Table of Contents For This Issue
News about People and Companies influencing The Broadband Home
The battle over evolution of TV transport (aka transmission) technology is just beginning. What was once a simple one-way transport medium with content producer and broadcaster control and with a simple analog-encoding standard is now a “perfect storm” of competing technologies and paradigms. Here is what is changing in end-to-end distribution of TV to the home and within the home, and a prognosis for the ultimate success of IP in transporting video services.
M-TEC WIRELESS has developed a technology which allows multiple HDTV channels to be sent wirelessly in the home. Their extension to the 802.11a standard is being offered to chipset and CPE manufacturers and was shown at COMDEX. In a conversation with William Watté, their General Manager, we discussed the ways in which their solution for video networking is similar to and different from Magis Networks, highlighted in our last issue.
PRISMIQ showed us their new MediaPlayer, a low-cost device that connects to your TV and sound system on one side, and over a home network to a capable PC on the other. It provides audio, video, Internet browsing and chat on the TV screen, leveraging the horsepower of the PC you already have.
With just over a month remaining until CES 2003, Microsoft has announced products embodying another part of the promise from Bill Gates' speech at the show a year ago. ViewSonic's Windows Powered Smart Displays embody the first versions of Mira: wireless touch-screen LCD monitors let users carry their XP Pro PC desktops around the house. It's a great concept, but at $1000 or more, we're not rushing out to buy one just yet.
Twenty-five German households are particpating in a field trial of networked home appliances, controlled by an OSGi-based residential gateway. Users will be able to know when the washing machine has finished or can switch an appliance on or off when away from home. We're still skeptical about needs and willingness to pay, but await the results.
For several months we've heard readers' favorite broadband applications. Music and games have been the most frequently mentioned. This month we look at a new offering for US sports fans, and at digital magazines in the context of tablet PCs and smart displays to read them on. Add in other applications which are really painful on dial-up. There's no killer app, but we wonder if, by accretion, applications are adding up to "enough to matter".
You caught us being U.S.-centric again in last month's article on digital radio: thanks for keeping us honest! One reader wrote about HomePlug devices for Europe. Another has long complained about "US Protectionism;" we've excerpted several emails to open up the dialog with our readers.
We're currently testing SIP phones, Wi-Fi access points and PC Cards, and new HomePlug adapters. We'll report on them in an upcoming issue.
We've revised the "Links and Resources" page and added a demographics page.