the output rate is the SCR, and the size is the MBS. Even if the VBR is used, data cannot always be transmitted in the form that the traffic characteristic of the VBR of the source is unchanged. The traffic characteristic must be shaped to the traffic characteristic of the VBR, which the network allows, when transmitting data. For example, suppose that a scene where bits are allocated at a rate close to the peak rate exists in the scenes recorded by DVD, and that the scene is contained for several seconds. In this case, time when the peak rate can continue at a transmission time is restricted by the MBS, and the transmission rate must be reduced for a certain period of time. This state is shown in
In the present notification parameter, in order to pass through the traffic, which the source originally has extra resources for safety must be provided to prevent congestion. This does not meet the demand for the manufacturing cost, and the traffic characteristic must be shaped in accordance with the network request. As a result, a hard load and the deterioration of the image quality occur.
Thus, in the framework of the existing network, when VBR data such as a motion picture is transmitted at real time in the existing ATM service class as a typical example, the following problems occur.
Specifically, in order to adjust the rate characteristic of encoded data to the CBR, encoded data must be once decoded and re-encoded in the CBR service class. As a result, the hard load on the server side occurs, and the image quality is largely deteriorated due to the re-encoding operation. Also, in the VBR service class, data cannot be transmitted at the rate characteristic, which the VBR source originally has, by policing. As a result, there occur the hard load and the deterioration of the image quality, even if which are not worse than the case of CBR. Therefore, the re-encoding operation and the rate adapting operation are needed.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an information transmission apparatus, which can use variable rate storage media such as DVDs as video a sever without being re-encoded, and which can prevent a hard load of the sever side and deterioration of an image quality.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an information transmission apparatus which can efficiently perform a traffic management and a network management without changing a characteristic of a VBR source.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a, traffic control apparatus which can efficiently perform a traffic management and a network management without changing a characteristic of a VBR source.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a method of managing bandwidth resources using the above information transmission apparatus or traffic control apparatus, and a method of admitting a call.
According to the present invention, there is provided an information transmission apparatus comprising a holding section for holding a time series characteristic of a transmission rate of variable-rate-encoding data every storage medium or every variable-encoding data stored in the storage media: a notifying section for notifying the time series characteristic of the transmission rate, serving as a notification traffic parameter, which corresponds to variable-rate encoding data to be transmitted, to a network for executing a traffic control in accordance with a notification traffic parameter from a call side: and a transmission starting section for starting a transmission upon reception of a notification of connection setting from the network.
According to the present invention, there is provided a traffic controller comprising a receiving section for receiving a notification traffic parameter from an information transmission apparatus for transmitting variable-rate-encoding data stored in a storage medium: and a section for allocating a transmission bandwidth resource for a variable-rate transmission designated by a time series characteristic to the information transmission apparatus on the basis of the time series characteristic of a transmission rate notified thereby.
According to the present invention, there is provided a method of managing bandwidth resources wherein a time series characteristic corresponding to a predetermined transmission rate is notified as a traffic parameter from a video server such as a DVD storing VBR-encoded real time data and a bandwidth resource allocation is executed based on the traffic parameter.
According to the present invention, in an information transmission apparatus such as a server for transmitting variable-rate-encoding data stored in a storage medium to a client through a network where a traffic control is performed in accordance with the notification traffic parameter from a terminal, the information transmission apparatus comprises a holding section for holding a rime series characteristic of a transmission rate every storage medium or variable-rate-encoding data stored in the storage medium, and a notifying section for notifying the time series characteristic of the transmission rate, which corresponds to variable-rate-encoding data to be transmitted, as the notification traffic parameter.
In other words, in the information transmission apparatus, by use of the point that the traffic characteristic is ensured in advance in the service for transmitting information from the storage medium such as VOD, the traffic characteristic can be notified as a time series characteristic even if the traffic characteristic is VBR-encoded. The network side allocates the transmission bandwidth resources having the characteristic corresponding to the characteristic of the time series change of the transmission rate designated by the notified parameter.
As a result, it is not needed that the traffic characteristic, which VBR-encoded real rime data originally has, be forcibly adjusted to the other traffic characteristic due to the restriction of the network. Thereby, the traffic characteristic can be transmitted in a state that the characteristic of VBR source is unchanged. Moreover, the network side can easily manage and control the traffic, and the efficient management of the network resource can be executed.
The time series characteristic of the predetermined transmission rate corresponding to the VBR-encoded data to be transmitted can be generated as follows:
In other words, every time when a new DVD medium is prepared in the server, the reading operation is executed. Then, the time series of the average read rate for every predetermined time distance may be maintained and managed as a notification traffic parameter.
If VBR-encoded data stored in the storage medium is motion picture data, the time series characteristic is preferably generated as follows:
Moreover, according to the present invention, there is provided a method of admitting a call, comprising the steps of notifying a time series characteristic of a predetermined transmission rate from an information transmission apparatus containing a storage medium storing real time data as a traffic parameter; and adding the traffic parameter notified in each exchanger on a path to a traffic characteristic already admitted to determine whether or not the traffic is admitted.
In this case, in the traffic admission determining step, the change of the addition result due to a difference of a traffic start timing from the information transmission apparatus should be preferably considered. Thereby, for example, the traffic start timing from the information transmission apparatus such as the server is shifted to timing at which the result of the addition is reduced. As a result, a refused call rate can be reduced. Moreover, in consideration of a transmission delay and a delay variation, it is determined whether or not the traffic is admitted. Furthermore, when the traffic is cut on the way, the traffic characteristic already admitted is modified based on a notification traffic parameter of the cut traffic. Thereby, the call admission can be more correctly controlled.
Additional object and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The object and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate presently preferred embodiments of the invention, and together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the preferred embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
An embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
The following explanation relates to the transmission of motion picture data. However, data is not always limited to the motion picture, and general real time data such as audio data, etc., may be used. Moreover, the explanation relates to a case in which an ATM network is mainly used. However, the present invention can be applied to a general packet network having a concept of QOS (Quality of Service).
First of all, the principle of the present invention will be explained with reference to
The video server 11 comprises a storage 12, and a network controller 13. The storage 12 includes digital storage medium storing a video source, which is VBR (Variable-Bit-Rate)-encoded by MPEG 2 such as a DVD. The network controller 13 executes an operation control relating to a communication for transmitting the video source read from the storage 12 through a network 14. In the network controller 13, the time sequential characteristic of a predetermined transmission rate is maintained and managed every storage medium or every video source. The time sequential characteristic shows the change characteristic of the transmission rate, which the VBR-encoded video source has, in a time sequential manner.
An operation model of VOD is defined by a DAVIC, which is a consortium for standardizing a digital AV system. Regarding a VOD session, and a connection, as shown in steps S22 and S23 of
Generally, at the time of calling, the call side notifies the following traffic characteristic as a notification parameter. In the case of the CBR, the notification parameter is the PCR. In the case of the VBR, the notification parameter is the PCR, SCR, and MBS. In the system of this embodiment, the notification parameter to be sent in step S23 is the notification parameter file 19 in which the change of the transmission rate is shown in the time series manner. The notification parameter file 19 is prepared and maintained every storage medium. Or, when a plurality of video sources are stored in storage medium and access can be executed every video source, the notification parameter 19 is prepared and maintained every video source. By the notification parameter file 19 corresponding to the source designated from the set top box 18, the traffic characteristic is notified.
When the network 14 receives the notification parameter 14, the network 14 determines a transmission path, which is from the video sever 11 to the set top box 18. Also, the network 14 determines whether or not the call is admitted. On the path of the normal network, there exists a plurality of exchangers (15, 16, 17). Generally, the path setting and the call admission are determined in parallel. In other words, in this case, it is assumed that all exchangers on the path should pass the admission traffic without any problem. In consideration of the length of the path and the point whether the respective exchangers can pass the traffic or not, the path of the network is determined (step S24). Only when all paths of the plurality of candidates of the paths available have to include one or more exchanger which cannot accept the traffic (No of step S26, Yes of step S27), this call is set to be a lost-call (step S29). In this embodiment, the exchangers 15 to 17 check the admitted time sequential file 19 of the transmission rate change to determine whether or not the traffic can be passed (step S25). In the respective exchangers, the accumulated traffic characteristic, which is relevant to this kind of call already admitted, is stored as time series (already accepted traffic 20 in FIG. 4). Each exchanger adds a time series of a transmission rate of a newly notified call (slanting line of
In the above-explanation, the calculation of the time series of the sum must be executed on the consumption that all exchangers have the same transmission start time. Due to this, in steps of
If the above idea is further advanced, the following case can be considered:
For example, if transmission time is shifted to t1 as shown in
Such transmission start time can be determined by various methods, and for example, the following methods can be considered:
Then, information flowing for signaling is determined among the exchangers every method.
In the case of (1), the exchanger, which is directly linked to the video server 11, notifies connection request admission time to the other exchangers. In the case of (2), the parameter (peak durable time, etc) showing a bottle neck portion of the schedule is exchanged among the respective exchangers, so that the exchanger for determining transmission start time is decided. Thereafter, the exchanger sends information of transmission start time to the other exchanger. In the case of (3), each exchanger sends the information of already accepted traffic to the supervisor so as to receive transmission start time data. The more degree of freedom of information, which can be exchanged among the exchangers by the signaling, is increased, the more a call-lost rate can be reduced. However, there is a trade-off relation in terms of an increase in decision time, signaling information quantity.
The range where the transmission time can be shifted depends on a system design. The limit of shifting time may be set such that the network 14 can be negotiated with and the video server 11 or the set top box 18, or both. Moreover, the set top box 18 may present received information of transmission start timing to a user so that the usage of the system can be improved.
Moreover, as shown in
Next, the following will explain a specific example of the time sequential file of the transmission rate.
First, the traffic characteristic of DVD will be explained with reference to FIG. 7.
On the DVD, a time stamp, which shows reading time, is written every sector of a fixed length (2048 bytes). The DVD player reads the sector at the peak rate (10.8 Mbps) of the disk reading when counting time by a clock reaches the written time. This determines a raw traffic characteristic from DVD. In consideration of the network transmission, this cannot be directly mapped for the following reasons:
Therefore, the following example of actual notification parameter can be considered:
7200 seconds×10 bits/sec=72k bits.
In the DVD, the encoding is performed by use of the VBD buffer of MPEG2 video standard so as to prevent the receiving buffer from overflowing. Due to this, the receiving side must be prevented from being broken even if it is subjected to the smoothed traffic. Therefore, the transmission rate change characteristic of the time series shown by the notification parameter file 19 should be generated taking into consideration of the definition of VBV. Unless such a consideration is taken, there must be needed a buffer for compensating for smoothing for one second at the time of receiving and transmitting.
Next, it is assumed that the length of the window is set to the frame distance (=33 m sec) which is a unit of video encoding as shown in
Thus, the selection of the length of the window causes a trade-off relation in terms of difficulty of rescheduling and signaling information quantity. In this case, notification parameter information quantity can be further reduced by compression-encoding.
The above-explained notification parameter is calculated based on the pre-determined window size, every time when a new DVD source is set in the storage section 12. The calculated notification parameter is stored in the network controller 13 so as to be used at the calling time. If the plurality of video sources are included in the DVD, the notification parameter is calculated every video source.
It is needed that the window size be uniquely determined between the video server 11 and the network 14.
The above calculation must be executed in consideration of the following points:
Thus, if the characteristic of the traffic is defined, minutely speaking, a stepwise function can be established between the notification parameter 19 and the admission traffic 20 as shown in
Delay of the data transmission through the network and delay jitter can be considered as a cause of time shift. However, in the case of the network management as in the present invention, the traffic is scheduled in nearly an ideal manner as compared with the case of admission of the VBR service class. Ideally, this is equivalent to the case in which the peak rate is allocated to each call, so that the buffering at the exchanger is expected to be extremely small. As a result, the cell delay and its jitter is also expected to be small.
As another cause of time shift, there can be considered a problem in inconsistency of clocks.
Generally, the video server 11, the network 14, and the set top box 18 are operated by the different clock. Due to this, while the transmission side is trying to generate the traffic in accordance with the notification, the time axis may be shifted gradually. In consideration of the relationship between the video server 11 and the network 14 in the clock, there are two cases, one in which these clocks are synchronized with each other and the other in which these clocks are not synchronized with each other. If the clocks are synchronized with each other, the time series of the traffic characteristic and transmission start time are calculated based on time measured by the common clock. As a result, the scheduling becomes extremely correct, and no problem occurs. If the clocks are not synchronized with each other, there occurs a difference between the operation, which is expected by the network based on the notification, and the actual operation. As a result, unless a margin is formed anywhere, the server side will be policed while the server side is trying to transmit data in accordance with the notification.
In order to prevent this problem, there is one method in which a margin is added to the received notification characteristic in consideration of safety when each exchanger calculates the traffic characteristic of the sum to determine whether or not the calculation result is acceptable in step S25. There is another method in which the margin is considered where the video server side calculates notification parameter. By either method, the difference caused by the delay, the delay jitter, and the clock shift equivalent to the added margin can be absorbed.
Thus, according to the above-explained embodiment, in the case of the communication in which the storage medium is used as a source, the feature that the traffic characteristic is determined at the transmission starting time is utilized. The notification parameter file 19, which time-sequentially shows the characteristic of the transmission rate change corresponding to the durable time of the traffic time, is notified to the network 19 from the server 11. The network 14 executes the bandwidth resource allocation based on the characteristic of the transmission rate change designated by the notified parameter. Thereby, the transmission, which is adjusted to the characteristic of the source, and the efficient traffic management, and the running of the network can be executed.
Regarding the notification parameter, the time sequential characteristic showing the transmission rate generated by the above-mentioned method may be recorded in DVD, and this may be used as the notification parameter.
Next, the following will explain the structure of the video server, which executes the above-explained operation, with reference to FIG. 12.
Next, a smoothing section 114 smooths information, which corresponds to the above-mentioned window size. Then, the obtained traffic characteristic is stored in a notification parameter recorder 115 in a manner that the correspond between the DVD and the traffic characteristic clear. After this, the register DVD becomes access to the remote users. The access from the remote user is input to a controller 121 from a network adapter through the network. The controller 121 selects a requested DVD from the DVD archive in accordance with the remote user's request to be set in the DVD player, and notifies the selected content to the notification parameter recorder 115.
A parameter characteristic corresponding to the selected DVD is notified to the network by a U-N (User-Network) signaling section, so that the above mentioned negotiation can be carried out. If the call is admitted, data from DVD is transmitted through a network adapter 118. Since the traffic is the function of time, the transmission starting time is controlled by a timer 117. As collating with the notification parameter, the traffic characteristic after staring the transmission is policed by a traffic shaper 119, and shaped if necessary.
Next, the following will specifically explain the structure of the exchanger, which performs the above-explained operation, with reference to FIG. 13.
In the figure, user information is sent to the system including a buffer 131, a policing section 132, a switch section 133, and a buffer 135. Signaling information is sent to the system including a U-N (N-N) signaling section 137, a traffic management section 138, and an N-N signaling section 139. In either system, only one link is shown in the figure. However, in actual, the number of systems, which corresponds to the number of the ports of the exchangers, are connected to the switch section. The number of signaling paths are also provided to correspond to the number of the ports. When the video server calls, the previous notification parameter is sent from the video server through the U-N signaling section (a case in which the exchanger directly links to the video server) or N-N (Network-Network) signaling section 137 (a case in which the exchanger does not directly link to the video server), and the negotiation is started.
The traffic management section 138 adds the already admitted traffic characteristic and newly notified traffic characteristic to each other. Then, the traffic management section 138 determines whether or not the traffic management section 138 itself can accept the call. The traffic management section 138 negotiates with the exchanger on the path through an N-N signaling section 139. Similar to the explanation of the server, since the traffic is the function of time, the timer 136 controls timing of call admission. After the call is admitted, data of DVD is passed through the system of the circuit elements 131 to 135. In this case, the policing section 132 polices the traffic in the right direction, and the policing section 134 polices the traffic in the left direction. As a result, policing sections 132 and 134 discard notification violation data in accordance with the notified traffic characteristic. Thus, the traffic, which the exchanger itself does not expect, is surely discarded by policing. As a result, the bandwidth resource of the traffic as notified can be ensured as in a contract.
Thus, according to the present invention, the variable bit rate storage medium such as DVD can be used as the video server without performing the re-encoding operation. In this case, in the storage system, the traffic characteristic necessary for a transmission is ensured in advance. Thereby, the traffic management such as traffic characteristic notification, call admission, and decision of path, etc. are carried out. As a result, the transmission, which is adjusted to the characteristic of the source, and the efficient traffic management, and the running of the network can be executed.
Additional advantages and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details and representative embodiments shown and described herein. Accordingly, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the general inventive concept as defined by the appended claims and their equivalent.
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|1||Applicant's Response filed Aug. 25, 2000 in response to Final Rejection in 08/941,034-Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter, Petition for Extension of Time (one month) and Amendment.|
|2||Applicant's Response filed Aug. 25, 2000 in response to Final Rejection in 08/941,034—Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter, Petition for Extension of Time (one month) and Amendment.|
|3||Applicant's Response filed Feb. 9, 2000 in response to Non-Final Rejection in 08/941,034-Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter, Petition for Extension of Time (2 Months) and Amendment with attachment.|
|4||Applicant's Response filed Feb. 9, 2000 in response to Non-Final Rejection in 08/941,034—Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter, Petition for Extension of Time (2 Months) and Amendment with attachment.|
|5||Applicant's Response filed Jul. 6, 1999 in response to Non-Final Rejection in 08/941,034-Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter and Amendment.|
|6||Applicant's Response filed Jul. 6, 1999 in response to Non-Final Rejection in 08/941,034—Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter and Amendment.|
|7||Applicant's Response filed Sep. 25, 2000 in response to Final Rejection in 08/941,034-Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter, Petition for Extension of Time (2nd) and Amendment.|
|8||Applicant's Response filed Sep. 25, 2000 in response to Final Rejection in 08/941,034—Date-stamped Filing Receipt, Cover Letter, Petition for Extension of Time (2nd) and Amendment.|
|U.S. Classification||725/95, 725/116, 725/93|
|International Classification||H04N19/00, H04N21/2385, H04L12/911, H04N21/231, H04N7/173, H04Q3/00, H04Q11/04|
|Cooperative Classification||H04N21/2396, H04N7/17318, H04L2012/568, H04N21/6373, H04L2012/5642, H04Q11/0478, H04N21/64761, H04L12/5601, H04N21/643, H04N21/658, H04L2012/5651, H04N21/6377, H04N21/64738, H04L2012/5637|
|European Classification||H04Q11/04S2, H04N7/173B2, H04N21/239H1, H04L12/56A, H04N21/647N2, H04N21/647M2, H04N21/6373, H04N21/658, H04N21/6377, H04N21/643|