(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,683,630 Bi
Shoff et al. (45) Date of Patent: Jan. 27,2004
(54) METHODS AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR ALLOWING INDEPENDENT PROGRAM MODULES TO ACCESS SHARED DISPLAY DEVICE RESOURCES
(75) Inventors: Daniel J. Shoff, Issaquah, WA (US);
John T. Cooper, III, Bellevue, WA
(US); Jun Liu, Redmond, WA (US);
Robert S. T. Gibson, Monroe, WA
(73) Assignee: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (US)
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term ol this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 09/560,857
(22) Filed: Apr. 28, 2000
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 60/147,709, filed on Aug. 6, 1999.
(51) Int. C I. G09G 5 00
(52) U.S. CI 345/805; 345/803; 345/794
(58) Field of Search 345/629, 722,
345/723, 625, 630, 700, 790-797, 802-807
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
5,212,770 A * 5/1993 Smith et al 345/745
Virtual display layers are associated with each process within a programmable set top box requiring access to a shared front panel display therein. An ordered set ol virtual display layers is used to determine the information that is ultimately displayed on the shared display device. The shared display device includes a plurality ol selectively controllable light emitting diode (LED) elements located on the front panel ol the set top box. These LED elements correspond to data defined in the virtual display layers. The data includes flag data that associates certain properties with an element, mask data that identifies il the element is visible (e.g., opaque) or not visible (e.g., transparent) to the process, and context data that sets the state or status ol the element (e.g., ON/OFF). A composite display layer is created using applicable data from the ordered set ol virtual display layers. The resulting composite display layer provides the data that defines the information displayed via the display device.
41 Claims, 8 Drawing Sheets