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United States Patent Application 20040227900
Kind Code A1
Sato, Minoru ;   et al. November 18, 2004

Image-display method, projector, image-display system, projector-control method, image-display program, and projector-control program

Abstract

With a conventional image-display system, a presenter sometimes has difficulty in providing every viewer with an easy-to-see picture. When projecting an image transmitted from a computer operated by the presenter and enabling the viewer to watch the image projected by the projector, the projector receives image data transmitted through two-way communication from the computer operated by the presenter, projects an image represented by the received image data and transmits the received image data to a client computer operated by the viewer through the two-way communication, and the client computer receives the image data transmitted through the two-way communication and displays the image represented by the received image data on its display.


Inventors: Sato, Minoru; (Sapporo-shi, JP) ; Kubota, Shinji; (Ina-shi, JP) ; Karasawa, Toru; (Kamiina-gun, JP)
Correspondence Address:
    OLIFF & BERRIDGE, PLC
    P.O. BOX 19928
    ALEXANDRIA
    VA
    22320
    US
Assignee: SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION
Tokyo
JP

Serial No.: 788356
Series Code: 10
Filed: March 1, 2004

Current U.S. Class: 353/30; 348/E7.071
Class at Publication: 353/030
International Class: G03B 021/26


Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Mar 24, 2003JP2003-080030

Claims



What is claimed is:

1. An image-display method of projecting an image transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter on a screen by a projector and enabling a viewer to watch the image projected by the projector, wherein the projector receives image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter through two-way communication, projects the image represented by the received image data, and transmits the received image data to a client computer operated by the viewer through the two-way communication, and wherein the client computer receives the transmitted image data through the two-way communication and displays the image represented by the received image data on its display.

2. The image-display method according to claim 1, wherein the projector receives data indicating permission or prohibition of delivery of the image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter through the two-way communication and transmits the image data to the client computer when receiving delivery-permitting data for the image data.

3. The image-display method according to claim 2, wherein the client computer demands connection to the projector and the projector permits the client computer to connect to itself and sends on the image data when receiving the delivery-permitting data for the image data.

4. The image-display method according to claim 3; wherein the client computer accepts a password visible to only the viewer of the image projected on the screen by the projector and sends the accepted password when demanding the connection to the projector, and wherein the projector receives the password sent from the client computer to find if the password is correct and sends the image data when the password is found correct.

5. The image-display method according to claim 1, wherein the projector transmits the received image data just as they are to the client computer and wherein the client computer decompresses the image data by using the same algorithm as the projector and displays the image on its display.

6. A projector projecting an image transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter and enabling a viewer to watch the projected image, the projector comprising: a communication-control unit of the projector conducting two-way communication with external computers; an image data-receiving unit of the projector receiving image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter through the communication-control unit of the projector; an image-projecting unit projecting an image represented by the received image data; and an image data-transmitting unit transmitting the image data received through the communication-control unit of the projector to a client computer operated by the viewer.

7. An image-display system capable of having a projector project an image transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter and enabling a viewer to watch the image projected by the projector: wherein the projector comprises a communication-control unit of the projector conducting two-way communication with external computers, an image data-receiving unit of the projector receiving image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter through the communication-control unit of the projector, an image-projecting unit projecting an image represented by the received image data, and an image data-transmitting unit transmitting the image data received through the communication-control unit of the projector to a client computer operated by the viewer; and wherein the client computer comprises a communication-control unit of the client computer conducting two-way communication with the projector, an image data-receiving unit of the client computer receiving the image data transmitted through the communication-control unit of the client computer, and an image-displaying unit displaying the image represented by the received image data on its display.

8. A projector-control method of projecting an image transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter and enabling a viewer to watch the projected image; wherein image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter are received through two-way communication, an image represented by the received image data is projected, and the received image data are transmitted through the two-way communication to a client computer operated by the viewer.

9. An image-display program capable of having a projector project an image transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter and enabling a viewer to watch the image projected by the projector: wherein the projector is provided with a communication-control function of the projector conducting two-way communication with external computers, an image data-receiving function of the projector receiving image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter through the communication-control function of the projector, an image-projecting function projecting an image represented by the received image data, and an image data-transmitting function transmitting the image data received through the communication-control function of the projector to a client computer operated by the viewer; and wherein the client computer is provided with a communication-control function of the client computer conducting two-way communication with the projector, an image data-receiving function of the client computer receiving the image data transmitted through the communication-control function of the client computer, and an image-displaying function displaying the image represented by the received image data on the display.

10. A projector-control program projecting an image transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter and enabling a viewer to watch the projected images, the projector-control program providing a control computer of a projector with; a communication-control function of the projector conducting two-way communication with external computers, an image data-receiving function of the projector receiving image data transmitted from the computer operated by the presenter through the communication-control function of the projector, an image-projecting function projecting an image represented by the received image data, and an image data-transmitting function transmitting the image data received through the communication-control function of the projector to a client computer operated by the viewer.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to an image-display method, a projector, an image-display system, a projector-control method, an image-display program, and a projector-control program.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] In a conventional image-display system of this type, a presenter connects his/her computer to a projector through a network and sends the data of an image displayed on his/her computer to the projector, which projects the image on a screen (see, for example, Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication No. 2001-14135).

[0005] With the above image-display system, the presenter sometimes has difficulty in providing every viewer with an easy-to-see picture. For example, viewers at a distance from the screen in a large presentation hall often have difficulty in watching the screen and concentrating on the content of the presentation, particularly if letters and figures are small.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In accordance with the above, it is the object of the present invention to provide an image-display method, a projector, an image-display system, a projector-control method, an image-display program, and a projector-control program capable of providing every viewer with an easy-to-see picture.

[0007] To achieve the above object, image data transmitted from a computer operated by a presenter are sent to client computers operated by viewers according to the present invention. Because the image data represent images to be projected on a screen by a projector, viewers can watch the images on the displays of client computers on hand by reproducing them with client computers. Accordingly, even if viewers are seated at a distance from the screen in a large hall, they can watch images on the displays of client computers on hand.

[0008] Although it serves the purpose if the computer operated by the presenter can transmit image data representing images to be projected on a screen, it is preferable if the computer operated by the presenter is the same as the computer used by the presenter for presentation. In this sense, it is preferable to transmit image data for displaying computer pictures including the presenter's operation (operation of a mouse pointer, etc.). Formats of image data are not limited in particular. Various formats such as picture signals, RGB signals, and compressed data of MPEG etc. can be adopted.

[0009] It serves the purpose if the communication-control units of the projector and the client computers can connect the computer operated by the presenter and the client computers that can be operated by the viewers interactively, and communication lines, protocols and standards are not limited. For example, either a wire network or a radio network will do, and various protocols such as TCP and UDP can be adopted, or various standards of Ethernet (a registered trademark of Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.), IEEE 1394, USB, etc. can be adopted.

[0010] It serves the purpose if the unit for projecting images can project images represented by image data on a screen; accordingly, if image data are compressed, the projecting unit decompresses them and projects images on a screen. The image data-transmitting section sends on the above image data received to client computers. If image data are processed (for example, expanded) for the display of images and then sent on to client computers, the image data become bulky and it takes time for the image data-transmitting section to send on the image data to client computers.

[0011] Accordingly, it is preferable for the image data-transmitting unit to send on the above image data received, just as they are, to client computers. Besides, because image data are sent on from the projector to client computers, it is unnecessary for the computer operated by the presenter to be involved in the sending on of image data to a plurality of client computers. The load due to the control of communication occurs on the projector alone. Because the computer operated by the presenter is operated in various ways, the presenter can make presentation smoothly even with a low-performance computer if extra loads are eliminated.

[0012] It serves the purpose if the image-displaying unit of the client computer is capable of displaying the images represented by image data fed from the projector. If the above image-data processing is made in the projector, it is preferable to do the processing and decompressing, etc. with the same algorithm so that images displayed on the displays of client computers are always the same as images displayed on the screen by the projector. If image data are stored in a hard disk, a RAM, or the like of the client computer, the viewer can review images of the presentation at any time. If a viewer cannot keep up with the presentation, he/she can pause and restart at any time. Thus, such convenient functions can be achieved.

[0013] As described above, the projector sends on image data representing projected images to the client computers so that viewers can watch images on the displays of client computers. On the other hand, the presenter may want to disable the client computers from displaying certain images because of the contents of the presentation or presenter's intention. To achieve this selective non-display of image, the computer operated by the presenter sends the projector 30 data indicating the permission or prohibition of the delivery of image data to the client computers, and the image data-transmitting unit of the projector handles image data in accordance with the permission/prohibition-indicating data. With regard to delivery-permitted image data, the projector permits all the client computers, which demanded connection, to connect to itself and sends on the image data to the client computers.

[0014] In this manner, the projector acquires permission/prohibition-indic- ating data from the computer operated by the presenter and handles image data in accordance with the presenter's intention. Thus, by using permission/prohibition-indicating data alone, the projector can determine whether to send on image data to a plurality of client computers or not. It is not necessary to control the delivery or nondelivery of image data to individual client computers. Thus, the delivery or nondelivery of image data to individual client computers can be controlled by very simple processing.

[0015] The above delivery/nondelivery control is convenient especially for the handling of image data in a presentation hall. In other words, because many viewers watch images in a presentation hall, it is often nonsense to try to control the delivery and nondelivery of image data to individual client computers. Accordingly, the delivery/nondelivery control where the presenter takes the initiative in controlling delivery and nondelivery is often sufficient.

[0016] The transmission of permission/prohibition-indicating data can be made in various ways. The presenter may register the permission and prohibition of delivery of image data with the computer operated by the presenter in advance, and the computer operated by the presenter may automatically transmit permission/prohibition-indicating data to the projector in response to the inquiries from the projector. When the computer operated by the presenter receives an inquiry from the projector, a pop-up menu for instruction of permission or prohibition may be displayed on the display of the computer operated by the presenter.

[0017] To control the delivery or nondelivery of image data, passwords to be inputted through client computers may be used. A viewer inputs a password, which is visible to only the viewers of images projected on the screen by the projector, into the image data-receiving unit of his/her client computer. When he/she demands connection to the projector, the password is sent from his/her client computer to the image data-transmitting unit and a password-checkup section determines whether the password is correct or not. If the password is correct, image data are sent on to his/her client computer.

[0018] Thus, it is possible to determine whether image data should be sent on to each client computer or not. Besides, because the password is visible to only the viewers of images projected on the screen by the projector, the destinations of image data can be limited to client computers operated by the viewers of images projected on the screen by the projector. Various passwords can be adopted as the password visible to only the viewers of images projected on the screen by the projector. For example, a password may be written in images projected on the screen by the projector. Accordingly, the destinations of image data can be limited to client computers operated by the viewers in the presentation hall. Alternatively, slips printed with a password may be handed over to the viewers at the entrance of the presentation hall.

[0019] Needless to say, the above image-display system functions by the method of executing certain steps in time series with projector and client computers; therefore, the image-display system constitutes an invention as an image-display method and an projector-control method. The image-display system may exist by itself or may be incorporated into a device. Thus, the image-display system as an idea of invention is not limited to the above embodiment, but may be embodied in other specific forms. For example, the image-display system may be made of software or may be made of hardware.

[0020] In the case of the embodiment of the idea of the invention as software for controlling an image-display system and a projector, there exist programs realizing such functions, of course. The software is image-display and projector-control programs which are executed in the projector and client computers to realize the above functions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an embodiment of the image-display system of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 2 is a flowchart of the processing by the transmission-control program of the image-display system of FIG. 1;

[0023] FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the processing by the projector-control program of the image-display system of FIG. 1;

[0024] FIG. 4 is a flowchart of the processing by the reception-control program of the image-display system of FIG. 1; and

[0025] FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of another embodiment of image-display system of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0026] The preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described below in the following orders.

[0027] (1) Configuration of the image-display system

[0028] (2) Processing at the presenter PC

[0029] (3) Processing at the projector

[0030] (4) Processing at the client PCs

[0031] (5) Other embodiments

[0032] (1) Configuration of the Image-Display System

[0033] FIG. 1 shows a configuration of the image-display system of the present invention. The image-display system 10 comprises a presenter PC 20, a projector 30, and a plurality of client PCs 40. The presenter PC 20, projector 30, and client PCs 40 form a LAN through UTP cables and can communicate with one another. The projector 30 receives image data from the presenter PC 20 and projects images on a screen. At the same time, the projector 30 sends on the received image data as they are to the client PCs 40 if the image data are delivery-permitted ones. Thus, the client PCs 40 receive image data from the projector 30 and display images on their displays.

[0034] The presenter PC 20, projector 30, and client PCs 40 communicate with one another by using the TCP protocol. They send and receive packets to and from one another to establish connection among them, and image data are divided into packets for transmission as the need arises. There are block diagrams in FIG. 1 showing the configurations of a presenter PC 20, a projector 30, and only one client PC 40, but a plurality of client PCs 40 can be realized by using the same configuration.

[0035] General-purpose computers can be adopted as a presenter PC 20 and client PCs 40 which control certain interfaces and recording media under certain operating systems. The presenter PC 20 of the image-display system 10 of the present invention comprises a network interface 21, a communication controller 22, a transmission-control program 23, a hard-disk drive 24, a presentation program 25, a displaying section 26, and an input device-controller 27.

[0036] To make presentation by using the projector 30, a presenter operates the presenter PC 20 and starts the presentation program 25. The presentation program 25 reads out presentation data 24a, which are prepared and stored in the hard-disk drive 24 in advance, and outputs image data to the displaying section 26 to display images in certain or any order.

[0037] The displaying section 26 controls a display such as a liquid-crystal display (not shown in FIG. 1). A mouse 27a or the like inputs operation into the input device-controller 27, which outputs data representing the contents of inputted operation to the presentation program 25, which makes processing such as changing the presentation picture and moving the mouse pointer on the displaying section 26.

[0038] While the presentation program 25 is running, the transmission-control program 23 is started and controls the transmission of the image data representing the images on the presentation picture of the displaying section 26 to the projector 30 in order to make the projector 30 project images on a screen which are the same as the images on the presentation picture of the displaying section 26. Besides, the presenter PC 20 is capable of achieving two-way communication by means of the network interface 21 and the communication controller 22. In other words, the communication controller 22 divides image dada fed from the transmission-control program 23 into packets as the need arises, makes such processing as adding data indicating proper destinations, and outputs the image data through the network interface 21. Before being transmitted, image data may be compressed for a higher communication speed or encoded for security.

[0039] The transmission-control program 23 has a delivery/nondelivery-desi- gnating section 23a. The displaying section 26 and the input device-controller 27 constitute a user interface (not shown) under the control by the delivery/nondelivery-designating unit 23a. Thus, the presenter can designate the delivery and nondelivery of image data to the client PCs 40. The data representing the contents of designation of delivery and nondelivery are stored in the hard-disk drive 24 and can be referred to at any step. At the time of establishing the communication with the projector 30 or at other times, a pop-up menu may be displayed on the user interface so that the presenter can designate delivery or nondelivery of image data to the client PCs 40. And other various configurations for designation of delivery and nondelivery of image data are possible.

[0040] In the projector 30, certain interface, recording medium, etc. can be controlled under an operating system and a certain program can be run. To construct the image-display system 10, the projector 30 comprises a network interface 31, a communication controller 32, a projector-control program 33, a projection controller 34, and a projecting section 35. The projector 30 is capable of two-way communication by means of the network interface 31 and the communication controller 32. The communication controller 32 receives packets of image data through the network interface 31, combines the packets in accordance with their headers, and sends the combined image data to the projector-control program 33. Besides, the communication controller 32 receives image data from the projector-control program 33, divides the image data into packets as the need arises, makes such processing as adding data including proper destinations and outputs the packets through the network interface 31.

[0041] The projector-control program 33 sends and receives image data and controls the projection of images according to the received image data. Besides, the projector-control program 33 finds whether the image data received are delivery-permitted ones or delivery-prohibited ones and controls two-way communication with the client PCs 40. Moreover, when projecting images, the projector-control program 33 starts the projection controller 34 and sends image data to it. The projection controller 34 processes the received image data and controls the projection of images at the projecting section 35.

[0042] Thus, the projection controller 34 processes the above image data received and produces data which are fed to the projecting section 35 for the projection of images on a screen. If image data are compressed or encoded, the projection controller 34 decompresses or decodes the image data. The projecting section 35 has a mechanism to project light of three colors RGB on an external screen through a lens (not shown in FIG. 1) to form images. Thus, the projecting section 35 generates RGB light for individual pixels to form images on the screen by using the above image data processed by the projection controller 34.

[0043] In each client PC 40, certain interface, recording medium, etc. can be controlled under an operating system and a certain program can be run. To construct the image-display system of the present invention, each client PC 40 comprises a network interface 41, a communication controller 42, a reception-control program 43, a display controller 44, and a displaying section 45. Each client PC 40 is capable of two-way communication by means of the network interface 41 and the communication controller 42. The communication controller 42 receives packets through the network interface 41, combines the packets in accordance with their headers, and sends the combined image data to the reception-control program 43.

[0044] The reception-control program 43 receives and sends image data and controls the display of images according to the received image data. To receive image data, the reception-control program 43 controls two-way communication with the projector 30. The reception-control program 43 starts the display controller 44 and sends the image data to it. The display controller 44 processes the image data and controls the display of images at the displaying section 45. Thus, the display controller 44 processes the above image data received and produces data to be sent to the displaying unit 45 for the display of images. The displaying section 45 has a display such as a liquid-crystal display (not shown in FIG. 1) and generates RGB light for individual pixels to form images on the display.

[0045] The processing at the display controller 44 is equivalent to the processing at the projection controller 34. If image data are compressed or encoded, the display controller 44 decompresses or decodes the image data by using the same algorithm as the projection controller 34. Because the projector 30 projects images on a screen while the client PC 40 displays images on a display, the projection controller 34's method of driving the relevant parts for the projection of images is different from the display controller 44's method of driving the relevant parts for the display of images. In this embodiment, however, the projection controller 34 and the display controller 44 have a common point in that an image is expressed by pixels of RGB colors. Thus, the method of processing image data is common to the two controllers 34 and 44. Therefore, the projector 30 and the client PCs 40 have many common modules and hence the image-display system 10 of the present invention can be constructed easily.

[0046] (2) Processing at the Presenter PC

[0047] The processing and workings of the presenter PC 20 are now described. FIG. 2 is a flowchart of the processing of the transmission-control program 23 of the presenter PC 20. In this embodiment, the presenter PC 20 communicates with the projector 30 and does not communicate with the client PCs 40. In Step S100, the transmission-control program 23 demands connection to the projector 30 of the communication controller 22. The communication controller 22 transmits a connection-demanding packet to the projector 30 through the network interface 21. In Step S110, the transmission-control program 23 monitors the network interface 21 through the communication controller 22 for a connection-permitting packet from the projector 30.

[0048] When the communication controller 22 receives a connection-permitting packet from the projector 30, the transmission-control program 23 recognizes the permission in Step S110 and monitors the network interface 21 further through the communication controller 22 to find whether there is a demand for the delivery of image data or not in Step S120. In other words, the transmission-control program 23 monitors the network interface 21 for a delivery-demanding packet from the projector 30. If a demand for the delivery of image data is not found in Step S120, the transmission-control program 23 checks to see if a preset time has passed in Step S125. The transmission-control program 23 repeats the processing in and after Step S120 until the preset time passes.

[0049] If the preset time has passed without receiving a delivery-demanding packet in Step S125, the delivery/nondelivery-designat- ing section 23a designates image data as delivery-prohibited data and makes the communication controller 22 transmit a datum indicating the prohibition of delivery to the projector 30 in Step S140. If delivery of image data is demanded in Step S120, the delivery/nondelivery-designating section 23a checks in Step S130 to see if the delivery is already permitted. If it is found in Step 130 that the delivery is not permitted, the delivery/nondelivery-designating section 23a makes the communication controller 22 transmit a datum indicating the prohibition of delivery to the projector 30 in Step S140.

[0050] If it is found in Step S130 that the delivery is permitted, the delivery/nondelivery-designating unit 23a makes the communication controller 22 transmit a datum indicating the permission of delivery to the projector 30 in Step S135. In Step 150, the image data representing a presentation image displayed on the displaying section 26 under the control by the presentation program 25 are transmitted to the projector 30. Before the transmission, the image data are compressed or encoded as the need arises. In Step S160, the transmission-control program 23 checks to see if the presentation has been finished. The processing in and after Step S150 is repeated until the presentation is finished.

[0051] By the processing described above, image data representing the presentation images to be projected by the projector 30 are outputted from the presenter PC 20. Besides, the presenter PC 20 designates image data as ones to be delivered from the projector 30 to the client PCs 40 and ones not to be delivered from the projector 30 to the client PCs 40 and transmits data indicating the contents of the designation to the projector 30. It serves the purpose if the data indicating the contents of designation are transmitted to the projector 30 only once. Thus, the substantial communication load on the system is only the image data-transmission load. Accordingly, when the presenter makes presentation, operating the presenter PC 20, the resource of the presenter PC 20 is prevented from being reduced and hence the presenter can make presentation very smoothly.

[0052] (3) Processing at the Projector

[0053] FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the processing of the projector-control program 33 of the projector 30. In this embodiment, the projector 30 makes two-way communication with the presenter PC 20 and the client PCs 40. In Step S200, the projector-control program 33 checks to see if the network interface 31 has received a demand for connection through the communication controller 32. In other words, the projector-control program 33 monitors the network interface 31 through the communication controller 32 for a connection-demanding packet to be outputted by the presenter PC 20 in Step S100.

[0054] If the reception of a connection-demanding packet was confirmed in Step S200, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 transmit a connection-permitting packet through the network interface 31 to the presenter PC 20 in Step S210. In Step S220, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 transmit a delivery-demanding packet through the network interface 31 to the presenter PC 20 in order to check to see if the delivery of image data to the client PCs 40 is permitted.

[0055] The presenter PC 20 recognizes the demand of delivery in Step S120 and transmits a datum indicating the permission of delivery in Step S135 or a datum indicating the prohibition of delivery in Step S140 to the projector 30. The projector 30 monitors the network interface 31 through the communication controller 32 for a datum indicating the permission or prohibition of delivery in Step S225. If the projector-control program 33 finds in Step S225 that the delivery of image data to the client PCs 40 is permitted, the projector-control program 33 designates image data as delivery-permitted ones in Step S230. If the projector-control program 33 finds in Step S225 that the delivery of image data to the client PCs 40 is prohibited, the projector-control program 33 designates image data as delivery-prohibited ones in Step S235. Various configurations can be adopted for the designation. For example, flags indicating the permission and prohibition of delivery may be stored in a RAM (not shown in FIG. 1).

[0056] When image data has been designated as delivery-permitted or delivery-prohibited ones, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 monitor the network interface 31, receive the image data representing a presentation image, and store the image data temporarily in a RAM (not shown in FIG. 1) in Step S240. In other words, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 receive packets of image data, combine the packets, and store the combined image data in a RAM. In Step S245, the received image data are sent to the projection controller 34 for the projection of the presentation image. In other words, the projection controller 34 processes (decompresses or decodes as the need arises) the compressed or encoded image data temporarily stored in the RAM to produce data which the projecting section 35 uses to project the presentation image.

[0057] In Step S250, the projector-control program 33 checks to see whether image data are designated as delivery-permitted ones (in Step S230) or not (in Step S235). If it is confirmed in Step S250 that image data are designated as delivery-permitted ones, the projector-control program 33 monitors the network interface 31 through the communication controller 32 for connection-demanding packets from client PCs 40 in Step S255. If it is confirmed in Step S255 that some client PCs 40 have sent connection-demanding packets to the projector 30, the projector-control program 33 permits the connection-demanding client PCs 40 to connect with the projector 30 in Step S260. In other words, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 transmit a packet indicating the permission of connection to the connection-demanding client PCs 40 through the network interface 31.

[0058] In Step S265, the projector-control program 33 sends the image data temporarily stored in the RAM to the connection-permitted client PCs 40. In other words, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 (i) divide the image data into packets, (ii) write data, which address the packets to the connection-permitted client PCs 40, into the headers of packets, and (iii) transmit the packets through the network interface 31 to the connection-permitted client PCs 40. The image data sent to the connection-permitted client PCs 40 are the same as the image data stored in the above RAM. In other words, the image data stored in the RAM are transmitted, just as they are, without undergoing the processing by the projection controller 34, to the connection-permitted client PCs 40; therefore, if the image data stored in the RAM is compressed, the image data can be transmitted as a relatively light load on the network.

[0059] If the image data were transmitted to the connection-permitted client PCs 40 in Step S265 or any client PCs 40 did not send connection-demanding packets to the projector 30 in Step S255, the projector-control program 33 checks in Step S270 to see if the presentation has been finished. In other words, the projector-control program 33 makes the communication controller 32 monitor the network interface 31 and finds whether the final presentation image has been received or not. The processing in and after Step S240 is repeated until the ending of the presentation is confirmed in Step S270. If image data were designated as delivery-prohibited ones in Step S250, the projector-control program 33 checks in Step S275 to see if the presentation has been finished. If the ending of the presentation is not confirmed in Step S275, the processing in and after Step S240 is made.

[0060] As described above, the projector 30 not only receives image data from the presenter PC 20 and projects images on a screen but also sends on image data to connection-permitted client PCs 40 if image data are designated as delivery-permitted ones. Because the projector 30 communicates with the client PCs 40 and sends image data to the client PCs 40, the load on the presenter PC 20 is very light. Besides, because the projector 30 receives image data from the presenter PC 20 and sends on the image data just as they are to the client PCs 40, no load of image processing occurs on the projector 30 and image data are smoothly sent to the client PCs 40 where the viewers can watch images clearly.

[0061] RGB cables, coaxial cables, etc. are known as technologies used for the transmission of image data. To transmit image data by using these technologies for the projection of images by the projector 30, two lines are needed; i.e., one line of, for example, RGB for the transmission of image data and another line for two-way communication for the control of the relevant devices. In the present embodiment of this invention, however, it serves the purpose if a cable network is formed among the presenter PC 20, the projector 30 and the client PCs 40. Thus, the image-display system 10 can be constructed with relatively simple construction.

[0062] (4) Processing at the Client PC

[0063] FIG. 4 is a flowchart of the processing of the reception-control program 43 of the client PCs 40. The client PCs 40 communicate with the projector 30 and not with the presenter PC 20. In Step S300, the reception-control program 43 sends a demand for connection to the projector 30 through the communication controller 42. In other words, the reception-control program 43 makes the communication controller 42 send a packet indicating a demand for connection to the projector 30 through the network interface 41.

[0064] In Step 310, the reception-control program 43 finds if the connection is permitted. In other words, the reception-control program 43 monitors the network interface 41 through the communication controller 42 to find if a connection-permitting packet to be transmitted by the projector 30 in Step S260 has been received. If the reception-control program 43 finds in Step S310 that the connection is permitted, the reception-control program 43 receives image data outputted by the projector 30 in Step S320. In other words, the reception-control program 43 makes the communication controller 42 (i) monitor the network interface 41, (ii) receive the packets of image data representing a presentation image, (iii) combine the packets into the original image data, and (iv) store the image data in a RAM (not shown in FIG. 1) temporarily.

[0065] In Step S340, the reception-control program 43 sends the image data to the display controller 44 for the display of the presentation image on the display. In other words, the display controller 44 processes (decompresses or decodes as the need arises) the decompressed or encoded image data to produce data which the displaying section 45 uses to display the presentation image. Then, in Step S340, the reception-control program 43 makes the communication controller 42 monitor the network interface 41 to find if the final presentation image has been received. Thus, the processing in and after step S320 is repeated until the ending of the presentation is confirmed.

[0066] If the reception-control program 43 does not find in Step S310 that the connection is permitted, the processing in and after Step 320 is skipped and image data are not received. As described above, the client PC 40 receives image data from the projector 30 and displays the presentation image on its display. Accordingly, even if viewers are seated at a distance from the screen in a large hall, they can watch images on the display of client computers on hand.

[0067] (5) Other Embodiments

[0068] The embodiment described above is an example to achieve the image-display system, projector, image-display method, projector-control method, image-display program and projector-control program of the present invention, and other configurations are also possible. For example, the destinations of image data maybe limited to client PCs 40 operated by the participants, or viewers, in the presentation hall. For example, the projector permits all the client PCs 40, which demanded connection, to connect to itself and sends on the image data to them. However, passwords to be inputted through client computers may be used to control the delivery of image data.

[0069] The descriptions surrounded by broken lines in FIGS. 3 and 4 show the processing to be added when the passwords are used to control the delivery of image data, and FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram showing workings of such an example. In this example, as shown in FIG. 5 as an image projected on the screen by the projector 30, a password is displayed in a part of the presentation image. Therefore, the image data sent from the presenter PC 20 are data including an image for displaying the password, and the projector 30 displays the password when projecting the image on the screen in Step S245.

[0070] At the client PC 40, the password is inputted by an input device such as a keyboard before sending a demand for connection in Step S300. When sending the demand for connection in Step S300, together with data indicating the demand for connection, data indicating the password is sent. Before giving permission to the connection-demanding client PC 40 in Step S260, the projector 30 acquires the inputted data indicating the password and determines whether the password is correct or not. When it is found that the password is correct, the demand for connection is permitted in Step S260. When it is found that the password is not correct, the processing in Step S270 is carried out.

[0071] There are various ways to determine whether the password is correct or not. For example, data indicating the correct password may be stored in advance temporarily in a RAM, etc. (not shown) of the projector 30 and the inputted password may be compared with the stored correct password. Further, the data of the password included in the image data received in the above Step S240 may be extracted and used as the correct password, and various other ways are also possible. Either of the above configurations enables viewers of the image projected on the screen in the presentation hall to input the correct passwords, so that the destinations of image data can be limited to client PCs 40 in the presentation hall.

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