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The Battle for your Multimedia Networking Bucks

The big story, at least from a networking perspective, is that the proliferation of networking technologies aimed at getting that ol' streaming video around your home (you do stream, don't you?) has heated to the point of boiling over. It seems that a "we don't need no steenking standards" attitude has become the rule of the land with companies grabbing for market share first and letting the standards part sort itself out later (usually with industry consortium help).

The battle is raging on three fronts - wireless, coax and powerline - with coax looking like the most unified, but that could just be good marketing on the part of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA). At any rate, I'll be stopping by at Entropic to see where they are on products that you can actually buy and see what they have for a demo.

Powerline keeps crawling along toward the promised land of HomePlug AV's 200Mbps, but real products don't seem to be anywhere near shipping yet. I'll be checking out demos that are supposed to show Intellon's HomePlug AV acting as a network backbone to supply multiple Freescale DS-UWB HDTV tranceivers with HD content from a Samsung media server. A second demo will show a PVR feeding to a Sharp Aquos LCD TV via an Intellon HomePlug AV connection. The main thing I want to know is when does this stuff ship?

But it looks liks at least one company has decided not to wait for HomePlug AV. Valencia-based (as in Spain, not California) Design of Systems on Silicon is showing a reference design wall module that uses its DSS9010 chip that claims to have the same 200Mbps raw data rate promised by AV. Curiously, DS2's press kit also contained a product brochure for Corinex' 200Mbps AV Powerline Ethernet Adapter, so I'm sure I'll be seeing them around the HomePlug booth, too.

Update! No sooner had I posted this than Panasonic announced that it had joined with Mitsubishi Electric and Sony to "establish an alliance for high-speed power line communication (PLC)". According to the release, the new alliance is tentatively called the CE-Powerline Communication Alliance (CEPCA) and "will promote PLC-capable home networking worldwide by encouraging other consumer electronics and information technology companies to collaborate". Both Mitsubishi and Sony are "Participant Members" of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance.

The wireless multimedia story is so confusing that it deserves its own section, and some more research so that I keep the amount of foot that I eat this week to a minimum.

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