DVR video storage: US Pat. No. 7,660,837

U.S. Patent No. 7,660,837, issued on February 9, 2010 to Broadcom Corp. of Irvine, CA, discloses an apparatus and method of storing video data in a digital video recorder (DVR).

As explained in the ‘837 patent, video recordings are typically quite large and are distributed among a large number of memory blocks on the disk drive.  For example, a 2-3 hour high-definition television (HDTV) recording can occupy 15-20 GB of disk space across millions of 4-kB blocks of memory.  The process of repeatedly recording and deleting programs can result in fragmentation, in which the many memory blocks of a given program are distributed in locations across the available memory which are not contiguous with one another.  Having to access these many non-contiguous memory blocks in order to playback a program can result in reduced efficiencies, slower access times, and heightened wear and tear on the disk.  The ‘837 patent discloses an apparatus and method which utilizes “indirect” blocks in a way to facilitate the contiguous allocation of memory for larger files, reducing fragmentation.

Broadcom is a Fortune 500 company which provides state-of-the-art, system-on-a-chip and software solutions for computing and networking, digital entertainment, broadband access, and mobile devices.  According to the company website, Broadcom has a broad IP portfolio with over 3,800 U.S. patents addressing wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, and data. 

According to IFI Patent Intelligence, in a ranking of companies receiving the most U.S. patents in 2009, Broadcom was 22nd with 714 patents, an increase of 11% compared to the company’s 2008 tally.  With regard to the number of U.S. patents being issued to OC companies each week, Broadcom is the most prolific by far.  For example, in this past week, Broadcom was issued 17 U.S. patents according to the USPTO database, the ‘837 patent being one of them. 

While Broadcom may be considered to be the “800-lb. gorilla” when it comes to issued U.S. patents granted to Orange County companies, my interests lie more with technical innovations resulting from smaller, earlier-stage entepreneurship, so the OC TechInnovation™ blog will focus on such activities. 

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