Prototyping a product to connect a single Windows Server to 32 digital displays through Gigabit Ethernet.
Our client, a USA based multinational OEM, contracted Emutex to prototype a product that would allow up to 32 digital displays to connect to a single high-performance Microsoft Windows Server or PC through Gigabit Ethernet (instead of VGA or DVI cables) thus allowing for flexible and scalable connectivity. This product was targeted at digital signage and advertising applications.
Emutex successfully created and implemented the concept of virtual displays. We developed a virtual graphics driver for Microsoft Windows that would register up to 32 extended displays and the primary desktop display to the Windows Operating System. Each driver instance compressed the graphics frame buffer of each extended display using a proprietary compression protocol. Up to 32 frames per second were compressed and forwarded via reliable TCP/IP over gigabit ethernet LAN to the OEM's KVM over IP "thin client" product attached to the back of each VGA/DVI display monitor. The KVM decompressed the frames and displayed the images on the display. In a further development Emutex complemented the solution by developing an audio driver which would stream a shared audio stream to speakers attached to the thin clients. This was further complemented by keyboard and mouse control to give an impressive solution where one PC/Server user could display and interact with applications across 33 displays in total.
This project required us to leverage a wide range of skills and technology including Microsoft Windows Graphics Device and Audio Device Drivers, .NET DDK/SDK, Kernel-User Space memory mapping, Video/Audio Compression, uClinux on Xilinx MicroBlaze FPGA and TCP/IP Offload Engines (TOE, Fastpath Acceleration).