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1. (WO1995025313) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SYNCHRONIZATION AND SCHEDULING OF MULTIPLE DATA STREAMS AND REAL TIME TASKS
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CLAIMS

1. Apparatus for synchronization of at least two information streams which comprises:
a) a timer (10) for holding a first table (50) with time marks for each one of said information streams, and for making each time mark reached available at the timer output,
b) a selector (1 1) for holding a second table (51 ) with
• pointer fields (71 ) carrying pointers to each of said information streams,
• status fields (73) carrying information concerning the status of each of said information streams, the status field of an information stream being updated each time a time mark of said information stream is reached and made available at said timer output,
c) means for checking whether a trigger condition of an information stream is fulfilled by watching the corresponding status field, and d) means for making the pointer to an information stream whose trigger condition is fulfilled available for playout of said information stream.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein said second table (50) further comprises:
• trigger fields (74) carrying information concerning the trigger conditions of each of said information streams.

3. The apparatus of claims 1 or 2, wherein said second table (51 ) further comprises:
• synchronization fields (74) carrying, by means of a linked list, entries concerning information streams to be played out in a certain relationship to each other.

4. The apparatus of claims 1 , 2, or 3, wherein said second table (51) further comprises:
• priority fields (72) carrying priority values (P) such that the information stream with highest priority is played out first if the respective trigger condition has been fulfilled.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, further comprising means for increasing said priority values (P) with advancing time.

6. The apparatus of any of the preceding claims, further comprising:
• means (18) for extracting said time marks from incoming information streams,
• buffer means (19, 20) for storing said information streams,
• playout means (21 ) for retrieval of said information streams stored in said buffer means (19, 20) and for playout to the respective playout devices (14, 15).

7. A multimedia system comprising an apparatus in accordance with any of the preceding claims.

8. Apparatus for scheduling at least two real time tasks or two processes which comprises:
a) a timer (10) for holding a first table (50) with time marks for each one of said tasks or processes, and for making each time mark reached available at the timer output,
b) a selector (1 1) for holding a second table (51) with
• pointer fields (71 ) carrying pointers to task control blocks or executable code,
• means for making a pointer to a task control block or an executable code available at an output of said selector each time a time mark of said task or process is reached in said timer.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the pointer to a task or process with highest priority is made available first.

10. Method for synchronization of at least two information streams, characterized by the following steps:
a) checking whether a time mark of one of said information streams has been reached,
b) updating the status information of said information stream whose time mark has been reached,
c) determining whether the trigger condition of said information stream is fulfilled by watching said status information, and
d) providing a pointer to said information stream for further processing if the trigger condition of said information stream is fulfilled.

1 1. The method of claim 10, wherein the playout of information streams, which have to be played out in a predefined relationship to each other, is scheduled by means of a linked list being organized such that each time when a status information of one of said information streams is updated, the status information of the other information streams are checked, and said information streams played out when all trigger conditions are fulfilled.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein a priority value (P) is assigned to each of said information streams, the information streams with highest priority being played out first.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the priority value (P) of an information stream is increased with advancing time.

14. The method of claim 10, further comprising the following steps:
• extracting and/or synchronizing the time marks of said information streams,
• storing said information streams in buffers, • making the addresses of said buffers available as pointers for later retrieval of said information streams,

15. The method of claim 14, wherein said information stream is retrieved from said buffer by means of said pointer, prior to being send to a playout device.