Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
has developed new software technology targeted toward digital video recording (DVR) applications, including set-top boxes (STBs), that utilize hard disk drives. Hitachi's AVSM software technology is designed to seamlessly manage the mix of high-definition video streaming and best-effort file operations, such as electronic program guides or background IPTV downloads present in STB applications. Through "smart" hard drive management, AVSM technology helps reduce duty cycle by up to 60 percent and eliminates disk fragmentation, ultimately helping to extend the life of the hard drive and the host STB system.
Today's consumers increasingly use their digital cable and satellite set-top boxes to record high-definition programs and stream digital media from the Internet, and they want that content available throughout the house. However, recording and playing back a high number of multiple programs, or streams, can place greater demands on the hard drive and the conventional STB file system.
"Hitachi is continually looking for ways to add value to our hard disk drive solutions. We will see a steady ramp in HDTV viewership and programming in the coming years, and the demands placed on the DVR set-top box will increase significantly," said Marcia Bencala, vice president, corporate strategy and product planning, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "Leveraging Hitachi's R&D efforts, we've developed AVSM technology to be complimentary to our hard drive solutions--to help address the quality and performance issues that are faced by STB OEMs and content service providers."
"Smart" Hard Drive Management
To address the heavy demands on the HDD, AVSM technology gives the STB system the ability to distinguish between streaming applications (movies, streaming media) and best-effort, non-real-time applications (electronic program guide, IPTV download, photo viewing). This helps to maintain quality of service (QoS) and protect against disk fragmentation. The AVSM software technology currently comprises a streaming file system and sophisticated I/O scheduler and ultimately makes hard drives work "smarter". It handles the multiple HDTV streams present in multi-room households and optimizes task scheduling to help maximize HDD performance. Simply put, AVSM technology promotes:
- Exceptional hard drive reliability and longer STB service life by lowering hard disk drive duty cycle and protecting file system integrity;
- Improved QoS and highly-predictable performance in multi-stream STB applications through reduction of file system fragmentation and related performance degradation;
- Easy integration with multi-vendor support, minimal system footprint and no additional hardware resource requirement on the STB.
- The ability to manage up to 14 HDTV (19.3Mb/s) streams from one 3.5-inch HDD.
By extending the value of the hard drive, Hitachi is able to offer customers increasingly sophisticated solutions to help consumers manage and enjoy their digital content. Building on that goal, Hitachi also announced today a capacity-record one-TB CinemaStar hard disk drive specifically tuned for DVR applications. AVSM technology, combined with one-TB capacity continues to encourage the growth of HDTV in the home through the availability of ultra-high capacity and smart management of digital video content.