AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON synchronizing the output of data across devices - This application from Accenture seeks to patent the idea of...synchronizing playback of streaming media on multiple devices! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 11/14/2011 that discusses:

  • Synchronously outputting media to multiple devices over a network

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - A reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO involves Synchronous Stream Protocol (SSP) or where devices can adjust playback speed or skip to keep streams in sync with one another

TITLE: Synchronizing playback of media across multiple devices

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] A method for synchronizing output of audio or video streams across multiple devices by adjusting playback speed or skipping frames so as to keep the streams synchronized with one another during playback

  • Publication Number: US 20130138778 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/675,846
  • Assignee: Accenture
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 11/14/2011
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 11/26/2013

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A computer-implemented method for synchronizing output of media data across a plurality of output devices, the method comprising:

  1. providing a communication network between a media server and the plurality of output devices; and

  2. synchronously outputting media data files on the plurality of output devices, wherein the media data files are transmitted to the output devices from the media server in form of a data stream over different delivery networks.

In English this means:

A method for synchronizing the output of media (think audio/video) across devices, comprising:

  1. Connecting a media server to mulitiple devices across a network

  2. synchronously playing the media over streams across different delivery networks (such as HDMI, fixed wired Ethernet, wireless IP, etc.)

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 11/14/2011

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming A Synchronous Stream Protocol (SSP) and adjusting playback speed or skip to keep streams in sync with one another across devices

"System for integrating playback of media across multiple devices from the Applicant"

What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.

7 Answers 7


You might want to check out the Sonos product range.

In particular, apparently there is already a patent; given the Sonos works across multiple networks I think this is remarkably similar.


This sounds like it might be very similar to services TokBox offers. As well as allowing synchronous multi-user/device live media streaming they also have the facility to archive media and broadcast it simultaneously or later (again to many users/devices): http://tokbox.com/platform

Wikipedia states the OpenTok API was launched in November 2010: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TokBox

There is a YouTube video from March 2010 demonstrating a video chat between up to 12 people broadcast to an audience of up to 200: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw5KkNLrSiU


Also look at every Screen Sharing conference software...

These apps broadcast a Users Screen + Audio

For example :




Window net meeting performed a synchronous output of media (audio/video) to multiple devices on a network and was introduced as an add on for Windows 95.



Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but the Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) streamed the 2010 olympics live. Here is one source (in Norwegian): http://nrkbeta.no/2009/12/17/en-totalopplevelse-fra-ol-2010-paa-nrk-no/

The source doesn't mention it, but IIRC the stream would skip in order to sync, and additionally it was possible to pause and go to any previous point in the stream as well. The article mentions that the Italian company Deltatre was the service provider.


With regards to synchronized playback: Network-Integrated Multimedia Middleware (NMM) did something of sorts. They seem to employ out-of-band NTP synchronization for playback timestamps. (The patent makes generous mention of NTP sync as well.) See their Homepage and 2008 paper

I was immediately thinking of RTP's (RFC 3550) presentation time, but in the patent's description of SSP, they say (emphasis mine):

The ASP defines a procedure by which an out of band, low latency communication mechanism is deployed in a single master slave architecture.

Going on to specify that that's UDP and sent from the master (playout) device to the slave (playback) devices. RTP's presentation information is transmitted in a similar fashion, but in band. I'll have to leave it up to the examining officer whether such an (IMHO trivial) change merits patenting.


Really seems equivalent to this patent dated 2010 :

Synchronized broadcast of streams (WO 2010079460 A1)

With different playback devices, and synchronization with speed adjustment

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