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METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR DELIVERING CONSUMER ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES USING VIRTUAL DEVICES ACCESSED OVER A HIGH-SPEED QUALITY-OF-SERVICE-ENABLED COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/300,628, filed on Jun. 25, 2001. The entire teachings of the above application is incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Consumer entertainment services, including video on demand ("VoD") and personal video recorder ("PVR") services can be delivered using conventional communication systems architectures. In conventional digital cable systems, a channel is dedicated to the user for the duration of the video. VoD services which attempt to emulate the display of a digital versatile/video disk ("DVD") are delivered from centralized video servers that are large supercomputer style processing machines. These machines are typically located at a metro services delivery center supported on a cable multiple service operator's ("MSO") metropolitan area network. The consumer selects the video from a menu and the video is streamed out from a video server. The video server encodes the video on the fly and streams out the content to a set-top box that decodes it on the fly; no caching or local storage is required at the set-top box. In such a centralized video server architecture, the number of simultaneous users is constrained by the capacity of the video server. This solution can be quite expensive and difficult to scale. "Juke-box" style DVD servers suffer from similar performance and scalability problems.
 IP streaming can be used to avoid dedicating channel bandwidth to each user. IP streaming has been designed to overcome the shortcomings of typical IP networks by providing codecs that are friendlier to packet loss and can tolerate multiple available bit-rates. Thus, the same video stream can continue to play, albeit at a lower quality, should the network suddenly get congested.
 Personal video recorder services (e.g., TiVo and Replay TV) allow consumers to record selected programs on local storage and play them later, at their convenience. Such services are popular with consumers as they replace the sequentially-accessible and cumbersome videotapes with randomly-accessible hard drives. Such hard-disk enabled devices bring superior recording and replay capabilities, such as instant fast-forward and recording of multiple programs simultaneously.
 These capabilities come at a significant price. Hard drive prices have dropped significantly; however, they are still a big portion of the total bill of materials for a personal video recorder, often 30% or more. Volume production and other logistics have kept the median price of hard drives at an optimal level for personal computers but too high for low-cost consumer devices. Hard drives have a mean time between failure (MTBF) of approximately 300,000 hours, or around thirty years. While that may seem high, this is a probabilistic value. As the number of hard drives deployed goes up, so does the frequency of failure. For example, for a customer base of 30,000 users, the service provider may be
replacing about 100 hard drives every month. Therefore, from a service provider perspective, the frequency and cost of servicing customer premise equipment (CPE) goes up with the number of users. Furthermore, additional power and cooling requirements make the reliability of a hard disk enabled device significantly lower than the same device without a hard drive. Hard drives are constantly getting bigger and faster. Typical hard drive capacities are now in the 40-60 Gigabyte (GB) range. Though 40 GB may be enough for most desktop computer applications, it is inadequate for recording video. Although some PVR devices advertise "up to 60 hours of recording capability", this is often "at the lowest recording quality".
 While consumers and service providers face the above issues, content providers face other issues, including a serious risk of piracy. Digitally recorded content can be easily shared over high-capacity networks in addition to being written to writable CDs, DVDs and other storage media. The recording industry's recent attempts to battle piracy have seen little to no success. Some analysts believe that content piracy has severely inhibited the progress of the digital content industry.
 Typical DVD players operate at a minimum 8x(150 Kbps) speed, producing 8x150 Kbpsx8 bits/byte=9.6 Mbps with a latency of <100 ms. DVD players require predictable throughput in a burst-mode (e.g., constant 128 KByte block fetches every 100 milliseconds).
 Current video servers, (e.g., the n4 video server from nCUBE of Beaverton, Oreg.), employ large processors, or a network of large processors, to serve video content. The number of simultaneous users they can support is constrained by the capacity of the video server. Typical video servers encode their content on the fly (e.g., for Real Media or Windows Media formats) and set-top-boxes decode on the fly.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Conventional solutions for providing consumer entertainment services suffer from problems of performance, scalability and piracy. The present invention provides a virtual storage adapter for delivering consumer entertainment services using virtual devices. The virtual devices are accessed over a high-speed quality-of-service-enabled ("QoS") communications network.
 A virtual storage adapter provides networked data storage to a data processing device for delivering consumer entertainment services using virtual devices accessed over a high-speed quality-of-service-enabled communications network. A data storage device emulation unit emulates the functionality of a data storage device (e.g., a DVD or a CD) and a network interface comprising an IP Small Computer System Interface ("iSCSI") compatible interface connects the data storage device emulation unit to an iSCSI storage gateway on the quality of service enabled communications network. The high-speed quality-of-service-enabled communications network can be implemented over a hybridfiber/cable network providing at least a Constant Bit Rate Real-Time Services (CBRT-TS) level of Quality of Service. An example high-speed quality-of-service-enabled communications network providing (CBRT-TS) level of Quality of Service is the hybrid-fiber/cable network from Narad Networks, Inc. of Westford, Mass..
 The virtual storage adapter can provide video on demand services using a video on demand server. The video on demand server comprises a video on demand portal providing selection of data for a specific user and a video on demand administration unit providing data billing and data access expiration management. The video on demand portal can provide a listing feature to enumerate the currently available data. The video on demand services can include an automatic data access expiration feature.
 The virtual storage adapter can provide personal video recorder services using a personal video recorder server. The personal video recorder server comprises a personal video recorder administration unit which provides a data expiration feature, a capacity on demand feature, a consolidated recording feature and a community recording feature.
 The present invention can support S-Video quality video and 6-channel audio with high reliability and centralized management and administration to provide a highly feature-rich content delivery platform. Piracy protection is provided by preventing data from being stored on the user's CPE. The customer perceives a virtual DVD juke-box being presented with programmed data expiration. This familiar DVD model offers a high-quality interactive experience for the user.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.
 FIGS, la and lb illustrate a conventional DVD system providing local data display.
 FIGS. 2a and 2b illustrate a conventional video streaming system providing remote data display.
 FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of a high-speed quality-of-service-enabled ("QoS") communications network
 FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate an architecture using a virtual storage adapter for providing display of networked data.
 FIG. 5 is an illustration of a video on demand service provided using a virtual storage adapter.
 FIG. 6 is an illustration of a personal video recorder service provided using a virtual storage adapter.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
 A description of preferred embodiments of the invention follows. This application is related to co-pending application Ser. No. 10/142,728, "System and Method for Network Service Provisioning", filed May 8, 2002, and application Ser. No. 09/952,374, "Broadband System With Intelligent Network Devices", filed Sep. 13, 2001, the entire teachings of these applications are incorporated herein by reference.
 In one embodiment the present invention comprises a set top box including a virtual storage adapter. The set top box is connected to a high speed quality-of-service (QoS) enabled communications network providing access to an iSCSI gateway. Data stored on the iSCSI gateway is presented to the user of the set top box as if it were stored locally. For example, DVDs can be selected, specific tracks can be selected, screen formats, scene angles, subtitles and other options can set. Similarly, audio CDs can be selected and specific tracks can be selected. The virtual access to CDs/DVDs can be combined with a server to provide video on demand services. Virtual access to networked disk drives can be combined with a server to provide personal video recorder services.
 FIGS, la and lb illustrate a conventional DVD system providing local data display. A DVD device 110 is attached to a display 120 to provide a displayed image of DVD data 142. The device 110 is composed of a series of units, including I/O device interface 132 for connecting I/O devices (e.g., display 120 and/or external speakers), a volatile memory 134 and a processor 136. The units are connected by a bus 130. Also connected to bus 130 is a DVD drive 140 for accepting DVD data 142 (e.g., a DVD) and an MPEG decoder and Tenderer for decoding the encoded DVD images. The DVD drive 140 can be configured in a "jukebox" arrangement, allowing access to multiple DVD data 142 units.
 Performance, scalability and piracy problems result from the conventional DVD system. The DVD drive 140 is subject to failure and degradation as the wear and tear of playing multiple DVD data 142 takes effect. The DVD system of FIGS, la, lb also does not scale well; in order for a user to choose from a large selection of DVDs they must have the full library physically available for inserting into DVD drive 140. This is not practical as the number of content titles available is constantly increasing. Additionally, with the content physically available to the user the opportunity for unauthorized copying is increased.
 FIGS. 2a and 2b illustrate a conventional video streaming system providing remote data display. Video streaming addresses some of the problems of scalability by providing large libraries of content accessible over a communications network. Portions of the data content 162 are streamed over a communications network 100 by server computer 160 to client computer 150. The streamed portions, or packets, are then processed by client computer 160 and display to the user on display 120. Typically, communications network 100 is an IP-based network.
 Client computer 150 is attached to a display 120 to provide a displayed image of streamed content data. Client computer 150 is composed of a series of units, including I/O device interface 132 for connecting I/O devices (e.g., display 120 and/or external speakers), a volatile memory 134 and a processor 136. The units are connected by a bus 130. Also connected to bus 130 is a network interface for receiving the streamed data content from the communications network 100 and an MPEG decoder and Tenderer for decoding the encoded streamed images.
 IP streaming technology (e.g., protocols, codecs) are geared to overcome some of the inefficiencies of presentday IP networks, but any solution for delivering consumer entertainment services must provide at least DVD-quality