Audio News for May 23, 2007

by | May 23, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Marriage of PC & TV in the Home Hasn’t Been Consummated – Most of the electronics shows focus heavily on what’s now referred to as The Digital Home – a fully-connected home with digital content stored on a giant server which can send audio and video to any room in the home.  This is also often tied in with a home security system, wireless phone service, and broadband Internet connection. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one entertainment center, without the clutter of extraneous devices, sires, remotes, and various places to search for one’s media?  But in spite of new products such as Apple TV, is what used to be called the “convergence” of the PC and TV really happening?

According to a Yankee Group analyst: “We’re not quite there. Until we can effectively stream video around the house…consumers aren’t interested.”  Some of the statistics are promising: The CEA says about a quarter of U.S. homes now have a DVR (digital video recorder). 35% have a broadband connection and by 2010 that figure is expected to reach 60%. But there are challenging issues in the way. One is the digital rights management mess (DRM). Due to the copy protection fears of the movie studios and big record labels, some manufacturers are afraid to get involved because they worry they might get sued. Another hurdle is making it logical for users to hook up a digital home themselves. Interoperability standards are just not solid enough. Even supposed simplified solutions such as HDMI are prone to many problems in the field. Also, not enough consumers have enough video on their PCs to justify streaming it to their TVs; people are more likely to have files of still photos, but little video content. The all-digital home hasn’t happened yet.

Standardized Connector for MP3 Players – The Mobile Electronics Committee of the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) has announced a new connection standard for portable media players (PMPs) that will cover both in-vehicle and in-home use. The CEA-2017 standard is a single connector allowing both playing and charging a PMP in conjunction with any other device sporting the same connector.  More than 100 companies had a hand in its development, including a number of automakers and accessory-makers.

New Linux-based Home Control System in Development – A path-breaking AV whole-house control system from Savant Systems was exposed to key integrators recently.  It is completely different in physical form and claims to be programmable in a fraction of the time of other systems now available. The brains of the modular system is called the Rosie; it is about the size of a baseball cut in half and works on the 2.4 GHz frequency. The system uses Linux open architecture platform and does not require code to be written in order to integrate with devices from other manufacturers. The supplied plasma screens comes with specially-designed artwork which fills the screen when not in use. Continuing the artistic slant of the system, the touch panels are called DaVinci and the music and media server is the Beethoven.


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