Piping Multimedia Entertainment to Every Room

"A total technological makeover for your home may not be far off, however. According to experts in the consumer electronics and computer industries, wired and wireless home networking and home automation options are expected to proliferate in the next two years - bringing a new level of sophistication to ordinary homes.

The new networking technologies include HomePlug AV, which uses electrical outlets and wiring to send high-definition video and audio around the house; MoCA, or multimedia over coax, which does the same with the coaxial cable (cable or satellite TV) infrastructure; HomePNA 3.0, which uses the telephone wiring and coax cable infrastructure; and 802.11n, a forthcoming Wi-Fi standard.

Whereas the currently available home networking equipment is meant to move data, this next generation is meant to move "multimedia," which adds video and voice-over-Internet protocol (or VoIP) to the mix. Therefore, experts say, these latest technologies add new developments for QoS, or quality of service, which ensures that video transmissions aren't disrupted...

Which technology ends up in your house ultimately may be out of your control. It is likely that the HomePlug AV, HomePNA and MoCA networking equipment will be provided by the cable TV, satellite TV or telephone companies, experts say. Some of the technologies also may be built into consumer electronics devices, such as TVs and digital video recorders. The digital living room In what experts call the "digital living room" of the future, an "entertainment node" may comprise a high-definition TV connected to a satellite TV receiver and a digital video recorder. In turn, this entertainment node will be connected to a PC in the home office. All of these devices will be able to feed an HDTV in the bedroom, which forms another entertainment node.

'Home networking is the glue that makes the vision of the digital living room work,' says Van Baker, vice president and analyst at the research firm Gartner Inc. "

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