Home networking moves front and center
At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, Entropic, Actiontec, D-Link, Netgear and others make the news with new in-home innovations
Home networking solutions--from in-home wiring to in-room, HD video-ready wireless connectivity—played a major role at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As service providers are beginning to focus more on whole-home content distribution, multi-screen services and other options, 2011 could become a breakthrough year for both established and new home networking technologies.
Among the announcements, Entropic Communications and Actiontec Electronics agreed to partner on a new wave of CPE using Entropic's Multimedia over Coax 2.0 (MoCA) scheme. The companies have partnered before on products adhering to previous MoCA standards, but the 2.0 standard can support simultaneous HD and 3D video streams and support for higher-bandwidth services in the range of 400 Mb/s net media access control throughput.
Regarding another home network standard, HomePlug, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, which earlier announced the addition of chip maker Broadcom to its board, hosted several technology demonstrations, including interoperability for HDTV distribution, HomePlug-supported home entertainment and whole-home audio systems, and smart energy applications, among other features.
In Wi-Fi news, D-Link and Netgear figured prominently at the show. D-Link announced a line of new HD media routers for streaming over-the-top video through alternative set-top boxes. The company also announced its DHP-1320 Powerline router, which has both Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet interfaces, and its SmartBeam technology, which can be used to direct Wi-Fi signals at specific devices or user in the home. Netgear announced its N600 Wireless Dual-band Gigabit router, as well as a 3G/Wi-Fi router in partnership with Verizon Wireless and its Powerline AV200 Nano adapter.
Deeper inside the home, wireless connectivity solutions such as Wireless HD and the Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI) standard are competing for attention. At CES, both had significant news. WHDI, a group led by vendor Amimon, said numerous companies have signed on to produce WHDI-compliant equipment in several categories, including wireless HDTVs (Haier, Hisense, TCL); HDTV projectors (Vivitek); PC-to-TV solutions (Asus, Briteview, LG Innotek); and mobile and tablet PC products (Gemtek, FIC, Malata, 35.com).
Not to be outdone, wireless HD player SiBeam announced several design wins and industry partnerships, including a deal for Dell to use the vendor’s wireless HD chipsets in its Alienwaree Gaming Laptop; an agreement with Asus to put wireless HD in notebook PCs; and a partnership with Abocom for wireless iPad and iPhone docking stations and video transmission features.
Also, HDTV vendor Vizio showcased its XWH200 Universal WirelessHD Transmitter & Receiver Kit; Monster launched its Digital Express family of wireless HDMI adapters based on WirelessHD; and Best Buy announced special pricing for its Rocketfish 4-PORT WirelessHD Kit.
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